Flat Rock, North Carolina
Truth be told, I return for the goats.
Yes, fiery hardwoods line the mountain roads winding through this tiny village. Yes, my smile betrays a giddy thrill the moment the Flat Rock Playhouse lights begin to burn. But my spirit is sated only after hiking up a hill to Connemara, the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site spreading over 264 acres. As a language lover, I'm blissfully lost in the titles of this famous poet's 10,000-book collection. As a nature lover, I find sure centering in this pastoral setting, accompanied by the primal bleating by the descendents of his wife's prize-winning Chikaming dairy goats. --Tanner C. Latham
Dawson County, Georgia
The thousands of plump pumpkins look like bright orange litters of VW Beetle babies resting in a field. The place is Burt's Farm in Dawsonville--and it speaks of fall. I wonder how many pumpkins I can actually squeeze into the backseat of my car. Or maybe I'll simply take a photograph of them. Traveling light, I can cross the highway to nearby Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge for a short stroll under the towering golden tulip poplars and to feel the cold mist spray from the 729-foot waterfall. What a season. --Annette Thompson