State Foliage Report No.10 issued Thurs. Oct. 20th, 2011

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State Foliage Report No.10 issued Thurs. Oct. 20th, 2011

Postby admin » Thu Oct 20, 2011 5:58 pm

River Valleys and the Lake Champlain Shoreline Take the Spotlight

MONTPELIER, Vt. – Despite some midweek rain and wind, foresters report that the autumn display continues in the lower elevation valleys along the eastern and western borders of Vermont. The most abundant foliage is found in the rolling hills of the broad Champlain Valley, including the Lake Champlain Islands and the Burlington area, and in the valleys of southern Vermont.

In southeast Vermont along the Connecticut River, the lower elevations are in full color, reports Forester Sam Schenski about the Brattleboro to Springfield region.

“Color is still good in the lower valleys where the oaks are coming to a red to russet peak. They are especially nice when larch, poplars or beech are mixed in, contributing yellow contrasts. I-91 and I-89 both have some scenic views. Route 5, which runs north/south along the Connecticut River, is a good bet for a nice drive,” says Windsor County Forester Jonathan Bouton.

He agrees with the foresters who have suggested that the back roads and trails are a great way to enjoy the foliage. “The leaves on the trails and roads make for beautiful drives or walks,” he adds.

To the north, around Burlington, Chittenden County Forester Keith Thompson says the foliage is little changed from early in the week. “The hillsides still have a spattering of color, with some pockets still exhibiting brilliant color in Underhill, Jericho, Hinesburg, Huntington and Richmond,” he reports.

Due to the warming lake effect, good color persists along the lake all the way north to the Canadian border. “St. Albans, Fairfield, and The Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge in Swanton are all really great places to visit right now. The refuge is teeming with waterfowl and the colors are beautiful,” suggests Franklin County Forester Nancy Patch.

“Color is still plentiful on the western sloping hillsides and valleys along the north/south corridors. Poking around the back roads in Addison County (south and west of Middlebury) and Rutland County will not be a disappointment as the rolling hillsides and valleys in these locations are sheltered from the elements,” reports Tom Olson from the New England Maple Museum.

Also, areas of bright foliage will still be found in the sheltered mountain villages and towns of central and northern Vermont, though the hills and mountain sides appear increasingly gray as the leaves drop from the canopy. At the same time, anyone hiking or walking woodland trails will find that the understory of smaller, younger trees feature a second wave of color, typically intense lemon yellows.

“Most of the areas here in the northern tier are past peak although there are pockets that are still there. The colors are down to gentle russets, soft yellows and pastel orange at this point. It is a lovely time to take a hike on a colorful carpet of newly fallen leaves,” concludes Lamoille County Forester Ray Toolan.

Best Bets: In southern Vermont, suggested drives include Routes 7A or 7 from Manchester to Bennington, Route 313 in Arlington, Route 153 between Rupert and Wells, Route 315 near Rupert, Route 5 along the Connecticut River, Route 30 from Manchester to Rupert, Route 35 from Townshend to Chester, and Route 30 from Brattleboro to Newfane.

In Addison and Rutland Counties, the foliage along the east/west highways, such as Routes 4, 53,125 and 140, are holding up exceptionally well. The north/south Routes 22A and 7 from New Haven and Bridport, and south to Dorset and Pawlet continue to display good color.

Route 30 north from Pawlet to Cornwall is showing plenty of bright yellows from the maples and aspen, orange and burnt red from the oak; also, oranges, red and crimson from the sumac. The hills surrounding Lakes Beebe and Hortonia are at peak color and reflect beautifully in the lake water.

Route 7 from Middlebury to Wallingford is peak to past peak in the foothills, but still showing an abundance of yellow, gold and orange.

Route 3 from Pittsford south to West Rutland: The rolling hills around Proctor are loaded with color . . . a lot of red.

Route 4 from Rutland west to Castleton: Mountains on both sides of the highway are peak to slightly past, still a sure place to leaf peek.

Route 22A Fair Haven north to Bridport: Sugar Maples at peak are contrasting well with the green meadows, brown corn fields, and marsh grasses.

Also suggested are Route 140 Wallingford to Middletown Springs and Route 133 from West Rutland to Tinmouth; Route 133 and Route 153 to Rupert and Wells. Hilly terrain and village greens still displaying brightly colored Sugar Maples.

Route 7 from Burlington to Charlotte is showing pockets of bright color. Also recommended are Route 2 through the Champlain Islands, and Route 78, which traverses the Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge, from Alburgh Center to Highgate.

In the higher mountain valleys of central and northern Vermont, town and village centers still have many trees just reaching peak colors, contrasting with the dark green of evergreens and the soft gray of hillsides where the leaves have fallen.

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