As school begins and family vacations are not as common, September is a month when Parkway visitation tends to drop prior to the high visitation of October weekends. For that reason, the drive along the high mountain road may be especially relaxing for those who can plan a trip this month. Here in early September from Roanoke, VA, south through the Doughton Park, NC area, late summer blooms are still hanging on with fields of Queen Anne’s Lace, Crown Vetch, Coreopsis, Sunflower, and Ironweed highlighting the agricultural scene. Joe-Pye and Goldenrod are also common. Some locust trees are also starting their fall color change to rusty brown right now. Joe-Pye, Blazing Star, and Gentian are reported to be nice in the Blowing Rock and Grandfather Mountain area as well. In the fields of Crabtree Meadows, look for Showy Aster, and White Snakeroot, and Tall Thistle. Summer flowers are fading in the high southern elevations of the Parkway, but Turkscap Lily, Bee Balm, Tall Bellflower, Morning Glory, and Phlox can still be seen. Vast amounts of Coneflower, and Coreopsis decorate the Pisgah and the Richland-Balsalm area. A few Poplar and Birch at elevations above 5,000 feet are turning yellow and blueberries are beginning to turn red at the high elevations as well. Have a safe Parkway visit by remembering that with the drive along this mountain road, comes some steep inclines, steep curves, built-in distractions-such as wildlife and bicycles. Pull off into one of the overlooks if traffic backs up behind you, everyone will be a lot happier. As we often say to visitors, enjoy the view, but watch the road.
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