Green Travel: Fall Foliage on the Blue Ridge Parkway

| 10/22/2009 3:49:01 PM

With the exception of winter, I get excited for each of the four seasons. Each fall I look forward to crisp weather, warm colors and brilliant foliage. In Lawrence, Kansas, where I live, beautiful foliage is at a premium. We have an abundance of trees that turn beautiful shades of deep red and vibrant orange (and that distract me while I’m driving).

Although I’m satisfied with the trees in Lawrence, I know that the best place to go for fall foliage is New England. One great place to visit in fall is the Blue Ridge Parkway, a 500-mile span of highway that stretches across the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and Virginia. The landscape around the parkway reaches its crescendo in October, making this month peak visitors’ month for the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Blue Ridge Parkway 1
Enjoy beautiful fall foliage along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Photo By ncbrian/Courtesy Flickr. 

Don’t be fooled by the term “parkway.” The Blue Ridge Parkway isn’t just a road, a way to get from point A to point B or something to breeze through. Nevermind the fact the speed limit tops out at 45 mph (in some places 25 mph), the Blue Ridge Parkway is an experience—and one to savor this time of year.

For outdoor enthusiasts, the parkway offers bird watching, fishing and many hiking and biking trails. History buffs will find a variety of attractions to appease them along the way. From early European homesteads to the Cherokee Indian Reservation the highway meanders through, the Blue Ridge Parkway offers a host of educational and cultural opportunities.

If you’re looking for a green attraction along the parkway, check out the Blue Ridge Parkway Destination & Visitor Center. Constructed to LEED standards, the visitor center boasts green features such as radiant floor heating and a green roof. The center also features interactive exhibits and touch-screen computers where visitors can learn about the history of the parkway as well as its natural and cultural resources.