So fall, my favorite season in any climate, is upon us (or nearly so here in still balmy Wilmington) and NC is preparing for it's beautiful yearly color change. This is one of those times of year where NC's real magic shines through, because you get to see just how diverse the state can be, and how- while often times those lines blur- sometimes the differences in the three regions can be strikingly clear. The mountain region, which if I am a tourist reading this I should be heading to with all speed during the fall, is the most classic and dazzling during the autumn months. Here you have the crisp, cool temperatures, dramatic color change and leaf shedding in the forests, apple harvests in the orchards, and local farmer's markets with a myriad of different foods.
The piedmont region is not quite as Norman Rockwell, but still very beautiful in it's own right, taking many elements of the mountain region with the color change and climate change, and watering them down many of the coastal features. This is totally unsubstantiated of fact-supported, but in my nearly 15 years here, it has always seemed to rain more in the piedmont region during the fall...again that may just be my perception. A little less pretty, a little more dismal, the best thing to do in the piedmont during autumn in my humble opinion is concerts and shopping. Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion at Walnut Creek Amphitheatre (official site
) is Raleigh's premier concert goer's destination, only tied but probably not trumped by the Verizon Wireless Ampitheatre in Charlotte (official site
). We went to see Dave Matthews Band in Raleigh in September of 2007, and it was just getting cool out. No sunscreen needed, and while we thought rain would threaten (see my earlier "it always rains in Raleigh in the fall" superstition) we ended up having a beautiful, cool, sweater-clad evening under the stars, joined by DMB and 20,000 screaming hazy-eyed yuppy-hippies. The next day? Shopping! (you see? I well test all my opinions!) Over to Crabtree Valley Mall (official site
) for a little high-end make-up and kitchen shopping (sorry ladies, i'm already married). We raided Crate and Barrel for cool kitchen utensils, and then headed up to Sephora for my wife's wedding make up. Lunch at the Cheesecake Factory, then back out into the still dismal weather, on the way to another wonderful dreary weather haven- outlet shopping in Smithfield! (trust me, locals understand) The Carolina Premium Outlets just a short drive from Raleigh in Smithfield (official site
) has amazing deals on high end everything, most notable Coach, Brooks Brothers, Bath and Body Works, Yankee Candle, and a H-U-G-E Ralph Lauren store (my personal favorite). So there piedmont, don't feel bad, I still have a very favorable opinion of your region in the faall.....I just choose to spend it indoors for the most part.
Now on to my neck of the woods, the coastal region, where as I sit here, Sept. 25th, 1347hrs, the current temperature is 89.3F with heat index of 98F and 60% humidity. Suck it Florida, were semi-tropical too. So you should already know what is to follow: our idea of "fall" in the coastal south is a low of 66 tomorrow night....those who still want some end of year swimming and tanning got a couple weeks left....it is snowing in Colorado this week; we still need sunscreen in North Carolina, and a couple more potential hurricanes brewing that we our monitoring.
So there you go, one part rant, one part blog, and only slightly tainted by my mostly useless opinion. Fall here is one of the most beautiful places these eyes have ever seen, when spent north of Charlotte and west of Raleigh.