Here is this weekend’s Fall foliage Question
Should we try to change our reservations if the fall foliage is early?
I have to thank Mary for asking this since I’m asked this every year. My long-winded answer follows! 🙂
Hi Mary, I’ve been thinking about this very question all week-long. There are many factors to this equation that make it very hard to say, one way or the other.
First, the colors are turning early… Now please take this statement in the context of the over-all picture! This doesn’t mean the region is turning all at once and believe this! It’s NOT time to panic.
When you see reports by me or others about early turning, it doesn’t mean that an entire street of maples is turning and It doesn’t even mean that an entire tree is turning! But! Something is happening…
What does turning color really mean?
I bet you want to know what it does mean? (I wish someone would tell me… :-))Well “turning color” generally means that a branch or the crown of a tree has started to turn color.
When I say turning color, I mean the leaves are going from their dark green summer color to either a yellowish shade or maybe an orangey shade.
I ask those who make reports to me to be very specific on how much of a tree is turning and is it by itself or is it among many friends and all the other trees are doing likewise.
Marblehead updateOn 24 August, I saw two trees in Marblehead that were turning. One tree had one or two branches showing enough orangey color to make me pull over and snap a couple of pictures. The other tree had it’s crown showing yellowish and a fair bit of orange also mixed in. Also those were the only trees that were showing color. That isn’t even 1% of the trees in Marblehead.
Anyway, what will happen to these trees is anyone’s guess. These are the possible alternatives.
- They will stop where they are until the temperatures drop into the 40s at night and then the rest of the tree will turn. (we hit 59 this week once)
- They by themselves will continue to turn until they are bare and the rest of the trees will start to turn in mid-Sept.
- (worst case scenario) all the trees will follow suit and all the trees will be bare before mid Sept.
Another prediction or Wild Ass Guess (WAG)I don’t think number three will happen but either one or two will happen or some combination of the two. I also think the foliage season will stretch out and slow down but I don’t have any data on that…
Now you can factor those three scenarios into your decision. The chances of all of northern Vermont turning before you get here are so very slim that I just don’t plan to worry about it… If a weather anomaly happened and the temps drop for the next 2-4 weeks into the mid 30s at night and 55-65 during the day with bright sunny days and cool, crisp nights… Well then call me an idiot and then yes fall would be early and all the leave could be gone before you get here. Chances of it happening? Zilch.
I’m not trying to sound facetious but that is what it would take for me to be really worried.
What I do worry about!
- If we get a prolonged warm weather spell (days stay in the 80s-90s and cloudy)
- worse yet…we get two solid weeks of rainy weather (not that we don’t need some rain but now is not the time!)
We had two +weeks of rain last Sept and into Oct and this slowed the fall foliage progression to a halt. It wasn’t until the Columbus day weekend that we got cold temps and three days of sun. Then on Columbus Day I started getting calls about the glorious color that popped up overnight.
My answer to “Should I change my reservations?”
So this is my long answer as to why NOT to change your plans or reservations. Remember as I’ve told you over and over (along with everyone else) You should come with great plans of all the things you want to do, like covered bridges, scenic overlooks, gondola rides to the tops of mountains and ziplines back down. Or lazy Kayak rides down a river and cider donuts by the bushel full. Just imagine going on a winery tour in Massachusetts AND then! if you get to do it amid a bunch of fall foliage (PERFECT!) and if not… you still have great memories…
As I always say, if you are staying in the NEK and the color passed your place by a week before, then all you have to do is about drive 30 min to one hour south and you will be in the heart of it. And more likely if the color hasn’t got to your B&B yet, you drive a short distance north and you will again be in the thick of it.
The one thing I don’t want to hear is, “Jeff we drove all day and into the night and we never found peak fall color”. To be very honest I want you, first, to have a great vacation and if you tell me that because you found my advice to be useful, it helped you to find great color while you were having a great time doing such and such…
Then I’ll be a happy camper. 🙂
but people call me Jeff Foliage.
I have several pages that I write blogs for such as: http://www.4cornersnewengland.com/
My most popular blog is for Leaf peepers: Jeff Foliage.com.
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.