Foliage in Sutton and Enfield, NH
Early October: I started late this morning (late for me means 6 am) and headed up I-93 to I-89 but I got off on route 202 and drove to the Bradford, NH, exit. I traveled north on route 114 with my first stop in Sutton, NH. Just off the main road is the South Sutton Meeting House surrounded by yellow/gold trees. Photo op!
I continued up route 114 and stopped at a general store and got my morning coffee and muffin. While making my coffee up, I talked to an old gentleman who said he thought the trees were much more dense this year and in his opinion it should be much better color than past years.
I took route 11 east off route 114 and the road is very colorful but only 50 percent color so far. I got off route 11 and chose route 4A, which I followed all the way to Enfield, NH. I stopped along the road and took my tripod down into a small creek and shot some slow shots (blurring the water) but the light was uneven and some sections were overexposed while the shadows were underexposed. Photo tip: if you’re going to try this, try to shoot on an overcast day so the light is more even.
A bit further along I found a sugar shack on the right side of the road and the color was spectacular around the shack. The farmer had already laid in his supply of wood for next year’s sugaring which could be seen on the end of the building.
I probably found peak color near and around Enfield, NH. It was very colorful on the drive up and I think these rural routes can be enjoyed for another next week or so. This could be a good alternative route to the White Mountains during the very busy Columbus Day Weekend.
Everyone is worried about what the recent wind and rain did to the leaves. In my drive I saw a few trees that had bare patches or were totally bare. Surprisingly, it was mostly along route I-95 north where I saw most of the bare trees…Let’s be honest. You don’t plan on doing your leaf peeping on the highway right? So no problem there!
Other NH locations that are a good bet for peak foliage at this time? The NH Tourism Dept says the notches (Franconia Notch, Crawford Notch, Pinkham Notch) are in great color and, since we got a decent rain, the Flume Gorge in Lincoln, NH, should be a fantastic sight with foliage and a high volume of water. Sabbaday Falls on the “Kanc” (the popular Kancamagus Highway — route 112 connecting Lincoln and Conway, NH) and the different scenic overlooks are great vantage points to see foliage as far as the eye can see.
Massachusetts’ highest peak is Mount Greylock at the northwest corner of the state and the northern end of the Berkshires. There is a paved road system to the summit, with panoramic views into five states. Joe Majchrowski at the Mount Greylock Visitor Center says in early October the color is very pleasing at between 50-75 percent and peak will arrive at a mid-October weekend. Joe also noted that while the leaves at the top of the mountain come down first, the number of hardwood trees is only a small percentage above 2000 feet. Down at his level, 1600 feet, the hardwoods retain their leaves longer and a mid-October weekend is very colorful in the Berkshires.
For a quick check in central Massachusetts, Lynn Hartman at Hartman’s Herb Farm and B&B in Barre, MA, says the area around Quabbin Reservoir is 70 percent colorful, but she feels peak will arrive in another week. Farther south, Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, MA, is approaching peak at this same time (early October). Folks there say that one more weekend should be their big peak weekend.
This drive was adapted from Jeff Folger’s 2009 blog post on foliage in Concord, New Hampshire.
Have questions on where to find the best foliage on your trip? Check in with our foliage spotters on Yankee‘s Foliage Facebook page.