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Originally published: 2013-10-21 09:56:16
Last modified: 2013-10-21 09:57:01

Our View: High Country: All dressed up, a place to visit

While nothing will recapture the High Country's tourist trade lost to the 16-day government               shutdown, October is not yet over, and it's important that the word get out that our color season is fully open for business.

It's especially important this weekend and the next -- few of us will forget that winter made an early, Halloween appearance last season -- while our fall colors are at the peak. 

Today, the effects of that shutdown on our neighbors and partners in the tourism industry linger. Little can done, for example, to mitigate early season losses sustained by those who will not receive retroactive government funding -- our crafters, artisans and those who are paid to maintain facilities that were shuttered for more than two weeks.

But hope springs eternal, even in the fall, and the hope is that those who were delayed in their visits will now get the message that North Carolina's mountains, including the Blue Ridge Parkway and all of its facilities, shops and campgrounds, have again extended the welcome mat.

After all, even when you have the best fall foliage show in the nation, it's more than a bit inconvenient to invite guests when you have to hang a "closed" sign on the restroom. 

Now that those "closed" signs have been turned around, we who live in gateway communities, who run local businesses and who partner with our neighboring parks are ready, once more, to share the splendor of the High Country. 

That's a message worth repeating.