It’s difficult to find a more beautiful place than the Smoky Mountains in June. Spring’s lush green is everywhere. Colorful wildflowers blanket the hillside. The sun sets late, slipping slowly behind the mountains as lightening bugs flicker in the evening sky. The heat and humidity of later months has yet to arrive. And, best of all, the rhododendrons are in full bloom.
Catawba Rhododendrons, native to the Southern Appalachians, bloom in late-May at lower elevations and in mid-June higher up. The purple-pink bloom lasts only for a short time but is beautiful. One of the best places to view them is at the Roan Mountain Gardens on the North Carolina side of the NC/TN state line.
Here you can wander through a naturally occurring rhododendron garden high up at an elevation of over 6000 feet. The main path is paved so it is accessible to most people. The bushes are dense and, when in bloom, make for a magical hike.
But the best part are the picnic areas. Tucked away in corners of the park are picnic areas. Moss covered tables nestled under pines and the rhodendrons. As the flowers fall they cover the ground creating a pink carpet. A fairytale setting for a romantic picnic!
You can find more information about Roan Mountain Gardens, including its exact location, here.
My favorite month of the year is June.
June is a month of possibilities. It’s when all is new. Bright green leaves, colorful flowers making even the stubbornest weed look a thing of beauty, newborn deer covered in spots peak up from their grassy hiding spots. And summer; summer is new. Stretched out before you seemingly endless. Anything can happen in June.
There’s always enough time in June. Always enough time for the adventure. The sun hangs in the bright blue sky forever beckoning you out to play, to explore, to relax. To go somewhere. Anywhere.
But my favorite time, my favorite part about June, is the evenings. Day slips into a never ending twilight. Darkness never comes. The day’s heat leaves yet the air is still wam, wrapping around you like a blanket. This is the time of many of my favorite memories and a favorite time to create new ones.
So get out there!
Catch a sunset. June seems to have some amazing ones and the lateness of them means there’s time.
Catch an outdoor concert. Music always sounds better outside watching the sun go down and the stars pop out one by one.
Build a campfire. Invite friends over. Make s’mores, drink wine, tell stories, bring out the guitar.
Take a walk. The world seems different in the twilight as darkness falls. More mysterious. You’ll notice things you never would see in daylight.
And, or course, if you live east of the Rockies, catch fireflies. Let them light up as they crawl around your hand and then watch them fly off. Blinking, heading higher and higher into the sky.
There’s still time! What will you do this June?