New England Fall Foliage » Foliage Articles » Early fall colors for 2014?

Many of my friends have been sending me the article links about an Early Fall from different newspapers around the country and then they ask the big question. What am I seeing in New England??? And what do I think will happen?

First thing to remember about early fall color!

August is when we ALWAYS start to see the earliest signs of early fall colors. As far back as I can remember I’ve been getting articles in mid august, such as these below. Maybe you’ve seen similar?

Ok! Now please remember that the media is there to report the local stories and if the titles happen to be ones that sensationalize the facts (just a tad) then they probably feel it’s ok. EVEN if it causes all of you to panic and run to your computer to change your reservations. DON’T DO THAT!

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Now I read and re-read the Buffalo article that in part reads: “The polar vortex – that extremely cold air that swirls above the North Pole – may make a brief visit to the Northeast next month, AccuWeather.com reported Wednesday.”

Well I went to the AccuWeather site and saw this blog post that they may be referring to: Long range weather forecast clues. What The buffalo newspaper maybe looking at that THEY in Buffalo may get cooler temperatures but we in New England probably won’t be getting a “polar vortex of cold in Sept” in fact over the next 3-4 weeks the temps may climb to more seasonably warm and drier through mid Sept.

Early fall color? Franconia Notch is a major mountain pass through the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Dominated by Cannon Mountain to the west and Mount Lafayette to the east

flume Gorge covered bridge on 1 October 2013 View this image on my Fine Art website!

Have we in the Northeast had a cool summer, YES but we have had a few days of 90+ degrees (33+c) and this is true we haven’t had as many as we think we “normally” should have. Working off our collective memories we all think the last few years have been hot…

Wait a minute… Have they really? in Whitefield NH, August 2013 reached 87 for one day. In August 2012 (said to be the hottest year since 1880s) we had exactly one day at 91, and August 2011 (the year October got rained out) August was 86. I can go on to show we have a seesaw back and forth from years with 82 as the high, up into the low 90s.

What does this really mean?

  • First, every year is different!
  • Second, if the trees in any area, for any multitudes of reasons get stressed, then they will turn in part or in whole early. The result? Early fall color!
    • Stress can be too much or too little rain. Also too high or too low temps. Also insect activity like the Asian long horn beetle can cause a tree to turn early in an attempt to fight the bug.

I was consulting with Jim Salge at Yankee Magazine about what I thought the season was going to bring and  early fall colors and he agrees with me in part, as to what August and Sept may bring to us.

What I think we’ll see during the rest of August and into Sept.

Early fall color in Stowe, A little white steepled church in the hills of Vermont.

A little white steepled church in the hills of Vermont.

First, Every authoritative weatherman I see quoted says should and could (just like you see me say and I don’t know as much as them) 🙂

Basically “I think” we’ll get some warm temps and then some cooler than normal temps which could move the fall foliage timetable up. How much you ask? Well, ask me in November…

The only big surprise that I’m slightly worried about is if (like in 2012) we get cool or cold temps across all of New England in Sept and many areas of CT, RI and MA start turning when VT, NH, and ME do.

When I make my suggestions I’m trying to keep the current weather events in mind but basically if you don’t try to guess when peak is going to be but instead locate your self in a central location so you can drive north or south in search of the peak fall colors then you should consider yourself successful.

Please stay with me through the next few months as we look at what Mother Nature has in store for us. Together we can try to give you all the information that you can use to plan your vacation.

I love to respond to comments on my blog and if you have questions then please use this as your first option. If you send me an email and many of you do… Well let’s just say I work full-time and get tons of emails and there is a good chance of losing said email the closer we get to October… So please leave a comment instead. (They are easier to follow)

Jeff “Foliage” Folger

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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: 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.
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Comments

Early fall colors for 2014? — 17 Comments

  1. Hi Jeff!

    Just wanted to pass on some leaf peeping info for your readers.
    I live in the northern White Mountains of NH (Milan, Berlin, Gorham area) and we’re currently at peak. This past weekend we’d experienced perfect weather; showing the most vibrant color I’ve seen in years. Although we ‘d received a killing frost over a week ago that I believe may have caused early peak for my area by a week and a half; anyone planning to visit this area will likely miss the peak after the next day or so. However, points south of Bartlett/Conway should be at or near peak by next weekend.

    Tracy

  2. Hi Jeff
    Wanted to know the best weekends to visit Maine for just before peak or peak colors. We’re planning to be around Bar Harbor, Cadillac in Acadia either the weekend of the 4th or 11th – going by the Maine foliage reports site.
    Would appreciate your inputs, thanks !

