New England Fall Foliage » Foliage Articles » March update to 2015 Foliage Forecast

Update to my 2015 fall foliage forecast

Bright red Japanese maple under a bright blue sky

Bright red Japanese maple

Well, after this winter I’m just hoping we survive to see spring let alone the fall colors of autumn. I discussed with weather forecaster, David Unger at NOAA in the climate prediction office and he sounds like me and my foliage forecast… 🙂 “This far out we are looking at trends and not until August will the data become more, firm”.

“But then fall comes, it stays awhile like an old friend that you have missed.” 
― Stephen King

The trends run like this for October in northern NH. In various years over the past 20+ yrs the temps range from 49F to 57F with a sharp cool spike in 2009 of 48F but the past three years have been consistently warmer with the averages in the mid-fifties (55F-57F) but we may be starting a slide towards cooler. Before you get too excited we won’t know those results until, you guessed it, AFTER this autumn. Here is my first fall foliage forecast for 2015.

I suspect that we will see a bright fall color arrival in mid to late Sept, IF the rains keep to a minimum (on the dry side) then this would mean that the last week in Sept could be colorful in the usual areas…

But Jeff, what are the usual areas?

I’m glad you asked! Even though I will guarantee one thing… That I will see posts of early fall color or questions about us having an early fall in mid-August and by mid Sept somebody in Camden Maine or coastal Rhode Island will post a glorious maple tree, all in red and orange, these are not the normal areas for mid to late Sept. (I’m not saying you won’t see leaves, branches or an entire tree turning, it’s just not normal).

How to use my foliage forecast

My outlook as of March 2015 for fall foliage and my foliage forecast for 2015

My outlook as of March 2015

Treat this “foliage forecast meter” as simply my gut feeling. There is no empirical data as of now (its too early).

If you want to have the best odds of finding peak fall foliage during the time period of mid to late Sept, then this means you will want to place yourself up on the Canadian border. Places like, The North East Kingdom of Vermont (NEK), The Great North Woods of New Hampshire and North of Mount Katahdin in Maine.

As we move towards the 1st of October, you will move south to the White mountains, Middlebury Vermont and Rangeley Maine AND points north from there will still have color. But, the leading edge is advancing south across New England.

The next few weeks in October (if we have little rain) the colors will continue to develop further to the south and east towards the coastline. By mid-October you will be exploring Massachusetts and the quiet corner of Connecticut and northern Rhode Island.

As you look at my Foliage forecast meter above you will note that it’s fairly neutral. The jokers in the deck are the Temps and Precipitation. To much rain means tar spot and Anthracnose could spread widely through the maples. As we go through the melt off over the next month here in New England and on through April and May, you will want to see how much rain we get or! do we go through a drying trend.

Also do the temps rise through May and give us a comfortable spring. If this happens I will start to nudge the needle more to the green. But if we have more rain and a colder spring then we’ll move more to the yellow. We’re still too far out to have any real feel for which way things are going.

My next report will be late April or at the latest the first week in May.

Escape today

Oh I still haven’t heard back from the winner I picked on the 27th of February and I’m sending another email out today!

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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About 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.


March update to 2015 Foliage Forecast — 12 Comments

  1. Hello Jeff! I’m a native Floridian and have never seen fall foliage. My beau and I (incidentally also named Jeff) are thinking of heading north this coming fall. I’m limited on my dates due to my work schedule, but we were thinking of September 23 thru 28. We were also thinking, dare I say, of going to Vermont. What are your thoughts? Would the trip be worthwhile? My next window isn’t until the 10th of October and then I believe we’d be at the mercy of the rains, and have to resort to going no further north than North Carolina.

    • Hi Lynn and Jeff
      First I’m going to include a link to a recent comment question that I answered to Delia and I posted many links to things I think are important.
      In my current article which is my update to my fall foliage forecast for 2015 (don’t look for it just yet because I’m still writing it) but you might like this snippet:
      I also think we will see nice to good colors a bit earlier. So instead of 27 Sept-29 Sept in the NorthEast Kingdom or North of the white mountains we will probably see bright pockets of fall colors around 23-24 Sept.
      For the rest of my fall foliage forecast or at least my thoughts you should sign up for my blog so you don’t miss it… 🙂

      Well you may “dare say” Vermont and enjoy but since Vermont gets narrow at the top of the state (which is where you will need to be, I would also think about some of my New Hampshire locations Like Woodstock NH (there is also a Woodstock VT but more south so the colors won’t be as good there. I would look for the Stark covered bridge in NH and look for my Milan state park article also. In Vermont visit Northfield (5 covered bridges) and Montgomery with 6 covered bridges and Route 58 from Montgomery takes you over Hazen Notch. there is a comment reply I made that has many of these articles for you to take a look at. This page has the comment answer at the bottom AND clicking on the tumbnails for each state will take you to a further list of articles.

