Final push Fall Color Tour 2015: No place like Homestead!

Fall's show of color, 2015

Fall’s show of color, 2015

Sometimes the end of trip can be a letdown of sorts.  But not on this trip, our Fall Color Tour 2015. Even after seeing gold in West Virginia, touring built environments with pops of color at Tamarack and The Greenbrier, and stumbling upon great finds like covered bridges and state parks, we lucked into some surprisingly colorful, yet unexpected, vistas in Virginia and Tennessee with the reddest reds and “orangy-est” oranges of the trip.

Now travel agents with tight agendas and must-see checkpoints might not like working with us.  We like to ramble.  And talk to folks.  And gather info as we go.  So, you can imagine our pleasure when we found a man in a Virginia rest area who shared his love of places we hadn’t read about.  He even marked ’em on a map, and sent us on our way.

At the base of the falls - Falling Spring Falls, Covington, VA

At the base of the falls – Falling Spring Falls, Covington, VA

And that’s how we found Falling Spring Falls, the most photographed spot in the Allegheny Highlands.  Located on Highway 220 just above Covington, the falls can be seen from a car, but you’ll definitely want to park and roam so you can listen to the roar, take pictures, and marvel at the sight Thomas Jefferson called “a remarkable cascade.”

Beautiful Falling Spring Falls drops 80 feet from an overhanging ledge.

Beautiful Falling Spring Falls drops 80 feet from an overhanging ledge.

The 80-foot falls drop from an overhanging ledge, and the walking path open to tourists takes you right to the edge . . . well, almost.

Because the falls drop from a ledge, it almost looks as if you're viewing the Allegheny Highlands from an infinity pool. A natural one, of course!

Because the falls drop from a ledge, it almost looks as if you’re viewing the Allegheny Highlands from an infinity pool. A natural one, of course!

The area surrounding the falls offers woodland views of lesser waterfalls and babbling mountain streams cascading over moss-covered rocks.  Add to that scene some colorful fall leaves, and you have the makings of frame-worthy photography when you get back home.

We were on a mission — to see The Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia. And the “getting there” was spectacular in and of itself.  We passed through (stopping a hundred times for pictures!) George Washington National Forest, ablaze for the season . . .

Fall color in George Washington National Forest, Virginia

Fall color in George Washington National Forest, Virginia

and finally saw what we had heard about for years but had never visited:  the stately resort known simply as The Homestead.

Since 1766, generations of families have visited The Homestead, a place that can boast of hosting 23 U. S. Presidents and countless dignitaries from all over the world.  The Homestead will celebrate its 250th anniversary in 2016, no doubt packing lobbies and eating areas with guests remembering their first time at the hot springs resort as well as newcomers interested in starting a tradition.

Fall view of The Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia

Fall view of The Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia

We found The Homestead to be welcoming and comfortable.  No doubt, if you love soaking in natural springs, playing golf or tennis, or relaxing at a world-class spa, you wouldn’t have far to go to indulge yourself.

The spacious, light-filled lobby at The Homestead.

The spacious, light-filled lobby at The Homestead.

Because The Homestead was booked for a wedding and two car rallies, the inn was at capacity, and we missed a chance to stay there. But we hope to return someday to this state and this romantic place.  (Virginia Is For Lovers, you know!)

As we left The Homestead headed home, stopping at rest areas like this one in Unicoi County, Tennessee, we noticed that many people had the same idea — just stand and take it all in.  After all, for autumn lovers, it’s nature’s finest show.

Visitors to a Tennessee rest area stand at the rails and take in the fall beauty.

Visitors to a Tennessee rest area stand at the rails and take in the fall beauty.

Finally, crossing from Virginia into Tennessee meant we were home.  But not without another surprise:  tiny Rocky Fork State Park state park 30 miles from Johnson City with a winding one-lane road and some of the prettiest scenery East Tennessee has to offer.

We stopped often and listened to the silence — the perfect end to our Fall Color Tour 2015!

For more information:

The Omni Homestead Resort, 7696 Sam Snead Highway, Hot Springs, VA 24445; 800-838-1766; http://www.omnihotels.com/hotels/homestead-virginia

Falling Spring Falls:  http://www.virginia.org/Listings/OutdoorsAndSports/FallingSpring/

Rocky Fork State Parkhttp://tnstateparks.com/parks/about/rocky-fork

 

Other posts in Fall Color Tour 2015:

Looking for gold in all the right places:  Pipestem State Park, WV

West Virginia gold:  Fall at New River Gorge Bridge

Fall color inside and out: Tamarack and The Greenbrier

Travel theme: Below Humpback Bridge

About Oh, the Places We See

Met at University of Tennessee, been married for 47 years, and still passionate about travel whether we're volunteering with Habitat Global Village, combining work at Discovery with pleasure, or just seeing the world. Hope you'll join us as we try to see it all while we can!
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17 Responses to Final push Fall Color Tour 2015: No place like Homestead!

  1. reocochran says:

    This post had gorgeous colors of foliage, charming places and awesome scenery! 🙂

    • Thanks so much for dropping by our blog and leaving a comment. I’ve wanted to travel during leaf changing season for almost 48 years but have always been working. So, this year, I’m glad we made the leap! Here’s hoping your holiday has been a good one, and you’re gearing up for a lovely Christmas as well.

  2. tappjeanne says:

    gorgeous colors of trees and photos, Rusha. I’m having a hard time deciding which is my favorite –

  3. Your are helping me plan a road trip for next year. I love my year-round 70 degree F, but the downside is that I never get to see the seasons change. Absolutely lovely.

    • Because I was in education 48 years, I never had the luxury of traveling during the fall color season. But retirement has its benefits. And this is one of them. May you and your family/friends have a Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. Lynda says:

    Thank you for the delightful sharing of your adventures. You take me on many wonderful journeys that I might never have been able to experience.

    • Thanks so much for your kind remarks, Lynda. We love to travel and wish we had more money and time to be on the road even more. But maybe because we can’t travel all the time, the trips we take become even more special. Happy holidays.

  5. The waterfalls were spectacular! Love that you have such rich fall colors to enjoy, I thought New England had cornered the market but you certainly proved me wrong.

    • We weren’t able to go to New England this year since we had a Texas wedding to attend. But maybe next year, we’ll see what I’ve always wanted to see — New England when the colors are at their peak! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

  6. Touring NH says:

    Love the falls! Wonderful Fall Color Tour 2015!

  7. Quite colorful, so to speak. 🙂 Make that gorgeous. You are true leaf-peepers, as folks who get out to admire the fall in New England are known. And the falls… spectacular. I am with you. You have to get out and hear the roar and feel the spray. Thanks for sharing your fall adventures. –Curt

  8. Amy says:

    Wow, the photos of the waterfalls are breathtaking, Rusha! Love the fall view of the Homestead, so gorgeous! 🙂

    • Amy, you are so right about the Homestead. It’s a lovely place, and someday maybe we’ll be fortunate to spend a weekend there — just relaxing! Hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful, and you’re ready for the next holiday just around the corner!

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