Sunday, September 2, 2012

Weekend Mishmash: Outdoor Fun Even After Labor Day

Autumn doesn't technically begin until late September, but for most Americans, Labor Day (which happens to be tomorrow) signifies the last chance for a summer holiday. As I've mentioned in a previous post, autumn is my favorite season, and yet, I find myself, like many of my friends and relatives, lamenting the passing of summer. This one, in particular, seems to have flown by. Within a month, my husband, Dan, and I will be back in New Orleans – in a new French Quarter apartment that has hopefully not suffered any wind or water damage from Hurricane Isaac – and my wonderful summertime activities will be just a memory. No more hiking or bicycling in the woods of northern Michigan. No more swimming in Big Bear Lake. No more riding around in my trusty $85 paddleboat (the best buy of the summer). No more lying on my lakeside hammock, and no more exploring the Tahquamenon Falls of the Upper Peninsula.

But, just because fall is on its way, that doesn't mean it's too late to explore the great outdoors. In fact, autumn – with its ever-changing colors – is a delightful time to explore America's outdoor treasures, such as the Great Smoky Mountains (pictured here courtesy of Colby McLemore), a majestic, wooded mountain range that spans the border between Tennessee and North Carolina. As a child, I shared a particularly amazing trip there with my mother, and for a long time now, I've longed to return with my husband.
After all, it's an ideal locale for a nature lover's escape, with countless trails, numerous scenic overlooks, and oodles of fascinating flora and fauna to experience. For more information about this popular region (pictured here courtesy of Colby McLemore), consult experts like Deborah Huso, the fellow Moon author who's written the Moon Blue Ridge & Smoky Mountains guidebook ($16.95), and Katy Koontz, the fellow SATW member who's created a helpful mobile app called Smoky Mountain Travel Guide ($2.99).
Both the book and the app are handy tools to take with you on your trip to the Smokies (pictured here courtesy of Colby McLemore). Of course, if you need a bit more convincing, consider the following images:
a beautiful day in Cades Cove, courtesy of Colby McLemore
a historic log cabin in Cades Cove, courtesy of Colby McLemore
cover shot for Katy Koontz's Smoky Mountain travel app
sample Cades Cove screen shot in Katy Koontz's Smoky Mountain travel app
sample topics to browse in Katy Koontz's Smoky Mountain travel app

So, are you itching to explore the Great Smoky Mountains for yourself? If so, what are you waiting for?


Becky said...

Love the Smokey Mountains. We used to go there frequently as a kid, but I haven't been back as an adult either :(. Hope you get to go soon!

Laura Martone said...

Yes, the Smokies are quite lovely. With any luck, Dan and I will make it back there someday.

So, how was your Labor Day weekend?

J. B. Chicoine said...

I've been in through the Smoky Mountains is autumn--simply stunning! Rivals NH! :)

Laura Martone said...

Yes, the Smokies are lovely in autumn for sure - though I'm not sure how they compare to the fall vistas in New England. As you know, I haven't been up there at that time, but I definitely hope to someday!

Angie Ledbetter said...

I've got double reasons to love that area -- the beauty, and my bestie lives there. :)

Hugs and hope all's well.

Laura Martone said...

Well, Angie, those are two great reasons! ;-)

Hope all's well with you, too.