      This should get you started. Oh Check and see if Emergo farm B&B has room for you. Its in northern Vermont and I’ve heard good things from friends.

  2. Hi Jeff,
    Love your blog! we already bought the fare to arrive Logan Boston airport on 10/3 and will depart on 10/7. Our first visit to the area and this trip is mainly for leaf peeping and photography oriented. Tentatively, we will stay 3 nights in the white mountain, 3 nights in Bar Harbor and 1 night in Boston to catch the next day flight (5pm) out of Logan. Would greatly appreciate your advice for the most scenic route so we maximize our sightseeing time at both locations. Also, please critique my itinerary, I still have time to change the accommodation option. We have no problem of checking in/out hotel often, we just want to be at the right location and prefer not to back tracking.
    1) If our flight arrives on time, we will land around 3:30pm ish. More likely, we will get out Logan around 5pm. Currently, I have 1 night reservation at Gilford, NH on 10/3 and following by 2 nights at North Conway. Should we drive straight to North Conway?
    2) Original plan, we had 2 nights at Bar Harbor and 1 night at Portland. But I think that there are more to see at Acadia National park, so I just changed to stay 3 nights. We can just visit Portland for 1/2 day on route to Boston. Or should we skip Boston and drive straight from Portland to the airport.

    Many thanks for your input!

    • I’m looking at your dates, In on 3 Oct and out on 7 Oct… I think you mean 10 Oct.
      Logan Airport to Gilford is 2hr,16min. And since that is a Saturday you should be pretty close to that. Leaving at 5ish If you head to Conway it’s 2hrs, 46min/ Gilford does have a small covered bridge next to the municipal building but it was build it 1994. It’s ok as bridges go but not one I search out.
      I would go the extra distance because you will be arriving in the dark either way. Gilford being further south will have less color than Conway and I think all of your drives from Conway will be to the NW, N, NE of Conway. Plus Conway has two easy to find and very nice covered bridges.
      You will have less color in Bar Harbor but it will be oh so scenic and lots to do. The weekend of the 10th (if that is indeed your fly out is Columbus Day weekend so all traffic will be heading north from Boston so you should be good. Boston is a week by itself but depending on your departure schedule you might hit the historical red line for a quick tour of the history of the Revolution. I would dump the car though since the parking in and around Boston is not for the faint of heart.
      I hope this helps a little

      • Hi Jeff,
        Thanks for your reply! You were correct, I meant Oct 10. My intention is to go against Columbus weekend traffic. Another couple from New York will join us for the trip, so they will pick and drop us at the airport. No car around Boston for sure. One more question, if we stay at Gilford, it is right at lake Winnepesaukee and when we head to North Conway, we will be driving thru Lake Meredith. Is it worth the drive around the lake for most part of the morning of Oct 4?

        • Gilford is a nice little town with some historical buildings and lovely scenery, alas its not on the lake, For that you will need to head to Meredith (not lake Meredith but Lake Winnipesaukee) or Alton Bay (on the southern end) and Wolfboro on the eastern side. Check this link in Google Maps.
          Meredith is a lovely little town on the western side of the lake and my wife and I have been there many times over the years, Several nice places to stay, Churches landing is a 5 star hotel and they have another place across the road called the Inn at Mill falls which is a step down but still very nice and not as expensive. They even have a cheaper place down the road but we’ve never stayed there. Depends on your budget.

          From there you can head north and catch Route 25 to Route 109 to Route 171 to explore The Castle in the clouds the Castle in the clouds, (click link for description).

          Then continue back north on Route 25 past Squam lake (on golden pond fame) and then make you way northeast on 113 or 113A to Tamworth and Conway… By the 4th the area should be at high color and when traveling out of Conway or North Conway (they are different) you will pass Jackson, please stop in there and turn in when you see the covered bridge and then go to the fire house, yes go to the fire house and next door is Ravenwood… Just go and you’ll see why.
          Then continue north on Route 16 to Pinkham notch and a bit further in Mount Washington and the auto road if you want to drive to the top, wildcat mountain on the right has gondola rides to the top…
          Also you should hit earlier rather than later Route 112 which is the Kancamagus highway and it drops out in Lincoln and from there you could pass under I-93 to Woodstock NH (The other Woodstock is VT, also very nice) Continue on 112 and you will pass the beaver pond at Kinsman Notch (Best in early morning if not dawn. I’ve embedded links for different articles on these areas.

          I hope this helps and don’t forget to pick up a gazetteer at your local book store or order it through Amazon on my planning page (yes it’s an affiliate link and I get a few pennies if you buy through me).

