The bluster of autumn—with its early morning nip, warm lattes, scarves, and changing leaves—bids us head outdoors. And while the vibrant colors and the underfoot crunch of fall foliage are easily enjoyed in daytime, there’s no reason to head indoors once it gets dark. As long as you dress for the chilly nights, the world— and sky—is yours for the taking.

LightShowNOV15featureTake in the stars—and not just a twinkle from Orion’s belt while you take the trash out. Make it a full production: cozy blankets, hot cider, and clear-sky comet catching. Luckily, the Earth’s orbit each November crosses the path of a rather large comet, which sprinkles our atmosphere with bits of astral debris. The result is a sea of stars sprinkled with plenty of pizzazz: dozens of bright lights streaking across the sky as part of the Leonid meteor shower.

Enjoying this cosmic phenomenon can be a challenge, but it’s worth the effort. The best viewing times are during the wee hours of the morning between November 17 and 18. You’ll want to head to an area with limited light pollution. We recommend Craggy Gardens, by milepost 364 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. A short 40-minute drive northeast of Asheville, Craggy Gardens provides easy access to a 360-degree view. Hop on the Craggy Pinnacle trail from the parking lot, and you’ll reach the bald in 20 minutes.


Other great stargazing locations along the Parkway include Mills Valley Overlook (milepost 404.5), Pounding Mill Overlook (milepost 413.5), and Richland Balsam Overlook (milepost 431.4).


{ METEOR SHOWER MUST-HAVES }


WARM CLOTHES
—Gloves, hat, scarf, and your favorite pair of wool socks—you might look like a marshmallow, but at least you’ll be toasty.

FLEECE BLANKET—One, or three, of these cozy comforters guarantees a snuggly stargazing session.

THERMOS—Bring your favorite fall refreshment—cider, hot chocolate, or maybe something a little stronger.

CAMERA & TRIPOD—If you’ve got the right type of lens, you might be able to capture a comet or two on camera

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