The Beat: Falling leaves and masquerades in the meadow

Leaf-peeping season is peaking throughout much of the Western North Carolina. And the spectacular natural phenomenon is well covered by local and national media outlets alike.

TripAdvisor, a national Web outlet that bills itself as “the world’s largest travel site,” revealed last week that Asheville topped its survey as the best fall-foliage destination in the U.S. The site calls our town “a spectacular location for leaf-peeping” where “travelers can enjoy the beautiful views by peddling through the Appalachian Mountains on one of many biking trails, or hop in the car for a scenic drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway.”

In addition to posting daily updates on the best places to spot fall foliage, the Asheville Citizen-Times reported that “Cooler Weather in Asheville Area May Boost Fall Leaf Colors.” Early October saw warmer and drier weather than normal, which could shorten the fall leaf season, Western Carolina University associate professor Kathy Mathews told the paper.

“We may be in for a fast, short season because the trees are heat stressed,” Mathews said. “We have had very limited rainfall and high temperatures.”

In an online post, Xpress is encouraged readers to “Show Your Colors” by sending in autumn leaf photos that will be featured in an upcoming slide show. E-mail your photos to Xpress staffer Michael Muller at

photo by Brian Deas and Larry McCallen

It’s also no coincidence that the Junior League of Asheville picked what’s arguably the area’s most beautiful season to hold it’s inaugural “Fall Gala: Masquerade in the Meadow.”

The nonprofit is celebrating its 85th year of civic leadership in Asheville with a Oct. 23 fundraiser at The Ramble’s Longmeadow Park in Biltmore Forest. According to a press release, the outdoor full-moon event will feature aerial performers, music, food, beverages and a raffle beginning at 6 p.m. Musical guests will include the 17-piece Asheville Jazz Orchestra and Alleycat’s Mobile Dance Party.

Guests are encouraged to get into the spirit of the season, and add some feathered flair or a mask to add a mysterious effect to the evening.

“Autumn is a season when nature is bringing many events together at one time to cause a bounty of colorful change, while the shorter days and cooler nights give a sense of change in the air that feels mysterious and exciting,” writes Events Chair Sarah Nie. “The turning of another season is a signal to all that from change, great beauty, growth and improvement strengthens a community.”

The Junior League of Asheville aims to strengthen the local community by promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women and improving our community through effective action. Over the course of the last 85 years, the group — currently made up of over 400 women — has contributed countless hours of volunteer service and returned more than $1 million in direct funding to community improvement projects.

Tickets for the Masquerade in the Meadow event are $50 each, which includes food and beverages.

For more information and to purchase tickets, go to

About Jake Frankel
Jake Frankel is an award-winning journalist who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

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