  3. Hi Jeff,
    We are flying into Hartford, CT in Oct 17th and heading north up through VT and NH into Montreal and Quebec City. Do you think we will still be able to see some fall colors inland?
    The last week of Oct we will be driving the coast of ME, MA,RI and CT. From what I hear the peak for the coast is the end of Oct. Is that generally true?
    Thanks, Lynn

    • In general, if you read my articles.. (any of them) 🙂 the color moves from north to south so your inland journey will probably be one tree here or there. But! not all is lost!! I want you to go to the far west of Vermont and drive up the coastline of Vermont. That is your best chance for seeing color… Again if you read any of my article that go into some detail on where to go, the last places to get the color are the coastlines. This also includes lakes like Champlain.
      I think you’ll start out seeing color but the further north you go you will lose it.
      This image is out on North Hero on 21 Oct during a late year so there is always hope… (Route 2 goes up the middle of the lake from island to island). So you can find color later in the season.
      North hero round barn 21 Oct
      Coming back down should by all account provide good color if we don’t get a Nor’Easter or snow… 🙂 Knock on wood.

  4. Ive already planned a halloween slash proposal weekend with my partner in salem mass. My aunt and uncle are going as well. We all love halloween but love the fall foliage even more. I understand that salem itself doesnt have much to offer. We will be staying october 23 through 27. Will we have a jaw dropping trip with lots of color and where are the best places in salem or Ipswich to view mother nature in all her glory ie tree lined roads, vineyards, country bridges?

    • Hi Justin… This is hard because it’s not the usual question I get. 🙂
      Well to start, Jaw dropping is a matter of opinion and the colors in sea towns like Salem or Marblehead are less congested like the smaller towns away from the coast. But that doesn’t mean that Salem doesn’t have really nice color. I would take a walk along Chestnut street. This wide avenue is like taking a walk back into the 18th century. The avenue is tree lined with the old mansions and the side streets are great to walk down also. Catch the color along Essex st with the crowds of halloween visitors. There are not a lot of trees there but it’s nice to see in autumn.
      I love to drive up Route 1 to Ipswich and everything along the route is a treat. I like to get to a town like Topsfield and go to the town center. (hint, it’s not on Route 1) Get yourself a map book like the Massachusetts Delorme Gazetteer that I link to on my website http://www.jeff-foliage.com/planning-tools/ Whether you purchase one of these or any other map book/atlas, just get one.

      They help you plan your route and if you come to a promising turn you can pull over look at what is along the new route. You can stop and visit Bradley-Palmer State Park and the colors are very nice in there. and there are many State parks and Audubon wildlife areas.
      Get on 133 in Ipswich and take look at their cemetery… close to jaw dropping… 🙂
      Off to work so let me know if this helps a bit…

  5. For the 2nd year in a row, my sister and I are bringing our 83 yr. old mother to New England during the week of Oct. 4-10. Last year we went a week earlier and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect. We had a most wonderful trip! We have been hearing from friends of much colder temperatures at night already in Maine, so I can’t help but be a little concerned that it may be really cold by the time we get there, and our mom won’t be able to enjoy the trip. Rain and chilliness is one thing; ice and snow are another. What do you think? We plan to spend the first couple of days in northern MA, then do southern VT and NH to finish up the week.

    • H Sena, if you read my current article you will note that the NOAA climate prediction folks have revised their forecast from equal chances in Sept of above or below temps to above normal temps. So I think the “Polar Vortex” everyone is so worried about maybe less of a worry.
      I will hedge my bets by reminding you that anything is possible! but I think the forecasts of snow that we have seen on some of the weather sites maybe a little off (as of now) Next week they could revise it again but I think we will see seasonable temps (maybe a bit lower than normal (a couple of degrees but not cold enough for snow and ice.)
      I know we all say it’s such a cool summer (and it has been) but our memories and reality doesn’t always jive. In looking at Greenville Maine the average Sept temps are between 69-74. There have been occurrences of 92 degrees but the average is much lower then we pay attention to.
      So while it may be cooler it depends on how much. 1-3 degrees on any given day means one thing and every night in the upper 30s means quite another. I will keep watching it so you should keep watching my page for my weekly posts…

  6. Coming all the way from Australia, so hope that I have gotten it right in Maine from the 14th Sept till the 27th sept then in Squam Lake 28th till 30th, Warren Vermont from 1st October till 7th Oct, Weston from 8th till 10th Oct then Brattleboro 10th till 17th Oct, a long time but didn’t want to miss it, think I will do ok. Thanks so much for your help with the planning.

