Why It’s an Amazing Fall Destination: Autumn is about more than just the pretty colors—it’s a season that engages all the senses. The sound of crispy leaves, the feel of cozy sweaters, the smell of bonfires, the taste of apple cider. At Wilkesboro’s Merle Watson Garden of the Senses, visitors can experience all that fall has to offer. The garden was built in memory of Eddy Merle Watson, a critically-acclaimed local bluegrass musician who died when he was just 36 years old, and the grounds feature a seasonal array of strongly scented plants and flowers with braille labels and a large brick mural designed for the visually impaired.
Where to Spot the Best Fall Colors: Stroll along the mostly paved Yadkin River Greenway or hike the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail to see some gorgeous foliage. You can find several gorgeous waterfalls at Stone Mountain State Park, which is less than an hour away.
What to Eat and Drink: Anchor Coffee Co. has created the perfect fall drink, a Campfire Latte with dark chocolate, cinnamon and clove. And of course a fat toasted marshmallow tops it all off.
And While You’re There…: Moonshine is legal in Wilkesboro and both Copper Barrel Distillery and Call Family Distillers offer tours and tastings. And this isn’t some weird, unfiltered stuff made out in the middle of the woods — today’s moonshine comes in flavors like apple, strawberry and blueberry. (And it’s particularly delicious when added to warm apple cider.)