Vermont Fall Foliage Reports
2015 Foliage Season Comes to a Close
October 21, 2015
"While most of Vermont has moved past peak foliage conditions, some great viewing remains in all regions, especially in the Champlain, Connecticut, and Taconic valleys. Vermont's widespread northern hardwood forests are still showing some excellent late orange and red hues. There are many swaths of oak woodlands that are still quite green and promising to go russet, along with the still-developing bright yellows of the later-turning aspen species. As the last weeks of another great Vermont fall foliage season wind down, we look forward to the coming winter."
Beyond leaf peeping, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy Vermont’s mountains, meadows and villages. Late October sees the emergence of pumpkin people on street corners, porches, and country lanes, and there are plenty of upcoming fall events, including several spooky celebrations October 30 and 31. You can find fun things to do in Vermont with the Vermont.com Calendar of Events. Don't see your event? Feel free to suggest an event so we can add it to our Calendar.
If you couldn't make it to Vermont this fall, you can still 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 "Current Conditions" map is not to scale for foliage color, but provides an approximate view of the current foliage color in Vermont.
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). The exact timing of the color change varies from year to year. Please refer to the "Reports From Around the State" below for the most recent first-hand reports from our volunteer Leaf Squad members.
The "Foliage Forecaster" map shows where and when the colors typically change in Vermont during a normal foliage season. Please note that this is only an approximation based on typical foliage color progression.
The Vermont.com Foliage Reports have been provided by the Vermont Department of Tourism, and by volunteer members of our Leaf Squad from around the state.
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For more info on current conditions, call Vermont's Seasonal Hotline at (802)828-3239
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REPORTS FROM AROUND THE STATE
October 28, 2015
"The absence of heavy rain or wind equals excellent opportunities for foliage color in Shelburne. An attached image shows west view from Wake Robin Drive and Bostwick Road across Lake Champlain. A brilliant red maple is in the staff parking lot behind Wake Robin's community center. Drive slowly, please!
Many oaks are rich mahogany, and others are still green and gold. There are some glorious trees on back roads: a lovely one is to follow Bostwick south into Charlotte. On the way, you'll find Shelburne Orchards, home of cider donuts and many apple varieties. A mile or so south, swing right (lake-bound) on Lake Road. Along the net three miles are lovely old maples and oaks, still in high color. Turn left on Ferry Road, away from the lake, cross Route 7 and at the hilltop find Charlotte Congregational Church. The pie ladies, led by Martha Perkins, have fresh pies every WED and FRI, 400-600pm, last day of sale November 13. You can just drive by, but they sell out fast. A benefit - the church grounds have some fabulously colored trees."
-- Michael Dabney, Shelburne, VT
October 23, 2015
"What a brilliant fall foliage season we have enjoyed here in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom! There were fantastic fall festivals, harvest dinners, foliage hikes and paddles, and more! As the last leaves fall we still have some wonderful Halloween events to look forward to including the Grave Rave Party at Parker Pie, the Hallow Haus at Jay Peak Resort, and the Haunted Halloween at QBurke. There are also some great 'end of the season' recreational events coming up to include the CircumBurke Mountain Bike & Trail Run Challenge and the Halloween Hustle!
This is also a great time of year to just get away and relax and refresh before the busy holiday season arrives. There are wonderful B&B's, cozy inns, lakeside cottages, farm stay properties, and area resorts that would be delighted to host your stay."
-- Gloria Bruce, Northeast Kingdom Travel & Tourism Assoc., East Burke, VT
October 26, 2015
"While we are heading into 'stick season' here in Southern Vermont, you may still be able to catch a few pockets of color here-and-there as the last leaves of the season fall to the ground. The air is cool and crisp as the leaves crunch underfoot and it won't be long before the Green Mountains of Vermont are covered in a blanket of white. Enjoy Vermont's great ski season, and we'll see you next fall!"
-- Renee-Marie Smith, 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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