Five Can’t Miss Southern Events this Fall
Fall across the South is lively and fun, with lots of options for celebrating regional culture in unbeatable weather. From fresh picked apples to changing leaves to native songwriting, the South serves up activities that delight and inspire all five senses.
Halloween Ghost Train
Blowing Rock, North Carolina
September 23 – October 29
All aboard! Each year around Halloween, the popular Tweetsie Railroad transforms into a nighttime Ghost Train complete with a spooky conductor, scary décor and a route marked by spine-tingling sights. Before and after the train ride, kids and parents enjoy other festival activities, including a haunted house, trick-or-treating and a live Halloween show on Main Street.
Alabama’s Fall Color Trail
Blount County, Alabama
Early October to early November
Green leaves morph into stunning shades of red, gold and orange throughout north and central Alabama during the mid-fall. One of the best places to take in the Fall Color Trail is in Blount County, considered the state’s Covered Bridge Capital and site of three trip-worthy historic bridges. Pack a picnic and enjoy majestic views of poplars, dogwoods, maples and more from Horton Mill, Old Easley or Swann Covered Bridges. Each one has its own story. And you thought this sort of thing only happened in New England.
Frank Brown International Songwriters’ Festival (FBISF), Foo Foo Festival
November 3 – November 13
More than 200 nationally acclaimed songwriters play in venues along the Florida and Alabama Gulf Coast to mark the Frank Brown International Songwriters’ Festival, an 11-day event that celebrates the craft of songwriting. Some songs become household names, but the folks who wrote them often don’t. This festival allows songwriters to perform and explain their creative process. The heart of the action takes place at the famed Flora-Bama Lounge and Package, where festival namesake, Frank Brown, was a night watchman who kept the peace, loved music and retired in the 1980s at age 91.
Weekends throughout September and October
There’s eating local, and there’s eating local. Nothing beats biting into an apple that you pluck from a tree, and there are ample chances to do just that in north Georgia near Ellijay. Multiple “u-pick” orchards are spread throughout the area, including top spots, Mercier, Hillcrest and BJ Reece Orchards, which offer other distractions to go along with picking. It’s a satisfying family activity – in more ways than one. The weather is crisp, and so are the apples.
Festival of Lights
November 19 – January 6
Every holiday season, Louisiana’s oldest settlement, Natchitoches (pronounced nack-a-tish), transforms its riverfront into a dazzling display. About 300,000 twinkling Christmas lights and 100 set pieces are placed on the banks of the Cane River Lake and throughout downtown for the annual Festival of Lights. The kick-off festival features a flotilla of decorated boats, kids’ slides covered with manmade snow and live music. While you’re there, sample the town’s signature Natchitoches meat pies.