New England Fall Foliage » Foliage Articles » Fall Foliage colors for the 2nd wk of Oct
Small white New Hampshire church surrounded by bright red fall foliage in New England.

Greetings my fall foliage seekers

Are you wondering where to go the week of CDW (Columbus Day weekend)? This week starts with a sound. This sound is of everybody heading south to get back home. (Ok, most everybody, I mean you and I are still here) 🙂

You open your door and you hear, quiet… Because the 3 day weekend is over and we have all of new England to ourselves. So, what do we get, now that so many folks have gone home?

For a start, travel gets easier

I won’t say there’s NO traffic but there is a bit less traffic on Route 100. Great you say! But be warned, Stowe will still be a tough drive to get through. Also, traffic will be less on Routes 93, 91, 89, 16, 95, 7 and well you get the idea. They are just carrying go-to work traffic in the mornings and go-home traffic in the evenings. So outside of those times, the roads will be downright pleasant during the week. The weekends? You’re on you own there. 🙂

Where to start looking for autumn colors?

New England Fall foliage colors as far as the eye can see from the rest stop on I-89 in NH

8 Oct 2003 at the Springfield rest stop in NH on Route 89 north bound side. (mile marker 38 +/-)

This week is what I term “The sweet spot”, for New England fall foliage color. This is only true IF, a big storm doesn’t come through.  In past years October, especially between Oct 4th – 8th have been notorious for rain and wind and if this happens you will need to cross your fingers.

It’s at this point when all the colorful leaves are peak AND still on the trees, that they are at their most vulnerable to wind and rain. Here is where I interject some of my past articles for you to review. The first is “The 6 stages of fall foliage“, from anticipation to Disbelief and denial. Next I would like you to review “The New England foliage season takes a breather“.

Where exactly is this “Fall Foliage Sweet Spot”?

This “sweet spot” area covers large areas of Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and a fair bit of Massachusetts (There is some color in CT & RI but that is better for later this month). Also this range depends on rain, heat or lack there of. With that in mind here is one more article on “Finding peak fall foliage in New England“. This article defines what I think peak fall foliage is. Then I describe… Well I’ll let you read it. It’s very informative (in my opinion)

Finally! How to get an idea on where the fall colors can be found this particular week.

All the pictures in this article were taken between Oct 8th and Oct 10th and between 2003 and 2013 which is on or just after CDW (depends on the year). in each caption you will find the date taken and a general location. All of the photos below, range from central Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and the northern half of Massachusetts. I probably could have spent some time in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and found some wonderful color but in these given years I had felt that the color was further south.

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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Fall Foliage colors for the 2nd wk of Oct — 10 Comments

  1. Hi Jeff!

    Great website! We want to plan a trip to New York…..Manhattan and a drive to Niigata falls. Would you have any date recommendations? We were thinking the last few weeks of Ocotober for NY?

    Thanks so much,

    • Well Astrid, NY is a little off my usual route but from my research they say the color starts in Sept just like in New England in the northern corner or Catskills. By the second week of Oct I would bet the colors would be much closer to NYC. The drive up on I-87 isn’t too bad but it depends on how far you want to drive.
      I never recommend on travelers driving all day until they drop, what kind of vacation is that? But if you want the Adirondacks in your images then you may need to move your dates up from the last few weeks of Oct to the first two weeks or even the last week of Sept. I would bet on the former though.

      Some constants are: Fall foliage colors develop from north to south and from higher elevation to lower (except swamp maples which are a little stressed for being in or too close to water and turn early)

      Check this site which I will add to my website even though NY is not officially in New England. It is pretty in it’s own right just like so many other areas of the Country (really the world).

      Please also follow me on Twitter (@Foliage_Reports) and on my Facebook New England fall foliage page

      I hope this helps…

  2. What would you recommend for these dates. We would begin in Boston with a rental car and don’t mind driving through VT, NH, and Maine
    Sept. 29 – Oct. 4
    Oct. 14 – 20

    Do you recommend one set of dates over the other? thanks for your help

    • Well Maria, Both sets of dates have their positive notes. The earlier dates mean you will be up in the NEK (North east Kingdom) of Vermont, Over to the White Mountains (awesome views) and north into the North woods of New Hampshire. Also a longer drive will take you along 302 or Route 2 (a more southern route) or Route 16 (more northern route) which would take you up to the Bigelow Preserve. You would be in some gorgeous country up there and as you head south on 16 you would cross the feet of the Bigelow and south of this is Sugarloaf mountain. This is the Carrabasset valley.
      The downside is if you needed to go further north you have to keep heading south to 201A to head north again… Maine is lousy when it comes to building E/W roads 🙁

      All, some, most of that “SHOULD” be near peak on your early dates (I hope)

      Now your later dates are great for a wide swath across the Green mountains of VT Middlebury and south to well inside the Mass border (Think central Mass). In NH you should be looking at the Lake Winnipesaukee area south to the middle of Mass and in Maine, South of Rangeley lake and down towards the coast. The coastal areas should be the following week.
      But could be 17 Oct onward.

      I hope this helps…
      Jeff Foliage

      • Thanks for your help. We are leaning towards the later dates. flying into Boston on Oct. 14 and then driving for 5-6 days. Do you recommend we make hotel reservations in advance or just drive and find hotel day by day.

        • Well, normally I say follow rule 1 and always get reservations but seeings how your going to be arriving after Columbus day, I think you’ll be ok. Down south or central NH/VT/MA will have more hotels and motels to choose from. But if you are picky on accommodations and I mean it has to be an upscale Wyndham or the like then follow rule 1..

          I’m happy with a common hotel with clean sheets and hot water and maybe wifi are all I normally look for, for me.

          But if you two want the jacuzzi tub (if my wife is along she appreciates the nice touches) and a fireplace and other amenities may be needed and then again see rule 1. If you want to be in Camden Maine then you might review this article about the Norumbega Inn… Not too shabby but not cheap and if I have my wife along then this is where we look to stay and yes I would get reservation for a place like this…


  3. My husband and I are planning trip to VT, NH, and Maine this fall to see the fall foliage. We cannot go Oct 7-12. would you recommend we go before or after those dates.

    • Hi Maria, as I’ve said many times through out my blog. If you come a week earlier the you will be looking at more northerly VT/NH/ME. If you come a week later southern VT/NH/ME and include much of Massachusetts. Which way you go depends on how much driving you like to do and what you want to see… I you post your dates I’ll be able to give a but more guidance
      Jeff Foliage

      • We are from Louisiana so we need to start booking flights and hotels. We plan to fly into Boston and rent a car to drive through VT, NH, and Maine. We also plan to take train from Niagra Falls to Boston or Boston to Niagra Falls.

        • Forget to send dates. We can either come before October 7 or after October 12.

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