New England Fall Foliage » Foliage Articles » Autumn leaves outlook for 7 Sept 2012
Fall foliage panoramic from a pond in New Hampshire

The autumn leaves will soon be here!

Keeping things in perspective

Most everybody is saying the autumn leaves are going to be early and I suspect were going to see about one week early on average. I was looking at my 2010 foliage report for 14 September and here are some excerpts:

  • (2010) Butch Lombardi was up in Maine last weekend and says compared to last year the color is late,
  • (2010) Here in Salem the sumac’s haven’t turned
  • (2010) On the NH foliage page they say the sumac are a brilliant scarlet in the North woods, The rest of the state is mostly green
  • (2010) Linda LaCroix up in Williston VT she is seeing splashes of color
  • (2010) Linda Baird-White Says the sumac’s are turning but real color is a couple of weeks away

So if those reports were 14 September 2010, and if you take that and compare it with the current reports, it just doesn’t seem that we’re tremendously early. Many Internet reports are all about the Midwest where the drought was severe and those trees are at peak already. Here in New England, basically we got more rain, so we’re in better shape.

Autumn leaves outlook for Vermont and New Hampshire

Mike Blanchette of Blanchette photography (one of my New England photography Guild photographer friends) had this to say “I did a loop drive yesterday through Franconia Notch, up to St. Johnsbury, over to Peacham and Cabot, then down to Marshfield and the Groton State Forest. (shows and approximate area)

View Larger Map

The foliage change is still very early and subtle. You can begin to see light color change on the trees, especially on the birch trees, but most of the autumn leaves remain green. Every once in a while, you come across a vivid red tree, but they are the exception at the moment.

Northern Vermont has a tad more color than the White Mountains but not by much. I tend to agree with your assessment that foliage will come early this year, at least one week ahead of usual. But it’s still early in the game.”

Based on my reports over the past 10 years and what I’m hearing from photographers in the northern New England areas we are indeed about one week ahead of where we have been over past years.

My viewpoint on the foliage schedule

autumn leaves on a single stressed Maple with yellow leaves

this tree is stressed from competition for resources and chewed up by winter moth

So overall I think were about a week early and I would say the last week in September should be great above the white mountains, in the Northeast kingdom and North and East of Rangeley Maine.

I do not believe anyone needs to be worried about changing their reservations unless you are planning on showing up the third week in October into the Northeast kingdom and wanted to see peak fall foliage. In that case, yes, I would change my reservations.

comparative study of fall foliage in Salem Woods most trees are green

compared to the rest of the trees that are all green except sumac tinging red

If you’ve been reading my blogs for the past year then you might have made end of September reservations for the Northeast kingdom or North of the White Mountains and in which case you are still good to go for great fall foliage.

Counterpoint to my opinion

I do have a report in from Aroostook Maine from the Park manager.  Scott Thompson says the colors are appearing early this year. According to Scott: “Many visitors from away are showing up, meaning that fall tourism is starting. Leaf colors are starting to show that we are about two weeks ahead of schedule to the peak colors”.

Fall foliage and focusing on what’s important

For the next week or two I plan to be photographing everything summer related. I will continue to look forward to autumn’s arrival but I don’t want to lose sight of what is here right now.

I haven’t written about that “Zen moment” that I always try for. That Zen moment is just being in the here and now and focusing (enjoying) a single moment. it’s not easy to do! I know for a fact because I have a little ADD and focusing on any one thing and really enjoying it is fleeting at best.

So make your plans, make your reservations, but don’t lose sight of what’s right in front of you. enjoy the last week or two of summer weather and get out to a beach near you.

(This Zen moment brought to you by Jeff Folger) 🙂

Things going on in Sept/Oct in Maine

Have you ever asked:

  • Why do the leaves change colors?
  • What triggers leaf fall?
  • How do I identify trees?

Well if you want to take a hike with a park ranger you can find all this out and more. The Bureau of Parks & Lands partnered with the Maine Forest Service and Project Learning Tree to provide you with a unique hiking experience.

Starting on Sunday, Sept 17th in Aroostook state park there will be a three mile hike. Then on successive Sundays (the next is Oct 4th in Grafton Notch state park) there will be more hikes.

To find out more about when and where go to the: Take it outside website.

Escape today

Jeff “Foliage” Folger
Visit my Art images on Vistaphotography
Visit my Stock Photography on Photoshelter
Join my New England Fall Foliage page on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter

share this

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.
share this

Latest posts by Jeff Foliage (see all)


Autumn leaves outlook for 7 Sept 2012 — 6 Comments

  1. Jeff
    Thanks a million for your mail,have only come across your blog in the last two weeks and was taking in what you were saying and kind of knew we had it backwards.However things are booked and some prepaid so we stick to plan.I will incorporate your advise where we can,thanks for the cranberry bogs this is new to us so we will see if we can find somewhere we can go when at Cape cod.
    On the 9th of oct we go toTilton NH we were going to spend the morning in Mystic but think now that we will go up to lake Winnipesaukee for the day and if foliage is good the next morning our hotel is we think about an hour away.Than we travel on to white mountains and check out The Flume Gorge also we want to do the cog railway and the Auto road to mount Washinton Jeff do these both lead to the same place?? We will then do the Kancamagus pass and on into Bethel overnight and cross over to Bar Harbour From here to salem we plan on seeing Cadillac mountain some whale watching ,lighthouses etc.I will leave the Nightmare factory to my husband and I will check out the House of the seven Gables,next to our b+b.
    I am a member and Treasure of our local Carrick Camera Club and plan on holding a small exhibition in Feb of next year and I think I will make this visit the theme for that.
    Thanks again and I will keep watching your blog and will let you know how we got on.

