A harvest of memories…
By the end of September, cornstalks and pumpkins begin creeping onto the porches and front lawns of folks in East Tennessee. The fall season is intoxicating with its crisp, cool air and vibrant color that blankets the nearby Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This time of year also signals the beginning of rich foods and freshly harvested treats. It’s easy to see why the celebrations begin in Sevierville well before the trees turn. Harvest Fest is sealed tighter than a jelly jar with down home events, delicious food, and harvest decorations.
Fall into the season by attending some down home events. Dumplin Valley Bluegrass Festival (September 17-19) highlights native music with big name Bluegrass entertainers such as Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, Balsam Range, Lonesome River Band and more at Dumplin Valley Farm. Local artist Robert Tino’s Smoky Mountain Homecoming (Oct. 2-4) focuses on mountain arts and crafts plus live demonstrations like bee keeping, shoe making and wood working right outside his farmhouse gallery. For those who want to “get lost” in the season, Kyker Farms Corn Maze is a great fall attraction. Guests have the chance to wind their way through an easy or difficult maze, by daylight or flashlight, enjoy an old fashioned hayride, and even pick a pumpkin from the patch. Those who like a little fright should check out the Zombie Blasterz trail.
Events are a great way to enjoy the season, but there are also opportunities to sample freshly harvested food. The Apple Barn and Cider Mill is located on a working apple orchard in the heart of Sevierville. The apple harvest begins in late August when thousands of just picked apples become fresh cider. Sample some at their famous Cider Bar or buy a jug to take home and enjoy later. You can also observe a team of bakers whipping up homemade fried apple pies each day – and try some yourself. On a busy day, the bakers at The Apple Barn and Cider Mill will make and sell more than 5,000 of the tasty treats. Save some room for a visit to Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant. This 1920s farmhouse serves as the anchor restaurant for this working apple orchard complex and every meal begins with fresh apple fritters, apple butter, and their signature Applewood Julep (a non-alcoholic fruit drink).
Even with all the events and great food, the stars of the season are still the leaves. The color begins changing on the mountain tops around the end of September and marches downward for the rest of the month – providing weeks and weeks of color. Peak color times vary from year to year, due to environmental factors like temperature and rainfall. On average, mid-October through mid-November offers the most vibrant display and provides a perfect backdrop for enjoying a Smoky Mountain fall.
Planning your getaway to Sevierville and the Great Smoky Mountains during the fall Harvest Fest: