New England Fall Foliage » Foliage Articles » Resources for planning fall foliage trips Pt1

Fall Foliage trip resources

rocks in the pond with falls glorious foliage color reflecting on the water

Rocky foliage reflected

Did you visit New England this fall? Maybe you’re planning on next year! The key to having a good visit is planning. Too many folks come to New England with one thought, “I must Find Peak Fall Foliage”and that is it!

Right from the start I will say that. “You are setting yourself up for disappointment”.

Unless you are a pro photographer filling the need of a magazine article, you should arrive to have fun and see the sights.

For example,Take this year’s fall foliage… Please someone take it… 🙂 It started out so promising in Sept. and then October, Mother Nature thought we were getting complacent. so we ended up with (this was Oct 2011) we had 14 days of rain/clouds, 9 days of mostly cloudy and 5 days of partly sunny plus 2 days of snow. Basically little color develops in these conditions.

So she changed the rules and over the span of two weeks, between late Sept and the first week of Oct, the color didn’t move or develop and for those of us who thought we knew where to look for color were a little lost. But the week prior to Columbus day the lows dropped into the 30s.

View from Cloudland road across the Vermont hillsides

Cloudland road view on a Vermont scenic drive

Then overnight on Columbus Day weekend it changed again and cold temps brought on the colors. The calls started coming in on Columbus Day telling me that overnight their neighborhoods were popping! But for those who had gone home without seeing great colors… There is always next year. (And what a year 2012 was, but that’s another story).

Over-all, the warm temps and cloudy to rainy days delayed the leaves in turning and they were about two or more weeks late. Heck, I was finding colorful leaves in the middle of November. (yes I was in the Stop and Shop parking lot)

Here’s the real reason behind planning.

I know you are looking for a colorful tapestry of fall foliage but what if that doesn’t happen?
Are you going to blame the tourist bureaus?  Maybe you blame me, for not warning you?

You can but I warn you with every prediction I make that I am not Mother Nature and she does not confide in me… The reason she doesn’t tell me is because she knows, I can’t keep a secret… 🙂

(Caveat Emptor-Quaestor Fronde Cave!, definition is at the bottom)

 When asked in the foliage forum about plans

a Maple with a few orange and red leaves still on it allow you to see the churches steeple with the blue sky surrounding it

view of church steeple through orange leads

Aaron on my fall foliage forum asked about coming to CT with his kids. I told him where I would go and then I made suggestions for places the kids might like, since most kids don’t find colorful leaves a good reason to go somewhere, a pile of leaves is another subject!

So your first goal is to make a plan. Sound tough? Where to start? It’s not that tough, all you really need are a few locations to start with and then add in some alternatives in case whatever your primary objective is, doesn’t happen.

Turn the foliage trip into an adventure to find as many covered bridges as you can. Or how about finding lighthouses? Just start brainstorming to come up with some ideas. A lobster roll every day… Leave a comment on suggestions!

 I say make Reservations for a reason!

Snow falls in October throughout New England providing fall color opportunities

bird house with fall color

I was just reading in the Globe about a Montreal woman who was bringing her niece down to Maine for her 14th birthday. Why am I telling you? They decided to do this on Columbus day weekend which as all of you know is the busiest weekend during the leaf peeping season. (That was error #1)

Next I bet you can guess what their next error was… No reservations for over night. (error #2)

They drove from Montreal down to Ogunquit, Maine and started looking for lodgings They kept getting told to go one town further south. In the end they drove all the way down the coast, ending up in South Boston.

They still weren’t finding a place to stay on this 70 degree weekend and were about to sleep in the car.

About this time a police officer came into the picture to help them find a place. He also wasn’t having any luck and he had them follow him back to the station in southie. (look it up!)

The final act in this story has the on-duty police staff making mac & cheese with ginger ale for their dinner and they slept in the officers community room overnight.

The next morning they got directions to Quincy market and the Paul Revere House to go exploring in Boston. The officers were just happy they were out before their captain came in that morning. 🙂

So when I say get those reservations early, I mean it… Now I have used my affiliate for Thrifty lodging which you can find at this link. First I have used it 4 times in the past 2 years and 3/4 times I got a good clean room. Last autumn I got my first bad room (not up to my or my wife’s clean standards) So while I do recommend it when you don’t have reservations… Don’t hold me accountable for your last minute reservations that may be less than stellar.

I’ve used it during several fall foliage trips between 27 September and early November. I hit my own website and the hotels combined link on my page and then I made reservation and got directions to my hotel for the night. It worked for me but in some cases the prices weren’t the cheapest. BUT! I didn’t have to sleep in my car. [Note] I am an affiliate so I get a few pennies if you use my link. If this bothers you then use Travelocity or other booking software. Whatever you are comfortable using.

(If you need a travel agent)

Autumn colors of orange and yellow

Autumn colors

I often make the comment that “I’m not a travel agent” and this is Not due to my being an A&&#ole. (Lisa says, “well maybe…” 🙂 It’s more due to the fact that I normally head out early in the morning and I come back that evening (I don’t usually do places overnight).

I occasionally plan to take a trip that requires an overnight stay and that is when I start my research. I usually hit and to see what’s available.

This ends part one. Part 2, planning routes comes next week.

I hope this helps you get some ideas for your explorations next year or the year after.

*Note (Caveat Emptor-Quaestor Fronde Cave!) = Let the foliage seeker beware!


Jeff "Foliage" Folger  You can purchase images by visiting my Fine Art Gallery websites
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Jeff Foliage

My name is Jeff Folger,
but people call me Jeff Foliage.
I have several pages that I write blogs for such as:
My most popular blog is for Leaf peepers: Jeff
I live in Salem, Massachusetts and work as a blogger and Travel Photographer. I'm also the founder of the New England Photography Guild.
Feel free to visit me on my blogs and see what life in New England is like.

I started with Yankee Magazine as their first blogger on everything fall foliage. Now I blog on my own blog on my favorite subject, telling leaf peepers where the fall foliage is showing up in New England and helping them (to some extent) plan their fall foliage vacations.
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