When to go....

Discuss Fall Foliage in Vermont, when to come, where to stay, where to take a tour etc. Note: You must be registered in order to post. If you have trouble registering, use the contact us form on Scenes of Vermont's home page.

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orenphotography
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When to go....

Post: # 12979Post orenphotography
Mon Jul 11, 2011 10:35 am

I've been looking at my photos taken in 08, 09 and last year trying to decide when to take a week vacation and drive up to VT and NH. Seems that I've always gone the week of Columbus day which falls on 10/10 this year. Last year felt like a dud because of the hot, dry summer. This year, between the significant snow and pretty good rain so far this Summer, I'm expecting a much better foliage season. Any early thoughts out there on the best week to plan a trip?
Thanks
E


admin
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Re: When to go....

Post: # 12980Post admin
Fri Jul 15, 2011 8:49 am

You are already in the ballpark with your dates. It is very hard to be specific and no one can predict color that exactly. However, you can keep an eye on what's happening by visiting this board closer to season on a regular basis. Then, when the time comes, be prepared to modify your travel. The Northeast Kingdom is always guaranteed to be good but it is more remote and foliage starts about a week earlier.

faxmachineanthem
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Re: When to go....

Post: # 12984Post faxmachineanthem
Sat Jul 16, 2011 7:36 am

I think it was pwt that once suggested going the first week of October and staying near Route 2. That has worked well for me.

I think a sweet spot is the Lyndonville/Danville/St Johnsbury area. From there it's easy to get to a lot of beautiful places -- Groton State Forest, Peacham, Lake Willoughby. Since it's near I-93 it's easy to get to great spots in New Hampshire like Sugar HIll and Crawford Notch. Since it's near I-89 it's easy to quickly go north and south if the peak foliage moves. It's even within day trip distance to Woodstock and Stowe if you feel like you need a little more civilization.

Andy
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Re: When to go....

Post: # 12985Post Andy
Sat Jul 16, 2011 7:50 am

Where are you driving from? If you have the luxury of being within 3-4 hours of Vermont, you should try to block essentially the last week of September and the month of October and be flexible. Easy to say, if you have a "day job" or other responsibilities. But my experience tells me that you simply cannot "time" this phenomena. In 2005, I was in Vermont the first week in October. It was green. In 2006, I was there in the second week and had already "missed" it in some areas. In 2010, I was there during the second to third week again. In some places they were still waiting for color and in others, it was gone.

The other thing about Vermont is that it is not regionally predictable. So many factors affect it. The conventional "wisdom" is that it starts in the North at the end of September - early October, and progresses to the South during a 2-week period. My eccentric view is that this conventional wisdom is wrong. Why? because it does not take into consideration other factors. The 3 years I was there all seemed to be not "normal" foliage years. But the following clearly will drive what happens with the color:

1. Elevation. Generally, the higher elevations will turn and peak first (this is the case no matter whether they are in the NEK or in Southern Vermont).

2. Weather conditions. If the weather is dry in late summer/early fall, the leaves will drop (sometimes before they even turn into those brilliant NE colors). If there is wind, that will be the death knell of the foliage.

3. Proximity to natural features. One thing that has been consistent in my travels to Vermont. The foliage around Lake Champlain always turns later (sometimes well into late October). OTOH, it appears that East Central Vermont always turns early. 2 of 3 times I was in Waits River, East Orange, and E. Corinth, the leaves had dropped by the second week of October. Some discussions with local residents confirmed that color is best in that area almost consistently in very late September and the very early October (at the same time, we were finding nice color in the NEK!!). My empirical research (being there plus discussions with some local residents lead to the same conclusion for Newfane and Townsend, which are pretty darn far South -- in 2010, they were well past peak by the end of the second week of October, and yet we had found nice color in Barton earlier that week). Another place that always seems to hold on nicely, is Peacham, which is fairly North (go figure).

