Fall Fun, Foliage and Fire Season

It's mid-October in the heart of Appalachia. Tony has you covered with fall foliage, festivals and fire season info!

Fall Foliage and Fire Seasons

This middle weekend of October is shaping up to be a B & B one, with bright sunny skies and gusty breezes to blow. With the leaves nearing peak in many mountain communities, this will be a perfect weekend to hit the road and travel into the high country to do some leaf peeping!

The New River train excursion will follow the Midland Trail from St. Albans to Montgomery then onto rustic towns like Thurmond, Anstead and Fayette Station. Rule of thumb, the farther south the train chugs, the more dazzling the foliage!

Bridge Day jumpers will find the going chaotic as they attempt to navigate those swirling and elusive winds at the Gorge.

At the Joan, pass happy Rice and the A.J. Graham led Herd will find the winds supportive when going with the breeze, but defeating going into the zephyr. Look for at least one long field goal to be wind aided.

Tailgaters should enjoy a nice day in the sun with afternoon temperatures in the 60s for Homecoming 2011. Bring a jacket into the stadium as second half temperatures settle back into the 50s as the shadows lengthen at Edwards Stadium.

One word of caution before all the weekend fun begins; we are now into the fall fire season and while two steady rains soaked our woods this week, Friday’s windy sunshine will be matched again on both Saturday and Sunday. That means the south facing slopes of our hills will dry out quickly and be susceptible to brush fires.

So if you must burn, follow the letter of the law so as not to put yourself or neighbor at risk. The fines are hefty for those who strike a careless match.

Legal burn times are now 6 PM until 6 AM in both Kentucky and Ohio. West Virginia has changed its burn times slightly. It is not legal to burn brush (never trash, never) starting at 5 PM until 7 AM. The old burn times were 4 PM until 7 AM.

Fall Foliage Aflame (authored Tuesday Oct 11)

I am back in the saddle on this Tuesday evening after a long and enjoyable vacation. My drive through Garrett County Maryland and Preston County WV revealed a dazzling display of autumn colors as the foliage above 2500’ elevation is captivating.

As I back track to Saturday October 1, my trip past Morgantown through Frostburg and Cumberland was shrouded in a cold and grey rain with wet snow flakes falling at Savage and Negro ridges. Ski resorts nearby like Wisp, Canaan Valley and Snowshoe measured their first wet snow of the season.

When a spell of Indian Summer followed the wet snowfall last week, the stage was set for an outpouring of color that locals tell me is the best in 5 years.

As I drove south along I-79 from WVU to Clarksburg and Jane Lew-Weston and Sutton, the colors were bursting onto the scene. Colorations near 50% on Sunday October 9th will approach 75% this weekend.

Laura Lyke from the Army Corp at Summersville confirms the colors are vibrant and close to 75% full as we approach the weekend. Laura adds this is the last weekend for shooting the rapids on the Gauley as Summersville Dam’s releases end this Sunday.

Due to a special inspection, Summersville will be dropped an additional 55 feet for a total drop of 120’ by early November. This will likely mean some of the best smallmouth bass fishing in years as the fish congregate near the dam. I know the root beer colored jig is a favorite of smally anglers!

Of course this weekend includes Bridge Day at Fayette Station where the fall colors will be at peak in time for those daredevils of free-fall!

In Spencer WV, it is Black Walnut Festival weekend with a fall celebration that is a homecoming for tens of thousands. I will be there on Saturday for the Grand Festival Parade. My trip along state route 199 past the Maple Hills farm will be simply scintillating as colors approach 70% fullness.

Here’s your road map to all the fun and excitement.

http://www.wvblackwalnutfestival.org/

In Ohio, it’s time for the Bob Evans Farm Festival, down on the farm at the Homestead. A relic on the national register of historic landmarks, the Homestead is where Jewel and Bob started serving country breakfast to travelers back in the mid 20th century. Funny, but when I travel and get hungry, a stop at a Bob Evans restaurant is certain to please!
Here’s a link to the fun this weekend.

http://www.bobevans.com/ourfarms/bobevansfarm/annualfarmfestival.aspx

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