Vermont Fall Foliage Reports
2015 Foliage Season Begins!
August 31, 2015
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.
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!
The Vermont.com Foliage Reports are provided in part thanks to the US Forest Service, the Vermont Department of Tourism, and various "Leaf Peepers" around the state.
If you'd like to send us reports about 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 28, 2015
"First Tree: In Shelburne, the earliest-turning maple was already yellow and orange on its north-facing flank by August 21. This tree is behind the yellow main building of the Lake Champlain Waldorf School on Bostwick Road, just lakeward of Route 7 along a dirt driveway leading into the Shelburne Museum property. It has been the first to change colors for each of the four fall seasons I've lived nearby.
9-1 on Saturdays, Shelburne hosts a farmers market. There's a smaller one on Sundays at South Burlington High School, corner of Dorset St. and Kennedy Drive.
Here's a lovely drive out of the town center, in which you are certain to find beautiful color as the season more fully blooms:
Route 7 south, turn right at Bostwick Road. Follow Bostwick toward the lake, passing Wake Robin and Shelburne Orchards. (Later in fall, you can pick-your-own and get great fresh cider and cider donuts at the orchard store.) Bostwick becomes Greenbush Road in Charlotte. Follow it south to Lake Road, turn right on Lake, and follow it to Ferry Road, in Charlotte. Turn left onto Ferry Road, follow it across Route 7. About 1.5 miles past 7, bear right into Hinesburg Road. Follow Hinesburg Road to Spear Street, then left (north) on Spear. Follow Spear to Marsett Road, turn left back into Shelburne."
-- Michael Dabney, Shelburne, VT
August 31, 2015
"The morning hours have been very cool recently in southern Vermont and the colors around the Manchester area have been slowly turning from Summer's deep green to the lighter shades of green, yellow, red, and orange. We actually started to see some fall colors around the beginning of August!"
-- Renee-Marie Smith, Admin Asst & Graphic Design, Vermont.com, 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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