New England Fall Foliage » Foliage Articles » Peak fall colors arrive in New England

Maybe you missed it? The peak fall colors have arrived!

Frosty temps earlier in September have created  favorable conditions for turning colors. The coming week is showing daytime temperatures in the 60s to 70s and night-time temps from the upper 30s to 40s. What we need now is continued sunny weather…

What about the dry conditions? We need rain?

The fall colors on Rangeley lake were ready to burst on the last days of Sept.

The fall colors on Rangeley lake were ready to burst on the last days of Sept.

This query came into my comments over the weekend. I hate to say it but it’s too late! Much of what the leaves were going to do was written back this summer. A dry September means a lower incidence of Anthracnose and less moisture means the sugars are concentrated and brighter. BUT!!!

It also means that it doesn’t take much to bring those leaves down! Wind and rain are the flip side to the gorgeous color that the dryness brings. Too much drought can weaken the colors just like too much rain. Everything in moderation!

The other part of the equation needed! Sunshine!

A dry September coupled with bright sunny days will usually mean a shift to brighter colors and more reds (or it sure seems like it). In 2013 I called it the year of the reds because I saw a ton more reds that were bright and strong. This sentiment was mirrored other photographers.

This autumn has been on the sunny side and when I came through Maine and into New Hampshire, I saw… Well that’s next. 🙂

Peak fall color arrives in New Hampshire

leaving Errol New Hampshire along Route 16.

leaving Errol New Hampshire along Route 16.

We drove from Rangeley Lake Maine on Sunday the 28th and all along Route 16 we saw high color straining towards peak fall color. We got a flat and this caused us to slow down the trip but the fall colors helped to cheer us up. When we got to Errol we stopped at the gas station and it also is their hunting and camping, tourist stop.

The start of the MT Washington auto road.

The start of the MT Washington auto road.

From here we headed along the Androscoggin river and past Umbagog State Park. The colors were such that we continually caught our breath in wonder. As we headed south from Berlin to Gorham the colors maintained the common theme of bright reds and orange colors.

I began to wonder where our luck would run out (both the tire donut we were on and the peak color).

We hit the parking lot for the Mount Washington auto road and while the reds were still there, they were a bit darker and Lisa and I thought we’d seen the leading edge of color.

Pinkham Notch fall colorsAs we went a few miles further south we got to Pinkham Notch, the color was still there but it was at most 40-60% towards Peak

By the time we got to Jackson and the North Conway scenic overlook at the north end of Conway, the colors were mostly green in the distance.

This week the colors should start to appear, south of Pinkham Notch and will be fading further north.

Why am I seeing all these reports of color in CT and MA?

Normally we don’t see much color in the southern New England because the temps stay warmer down south. The cold this year like the past couple has blanketed New England which has caused more trees to start turning where it normally turns later.

Am I going to see Peak in CT now?

I am only getting reports of single trees and swamp maples turning. I don’t expect the Litchfield hills or Rhode Island water ways to turn in October like other years. If you are happy with one tree in ten turning then you can head to the southern states.

If you want to see hillsides dotted with the colors of the rainbow then you will still want to follow my suggestions on where to go or where the tourism folks are saying it’s peak. (take that with a grain of salt)

 This coming weekend, sun and possible rain, where to go?

Jane Ogilvie from Green Mountain photos is reporting for Vermont:
I biked up the mtn road (route 125) this afternoon and couldn’t believe my eyes. The (Smugglers) notch and Stowe approaching Peak..

Another report from Judy Lombardi in the Woodstock VT area and Golden Acres Photography:

This photo is from a PREVIOUS autumn but I wanted to attach it to my message about how the foliage is rolling out here…

Posted by Judy Lombardi on Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Butch Lombardi of East Bay Images has this report for Rhode Island:
Foliage along Rt.24 between Fall River and Taunton is showing some decent color. Along Rt. 44 from Taunton to Plymouth has spotty color with a few spots showing color but they are all isolated. Around Norwell-Marshfield still mostly green with the exception of one isolated Maple that was in full vibrant color. I drove back from Norwell by the back roads passing through Kingston and Halifax. Mostly green with some color beginning to show. East Bay area of RI is starting to turn but early stages.

