Gary Clark, Allen Rokach
We're the first to admit it: We play favorites.
Our Travel staff hits the road this time of year, looking for scenery to admire and air so crisp you can hear it snap when the wind rustles. Each of us has a place of the soul, a place where we return to celebrate the season.
We hope you find the magic of your own discovery along the roads of the South this autumn. Here are a few of ours.
Chesapeake Bay and Virginia's Eastern Shore
People here love the beauty of the season--autumn glowing on the wooded fringes of the Bay around the old Maryland towns of Annapolis and St. Michaels--but they're not the only ones around. In fields of tawny grasses at Assateague Island National Seashore on Virginia's Eastern Shore, I love to breathe the salt air and watch wild horses toss their heads and race the wind. --Les Thomas
New River Gorge Bridge, Fayetteville, West Virginia
If I'm lucky enough, I schedule myself here for Bridge Day (October 20 this year). The day includes the chance to walk the bridge by foot (this one day of the year only), the daring to peek over the edge to glimpse river rafters far below (876 feet, to be exact), and a paint-box panorama of hues on mountains that hug you on all sides like a mama. Perhaps one year I'll ride those waters with the river runners, just to see the scene from the opposite angle. For now, the view from the top is just that--tops. --Carolanne Griffith Roberts
When the fires of autumn blaze across the mountains, I return to Staunton. Known as the "Queen City of the Shenandoah," this small town provides the perfect placeto base any exploration of the valley. It sits at the crossroads of I-81 and I-64, halfway between Winchester and Roanoke and less than an hour from Skyline Drive. I love to snuggle at the newly restored Stonewall Jackson Hotel & Conference Center and dine at delightful hometown restaurants. And when it's too dark to admire nature's art, I head to the American Shakespeare Center for performances that would make the bard himself burn with pride. --Cassandra M. Vanhooser