Fall Colors Virginia

Aug 22nd, 2009, 09:36 AM
  #1  
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Fall Colors Virginia

Landing at Ronald Regan airport on October 10th. Have one week to immerse ourselves in Fall colors. Would love some ideas. Thanks.
agoldie12 is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2009, 01:34 PM
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Not knowing your interests I'll just keep it general.

You'll need to get up into the mtns in western VA and WV at this time of year for fall colors. 3000+ ft or so.
One area in general would be Highland County of VA and then into the Monongahela NF in WV. Highland County is called VA's Switzerland and should be perfect in mid-Oct. It's all at around 3000 ft in the valleys. Highland Inn in Monterey might be a good place for a night or two. Small town, there's a farmers market and a fall festival there that weekend.

Then the Monongahela National Forest-the Highlands Scenic Byway there should be quite glorious. All the roads in this area are scenic drives in my view. Don't let any stereotyping of WV fool you. Eastern WV does not fit that at all. Rte 33/250/39 leading into WV are all beautiful as well, as are plenty of other country roads.

What sort of things in particular are you looking for beyond the scenery? (which could easily fill up a whole week as far as I'm concerned). The "off the beaten path" in this area has a lot to offer the nature-lover.
weimarer is offline  
Aug 26th, 2009, 08:21 PM
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Thank you for responding. Didn't give you much to go on, I know. We're interested in off the beaten path sorts of things, love history, poking around in old towns. Not into glamour, like funky restaurants with charm, not exotic hotels, just some place clean. We like local beer, local crafts or faires, local activities. Like to hike. Does this give you more to go on?
agoldie12 is offline  
Aug 27th, 2009, 01:31 PM
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With a whole week I'd go west to the Shenandoah then wind my way down to the NC mountains. You might really enjoy Ashville if you haven't seen it yet.
Birdie is offline  
Aug 27th, 2009, 07:47 PM
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Thank you for this idea. The real concern in order to keep peace with the mate is that we see lot of color. We were too far south during the month of October the last 2 years and also too early for real fall. This year needs to be a guarantee keeping in mind we're landing in Arlington and we have a week, one calm week.
agoldie12 is offline  
Aug 27th, 2009, 08:05 PM
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If you are looking for country charm, visit Leesburg and Middleburg (allow one day for each). Both have charming shops, antiques stores and funky restaurants. Middleburg is a little more upscale, and much smaller. Leesburg has a lot of strip malls on the outskirts, but you want to head to the historic district, which is small, but fun. There is a good restaurant on the main street that is inside an old bank -- good food, atmosphere, etc. I'm sorry that I can't remember the name. Check out the Leesburg website. If I were to go to only one of these towns, I'd vote for Middleburg. For a pretty drive, head out of DC on I-66 West. Take the exit for "The Plains", which is another VERY small town with a couple of nice shops and a nice, down-home restaurant wiht good food. From The Plains, follow the signs to Middleburg and you'll drive through beautiful Virginia horse country (very wealthy area). It's about 45-60 minutes on I-66 to The Plains, and then another (pleasant) 20 minutes to Middleburg. On the return trip to DC, take Rt. 50 (? Check wiht mapquest) instead of going back on I-66. This is a great daytrip.

Also, in DC, wander around Georgetown (in DC) -- quaint old neighborhood with old house, brick sidewalks. M Street and Wisconsin Avenue are the hubs of trendy shops, crowds, bars and restaurants. The side streets are quiet, lovely residential neighborhoods.

Old Town Alexandria (across the river in Virginia) is similar to Georgetown and worth visiting. The Torpedo Factory, which is on the riverfront is an old -- you guessed it -- factory for torpedos that was turned into artist workshops and galleries. Prices are great and the quality is very high.

In terms of leaf-peeping, I think you are too far south and a little early for real color. You will have to go up to the Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah to see autumn leaves. It can be VERY crowded during leaf season, and you might need reservations to get into the national park. Check the US Park Service website. But driving along the Skyline Drive is worth the hassle -- beautiful views and fall color. Try to do it during the week when it's not so crowded. Definitely avoid Sat/Sun. Enjoy your trip!
Bruselas is offline  
Aug 27th, 2009, 08:47 PM
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Well sure, I'd defintely reiterate getting to Monterey in Highland County that weekend for the fall festival. This is about as far off ther beaten path you can get, one of the most rural and least populated areas on the east coast, so not much there as far as towns, but I think you might enjoy it. Also, If you look on a map, you'll see a road running between Rte 250 near McDowell,VA and Rte 33 in Brandywine, WV with a little place called Sugar Grove, VA in between. There's "nothing" here as far as towns (there aren't any), but it is one of my favorite beautiful valleys in that part of the mountains. I highly recommend driving along it. Also, the Deerfield Valley which is off Rte 629 off 250 at West Augusta, VA. This whole area is glorious country, so just get a decent map and cruise around. Hidden Vallley, VA is another spot right around there.

Staunton and Lexington are a couple towns you might like (The older center of town area)

Many hiking trails around here, so I'm not sure what to suggest. Many of the ones I've been on out here are somewhat remote.
There are a number of good ones off the Highland Scenic Byway in the Monongahela NF-this will be very good for colors in Mid-Oct, it's all at around 4000 ft. Cranberry Glades might be a good stop as well-it will likely all be red on the valley floor. (This area is an isolated slice of northern Canada-very interesting contrast to the hardwoods you normally see).

I could go on and on-just head out to this area and you will not be dissapointed. This is off the beaten path and you will not run into crowds of tourists at all. Some, for sure, but not crowds. Lodging can be hard to find on the go, but Staunton is close enough, Marlington, WV has some places, around Seneca Rocks has some-you should be able to manage by googling a bit and just finding a base

You might also want to check out the US Forest Service sites.
George Washington NF in VA
Mononghahela NF in WV
Jefferon NF in VA (further south than what I am describing here)
weimarer is offline  
Sep 1st, 2009, 08:11 PM
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Thank you all for your input. I'm formulating some more questions. Trip planning interruption by visiting family.
agoldie13 is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2009, 12:43 PM
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I'll second the rec. for Highland county and also the notion that you are probably too early for really good fall color in most of the Shenandoah valley. I live in the valley and it's usually later in October before we see really good color.
schlegal1 is online now  
Sep 2nd, 2009, 04:17 PM
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We've had lots of rain this summer in Shenandoah County, so colors should be excellent in the valley this year.
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