Autumn Fall Foliage

The days get shorter and the New England fall foliage begins its change from green to crimson, orange, and gold.
Hot coffee takes on new meaning when crisp mornings herald the approaching autumn. A morning walk by nearby ponds and lakes take on a mysterious feeling with wisps of fog rising from the warmer water to mix with the cooler air. The best part is seeing the fog give way to the morning sun and you see a stand of red maples begin to appear, just over there.

Little lake - New Hampshire New England fall foliage glory

Little lake fall foliage glory

Have I caught your imagination yet? 🙂

Who am I? I’m Jeff Foliage… (Really it’s Jeff Folger but my editor liked Jeff Foliage).
I’m a photographer with a small Photography business in Salem MA. Some would say I’m passionate about photographing New England’s fall foliage.
Yankee magazine says I’m a bit “obsessed” with capturing Autumn’s fiery show. (They could be right) They even wrote an article about me titled: The Leaf Seeker: Jeff Folger

My thoughts on New England fall foliage
I have been photographing the Autumn in New England for almost 20 years now and nothing thrills me as the approach of the fall colors.

At Any time of the year, I love to get out and explore the countryside (or seashore, or mountains, etc…) But something about exploring the New England countryside during the fall foliage season drives me to go in search of that all elusive, peak foliage moment.

Why is New England Fall Foliage the best?

There are many arguments on who has the best fall foliage colors. Some of this is due to pride in one’s home state and some of it is due to those all important tourist dollars.  But any way you slice it, there are many places in the US that can make a claim to having great fall foliage views.
Most images on this site are available on FAA

I have travelled over a fair portion of the globe and in my opinion, New England is the best place for Autumns fall foliage show. The reason we are number one (again in my opinion) is the hardwood diversity and density of the New England area. The forestry service says that we have over 60 varieties of color producing trees. You have the king of fiery foliage producing trees like the Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) which heavily populates Vermont and New Hampshire’s forests along with a good number throughout the rest of New England. (Heck I even found one in Alaska!)

The number of varieties of birch, Sweetgum, pin cherry and Hickory is just a few of the many varieties. Then there are the trees that aren’t considered fall foliage color producers but are, such as the Sassafrass. Needless to say, they all combine into a wonderful melange of autumn colors.

What is the Classic New England view?

Iconic Vermont view of the Waits River church

Waits River church

You might ask what is this “Classic New England view”? Is it the country lane leading to a time-worn covered bridge? Or maybe it’s the fall colors surrounding a small country church. Does it even require the autumn fall colors?

One thing visitors learn to love about New England is our lack of desire to change at the same fast pace as most places around the country.  If you look at Boston, Hartford, Providence or even Burlington VT, they are as progressive as most big cities but once you leave those bigger cities behind, you will find that the clock slows down. In some cases, it stopped dead a century ago and hasn’t moved since.

Artist covered bridge also known as the Sunday river covered bridge, #Vistaphotography #JeffFolger

Artist covered bridge also known as the Sunday river covered bridge

To me, the classic New England view might be of the town common with the white church on the green. This very setup of Meetinghouse (which usually housed both the town church and the town offices) and town common served well in colonial times and still does today.  In many towns and villages, you may find a bandstand on the town common a short distance from the meeting house/church.

All these things can still be found very prominently in many towns from Maine to Vermont and down into Rhode Island. This way of life is jealously guarded and you would find the town in an uproar if anyone suggested a Walmart or a highrise were to be introduced to the town skyline.

Along the coastline, you can find the old Victorian homes of sea captains that were so well made that many are 200 + years old and highly prized for their workmanship.

Fall colors around a small white church in Stowe Vermont

The last of the afternoon sun on the little church in Stowe VT.

Yes, you will find the new and modern here but the historical is well-preserved, right along beside it.

Covered bridges

I Look at how many folks love to admire old barns and covered bridges. I’ve seen images of covered bridges as far away as Oregon but if you ask someone, where would they go to see one, I bet they say Vermont!

When people come to New England they expect to find the country store or the white church with its steeple reaching high into the sky all surrounded by New England’s fiery fall foliage.

Do you want to find Peak fall foliage?

horses standing in a field below several hills covered in New England fall foliage colors

a hill covered in fall foliage color and horses in the field below it

To start off, this subject occupies most of my waking hours and apparently some of yours as well. This is the most asked question for me, from leaf peepers the world over.

Some people say finding peak fall foliage is a science but I say it’s more of a mystical art.  The truth is simple, its impossible to forecast but you can increase your chances.

First, I wrote an article (one of many) on how to best attempt to find peak fall foliage in New England.

So to get started, check out my current articles or visit my archives by visiting the menu above and click the Foliage articles and choose from among the different topics. If you have any questions please send me a message.

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!)