    Elaine Whelan

    • Well to start the cog railway and the Mt washingto auto road both end up in the same place. The biggest difference is cost Autoroad 5-10$ per car and the cog rail is $59 (last time I checked) per person. So you can drive up and save money or have a real unique experience and take the cog up… Also if the weather is much colder? then remember that the cog is an open window type cars… It can get very chilly at the top of Mt Washington. 30-50 colder than ground level, even snowing… 🙂 So to the traveller beware.
      As far as the Cape Cod portion and the bogs. Go over to my facebook page for fall foliage
      Look up Pam Martin on the page. She lives in Carver and should be able to point out a bog still being farmed (if there is one)
      Lake Winni should be ok for fall colors and if the weather is nice go to Weirs beach and get a ride on the Mt washington paddleboat.
      I keep looking at the rest of the plans and I think you may have to skip a few things but we’ll see how it goes. I just did the Capt Jack? whale watch out of Gloucester (north of salem) I think that will be your closest whale watch. There are 4-6 whale watches in Gloucester and maybe one in Rockport. (not sure about that so if a whale watch is important you will head to Gloucester MA.
      All in all a very full trip..

      I hope this helps a bit…

  2. Hi Jeff,
    Starting to panic now, have wanted to visit new England for years and with the big 50 birthday coming up decided to go this year.Am I going to be to late ???bringing my SLR to capture the fall,light,colour,covered bridges, lighthouses etc.We start in Boston 1-4 oct ,cape cod 4-7 oct ,white mountains 11-13,and down from Bar Harbour to Salem 15-18 oct. As I have pre-booked can you tell me if I will get those beautiful shots of the Fall that I was hoping for?



    • Why Panic? Have you been reading my blog for any length of time? Then you would know where to place yourself throughout your trip…
      The bad news is you are doing the trip backwards. (In my opinion) Arrive Boston, then up to the Whites, over to Bar harbor, down to Salem, The cape and the last few days in Boston.

      The good news… Boston will be very scenic and historic and photogenic. On the way to the Cape you go through Carver and you should spend the day at King Richards Fair ( or see if there is a cranberry bog to see. Then continue to the Cape which will be empty with few other visitors but you have several lighthouses to photograph.. Get up early and get to Nauset Lighthouse on the National seashore (a great beach to relax on), It’s lovely in the early morning light.

      Now… 11-13 in the White mountains you are a lot closer to where I would want you to try to be. Now by these dates i think you may want to be in the lakes region instead but that doesn’t mean the trees will be bare (at least I hope not). You should still get a nice ride on the Kancamagus. Visit the red jacket Restaurant Parka steakhouse (junction of 302 and 16 up near Bartlett NH). Lets see… Albany covered bridge just off the Kanc…( read this and Two covered bridges just out side Conway (read this article for more info

      Bar Harbor has Bass harbor light and sand beach and early morning on Boulder beach… all sights that shouldn’t be missed… Don’t forget catching the sunrise from Cadillac mountain then down to Salem and haunted happenings are in full swing… (hint… best haunt is the Nightmare factory in the east india mall) (great scare)

      Now will you get the beautiful shots of fall that you are hoping for? Most likely, I mean you are crisscrossing New England and the areas you will be traveling through will at one time or another, be at peak fall color… But you will also get tons of shots that will be a great memory for your 50th birthday. Focus on enjoying all these things. I think you will see some very nice color along the way but don’t focus on that, just have fun and enjoy it.

      I hope this helps…
      Jeff Foliage

  3. Hi Jeff,
    I just found this blog. I’m a painter in New Mexico ( and we’re thinking of making a trip to MA coast on the 22 sept to Oct. 3. We don’t travel much and I haven’t had much success with reservations or a solid decision on where to go. I was going to concentrate on Cape Ann, then Cape Cod then go to miiddle of Connecticut. We came to New England for the first time 2 years ago and did a whirlwind Vermont, Ny and Connecticut trip. My dream is to come back for 6 weeks. At this point I may cancel this trip and just go into Colorado and aim for NE next year. But do you have any suggestions for places to stay on the coast area. I love your photographs. They inspire me to get there. I will keep following this blog. It’s great. ( I have a small sketch I did two years ago in Farmington Ct on website)

    • hi Valerie, I assume as a painter you are looking for ocean views over fall foliage at least with the dates that you’ve provided and the locations. There be some color in coastal areas such as Cape Ann (Gloucester and Rockport) and if you set your heart on Rockport I can think of a couple small hotels that are on the water in that area. Plus I have a photographer who lives in Rockport (Liz Mackney) and I can double check with her on comfortable and clean establishments in that area.
      As far as Cape Cod, it’s wide open on any place you want to stay. I might suggest Hyannis,South Yarmouth, or Chatham. (also all the points going up the outside arm of the Cape.
      Now if you’re hoping to get seacoast and some fall foliage in your images then you’re going to have to wait until the end of October (the third week sounds good to me right now) because the fall color gets to the coast last because the water is warm (warm by our standards and not New Mexico standards) and heats the air new the coast preventing the colder temperatures from turning the leaves to quickly.

      So if you’re locked into 22 September to three October then you’re going to want to be up in the white mountains and points North or the Northeast kingdom (not much seashore to see in that area but we can find some nice ponds and lakes)

      I don’t know if this helped or not but you can read this article on fall foliage, and this article on finding peak fall foliage which has a little bit of everything and dates down near the bottom that are suggestions not guarantees. Finding peak fall foliage in New England.

      I hope this gives you a starting point for research and of course questions.
      Jeff foliage

%d bloggers like this: