What if I miss peak fall foliage?
I hear this so often that I felt it was time to talk about it again. I consider peak fall foliage to be mythical. Now you may be wondering how I can say that. You look through my galleries and you say, “that’s peak!” How can he say “peak fall foliage is mythical”?
First it’s not that you can’t find it but I live here and I don’t find it every year, let alone many times during a single year. I have the leisure to pick my days and to decide where I’m going to look. Just like you I have guides and maps and yes, a bucket list of places I want to go and find.
I received an email from a gentleman and his wife over in the UK who are coming over for the foliage season and he has already purchased tickets and made reservations. This is exactly what you should do but now he is nervous because it sounds like they may be late for peak color! (The downside to locking in your reservations)
I don’t know what his plans are once they are here and this is what I warn visitors about. If they try to time it so they arrive during peak foliage, they are now at the mercy of Mother Nature. Timing the absolute peak fall foliage is like timing the stock market which is known to be very tough. In fact those who study it daily, much like I do for fall foliage, have only a slightly higher success rate than those who wing it.
My best tip for finding fall foliage
My number 1 best tip… Come here with plan to have fun and enjoy yourself. That’s it! You see, if your only goal is to come here to find colorful trees, it’s so easy to be disappointed. After you lock in your tickets and hotel reservations you now have to sit on pins and needles and hope beyond all hope that the season unfolds perfectly for your dates.
I find that 9 times out of 10 the season will arrive early (or late) it will be wetter (equals dull colors) or less sun and that means the colors are slow to develop. A hundred factors can affect the way the season unfolds. So your best option is to pick dates and a location that give you the best possibility to roughly be in the middle of the wave of fall colors. This way you can travel North if they are late, south if they are early and all four cardinal points if just in time.
Now add in contingencies
There are many ways to create contingencies for your trip. A few follow and I’m sure you are familiar with one or more of these options.
- Delorme Gazetteer
- Trip advisor
Google search for things nearby is a great way to start. From street view to their suggestions on nearby places. My wife loves Delorme’s Gazetteers. We have all 6 states and actually two sets for our two cars. Just in case we find ourselves in an exploring mood.
I always tell you that I love them here is what you can get from one. This is an excerpt from the Vermont Gazetteer on Page 40 and the info pages are from the front.
To go with the placement, you add in a search around your hotel or B&B. With the internet I’ve found that locating nearby items of interest is much simpler. Much of it is delivered to you instead of reading tour books.
You merely have to decide what you want to find that will make you happy. My preference is old barns, farms, covered bridges, and history. So I keep my eyes open for Meeting houses and town commons and I pay special attention to historical markers telling about individuals (or buildings) of significance.
This is why you are probably here! Exploring Woodstock VT.
As I go through my travels I keep notes on places that may be interesting in fall. I blog about things I run across like a little out-of-the-way store that I hadn’t seen before or a small pond (see Coffin pond) that had exceptional color. Maybe I walked through the village of Woodstock, Vermont and I describe the view from the village green. From that green, you can look at the old church in one direction and the town court-house in another and their covered bridge (the Woodstock middle bridge or Union bridge) in another.
I try to pass on to you ideas for exploring a location and what I hope to do is give you enough “flavor” of the place to whet your appetite. Then you arrive and find that there are trails to hike up to the top of Mount Tom which stands above Woodstock, you can try them out. This Woodstock Chamber article states: “The Faulkner trail, The walk is about 30 minutes for the average hiker and provides a magical view of Woodstock”.
I haven’t been on the trail myself but it sounds nice. So I hope you’ll take this to heart and realize that your “fall foliage vacation” can be so much more than just going tree to tree looking for gorgeous fall colors. I’m sure you will find just that, just don’t miss all the other wonders as well.
If you think you’d enjoy seeing what a working Vermont farm is like then you should plan to visit the Billings farm and museum website, just outside Woodstock. Here you can see a working farm with a jersey herd of cows and horses and sheep. They show you what a 1890 farm would be like from the restored farmhouse to the creamery.
You can turn this into a day long adventure by going just a short distance away to the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller, National Historic Park. Click to view a walking/hiking trail map and if you have a National parks pass it will get you into the NHS. Check the National Park website for detail, programs and more.
I hope this gives you an idea of what an outing around Woodstock Vermont would be like and why you could spend at least an entire day there exploring, and lets not get started on all the covered bridges that are nearby. (Taftsville and Quechee are an easy drive). The Jenne farm is just down the road (15 minutes, and 2-3 more covered bridge just past that!
More of my articles on scenic locations can be found here!Jeff "Foliage" Folger You can purchase images by visiting my Fine Art Gallery websites
- My Gallery on Fine Art America
- *NEW* We created a new Fall foliage forum
- Join my New England Fall Foliage page on Facebook
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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.