New England Fall Foliage » Foliage Articles » Fall colors slow to arrive in New England

My first actual New England fall foliage report for 2015! Yaaaa… 🙂

Yes the colors are behind this year we have all those folks who wanted another week or two at the beach to blame for it!

My route yesterday took us up to Franconia Notch and over to Sugar Hill, Lisbon and Bath New Hampshire. then we caught the western terminus of Route 112 and we took that back East to Lincoln and then over the Kancamagus highway. We hit Route 16 and headed south to Salem. We left at 0815 in the morning and arrived home at 1910. (7:10PM for you non-military types). 341 miles round-trip and around 11 hours later. So when you keep wondering WHY I keep saying “You can drive 300 miles in New England in a day but it will take quite a while”. This is why I think, allowing three hours for every 100 miles is a good formula.

If  you have questions about my formula or why it takes that long think about this. we drove up I-93 to Franconia Notch and didn’t see a highway the rest of the day (Until portions of 16 and 95 that evening) The day was spent on town roads, broken pavement and dirt roads, average speed 15-27MPH. (more or less) And! I got out of the car to photograph things that would show you the day and what the colors look like..

Comparison Photos same day different years

As you can see from the above images, outside of the weather, cloudy versus cloudless, the amount of reds is only slightly less on the Kancamagus this year versus last year. here is a Panoramic image of the western side of the Kancamagus. This vantage point is just above the hairpin turn.

View from Kancamagus overlook in New Hampshire's white mountains, #Vistaphotography, #JeffFoliage, #JeffFolger

Pano view of the Kancamagus

Jeff Foliage’s thoughts

Starting tomorrow and for the next 15 days we are expecting no major rains with 2/3 of these days, bright and sunny. That is also coupled with highs in the upper 60s to low 70s and the lows in the mid-40s to upper-30s. (this is a sampling of town forecasts from Vermont across to Maine).  Of course next weekend is supposed to be cloudy across the region (Sunday night is a Full moon AND a full eclipse) which is about my norm for photo opportunities. 🙁

BUT! this week through October 3rd is looking good and we should see a speed up in the color process. based on the current weather reports for Northern New England.

What is your definition of Peak fall foliage?

Ok, I have told you what my definition of Peak fall foliage is, (360 degrees from where you are standing, all trees that can turn, have started to, but haven’t finished yet.) and you can use that or use your own. Needless to say with mine, the number of occurrences of Peak fall colors are few.

I’ve also said that the majority of folks looking for fall colors would be ecstatic find 50% to 75% of the trees turned. If I see 75% I have a grin from ear to ear and anything above 75% would give most of you Heart attacks (Don’t go into the light!) 🙂  So that said… We ended up at Polly’s and…

Lisa and I stopped in at Polly’s Pancake parlor yesterday and the new renovations look wonderful. I know you may think Pancake Parlor and decide, that you’re not in the mood for pancakes or waffles, well I had a Ruben sandwich and Lisa had Quiche. So do stop in and enjoy a great meal, no matter what you are in the mood for! (Click the link to get directions).

Escape today

Well we were talking with TJ our server and he gave me his view on what Peak fall foliage is and more importantly when you can expect it!

Images of Polly’s

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 colors slow to arrive in New England — 14 Comments

  1. Great! Hope to catch you there Jeff. I am looking to download maps showing the covered bridges and trail heads of white mountain national forest & route 100 (planning to do the smuggler’s notch & high way 100 leading upto route 125 as well along with the kanc scenic drive) can you point me in the right direction

  2. Hi Jeff, If we want to go see the foliage this weekend, where would you recommend? We live in MA and would like to drive to VT or NH to see some beautiful colors. I know it’s still early, but my parents are only here till Sunday, so we have no choice. Thanks!

