Move quick: your chance to gawk at this year's spectrum of fall foliage in North Georgia is quickly fading! The gentle folk over at the Georgia Forestry Commission are predicting that leaf color will peak over the next two weeks, and then we'll be left staring at sticks and pine trees until spring makes its glorious appearance next year. Not sure which spot is the best for sipping cider and taking it all in? Head over to the Georgia DNR's Leaf Watch 2011 site for all the info you need to become a bona fide "leafer!"
The Leaf Watch website is updated weekly, making it a semi-real-time barometer of just how much time is left before bare branches prevail. Although the specific tree names might as well be gibberish to those who don't know their yellow poplar from their tulip poplar, just do as I do and scan for the words "red," "orange." and "yellow."
Your definition of how much the foliage has peaked will depend on which colors you like the best, which makes the specificity of the Leaf Watch an essential part of your North Georgia stay-cation. Nothing's worse than driving two hours into the backwoods of Rabun County only to find the color is now underfoot instead of attached to limbs.
Some of my favorite state parks on the list are Vogel with its 1930s CCC nostalgia; the dramatic geology of Tallulah Gorge; Fort Mountain and its stone wall built by Vikings(?); and Panola Mountain's surreal moonscape. But its hard to go wrong with any wooded area in North Georgia this time of year; broken down chlorophyll on a crisp autumn day is its own kind of fleeting heaven.