Katahdin at Abol bridge

Katahdin at Abol bridge

Tracy posted this to my comments section:
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.

Fall foliage on Google plus

If you want to see fall foliage from just everywhere I started a Fall foliage Google plus community for the world and I only have 200+ members so far but these are from people everywhere. So feel free to come and enjoy! Maybe you’ll post some from your own corner of the globe?

Escape today

New England fall Events

Oct 1-Oct 7th
 Pumpkins on the Pier Festival  Saturday, October 4th, 2014  (rain date: Oct 5th)  Milford, CT
Read about why Pumpkins on the Pier is one of our favorite annual events!
Apple Days at Old Sturbridge Village Saturday and Sunday, October 4th & 5th, 2014  Sturbridge, MA
Champlain Mini-Maker Faire at Shelburne Farms Saturday and Sunday, October 4th & 5th, 2014

Jeff "Foliage" Folger  You can purchase images by visiting my Fine Art Gallery websites
Subscribe to my Newsletter - If you would like to sign up for my Fine Art America Newsletter (click this link and a window will open allowing you to sign up). Why sign up for the newsletter? Contests, discount codes on my artwork, maybe an excerpt from my book "Exploring the back roads of New England with Jeff Foliage"... Yes you heard me right... (Damn now I have to start writing it!)
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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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Peak fall colors arrive in New England — 28 Comments

  1. I’m flying to Boston on Nov 4th and was expecting the area to be in full color and now realizing that’s going to be late and no tours operating! Is there anywhere I could drive to that might still have some color? (or any pretty drives?)

    • I can simply say pick up a gazetteer map book (see my site to purchase) and get the CT/RI book (both are in the same book) and you will be traveling out of Boston. Don’t ignore Boston as they can good color at this time as well. Head down the coast checking the seaports and villages. I know you want foliage and I think we’ll be a bit light of the colors, Maybe not gone but not a robust as I would like. But you will find lots of seaside villages that will be full of charm and you may find some local tours going on in particular towns to help explore our maritime heritage.
      Also most of the tourists will have vacated the towns so prices and crowds will be lower.


      • Jeff, thank you for your quick reply,and yes very helpful! I will check it out, and have bookmarked this page for next year when hopefully I can make it out earlier:) I lived in Japan and was a big ‘leaf peeper’ there 🙂 looking fwd to seeing how NE compares!

      • If you have a car Kat and you head south, check out Mystic, CT – they have a cute little village with shops, the aquarium and the seaport. The area is really nice and lots of nice back roads. Cape Cod will be quiet like Jeff mentioned since the tourists will be gone. You always have Salem north of Boston too. Hopefully the colors will be around for you – we still have more than half our leaves green in the Boston area.

  2. Hi Jeff I love your tips..we want to go for beautiful color possible at peak on the 8’9and 10 th ..coming from Ny..where do you recommend to go?

    • Come in along Route 2 through North Adams and along the Mohawk trail(MT). go a little ways up Route 7 or south on 7 to Stockbridge and the Norman Rockwell museum or continue along the MT to Concord and Lexington and the Minute Man National park or the other historical areas… Visit the Old North Bridge.. So many things to explore.

      • This itinerary seems really nice! I am thinking to drive up to Williamstown, MA as my first destination. Then, make my way up to Manchester and Woodstock in Vermont to round out the trip.

        What would be the main opportunities (state parks? national forests?) for hiking and scenic viewing in those areas?

  3. We are of course interested in seeing scenic foliage and are ready to drive the backroads and put in the hard work to earn those spectacular views. We are both relatively fit and don’t shy away from challenging hikes. I also have a personal preference for quaint small towns, where we could possibly find a place to recharge and eat some good food. We are not looking to spend too much on lodging (simple B&Bs should suffice), though we don’t mind spending a little extra on good food.
    Please let us know what you think would be a good itinerary for our modest 4-day trip. I’ve heard good things about Stowe, Waitsfield and Middlebury in South/Central Vermont, but again, we defer to your expertise if you have any other suggestions. I will be bringing my camera and will make sure to share my pictures as a small token of gratitude 🙂
    Thank you so much!