  3. Hello Jeff, I’m a Brazilian environmental journalist and I’ve been dreaming about a New England Autumn Foliage Trip for quite a while. I hope to finnally make it this year for I managed to get a break in my assignmets and get off for a forthnight in October. I still need to define dates, but I do want to buy the tickets as soon as possible. I was a little disapointed with your advanced preview, but I understand there’s some chance the colors get beatiful despite the forecast.
    So I have two questions:
    1. If you were me would you book the tickets from Brazil to US in early,mid or late October?
    2. Among all foliage routes would you choose the ones that go inland and north for that period or the round routes like the ones that start and end in Boston with a drive along the coast?
    I guess I might say my main purpose is to photograph as much color as I can get for the yellows, purples and reds are what distinguish your trees from our evergreen ones, here in Brazil.
    Your blog rocks, by the way, congrats!!
    Liana John

    • Well Liana, I think I can help nail down some dates.
      First, I think all trips start and end in Boston but you could go from Boston to Manchester New Hampshire. This gets you further into the color and helps you skip the traffic as you escape from Boston.
      Either way works for me as Manchester and the airport is at most an hour driving north of Boston..
      I’ll post a couple links below on articles that will help you get organized. But first based on the past 2 years, I would come earlier and go further north. I have been happier with the colors around 29 Sept – 1 -3 Oct. This also means that you will be heading much further north. Remember this, even though I say further north, you’ll be up north of the White Mountains in 3 hours by traveling up Route 93 (direct shot out of Boston). You should get Gazetteers for each state. Also if your phone is international and will work up here to act as your GPS then you should be ok. If not you may want to make sure your rental car has a navigation system in it. I think many do today but in checking with Enterprise rentals, it depends on whats available when you get there. You can get a plugin GPS for $11.99/day when you make your reservations. Or buy/borrow your own. I have a page so you can price tools like GPSs and map books/guide books here:
      Next for a general route, you can come north on 93 to Route 89 and follow that to the Randolph exit and head west on Route 66 pick up Route 12A (not 12 but not a mistake if you get on 12 either). Follow either up to Northfield Falls where there are 5 covered bridges, I call them the Northfield 5. here is one article with some descriptions: And here is my scenic locations listed by state. I would continue up Route 100 to Stowe and smugglers Notch. Proceed North and east to Montgomery 6 more covered bridges there. Look for Hazens notch on Route 58 and follow this east into New Hampshire. Head towards 5A and Willoughby State Forest and then north by east to Colebrook, NH and Dixville Notch. Come down Route 26 to Errol (very rural and pretty) then down 16 to 110A to Milan NH and the Milan state park. Look for the fire tower climb to the top (even in the rain just not lightning) and prepared to be wowed. Great views. Back North on the Stark highway until you find the Stark Covered bridge with church. Take 110 to Groveton and another… you guessed it a covered bridge.
      Follow route 3 south to 102 and find the Guildhall Grist mill ( Head down into Lancaster and… yep another covered bridge and then over Route 2 to Gorham (several quaint churches along this route and a stone tower called Carters tower of foolishness ( and then take 16 down through the White mountains into Jackson (do not by pass because.. yup another covered bridge… then onto Conway and not 1 but 2 covered bridges… and then south to Route 112 which is called the “Kanc” or Kancamagus highway which winds its 26 miles along the ridge lines of the spine of the White mountains with gorgeous views. You come back out onto Route 93 and back to Boston. But I think this may only take 7 days so you might now head over to Maine and lake Rangely zigzaging you way east to Route 95 and if time permits head up the coast to Acadia (Bar Harbor has Bass Harbor lighthouse) and then proceed south exploring Portland (another lighthouse) York Maine (a Lighthouse) Brunswick Maine.. a few lighthouses… Get some lobster rolls Stop in Gloucester and Rockport on Cape Ann and then Salem MA and see the craziness on a weekend for pre-Halloween fun… I don’t know about you but I’m worn out just thinking about all of this. I hope it gives you some ideas…
      Jeff Foliage

  4. We are hoping to drive from New Brunswick into New England and thinking October 3 as a start date. Would this be a good time for leaf peeping?

    • hi Allison, I think the date is a fine place to start and I don’t know how long you plan on being on the road or how far North in New Brunswick you live. I assume you will come down either route 1 or 95 and as you do that I would say that after a short distance you would head West towards Baxter State Park then Southwest to Greenville and Moosehead Lake may be a bit further Southwest to Rangeley Lake and then West into Errol New Hampshire. depending on how long you are on the road you can visit this page on my site and specifically for New Hampshire, you might visit this article:

      the first link will be especially useful if you are on the road for several weeks and you come across Maine into New Hampshire and perhaps Vermont. The first thing to remember is that the fall color will be last in coming to the coastline so as much as you might like to come down route 1, you will want to head inland sooner rather than later. Depending on how long you’re on the road I would come back into Maine and then north along route one visiting all the coastal cities last. This way you’ll have fall colors through most all of your journey.
      I’m not sure if this covers everything but with the limited information provided I think it’ll get you pointed in the right direction. Of course if you have questions you know where to find me.

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