Vermont Fall Foliage Reports
2014 Early Foliage Reports
August 27, 2014
Fall Foliage Season in Vermont is starting to creep up on us again and the leaves have already started to change colors on a few treetops across the state.
From mid-September through late October, we will become surrounded by a spectacular show of colors and beginning after Labor Day Weekend, Vermont.com will provide you with updates on this page as the foliage changes. In the meantime you can find some gorgeous Fall scenery in our Autumn Photo Gallery, thanks to local photographers and visitors to Vermont.
But truly, you've got to be here to fully enjoy the leaves. And remember, it's never too early to plan a fall vacation in Vermont!
Parts of our Vermont foliage reports are thanks to the US Forest Service, the Vermont Department of Tourism, and various "Leaf Peepers" around the state.
If you'd like to be on Vermont.com's "Leaf Squad" to help report the Foliage conditions in your area of Vermont, please contact us!
The map to the right is not to scale for foliage color, but provides an approximate view of the current foliage color in Vermont, but you probably won't see much change happen until September.
Color changes generally spread from the higher, cooler areas of the Green Mountains down into the Lake Champlain Valley and Connecticut River Valley (moving from north to south across Vermont).
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REPORTS FROM AROUND THE STATE:
August 27, 2014
"Fall color like this scene from Montgomery Center in 2013 are likely again this year - but are expected to come earlier.
The Jay Peak/Montgomery Area at the top of Vermont is usually among the first spots to see trees shedding their green for browns, golds and bright reds. The addition of 7 covered bridges in the single town of Montgomery always makes the area a popular one for leaf-lovers and photographers.
A much-cooler summer will most likely result in an earlier leaf season than last year. Early-indicator tree groves in Hazen's Notch began turning the first week of September last year - this year they were already changing by August 22.
Another advantage to the area is the wide disparity in altitude. Montgomery is only at 600 feet above sea level, where Jay Peak just 7 miles away crests at 4,000. This gives leafers the certainty that whichever week they come, they need only adjust their altitude to be assured of great color.
Currently, estimates are that the peak weekends in this area will be one of the last three weekends of September. Color lasting until the first weekend of October at this point appears to be unlikely."
-- Darren Drevik, Owner, Phineas Swann Bed & Breakfast Inn, Montgomery Center, VT
August 27, 2014
"The month of August has been very cool compared to past years, so the foliage season seems to have started much earlier than usual. I've already started to see some color change on many trees along route 11/30 in Southern Vermont between Londonderry and Manchester. There are even a couple trees that have a branch or two in full color already. Although this foliage season may be starting earlier than usual, it just means we have that much more time to enjoy it!"
-- Renee-Marie Smith, Admin Asst & Graphic Design, Vermont.com Calendar of Events, Manchester, VT
A great place to stop while you're Leaf Peeping in Southern Vermont, is the Dutton Berry Farm Stands. Well known for their Vermont grown produce including farmer-grown fruits and vegetables, cider, maple syrup, plants, and other unique local products, the Dutton Berry Farmstands offer a cornucopia of great-tasting Vermont produce and products. Located on Route 11/30 in Manchester, Route 30 in Newfane, and Route 9 in West Brattleboro.
Best Bets: During the earliest part of foliage season, viewing is more about elevation than location. Your best chances for spotting color are to 'get high' or 'get low.' Higher elevations with panoramic views will allow you to spot smatterings of color in the valleys below. Alternatively, you can 'get low' - marshy areas near bodies of water typically offer the first areas of foliage change and also offer a wide variety of tree species which enlarges the palette of early season colors.
Helpful Tip: Plan Ahead!
Foliage season is a very popular time to visit Vermont, so if you want to stay in a particular place on a particular weekend, call in advance to make sure rooms are available. Having your lodging plans made in advance will avoid unnecessary stress and allow you to enjoy your foliage season odyssey. Also too, it is a good idea to make dining reservations as early as possible in the day or even the night before.
When To Come For 'Peak' Foliage:
There is no one 'perfect' time to visit Vermont to see peak foliage. Color change begins in mid-September and runs through the first two to three weeks in October and varies by elevation, progressing from north to south and higher to lower elevations during the course of the season. As such, there are many 'peaks' so that you can make your plans based on the timing and location that works for you.
Science Behind the Leaves Changing Colors:
During the short summer months, broad-leafed trees such as maples, oaks and birches produce food to nourish themselves for growth. They do this through a process known as photosynthesis, using the energy of the sun to produce food. As the days grow shorter in early fall, the increasing periods of darkness trigger leafy plants to slow down photosynthesis and stop growing. A pigment in the leaves called chlorophyll (which gives leaves their green color) is used in photosynthesis, so the slowing of this process means there is less green pigment. But leaves contain pigments other than green, called carotenoids and anthocyanins. Once the greens fade, carotenoids are revealed (yellow, orange, and brown colors), anthocyanins and are produced (red and purple colors).
Certain colors are characteristic of particular plant species. Red maples live up to their name by turning scarlet, while most sugar maples glow a warm orange. Aspen and birches display sunny yellows, while oak and beech leaves turn bronze and gold. Most of Vermont's fall foliage color is provided by red and sugar maples, two resilient tree species that constitute more than 50 percent of our forest's trees. You can find even more details on leaves and their changing colors, courtesy of the US Forest Service: Why Leaves Change Colors
"Top 25 Foliage Towns in New England," - Yankee Magazine (2010) :
#3: Manchester, VT
#5: Middlebury, VT
#6: Waitsfield, VT (tied w/ 1 other town)
#10: Woodstock, VT (tied w/ 3 other towns)
#11: Grafton, VT (tied w/ 2 other towns)
#13: Jeffersonville, Montgomery, & Stowe, VT (tied w/ 2 other towns).
Find more info about Fall Foliage in New England, from photographer Jeff "Foliage" Folger.
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