The southeast of the US honestly came as the most wonderful surprise. When you think fall in the States your mind jumps to the North East, countless photos of Maine, New England and upstate New York. But rarely do you see photos of the south East states in Autumn.
This Autumn, I was lucky enough to travel through three Southern states and witness some of the most beautiful colours, and meet some of the most generous and kind hearted people. I think one of the things that stayed with me the most was the pride and excitement people felt at the opportunity to share the place they called home with us.
Without further ado, let me show you why fall in the southeast is a no brainier, and some state by state cannot miss spots!
Let’s start with the ultimate in Air BnB’s, we were lucky enough to spend the night perched on the side of the a huge rock face, over 2000 steps up on a set of suspension steps led to this oasis perched amongst the Autumn trees. Book your stay here
Knob Creek Fire Tower, Cumberland Falls State Park. One of the few remaining fire towers on The East Coast is the best place to see the Autumn colours across the South East, the fire tower has been kept exactly as it would have been back when it was being lived in for 6 months at a time watching for fires. N.B. You must be accompanied by a park ranger to access the fire tower.
Cumberland falls state park is the perfect spot to crunch through freshly fallen leaves, and to soak up the evening light on the waterfalls private beach (of sorts) there are so many incredible view points all along the falls which provide loads of different angles and compositions.
If you’re heading to North Carolina there are a few spots you simply can’t miss.
Fly fishing in Maggie Valley : Speaking of things that truly exceeded my expectations, I have to mention fly fishing. As someone who Is renowned for having very little patience, and even less of an attention span I was apprehensive about fly fishing, (add in my clumsiness and I was slightly worried about walking through a stream with all of my camera gear…) Thanks to our lovely guides, Landon and X of Maggie Valley Fly Shop this experience was not only one of the best, but also the most meditative and relaxing, the hours flew past as I found my stride and stopped hooking myself instead of any fish. I now have a new admiration and affection for the sport.
Head down to Cataloochee Valley to discover some incredible period buildings, left in exactly the same state they were on the day they were abandoned, we spent an hour or so chasing the light as it moved through the large old windows.
But my personal favourite? Heading down to see the elk grazing in the grasses, we spent hours here watching the elk move into the evening light, but the thing that fascinated me the most was the tailgate parties that formed purely to enjoy the evening and watch the elk graze.
If you’re as lucky as we were, you may well see some black bears on your way back out of the park! It’s always worth keeping your eyes peeled!
The blue ridge parkway is another must not miss spot, the mountains stretch as far as the eye can see and in the autumn they are cloaked In bright colours.
If you’re anything like me then you’ll be itching to get that classic motel fix, then look no further than Route 19 inn. Lovingly (and more importantly sympathetically) restored by its current owners, it comes complete with a classic American car parked right out front.
On the subject of motels and classic cars, Maggie valley is an absolute haven for motels, junk yards and classic car yards. A must visit for anyone with a passion for patina!
If you’re a lover of leather goods and are looking for the perfect present for, well almost anyone then Axe and Awl is a must visit. Family run and all handmade, it has a shop cat and is next door to a brilliant coffee shop- what’s not to love?
Lake Toxoway was an incredible spot, we were lucky enough to be hosted in a stunning lakeside cabin and treated to a sunset boat ride across the lake to our hosts family home (which was too dreamy) we then went for supper at the most beautiful restaurant, owned and restored by our host. Full of local memorabilia and incredible food, I would 100% recommend this for any foodie, vegan or carnivore!
Transylvania county isn’t only famous as being the home of Dracula, it is also known as waterfall county. With good reason, we saw countless waterfalls, on from, from our gravel bikes and we and even had an icy dip in one of them!! With the Autumn colours peaking around them they really do shine.
We ended our trip in South Carolina, visiting Greenville, Columbia, Congaree National Park and others. Whilst SC doesn’t get the array of Autumn colours that the other states mentioned do, the climate during the Autumn months is glorious in itself, Below are some favourite images from our time in South Carolina.