My point -- to get the great color, you will need to be flexible, if possible, and keep your fingers crossed that Mother Nature cooperates :-).

My Vermont "lookalile" is the Upper Peninsula Michigan. Same story. Color is elusive and different from East to West. But there is some spectacular stuff there. I am a 4+ hour drive up there. But I always try to block out some time to just jump in the car on Friday a.m. and find a long weekend up there. I try to leave all the October weekends (when I am in the state, which seems rare in October these days) open. When I retire, I will have a planned itinerary which will allow flexibility and I'll just keep chasing the color :)
Andy

If it sounds too good to be true, its probably . . . .

Andy
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Re: When to go....

Post: # 12986Post Andy
Sat Jul 16, 2011 7:56 am

@OP: Fax is right on. That is definitely the area for your central command post.

@ Fax: Hey FAX! Nice to see you here. Must be people are starting the think about their Fall excursions already :lol:

I have a planned trip to Northern Virginia/Washington, D.C. in August and though I have done this every summer since 1984, I haven't gone into the district with camera and gear for years. Bought a book on photographing the area, just to jog my memory. Hope to go in for an evening shoot and an early morning shoot this year.

Will make a trip in September to our "U.P." Mostly scouting, but maybe will find some good images -- though things will still be green at that point.

Then, first week in October, San Francisco and vicinity. Will try to bring a GG bridge image home, among others. No Vermont this year :( . I will have to live through you, CT, Carol, and others vicariously :)

Hope all is well with you.
Andy

If it sounds too good to be true, its probably . . . .


faxmachineanthem
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Re: When to go....

Post: # 12987Post faxmachineanthem
Sat Jul 16, 2011 8:17 am

Hey Andy! Yes I've been thinking about VT a lot this week -- trying to book a place. I think we're going to stay in a cottage in Craftsbury this year. If I had the chance to switch it for NorCal I'd probably take it though. :D

Andy
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Re: When to go....

Post: # 12988Post Andy
Sat Jul 16, 2011 8:37 am

My daughter moved to SF in May. I suspect we will be making at least one annual trip there. Pretty exciting, as it is within striking distance of Big Sur, Yosemite, and the whole Pacific Coast!

Craftsbury is a pretty magical place. You should enjoy!
Andy

If it sounds too good to be true, its probably . . . .

orenphotography
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Re: When to go....

Post: # 12989Post orenphotography
Sat Jul 16, 2011 8:38 am

Thanks for the posts everyone! I am about 3 hours drive away (north shore of MA) from most spots and am fortunate to have Wednesdays off. I do typically ask for a 1 week vacation though and am leaning toward the week before Columbus day this year. Just wanted to see if those of you with far more visits than me had a better week to go.

Andy, if you need some suggestions for DC, here's a gallery of my favorites from my years spent down there (click to see the gallery):
Image

E

Andy
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Re: When to go....

Post: # 12990Post Andy
Sat Jul 16, 2011 8:50 am

Thanks, Eyal. Looked at your Smug site. Some great stuff there. Forum members - take a look. Some really nice NE and Vermont images.
Andy

If it sounds too good to be true, its probably . . . .

pwt54
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Re: When to go....

Post: # 12991Post pwt54
Sat Jul 16, 2011 9:01 am

Sorry for the delay. I've been out enjoying some long delayed summer weather. I usually recommend the first week of October along the route US 2 corridor because that area is starting to peak at that time. North of there still has great late peak color and south of there has great early color. If peak is early or late, then you are only a short drive away. Route 100 should be peaking all the way down to route US 4. I like to wander around the route US 4 corridor on the Columbus Day weekend.

ctyanky
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Re: When to go....

Post: # 13001Post ctyanky
Wed Jul 20, 2011 7:23 pm

Eyal: You have some beautiful photos in your galleries. Love your Vermont shots! Thanks for sharing them! Despite this horrendous heatwave, they still manage to get one excited for fall foliage!!!!


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