  3. I remember last year I stopped at the 5 & 10 in North Conway on Oct 4th and the people at the store told us we missed the peak color by a week possibly a bit more. Franconia Notch was already mostly brown by this time. The last couple years I keep reading online how the foliage is at peak color yet when I drive to these areas it’s always past peak. Can’t figure it out. Could this be the hotel and restaurant owners posting these comments trying to stretch out the fall season. Sharon’s comment couldn’t have stated it any better. Peak foliage is usually the week before or the week after I get there. I’m not listening to anyone this year I’m going early.

    • Well Bob I can say that last year for the most part ran a little early but not terribly so. I saw really pretty color in northern NH on 28/29 Sept. Errol was gorgeous. Pinkham Notch was about 35% towards peak So in 6 days it should have about peaked or maybe a day earlier but not brown and gone. Franconia notch is about the same area so it should have been the same.
      I was a National Park Ranger last year so I didn’t get out nearly as much as I wanted to and I never hit Franconia.
      On 2-3 October I was on Route 100 in Vermont and I got some really incredible color from Middlebury (Mount snowdon) and up to Stowe where I got the best so far of the white church against the hillside in very nice fall color. It wasn’t peak but it was 70% or better.
      You could have run into what I have have happened before. A photographer reported to me that they came through Crawford Notch saying it was all brown and the locals all said it was gone already (very early in late Sept or 1-2 Oct) So I took that report and come to find out that the color just hadn’t happened yet. Why the locals (who should know better) say that? I don’t know. Maybe they are hoping everyone will go home… Doesn’t happen…
      But as far as the inn keepers and travel industry folks… Yes they would like a long drawn out peak and here is a secret… I call the local library. They have no interest in whether you as a leaf peeper show up and stay. Someone with no interest in the leaf peepers coming into VT or NH are my friends… 🙂
      Most hotel and restaurant people are very honest but they are paying attention to their businesses. Polly’s pancake parlor gets lots of people calling about the colors. But outside of their trip in from Lisbon or maybe the maples in front of the Meeting house up the road, they won’t know what the colors are doing over by Cannon Mountain or down at the Flume Gorge covered bridge. Not even 10 miles as the eagle flies but the colors can still be green there and shot to hell just up a couple exits on 93… I hate to say it and I’ve fallen victim to this a few times also. But you may have just missed the good areas.
      Did you have some other things to do while you were there? Maybe a trip to peacham VT The roads around there yield some great results. How many covered bridges did you hit. They actually can look better with a bit less leaves so you can see the bridge better… I’m including the Jenne farm on 10 October with is usually a good time for it there. The dawn light throws this off with the glow of the sunlight but the trees were pretty full and I bet as the sun came up it got some nice colors.
      I hope you don’t get to bummed out but also No you shouldn’t listen to anyone but me and Jim Salge at Yankee Magazine because I know him and he won’t steer you wrong and I won’t either, unless I get bad info from someone… It does happen.. 🙂
      Jenne farm on 10 October 2014

  4. We are driving from IA to Chicago then up to Niagara Falls the over to Ogunquit ME in 7 days before traveling down to Williamsburg VA for 7 more days. Will that be any colors to enjoy on our drive???

    • You don’t tell me your dates so I’ll have to with a definite maybe… At least until I hear the dates. Considering this week is cooling off up north so we should be good…

  5. Fine with me if they are a little slow to arrive–I won’t be arriving until early October. Had my fingers crossed for months that the timing would work out . Looks like it just might. 🙂

  6. Hello , we going to visit New Hampshire and Vermont on 13 October, we are coming from Israel and very exited , we hope that the foliage in this week will be wonderful

  7. My definition of “peak foliage” is usually the week prior to my arrival or the week after my departure. Got really lucky one time and hit the nail on the head, but mid week a big storm came in. One day the sun went down and the colors were absolutely beautiful…the next morning they were all on the ground! But, my Fall peak foliage mind set is just appreciate what you see today, no matter what color it is – so don’t blink! Hey, even green is a pretty color! I will miss New England this Fall, but it is always in my thoughts!

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