Huge crowds close out the summer season in the NC mountains

Huge crowds close out the summer season in the NC mountains

BLOWING ROCK, NC (WBTV) - Keith Neaves was a busy man in Blowing Rock on Monday. Tourists kept streaming into his shop in the downtown area, and he says it's been like that for much of the summer.

"This July was the best July we ever had," he said.

Neaves attributes that to hot weather in the flatlands and people driving up to beat the heat. Monday was not a particularly hot day on the mountain, but crowds of tourists still filled the street outside his shop.

A few miles away at Julian Price Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway the crowds were even bigger. Hundreds of cars had to park in the grass. Most every overlook and picnic area on the Parkway was occupied.

With the summer season coming to an end, officials are looking to the Fall Color Season that is just a few weeks away. Several experts have predicted that the colors could be the best in years.

Neaves is hoping that is true but also says the weather will play a factor in that.

The worst scenario would be if Hurricane Irma passed near the area with strong winds. That could knock leaves off. It has happened before when remnants of tropical systems have passed through.

Harvey's strongest remnants, for the most part, stayed well to the west. Some models, however, show Irma coming through the Carolinas.

"I hope she veers away from us and doesn't hit anyone," said Neaves.

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