Fall Foliage Emerges in Far Northern New England
Though autumn doesn’t officially arrive until this coming Saturday morning, the weather this past weekend was as idyllically autumn-like as you can get in September. A cold front moved through very early on Saturday morning, ushering in pleasantly cool air, a fine autumn breeze, and abundant sunshine that lasted into the early part of this week.
To take advantage of the perfect weather, I headed off to our local apple orchard with some friends and their one year old, Annie. After we purchased, and promply ate some cider doughnuts on the tractor ride back to the apples, we were thrilled to see Annie catch on quickly! Though she found lots of branches with low hanging fruit, she really enjoyed being hoisted to the upper branches to pick some high ones. The apples were perhaps a bit more sparse this year due to late frosts last spring, but there were plenty for our friend’s family to lay the foundations of fine autumn memories!
The cool fall-like weather has been great for the emerging autumn colors as well. The best foliage years come about when warm sunny days give way to cool clear nights for extended stretches of time, and this year’s autumn approach is shaping up to be as good as any in recent memory. Rain and storms have moved through quickly, allowing soils to dry in between under abundant sunshine. Even the high winds this midweek were well timed, as the trees were still green enough to be generally spared from much loss.
Hints of foliage color are noticeable now throughout the Northern New England states, and stronger color has come on near the Canadian border. In many areas the color continues to be early this year, but perhaps not as abnormally so as originally predicted.
The Crown of Maine is leading the way with as much as half of the color already in, but the Connecticut Lakes region of northern New Hampshire is not far behind. The Northeast Kingdom of Vermont is a bit further belated, but with cool nights and perhaps widespread frosts expected later this week, the color should come on quite quickly. All of these areas should be showing high color by the middle of next week, a few days after the calendar makes the season official.
Thereafter, from the far north the color will move in a wave south and east across New England, taking some time fully cross the mountains, which act as a climatological bottleneck. The lower elevations of the mountain regions are still mostly green to this point, with strong but sporatic highlights of red and rust in the higher elevations. Even south of the mountains though, it’s hard to drive anywhere though without seeing a random sugar maple fringed with orange, or the birches that are speckled gold.
For me, last weekend was one of nostalgia, of staying close to home, connecting with friends and family and celebrating our pastoral roots. Of baking apple pies and introducing a new generation to all that is autumn. Hearing about high color has given me itchy feet though, and I’ll be heading out on a road trip and hike this weekend, traveling to the far north to extend the season that I enjoy so much. It’ll be a weekend of adventure, of new sites and sights in areas of New England I rarely explore.
There’s simply so much to see and do in New England in autumn, and it’s all just about upon us now.
Hopefully you are planning to join us this season! We’ll see you soon!