The longest day of the year has passed and we’re sliding into fall
This is one of several, Fall foliage Primers for Leaf Peepers. Even so, I try every year to answer as many of your questions as possible and please remember there is one of me and a million of you… So wait times will vary.
In picking dates for finding Autumn colors Where=When
First I have written a bunch of articles over the past years and maybe you don’t know where to find them! Or maybe you have found them under Foliage Articles above but where do you begin?
So let’s start simple. WHEN = WHERE. (the inverse is just as true) Pretty simple right? Either you pick a set of dates or you pick a location that you really want to visit. So if you first pick the when now you pick the location. If you start with the dates, they will choose your location. (in a general sort of way)
Harder than it looks, or is it?
The hardest part for me is to tell leaf peepers where to go based on their dates. Not because the fall color won’t be there, but because it may not be “perfect”. If you read my article on finding peak fall foliage, the one thing to remember is that every year is different.
Sometimes the full color is late or maybe the leaves start to drop early but either way, there will be fall colors before you get there and after you leave. Sumacs will start to turn red in August but most of you would be disappointed to see the canopy of all green above and a scattering of scarlet to orange bushes below.
Maybe you noticed I said Full, in the previous paragraph? Well, this is because the fall colors will start with a few tiny baby steps. A few leaves will begin to turn then a branch up near the crown of the tree. Then, a few days later the entire crown is turning orange and further down the green leaves are more yellow than green.
The next time you see the tree, the orange leaves are edged with red and the yellow leaves that are down below are rainbows of orange mixed with yellow and if you are lucky a bit of red. All this has happened in the space of five to 10 days.
This is the true story of a tree at the end of my street. Every day in October I drive by and I sit (if I’m lucky enough to hit the red light) and I observe the changes in the colors. There is a Norway maple near it that turns only yellow and up the block are a few Linden trees that won’t begin turning until the end of October. This is the way of the fall colors.
The Basics of Leaf Peeping
- Don’t: come here on Columbus Day weekend (I’ve heard people say this)
- First, when I say avoid the Columbus Day weekend, it doesn’t mean don’t be here, over this long weekend. It means don’t arrive on Friday in Boston and then expect to get on Route 93 out of Logan and “quickly” drive up to Franconia Notch. On Friday afternoon/evening you will be sharing the road 50,000 other Leaf Peepers. So the Journey that would normally take a couple of hours can take 4-8 or more hours depending on how far north you go.
- DO: Arrive on the 3rd or 4th of Oct and be up here WITH reservations and plan to stay off the highways. If you read my articles and find the out of the way places like Jefferson Notch OR Pondicherry Wildlife Refuge and you won’t see anyone. Well, maybe a few people, because they read my blog and will be out looking for secluded notch roads.
- Don’t be afraid to travel on Columbus Day or the days leading up to it.
- Do stay OFF the Highways or near to the highways leading up into Northern New England.
- Can you travel on Columbus Day? Sure! I have left the house at 3 AM on Columbus Day, up to Stowe VT and I didn’t have much of an issue. The secret is to travel early and be waiting for sunrise, especially if the spot is popular (like Smugglers Notch or the Jenne Farm). I then spent the day avoiding heavy traffic. I drove to another iconic location on the Eastern Vermont border. Waits River is a very small town on Route 25 South East of Montpelier. If you head down it and arrive in Bradford without seeing it, it means you sneezed and missed it.
- Not an early riser? Do you have children that don’t wake early or you yourself are not an early riser, then sleep in and get breakfast when you wake. If you are in small places like Craftsbury VT or Stark NH then you can travel late morning and get to many places without seeing too much traffic.
The first of my Iconic locations
This is my first chapter of my Fall foliage Primer, OR… Maybe it’s a part of Chapter 1 on a book that is TBD. Thoughts?Jeff "Foliage" Folger You can purchase images by visiting my Fine Art Gallery websites
- My Gallery on Fine Art America
- Try out the new Fall foliage forum
- Join my New England Fall Foliage page on Facebook
- Follow @Foliage_Reports on Twitter
- Follow me on Instagram @Jeff_Foliage
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.