    • hi Brian, sounds like a fantastic trip but I have a few questions.
      First, how for North are you going up in Maine. I think you’ll be okay because it has the feeling that the color might be a week early this year which in the grand scheme of things isn’t much but it should help you if you’re not very far North in Maine. I’m not getting up to Moosehead Lake until 25 September so be sure to post wherever you’re at, on my Facebook page so I know if I’m catching the colors. I think at Squam Lake you’ll be a bit early because any time you’re near a decent sized body of water then the colors tend to be a bit later.
      But again it depends on what happens in September and if the long-range forecasters are correct then you could be perfectly situated. If you’re early by a week or two then you’re still okay. Believe it or not it’s very hard for anyone, myself included to get yourself centered in the middle of peak fall foliage. The best we can do, is to get close so we don’t have to drive for hours to find color. At worst case you might have to drive between a half-hour to an hour north (either in the middle of the white mountains or North of the white mountains) to find some really nice color. And the drives that you will make are going to be spectacular so I don’t think there’s any major downside to Squam Lake.
      As far as the Vermont portion, I would say you’re normally one week early for Weston and Warren but again it really depends on what happens in September. Worst-case scenario you again have to travel 30 min. to an hour north and as I said before no big downside.
      As far as Brattleboro I think you’ll be about right and in this case you might be a little late in which case you’ll be heading down in the Massachusetts which is just the other side of the border, guess what? No big downside but you knew that didn’t you.
      As I told somebody else, if you go changing your reservations or your dates or anything it would probably only make things worse. I honestly believe that you’ll be in some really good areas with some beautiful views and they’re going to be lots of wonderful things for you to do.
      The last thing you really want to do is spend all day in the car. So look over the different fares and harvest festivals on my site and I will be posting things for you to look for in my blog articles over the next several weeks (you and everybody else, that is).
      Questions?

      • Hi Jeff,

        You are correct I didn’t anticipate seeing the fall in Maine, going as far as Acadia , but just taking in the beauty of it all, and yes we thought we would have to drive north or south to get the colour, we didn’t anticpate it every where but just wanted to amble and enjoy the moment including especially the festivals, we love meeting people. After Brattleboro we are then working our way down thru the Pocono’s to Gettysburg and finally Washington. Nine weeks in all so should see a lot. Will definitely be keeping an eye on your site and going to as many fairs and festivals we can find. Once again so much for your help and will post photos to your site when I get them.

        • hi Brian sounds great you got the perfect attitude for making this a great vacation and I hope all those ambles are without the brambles 🙂

          if you have any questions when you’re out on the road you can probably find some Wi-Fi in the hotels to leave a question on my blog are on my Facebook page and look forward to seeing all your pictures and information on the Poconos and Gettysburg (I’ve never been to Gettysburg and I’ve never been to Washington)
          best foliage wishes!

  7. Hi Jeff- I chuckled when I saw your comment about not changing reservations due to early fall predictions. I was just about to ask you if we should do that! I wrote to you earlier in the summer and we decided to travel to Mad River area around Sept 28 and down to Manchester a few days later. I still think we are in the ok range…I have always wanted to see full color, but the more I read from your site and the blogs, I realize that if it doesn’t happen this year, maybe it will next. Thanks for all your information.

    • hi Denise, all sounds good to me. I hope you’ll have Internet access and let me know what you’re seeing as you make your travels.I assume you’ve found my fall foliage in New England Facebook page. if not here’s a link: https://www.facebook.com/NewEnglandFoliage
      you can post pictures directly to the page and I wouldn’t mind seeing one every other day or so. I love to share them with everybody else at the same time so we can all benefit from what you’re seeing. Questions? You know where to find me.

  8. thanks for all your good work. been a follower for years but this is first time i’m leaving e-mail address for up dates. always hope for late color as we spend a week in bartlett n. h. 10/17-10’24 but looks like we’ll have very little color this year. oh well still love the area!

    • Bartlett is such a great area from the bridge to the high hills surrounding it. A little earlier in the season should be very colorful but I’m betting there will still be some color when you get there. IF we get cloudy/rainy days in late Sept and early Oct then it will slow down and there could be more but we’ll see what the future holds…
      Thanks for subscribing to my website. The only thing you’ll get from me in the email is my fall foliage articles… 🙂

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