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Best time to travel: Five fabulous fall destinations

Kristin Larson is a nationally published writer on fashion, beauty, travel and entertainment. She has written for MSN, Real Simple, Women's Wear Daily, PeopleStyleWatch.com, LifetimeTV.cm and Glam.com. Besides writing, her other passions...

Top fall travel destinations

Get ready: Fall is just around the corner! If you think autumn is only for leaf peepers, think again: It's one of the best times to travel. The changing colors are indeed amazing, and the crisp weather and thinner crowds make fall travel even more enticing. Our five favorite fall destinations offer something for everyone, whether you’re a fan of fall colors, mountain maven or adventure seeker.

Blue Ridge in Fall

Sightseeing3Blowing Rock

The crisp fall weather provides the ideal time for fall travel to Blowing Rock, a quaint village located in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains. The region is perfect for outdoor adventure, with mountain peaks reaching as high as 6,000 feet, or for simply relaxing and dining in fabulous mountain restaurants. Take in the sublime beauty of the area with a drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway and bask in the glorious seasonal colors. Enjoy nature up close on a hiking trail — there are trails for every skill level. Seeking more adventure? Visit Grandfather Mountain, where you can see wildlife up close, with protected habitats for black bears, otters, cougars and more. No visit is complete without traversing the mile-high swinging bridge, built to give access to Linville Peak.

HotelWhere to stay:

The Inn at Ragged Gardens, 203 Sunset Drive, Blowing Rock, 828.295.9703;  www.ragged-gardens.com. Rooms start at $145. The 1900s manor features 12 rooms and suites, with traditional décor.

Crippen's Country Inn, 239 Sunset Drive, Blowing Rock, 877.295.3487; www.crippens.com. Restored country inn with a parlor and living room. Each guest room has a private bath.

DiningWhere to eat:

The Best Cellar Restaurant, at The Inn at Ragged Gardens. The menu features Southern classics like black grouper, mountain trout, and shrimp and grits.

Crippen's at Crippen's Country Inn. The restaurant received a Certificate of Honor from the prestigious James Beard Foundation. The menu changes daily, featuring homemade pastas, fresh meats and fish. Their trout is especially popular.

Up next: Blue Ridge, Georgia >>

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