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mid November too late for foliage?

Sydney
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mid November too late for foliage?

Hi there,

We are thinking of heading to the US in November - can't leave until 10 November and would love to see two things ;autumn foliage and a space shuttle launch. As it happens there is a launch on 12 November which we should just be able to make but I'm wondering whether the week after that would be too late to see colour? We would be driving north to be with relatives for Thanksgiving in Michigan, so would appreciate any suggestions as to routes and what not to miss. Love history (obviously should take in some civil war sites) and good food. Think we don't have time to do NYC and/or Washington - will save for another time. Checked a foliage site which suggested that this time would still be ok for foliage in Tennessee - what do you think?

Thanks.

Athens, Alabama
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1. Re: mid November too late for foliage?

Mid-November is too late for fall foliage in East Tennessee. Some color will remain in middle Tennessee and West Tennessee could still have peak colors. A lot depends on the weather but I wouldn't expect there to be many leaves left on trees in East Tennessee in mid-November.

vcv
Tennessee
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2. Re: mid November too late for foliage?

Usually too late for middle TN as well. Not sure about West TN, but the big fall foliage draw is in the E TN mountains.

Sydney
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3. Re: mid November too late for foliage?

Thanks for that. Looks like we might put it off (again!!!) until we can make it earlier in the season.

Boston...
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4. Re: mid November too late for foliage?

Actually, mid-November isn't a bad time to come. Lately early November has been the peak, so you'll catch the tail end of the leafy season. Admittantly, visiting pre-peak is generally better than post-peak (mixed greens and colour vs. mixed brown and colour), but I wouldn't call off a visit just because you can't hit it right on the dot.

What route to take depends on how much time you have. I have a route in mind which I'll plot out on a map and link to later in this post. Do keep in mind that it shows my biases (check my travel pin map to see where I have and haven't been). Anyway, here's the idea of it:

http://tinyurl.com/kmh4ny

Florida -> Savannah -> Atlanta -> Chattanooga -> Nantahala/Great Smoky Mountains/Asheville -> Cumberland Gap -> Lexington -> Cincinnati -> Michigan

I'll return later with a more precise description. The largest military park in the US is in Chattanooga, which is why the route runs through there.

Sydney
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5. Re: mid November too late for foliage?

Wow Bluecuzco, thank you so much.

Between family and work commitments, it's really difficult to find a year when we are free around late October/early November. And of course in Sydney (and in fact Australia ) our native trees are evergreen, meaning that we don't have a 'fall' on anything like your scale. So if we don't see it at the perfect moment, that's ok - I'm sure we will still enjoy it very much. I think I read somewhere that they are phasing out the space shuttle (at the end of this year?), so that is also a point in favour of coming now.

It will just be myself and husband as it's just impossible to take kids out of school at this time, so won't be doing theme parks etc. My husband has never been to the US and it's thirty years since I was there. With the US such a power in the world, we are keen to see not only leaves and rockets, but Americans on their home turf.

Your help is very much appreciated.

Boston...
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6. Re: mid November too late for foliage?

I'm very happy to have the privilege of helping you. :)

>> ...it's really difficult to find a year when we are free around late October/early November...our native trees are evergreen, meaning that we don't have a 'fall' on anything like your scale. <<

In that case, a mid-November visit sounds like a fine idea. I've read several articles about the shuttle being phased out as well. From what I've read the shuttles are going to be discontinued in phases and will eventually end within two or three years. I'm not sure on that, though. Anyway, you're right in that this is a good time to catch a shuttle launch. I haven't seen one yet; maybe I need to take a trip down to Florida...

I've got to got, but I'll write a further response later.

Orange Beach
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7. Re: mid November too late for foliage?

For the past few years early November has been great for the leaf season in East Tennessee. In fact we missed the turning by coming mid October one of those years, so subsequent years we moved our October trip a bit later. This year I'm a bit worried since we booked for the end of October and first of November. Over the years I have come to understand that the weather (rain versus drought) has a lot to do when the leaves change - as well as when the temps begin to change. When it's a dry year in the mountains, the leaves seem to me to change later (no earlier than late October and through mid November) and when there has been sufficient rain the leaves seem to change somewhere around mid October to no later than the last week in October. I'm no expert by any means, but those are just some observations we have made over the many years we have come. This year there seems to have been an abundance of rain, so I'm thinking I may have booked wrong, but I'm still hoping.

vcv
Tennessee
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8. Re: mid November too late for foliage?

Well, foliage partly depends on elevation. The elevation on the Plateau in Middle TN rises to above 1800 ft, where as the official elevation of Chattanooga is less than 700--in Chattanooga in early spring trees are budding when those on the Plateau are still bare. On the Plateau, it's rare to have much color as late as November. I'm still raking my yard in Nov. [:( ], but most of my leaves are down by the end of Oct. The maples are already turning on the Plateau this year, with a nice spray of red in the green. The highest elevation in the TN mountains (Smokies) is 6,000+. Maybe you can find some good color in Nov. in some of the lower elevations--I can't say for sure that you won't find it elsewhere--but it's likely to be far past peak in Middle TN. However, hiking is very good in Nov. because views from ridges are more open.

right over your...
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9. Re: mid November too late for foliage?

Nov.11 last year:

travel.webshots.com/slideshow/568989536IjStmk

Boston...
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10. Re: mid November too late for foliage?

Hey, I recognize some them pictures: the man-made stream feeding Mingus Mill, the bridge at Smokemont, Tom Branch Falls (the location of my first muskrat sighting in the Smokies)...