Seasonal Highlights in Tennessee

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Tennessee is experiencing one of its most colorful times of the year and visitors can, too, with fall foliage watching, festivals and sports events as outlined by the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development.

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Autumn in Tennessee

Bright and bold colors will cloak each tree in Tennessee.

As the temperatures get cooler, Tennessee gears up for one of the most colorful times of the year. Fall foliage begins to show, festivals happen statewide and sports fans don their team colors. With foliage cruises in Chattanooga, the world-famous Jack Daniel’s World Championship Barbecue and the Memphis Grizzlies picking up speed in their basketball season, Tennessee is cozying up for the upcoming harvest season. Here are a few ways to celebrate the arrival of autumn and for even more travel ideas, check out

Foliage: Bright and bold colors will cloak each tree in Tennessee, making the state vibrant in rich reds, oranges and yellows. Cruise daily in October on the River Gorge Explorer in Chattanooga, Tenn. The Tennessee Aquarium also has two new cruises: a three-hour “River Gorgeous” cruise at 10 a.m., Nov. 2, departing from the Chattanooga Pier and a cruise that commemorates and educates about the 150th anniversary of the Battles for Chattanooga.

Fill up the gas tank and grab the Nashville Trace road map as part of the Discover Tennessee Trails and Byways initiative by the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. The road trip winds through charming Tennessee towns linked by stories of pioneers like David Crockett and unspoiled beauty of the Natchez Trace Parkway and National Scenic Byway.

Visitors can stretch their legs on one of the many hiking trails lined with gorgeous foliage at Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park in Millington, Tenn. More than 20 miles of hiking trails meander throughout the park, instantly connecting the visitor to natural beauty. The approximately eight-mile, wooded Chickasaw Bluff Trail and the easier Pioneer Springs Trail and Woodland Trail are great options.

Festivals: Make autumn memorable during the National Southern Gospel & Harvest Celebration now until Nov. 2 throughout Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. Artisans from around the country will demonstrate their skills like banjo making, basket weaving, glass jewelry, dulcimers, Native American pottery and much more for hundreds of thousands of guests. In addition, Southern gospel music will be the top musical entertainment as concerts happen in the theaters around Dollywood. The concerts are free with Dollywood admission.

Barbecue connoisseurs’ mouths will water at the 2013 Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue Oct. 27 in Lynchburg, Tenn. To celebrate the silver anniversary of the competition, a separately judged competition amongst The Jack’s champions of years past will take place. Find out who will take home bragging rights for the 2013 competition as more than 90 national and international teams are planned to compete.

One of the nation’s largest and most authentic music and folk festivals, the 34th annual Tennessee Fall Homecoming, will occur Oct. 11-13 at the Museum of Appalachia in Clinton, Tenn. The air will be filled with traditional, gospel, bluegrass and old-time country tunes as pioneer skills are demonstrated. Guests can browse authentic Appalachian arts and crafts and get a taste of Tennessee with traditional Southern foods. The Museum of Appalachia also offers dozens of historic log buildings, displays of artifacts, gardens and farm animals surrounded by split-rail fences.

Head to the Fall Hog BBQ Festival 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Nov. 2 at Selmer City Park in Selmer, Tenn. The festival is a combination of Memphis in May and Relay for Life. Some of the best cookers in the region will compete for the Fall Hog Grand Champion title and will raise funds for local and regional charities. A golf tournament and 5K run will also be held as well as musical acts and a car show. Attendees will have the opportunity to feed their appetites with barbecue, chili, ribs and cobblers.

Fandom: Across the state, Tennessee’s teams are gearing up for a season like no other. Autumn opens the floodgates for football season as the Tennessee Titans will take the field against the San Francisco 49ers for their next home game at 3:05 p.m., Oct. 20 at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn. Hear the scrape of skates across the ice and the roar of the crowd as the NHL Nashville Predators celebrate their 15th anniversary. The Predators play their next home game against Minnesota Wild 7 p.m., Oct. 8 at Bridgestone Arena. See the basketball dribble at full speed down the court as the Memphis Grizzlies take on the Dallas Mavericks at the next home game Oct. 9 at the FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tenn.

To find your next vacation sweet spot explore and Join other Tennessee travelers by following “TNVacation” on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube.

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Amanda Stravinsky
since: 12/2010
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