Fall Foliage of New England — 19 Comments

  1. Hi there, I’m about where forsterguest was in planning last week. First New England photo trip ever, totally overwhelmed, looking for a place to start. I’d like a classic New England fall color experience, and have my heart set on Vermont/New Hampshire. I can probably afford 6-8 days, and was thinking of flying in/out of Burlington. No dates yet, but it sounds like early-mid October might be best. I’d like to see Stowe and woodstock but am also thinking of the white mountains, because I would love to photograph streams or even small waterfalls. Any advice for a complete novice? Would you recommend staying in one place and doing day trips from there? Or a few days here, a few days there? I can’t even guess how long it takes to get places. Thanks in advance for your help.

  2. We are honeymooners, planning our road trip from NYC in the upcoming autumn.
    I would like to get your opinion and to get some point of interest and stops along the way:

    From NYC, starting thru Hudson valley up north Adirondack area.
    Spend the night at Cooperstown.

    Cooperstown via heart of Adirondack to Lake Placid, where we will stay the night.

    מעבר לקטע צפוני בוורמונט שכולל את כביש 100 ,וכביש 108 .
    From NY to VT, through 100 and 108 roads, night at Stowe.

    White mountains, night at N.Conway.

    Kancamagus, towards East of Vermont, night in Bennington.

    Heading south towards NYC via the Berkshires. night in NYC, and ent of the road trip.

    What do you think?
    Will we see fall colors in this period?
    Are the towns where we will stay lovely enough?
    Is the road trip doable? will you change something?
    Also, what are the ‘MUST SEE’ stuff in the roads I mentioned?

    Thanks a lot!

    • Well, this is quite the trip. To answer your questions. Would I change it (but that is me not you, never change it just because I would) Will you see colors? Yes, Are the towns lovely enough? Yes, as far as I know or remember….
      Is it doable??? Hmmm that is more difficult. Are you traveling because you want to be on the road a lot? Do you want to visit Cooperstown because you are a Baseball fanatic? or is it of mild interest and was along the way.
      With your dates, I would land at NYC to clear customs and then continue by plane to Burlington VT And start from the up to Stowe (a beautiful town for a Honeymoon as are many up there) from 28 Sept to 3 Oct I would drive much less and explore more by getting out of the car.

      To be short, you are spending much of your vacation driving and missing the best parts because you have to get to the next point. If you have a big fascination with NYC (it is rather nice) then, by all means, do it. If you have to see Cooperstown, then do it. It is your vacation so make it yours. But if it was me, then I would want to drive a bit less by finding 2 real nice places to stay. One in VT and one in NH and use those locations as a base of operations. drive out a few miles and then arrive back each evening to sit in front a cozy fire with a glass of wine. But if you start driving a hundred or more miles in a day then you will get back to the B&B or motel, tired…

      Let me know your thoughts…
      I’ll try to help with more info on the why of the trip…

  3. Generally would being up in Maine by October 6th or so be good timing? I realize this can change year by year. We are thinking of going to Niagra Falls first – and am having hard time figuring out timing. If colors in Vermont are usually at their peak on Columbus Day weekend then we should be able to travel thru Vermont and see some relatively good color–but how soon would we need to be into Maine ? So hard to plan when you’ve never been there. Beginning to wonder if we need to move Niagra Falls up a bit.

    • Yes, change is year by year also it depends on where in Maine? I would say if you head to Greenville Maine and Moosehead lake you see great color. I was there from 25-27 Sept and saw very nice color and by the 28-29th, Rangeley Lake was looking nice also. But if you head to the coast you will want to wait several weeks longer if not late October.

      Vermont will be a treat in the northern third from 29 Sept to 10 Oct. The middle third from 5 Oct to 15 Oct and the southern half from 12 Oct to 20 Oct…

      Niagra will turn mid-Oct due the proximity to the river. But it’s lovely year round.

  4. Excited to find your blog. We are planning a trip and I signed up for your reports. Do you also have a facebook page ?

  5. Hi Jeff,
    First time foliage viewers here and there is SO much to absorb. I’m planning a trip now that would get us to the Northeast on Oct 2 and we would work our way down by car to Providence, R.I. by Oct 6. Can you suggest which city we should fly into and where would be the best places to visit. If I understand correctly, we want to start north. I’m not sure the leaves will have started changing in R.I. by that weekend so we hope to see as much as we can further north. We’ve never seen Vermont and I read that Stowe is a nice place to see the leaves change, but that’s about the extend of my knowledge. Thanks for your advice and expertise.

    • I would land in Manchester NH or even Burlington VT. Then you are very close to the color. You can drive to Stowe or even to Emergo farm B&B in Danville VT or name a B&B in the North East Kingdom (NEK) of Vermont. (in Stowe hit Smuggler’s Notch and to see my images of it type in smugglers notch on any of my pages) You don’t need to worry too much about the drive to Providence since from Stowe it’s 3.4 hours or from Lincoln NH it’s 2.5hrs. So plan on staying in the NEK for a few days then head over to NH and near Jackson NH or a bit north and then explore from that location. You just have to plan to be in RI in time to leave.

