Weekly Foliage Report | Southern New England Showing Great Fall Color
After Columbus Day weekend, New England’s most popular tourism areas become relatively quiet places. The beaches have had their last warm days, boats have been pulled off the water, and the majority of campgrounds have closed. Small town life resumes, now that the largest influx of visitors has enjoyed our fine autumn colors.
Locals know, though, that this is one of the best times to get outdoors, as the air has that certain perfect ‘autumn-ey’ crispness to it. You can’t help but be drawn to a woods road of a stroll, kicking the leaves as you go. Make sure you wear orange when you do, though!
There are also a few very popular autumn events this weekend across New England. The Keene Pumpkin Festival is sure to be bigger than ever, after it was featured on HGTV’s Pumkin Wars this weekend. For a smaller crowd and equally fun event, The Giant Pumpkin Regatta will take place an hour to the east in Goffstown, New Hampshire.
Further south, Salem, Massachusetts’ Haunted Happenings is in full swing in anticipation of their favorite upcoming holiday. The biggest annual event in the region this weekend though will without a doubt be the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston, which draws hundreds of thousands to watch the races.
Those venturing out to leaf peep will still have plenty to look at this coming weekend, as the color is very nice, and even making a comeback in many areas. You just have to move much further south to find it than in recent weeks!
Much of Northern New England is now past peak, and the far northern areas of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont are rapidly approaching bare. In the certain environments though, a few late turning species of trees will still offer some lingering color. In the lower reaches of the mountains, young beech trees in the understory will range from golden to brown for a little longer, and in the wetlands and swamps, tamarack, a deciduous conifer, turns a bright yellow before losing all of its needles.
Below far Northern New England, the best areas for finding peak colors this weekend are to be found along coastal Maine and New Hampshire, as well as interior Massachusetts and Connecticut. It’s been an interesting year in these areas for foliage. The red maples came on early and strong in late September, and when those fell in a storm, a significant lull in the color lasted about a week and a half. It’s come roaring back now, with the sugar maples putting on a very strong show right now.
It’s worth noting that while the color is very nice in these areas right now, I wouldn’t necessarily call the reemerging color a traditional peak, as in addition to the red maples being down, the oaks have yet to show any interest in turning. When the oaks do come in, if they have any color, it may turn out to be one of the longer seasons we’ve had in some time up here. Regardless of whether it’s a true peak or not, now is a great time to explore the Litchfield Hills in Connecticut, the Pioneer Valley in Massachusetts, and the Merrimack Valley of New Hampshire.
To pinpoint other colorful areas this weekend, I’d simply refer to the attached map, which is updated daily on our website, YankeeFoliage.com. The map relies on user reports (and some moderation), and though there is usually some significant variation in each county, it is a great tool! Also, if you’re on the road, be sure to post your pictures and reports to keep other foliage fans abreast of the ever changing conditions.
While not highlighted by the map, the micro-climates near the bigger lakes in Maine and New Hampshire, as well as shoreline of Lake Champlain are also holding great color this weekend.
The last areas to reach peak this year are going to be the coastal areas south of Boston, the Cape, Rhode Island and Southern Connecticut. The color in the maples is just coming in there now, and will continue to get brighter over the next week or two. These areas are definitely worth exploring as the autumn color drops off further north.
Only a few more weeks to get out there and enjoy autumn in New England, we hope you get out to take advantage of it!