Water droplets collect along the stems of a burning bush (Euonymus alatus) at Grandfather Mountain. (Photo by Kellen Short)

While the bush is considered invasive in some parts of the United States, it’s hard to deny its autumn allure as the dark green leaves turn to vivid red in fall. Despite rain in the forecast for the High Country during the early part of this week, the second half of the week offers more opportunities for long-range views. Until then, take a moment to look closer at the stars of the fall spectacle.

This week begins the final countdown to the Woolly Worm Festival in Banner Elk and the Valle Country Fair in Valle Crucis, two of North Carolina’s premier festivals of the fall season.