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‘Vibrant fall colors’

Leaf watchers come calling

POSTED: October 20, 2010 4:00 a.m.
Frank Reddy Dawson Community News/

Scott and Amber Kay walk with their daughters last week at Amicalola Falls State Park. The family visited from Chickamauga in northwest Georgia.

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Northeast Georgia native Laura Jenkins was tired of cold weather.

  

After retiring 10 years ago, she relocated to Tampa, Fla., with her husband, Jake.

  

“When we moved away, it was nice at first,” Jenkins said. “It was 90 degrees in October. It was a good change ... at the time.”

  

Jenkins, however, found herself back in Northeast Georgia last week.

  

The family took a road trip to “see all the vibrant fall colors we’ve been missing.”

  

Like many others, Jenkins passed through the area in hopes of glimpsing the bright foliage that fascinates thousands of out-of-town visitors in early fall.

  

Amicalola Falls State Park and Lodge is already seeing a high number of autumn color enthusiasts this year.

  

Lodge manager Lori VanSickle said the park likely will welcome more than 2,000 visitors per weekend for the remainder of October.

  

“People come from Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi,” VanSickle said.

  

She added that one Florida couple had driven as far north as Vermont last week to see the season’s changes.

  

“They said the leaves turned brown and dropped for some reason, so they left early and came through the North Georgia mountains,” VanSickle said.

  

She described current foliage patterns as pretty.

  

“We’ve got a lot of reds and purples,” she said. “We’re not at peak yet, but I’m anticipating it being Oct. 23 and 24 or the last weekend of the month.”

  

VanSickle said “leafers” are attracted to the “distinctive four seasons. You can come up here, and you know what time of year it is.”

  

Bert and Birdie Erdmann of Orlando, Fla., agreed. They visited north Georgia last week.

  

“It’s just breathtaking,” Birdie Erdmann said. “It was well worth the drive.”

  

Jenkins is also glad she and her husband made the journey.

  

“You don’t know how much you miss it until you live somewhere else, somewhere without the visible changes in season,” Jenkins said.

 

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