One day getaways – road trips promise a feast of fall foliage

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Joli Elder/For The Lancaster News

We’ve sprung through spring and splashed through summer. Autumn splendor is on its way; Carolina blue skies will backdrop leaves of ambers, ochres and rich reds. Temperatures will drop and fall foliage will soon follow. Don’t miss a chance this year to see fall in all its majesty.

While there are countless locations to enjoy autumn colors right here in Lancaster County – including your own backyard – you can also pack a picnic and take a day or weekend trip to soak up the changing of seasons. 

“One of the best day trips is to Asheville, N.C., this time of year,” said Shirley Garrett, president and owner at Sunshine Travels. 

She said there are numerous bed and breakfasts, fine eateries and wineries to explore. She also recommends the Asheville Farmers Market and, of course, Biltmore House.

Another of Garrett’s favorite spots to savor fall’s flavor is the Chapel of the Prodigal at Montreat College, just east of Asheville in Montreat, N.C.

“On the campus are the Billy Graham library and the chapel, which features a large fresco painting by artist Ben Long,” Garrett said. “Each tree in the painting has a meaning relating to the return of the prodigal son. It’s just so serene there, and then we go to the farmers market and to pick apples at a local orchard.” 

Garrett also recommends the Shatley Springs Inn in Crumpler, N.C.; the Cheese Factory in West Jefferson, N.C.; Aunt Sue’s Restaurant north of Greenville on scenic Highway 22; and Shelton Vineyards in Dobson, N.C., in the Yadkin Valley.

Pearline Sanders of Lancaster Trailways of the Carolinas suggested many of the same destinations, but added Cherokee, N.C., Helen, Ga., and Louisville, Ky., to the list of must-sees.

“I personally like Helen, Ga. It’s a quiet, unique town with a river that flows through it,” Sanders said. “The food is fantastic, and you can see the Cabbage Patch Kids at General Hospital. We’re an older crowd, but we enjoy it so much.”

If you want to get fit while enjoying the scenery, hiking enthusiast Mary Etta Taylor suggests you check out local trails, such as Forty-Acre Rock and Crowders Mountain. If you're truly ambitious, you might try her favorite trail – the Appalachian Trail.

Where to look at leaves this fall 

– Landsford Canal, Catawba

– Biltmore House, Asheville, N.C.

– Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster

– Caesar’s Head State Park, northern Greenville County

– Tallulah Gorge State Park, Tallulah Falls, Ga.

– Glendale Springs, N.C.

– S.C. 76 near Westminster

– Cherokee Scenic Highway 11

– Hiawasee, Ga.

– Winston Salem, N.C.

– Blue Ridge Parkway, built to connect Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

– S.C. 64 near Lake Toxaway, N.C.

– N.C 74 near Bryson City, N.C.

– Cane Creek Park, Union County, N.C.

– N.C. 19 toward Cherokee/Gatlinburg


– Suggestions from Lancaster Trailways of the Carolinas motor coach operators