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A prime time for mountain visitors
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A little nip in the air and a hint of color in the hardwood trees and folks will come out in droves.

It happens every year about this time and I enjoy watching.

In the case of the mountains, we didn’t build them, but the people came anyway. They come in search of the elusive pumpkin, boiled peanut or some other item we associate with fall. It may just be fresh air, which seems even fresher when temperatures start drifting into the range where we pull out a sweatshirt or jacket.

But half a state away, folks came in droves to the Georgia National Fair. I was there on the first Saturday and the crowd set a record.

The fair may just be the best place for people-watching. There are folks with a variety of physical adornments ranging from tattoos to assorted body piercings.

The attire can range from jeans, either nice or tattered, to articles that leave nothing to the imagination.

The fair is two distinct elements: the carnival rides and the various shows and displays.

Some folks use the fair as a place to display their talents, everything from singing to ceramics. I am amazed at the things people can do with a paintbrush, a cake pan or a sewing machine.

There were beautiful quilts, wonderful portraits and even elaborately decorated cakes. Some of these creations were done by the hands of experience and others by the hands of youth.

God himself created most of the creations that draw people to the mountains. The colors of changing leaves vary from tree to tree and are generally not available in a paint palette. They are just beginning their show and we have a few weeks left to enjoy them.

The tags in parking lots of mountain venues tell us that many folks have ventured out of the city or suburbia to enjoy a little time away from the land where closely built houses dot the landscape.

Folks often indulge in delicacies like boiled peanuts, which are not a native mountain product. They are actually best found in the sandy soil of South Georgia, where most of the nation’s peanuts are grown.

A sip of warm apple cider is another one of those fall treats that seem to hit the spot. The apple growers around Ellijay have been welcoming city folks and other visitors for a few weeks. This is their season and I hope it is a good one.

The sight of a long line of cars on Ga. 400 waiting their turn to continue north is a good sign. It is a sign that the vital season that decides the economic success of many business ventures may be better than last, or at least good enough to give the financial resources to come back and try it again next year.

There is a lot riding on these few weeks. They are the season of tourists who come and leave a few of their dollars at roadside attractions, mountainside hotels, restaurants and gas stations.

If you haven’t made your trek to the mountains, I hope you head this way soon. There are a lot of folks who will be glad to see you and are counting on your business.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on

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