|Fall Foliage Season in New England|
|New England's climate has its glories, the greatest of which is the autumn foliage.|
The six New England states offer one of nature's finest spectacles: the changing color of the fall foliage on its maple, beech, birch, oak, gum, willow, and other trees.
Vibrant reds, briliant yellows and muted tans and browns cover the branches. Countryside panoramas become blazing sweeps of color. Individual trees are like huge sun-lanterns. A single leaf can be a marvel.
The leaves die and fall to earth in a blizzard of fall foliage color that is one of earth's finest natural phenomena. The ground is covered in color, and you walk through it, scuffing the leaves about you, as though in a field of gold.
Throughout fall foliage season, days are still warm and pleasant, nights a bit chilly but not uncomfortably so. City people load their bikes into the car and head for the country, picking up fresh apple cider, pumpkins, and squash from farm stands on the way home.
Fresh cranberries are on sale in the markets all autumn, and although the blueberry-picking season is past, many apple orchards open so you can "pick-your-own" apples and get the freshest fruit possible at a low price. Many pick-your-own orchards feature fresh-squeezed apple cider for sale, along with apple pies, apple doughnuts and other fruit treats.
Color North to South
The cold touches the northern New England states of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine first, and the color change starts there in September and moves southward and eastward through the region, with the peak of color in the northern states usually in late September and early October.
The peak comes a bit later in the southern states of Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, often climaxing in mid-October—Columbus Day weekend is often thought to be the "peak," but there is little truth in this as peak color depends on the weather in a specific year, and your location in New England. There's usually plentiful color all the way through the end of October and the celebration of Hallowe'en.
In many years, fall foliage color extends well into November with some of the deepest, most glowing reds on maple, gum and oak trees coming then. You may not see whole forests in bright colors, and by mid- to late November some trees will be bare of leaves, but others will be at their blazing best. If severe wind and rain doesn't bring the leaves down, you may enjoy pockets of brilliant color in protected valleys right through Thanksgiving.
Millions of people want to get away to the country for a weekend during foliage season, no matter where they live. Those who don't want to tangle with the traffic on fall weekends can take special bus and rail fall foliage tours from the major cities. More...
Most tourist resorts and inns stay open through September and often until Columbus Day weekend in mid-October. Those that stay open all year sometimes close for two weeks or so from November to early December to give the staff a break before the advent of ski season.
—by Tom Brosnahan