Tom Olson, New England Maple Museum (a 30 mile radius from Rutland):
On this date in past years, we have pretty much bid farewell to the leaf peaking season, even in our neck of the woods. Except for scattered areas of late color, Halloween was the last vestige of autumn. This year is the exception. Still surprisingly, bright with great contrast and color variation, not at all washed out and dull as one would expect. As I drove through our region Saturday, I was happy to see plenty of color. Despite a light frost along with the wind and rain, leave drop was minimal as they still seem to be anchored well to their branches.
The best display of remaining colors are found in the rolling hills and hollows of the Taconic Mountains (the mountain range west of Route 7 and east of the New York border/Lake Champlain). From Rupert and Dorset in the south to Bridport and Middlebury in the north, all east/west roads connecting Rt 7 and 22A are winners as the bright yellows of the late changing Sugar Maples are putting on quite a display beside the dark green meadows, golden corn fields and multicolored field and marsh grasses.
Olson’s Best bets are:
-Route 30 north from Pawlet to Cornwall. This is a delightful drive through the Mettawee Valley. The hills surrounding Lakes Bomoseen, Beebe and Hortonia are past peak, but bright and reflect beautifully in the lake water.
-Route 7 Middlebury to Wallingford. Still showing abundant yellow, gold and orange.
-Route 3 from Pittsford south to West Rutland. Quaint and a must see. The rolling hills through Proctor are still loaded with peak and slightly past peak color. Minimum leave drop.
-Route 4 and 4B from Rutland west to Fair Haven. Picture perfect; the hills on both sides of the road are loaded with color especially those bright yellow Sugar Maples.
-Rt 22A Fair Haven north to Bridport. Sugar Maples are peaking contrasting well with the green meadows, brown corn fields, and marsh grasses
-Rt 140 Wallingford to Middletown Springs, Rt 133 from West Rutland to Tinmouth, Rt 133 and Rt 153 to Rupert and Wells. Village Greens still have brightly colored Sugar Maple Trees. Also plenty of russet and dark orange oaks to enjoy.
Southern Vermont, Windsor County Forester: Jon Bouton:
It looks like fall color is going to be strung out this year. Many of the colorful species that cover the foothills and Green Mountains have shed their leaves, covering the ground. Along the warmer Connecticut River Valley, however, the red oaks are still on the red side of green. They will be colorful for the next couple weeks as the green chlorophyl fades and the reds that have been masked all summer are exposed. Our American beech have yellow outer leaves, while the inner, less exposed leaves are still deep green. Nice time of year!
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