      The colors don’t really start in RI until mid to late Oct so I wouldn’t be in a hurry to get there or plan too much time to search for color while there. It’s very scenic and well worth exploring just not for fall color between 2-6 Oct…


  6. Does anyone when the 2017 Northeast Kingdom Fall Foilage will be held. I believe last year it started on 9/25 and ran for 7days…….

    • I’m guessing but I would say Sept 29 or 30th will be the start and it will then move from town to town on each day afterwards through the 5th or 6th of Oct. They don’t let me know until August (if then) but if you picked a B&B or motel/hotel near Craftsbury or Danville or Saint Johnsbury you should be close enough for all those dates.

  7. Coming over 28th Sept to Oct 9th know it’s a good time to come from previous years.Starting Boston 2days then outside Salem for 2.After that up 93 to Lincoln. Wondered if there are any places on way up worth a visit ?Heading for Holderness,Squam Lake and Meredith but feel could be missing other places omn the way . Thanks for your help .

    • Due the early date (5oct) I’m thinking that driving straight up is best. Are there tons of places to visit? Yes, but in general the color is still developing south of the white mountains. You could take the slow route instead. If you leave Salem on 114 to I-95, you will head north towards Maine. When you see the left turn for route 16 take that to the white mountains. Very scenic, lots of little tourist spots to explore and this takes you through Tamworth NH. I did a 4 part article on that location last year. A bit early color wise but very nice and when you get up almost to Conway you can take the Kanc over to Lincoln. (Route112)

      • Thanks that’s only the start of it as going up as far as jefferson and over to Berlin.Going to Sugar Hill of course .Looking up trails there as didnt ecplore for long enough last time .As for timing ,I’ll take whatever comes just happy to be there .

  8. We’re coming for the 2017 fall foliage. We want to tour the Hudson River Valley mansions and then do the foliage or vise versa. I”m thinking 9 or 10 days. What dates would be best? I love how you tracked Nancy’s trip above. Where would we get the most color, bridges, steeples and village settings? Thanks.

    • Remember, the color for the most part goes from the north to the south and west and the coast will be the last. Take the trip up the valley and then take a ferry across Lake Champlain. head up route 7 then over to 100 up into Stowe. Then go into Montgomery bunches of covered bridges. Over into the white Mountains Jackson and Conway. Over the Kancamagus highway (Route 112) to Woodstock NH and then down to Woodstock Vermont. Wind your way doe the Connecticut river valley into the Berkshires of Massachusetts and maybe Stockton MA where Norman Rockwell had his studio (I’d suggest a tour of it) then down route 7 into CT and Litchfield hills. Now I’m assuming you are flying out of NYC so you just continue back there and head home… I hope this gives you a few ideas to start with… OH! you wanted a start date? 1 Oct making your way up the Hudson River valley with a couple days in NY and before you hit that ferry make sure you hit Fort Ticonderoga on Lake Champlain and then right near there is the ferry to Vermont which will bring you out just south of the Shelburne museum on Route 7… There are a million things to see. Pick a few and try not to spend all 9 days driving. pick some attractions and maybe thee Conway scenic train or better yet the Cog rail train to the top of Mount Washington… As I said, a Million things to do…

  9. Hi Nancy, Anywhere in Canada will be light on color… You could hit Montreal and the old town which is very historic but it’s still 1 hour north of the border… (Your call) Another interesting item.. We saw this on Chronicle. In Derby line VT is a library/Opera house that sites on the Canadian border. The Haskell Free Library sits astride the line between Canada and the US… Read about it here.
    6th I would still base it on your arrival time and what you feel you can do driving after coming across the country. If you arrive late on the 6th then stay in or near Boston, get a good meal and sleep. If you arrive early then drive to Woodstock VT (or that general area) on the 7th drive to either northern VT or into Canada. I would say north of Stowe somewhere would be good. 8th or so travel to Conway/Jackson explore.
    I would pick a spot for the long weekend. Maybe Conway or Ossipee NH because you can drive into Maine or into eastern Vermont. On Monday the 12th I would say head south and from here out you can probably do without reservations. I would say end up near New Salem MA on the 15/16th and then depending on departure time you can come back on I-90… I hope this helps somewhat…
    Peterborough NH is a artsy scenic town and just a little further along 101 is Dublin NH the home of Yankee magazine… and Petersham and New Salem MA are very pretty little towns around the Quabbin reservoir. You could also look at Historic Deerfield MA which is the home of Yankee candle and they have an old section of town that is truly historic…

    up near Jay peak or Derby Line, or

I'd love to hear what you think!