    • Sturbridge Village comes to mind and New Salem can be very beautiful and around large bodies of water will be later in developing and losing their leaves. Depending on Mother Nature and what we get in the way of rain and wind…

  4. Hi Jeff, thank you so much for all the helpful tips you provide on your website.

    My girlfriend and I are planning a somewhat last-minute trip up north from New York City next week. Our dates are October 9th-12th, with the plan to leave early morning on the 9th (Thursday) and return late evening/night on the 12th (Sunday). I am driving the whole way and had initially set my sights on Vermont, though I am open to suggestions.

    I read through some of your posts on the website (particularly the one with a sample itinerary from Saratoga Springs to Vermont), so I am not just posting this in the blind. However, both my girlfriend and I are novices when it comes to New England travel, so we would appreciate any additional input you could offer.

    • Hi Anri, You will be looking at southern NH or VT or more likely Massachusetts and CT and RI. We’ll know more as we get closer over the next 4-5 days. But I would say south is safer… The Litchfield hills of CT and the Quiet corner of CT leading over to Warren RI and along the coastline…

  5. Hi Jeff,

    I wrote a message to you about planning a trip to Vermont but it seems that perhaps it is too long–I am unable to post it. I will give it another try in a bit.


  6. We are new to the Waltham, MA area near Boston. I was thinking of making a day trip for fall colors this weekend. Any suggestions for routes or locations to head to? Thank you!

    • Just to let you know that I saw this and will answer it a bit later tonight Trying to do a lot but this is an important question and has much to do with what everyone wants to know… Three words though.. Heavy rain tomorrow! So you can guess what the rest of this answer will involve…
      The good news is that the best color I saw today was in southern NH and MA.
      It wasn’t every tree in color but there were reds and yellows that were bright. So if you take a drive up to the lakes region of NH (Winnipesaukee) and visit places like Wolfboro or Alton bay or Meredith you should have a good time exploring!

    • Thanks Jeff. I was planning a day for Sunday when the weather is going to be better. 🙂

      • I definitely will Jeff. We are heading to the Poconos in 2 weeks for a fall foliage photo weekend.

  7. We are arriving in Manchester, NH Friday night and were originally planning on exploring Franconia Notch State Park on Saturday but the forecast is calling for rain. We were thinking of changing our plans and driving up through Stowe, Vt that day instead and saving the park for Monday when the weather is better. Any recommendations? Sunday we are going to a harvest festival in Hampton Falls. Thank you so much! Your website has been so valuable in not only planning our trip but in fueling excitement for it.

    • I would choose a harvest festival on Sat since walking around the fair isn’t hurt by a little rain but Sunday is calling sunny so I would say that is your better day for foliage finding. When in the state park don’t forget the pine sentinel bridge. Take the lower path and not the one through it… well do that after you sww it from the lower vantage point… you’ll know what I mean when you see it…

    • Thank you so much Jeff and I appreciate your responses. Looks like light rain in MA today so hopefully the leaves survive! 🙂

        • I did get out yesterday and have the 4 letter ugly word today = work! I ended up in lower New Hampshire and the colors were nice but a bit muted. Lots of yellow and orange, not a lot of red. I also saw a lot of trees that are missing leaves.

  8. Love your site, we are headed to Manchester Vt tomorrow for one night then on to Lincoln NH and the Whites for a week, sounds like we will be experiencing Peak. I can’t wait to try out my new Nikon SLR! Thanks for keeping all of us Peepers up to date with what I think is the most magical time of the year. I will try to post some shots when I get there.

  9. We are from Bangkok,Thailand and going to N.Conway during October 12-14. I would like to have your opinion whether that time will be the peak of the fall foliage.
    I always love the fall foliage in New England when I studied in Chicago long time ago.
    I also follow your pages in FB and really like all the posts.

  10. Hi Jeff! Love your site! My mom and I are visiting Salem, MA Oct 13th-16th and planning to drive to Sturbridge one of the days. Will the fall foliage still be at it’s peak? Or any suggestions? Thanks in advance!

  11. So if we’re heading that way Columbus Day weekend, what do you think about peak colors? We are starting in Boston and headed toward Woodstock, VT.
    Thanks for your awesome site!

    • I think Woodstock should still be colorful and if you have reservations there you’ll be able to drive south and east or west and find really nice colors!

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