Jim Salge Returns for the 2012 Foliage Season

3.50 avg. rating (73% score) - 2 votes
Jim Salge Yankee foliage blogger

Jim Salge Yankee’s foliage blogger

Jim Salge returns for the 2012 foliage season to provide Yankee readers with foliage forecasts. He’ll also be sharing his experiences as a photographer and providing you with great tips to help you take better photos.

As a former meteorologist at the Mount Washington Observatory, Jim is a keen observer of the progression of the seasons in New England. He’ll use his knowledge of weather, geography and climate to pinpoint the best time to visit a location for the best light, atmosphere, and most importantly, color.

Jim has a deep routed appreciation for the nature and the wilderness, which has manifested itself into numerous outdoor pursuits. He spends his free time exploring the New England landscape, often beginning before dawn, and staying out after sunset, immersing himself in the ecology of the natural environment. He has long enjoyed hiking, fly fishing, mountain biking and cross country skiing, but now plans these activities to compliment his photography.

  • Thanks,
    I’m glad you are enjoying the blog. You will have some good route options during the 5th through the 8th, whereas the earlier dates you will likely only find early color in the far north. Good luck!

  • Sampath

    Hi Jim,

    First of all thanks for great blog, it is very useful for nature lovers, secondly we are planning to travel for fall colors around Lincoln, NH and Kancamagus, NH and might be Vermont, NH during Oct 5th to 8th, what is ur opinion on these days.?

    also we have option of visiting early during September 14th to 17th.? are these days early for colors.?

    Thanks for your help in advance.

  • Chiara,
    My answer will depend on whether you are traveling to Northern or Southern New England. If you are headed to the far northern parts of Vermont, NH and Maine, the earlier dates may be better, otherwise, coastal and southern cities would be best with the later dates.

    You may find this map useful:

    Good luck!

  • We will be in the New York/Boston area from Oct. 5 – 15/2012. I have tried to find seats with a tour company without success. Do you know of any reasonably priced tour companies available who arrange tour and accommodation in those time periods?

  • I am from Italy and I am planning my foliage vacation in New England. I have two possibilities: from September 18th to 30th or from October 21th to November 3rd. Which is the best time?
    Best regards

  • Hi Olga…

    Each foliage season is different, but it sounds like you are covering some good territory during what historically has offered peak colors. While you likely will pass through peak in only one or two regions, you will likely find some nice color!

  • Hi Sarah,

    I’m not really familiar with Nova Scotia foliage, as I’ve only toured there in summer…but I did find this site which can prove helpful. When reading through posts from last year though…bear in mind that last year foliage was very late here in the Northeast!


    If you are traveling up to Nova Scotia on the early end of those dates, you will likely find early color, especially in the northern zones…but each season is different, and it’s a bit too early to tell this year how this autumn may shape up!

    Check back with us soon…and good luck planning your trip!

  • Hi Ed,

    Sounds like a nice trip.

    You are covering a wide range of terrain, elevation and climate zones in your travels, so although it’s early to say how this year will shape up in any of those areas specifically, I think you’ll definately find some of the color that you are looking for. You perhaps may be a bit early in Acadia…but the rest of your route will offer good chances to find some peak conditions in places along the way, and nice color nearly throughout!

    You may want to reference this map of historical averages:

    And be sure to report in here and on our facebook page along the way!

  • Hi James…

    Thanksgiving is typically late…except in very southern New England and in a few heat islands near city parks where a few oak leaves might linger. It’s a great time to be in the forests though, with crunchy leaves underfoot, and animals actively prepping for winter. I think you’ll enjoy your time even without the color.

    Also…fair warning…depending on where you go in New England…a fresh snowfall is not at all unusual by Thanksgiving!

  • Hi Garry!

    Sounds like a dream trip! I think you will find the travel easy, as the whole region gears up and rolls out the red carpet for leaf peepers…autumn has a whole culture around it up here!

    If I could provide a tip for you, it’s to take is slow and not spend your whole time chasing peak color. The color before peak and after peak are beautiful as well, each with their own charm. Color in any given location can last a few weeks, so there’s no need to rush. Instead, pick a few areas and locations, spend a few days and take in the farms, forests, festivals and fairs nearby…

    Enjoy, and please check in with us from time to time with your findings…others would love to hear of your foliage finds here and on our facebook page!

  • We will be taking a cruise starting on October 15 through October 26th. We’ll be in NYC, Boston, Bar Harbor, Newport, Rhode Island, Halifax, Sydney, Charlottestown and Quebec City. Will this be the right time to see significant fall color?

  • jim, we are planning a trip to new england possibly leaving (fr GA) 9/23 – oct 13. We plan to hit nova scotia, but also will be travel up thru ME, CT, VT, NH, etc. are we going to be a little early. When does NS leaves hit peak, approx. thanks. Anything you can suggest will be appreciated.


  • Thanks for taking questions, Jim. My friends and I have a plan to go on a road trip that leaves Boston on October 1st, driving up to Acadia National Park, west to the White Mountains, then down to the Green Mountains, and further down to the Berkshires. We end our trip in New York City on the 9th. Do you think we will see beautiful reds, oranges and yellows with this itinerary? Also, I was wondering what your predictions are considering the heat wave and drought in many parts of the country. Is New England at all affected, and what could its impact be on fall foliage?

  • What about the Thanksgiving timeframe (last week of November)? We live on the west coast and are maybe going to be in New England for the holiday. By then have most of the leaves already fallen on the ground?

  • We will be leaving S.D. the last week of Sep. heading for Maine to spend 4 to 6 weeks following the colors down to the Smoky Mountains. We are looking for any tips or information that would help as we are seniors and have never traveled the east coast.
    Thanks, Garry

  • Hi Pati,

    You’ll certainly see plenty of color with that itinerary, but it’s too early to have a good read on when peak will be. Peak can be a moving target anyway though, as color is a continuum, and your trip will provide variety. I’ll be putting out the first official outlook on August 15th.

    Crowds don’t really vary much year to year…roads can get busy, attractions and hotels can fill…but it’s never hard to find a quiet spot!

  • What’s your prediction for the following iteniary: Arrive Shelburne Vermont Oct 8 (2 nights), Stowe Vermont 10th, 11th, Woodstock Vermont Oct 12th, Sunapee NH Oct 13th. The Yankee foliage predictor indicates I might be missing peak in the northern/central vermont area? And can you describe the level of tourism crowds we might anticipate this time of year?

  • Hi Bridget…

    Last year was a tough year in New England for a number of reasons…but historically, early to mid October is best in those areas.

    I think you’ll be a bit early for most color this year on the dates you’ve provided…but for a unique experience…I might try the alpine zones by taking a train or car to the top of Mount Washington. The tundra and scrub landscapes usually take on their fall coat by mid September…

    Other than that, swamp maples, and some of the higher hills in far northern Vermont and Maine will be your only shots by historical averages.

  • By historical average, late September through Mid October is great in the Northern New England States of NH, VT, and ME…and MA, RI and CT are usually Early to Late October.

    This map shows historical averages, but good color can be found both in early and past peak conditions as well…so really any time in the early to Mid October range is good for general planning.


    We’ll be fine tuning the forecast in the months ahead!

  • Hi Sue…the weeks that you are planning will likely be early for coastal areas…but nice in the northern White Mountains, Northern Vermont and the spine of the Green Mountains, and the the northern and western counties of Maine if we go by historical averages. Those may be the areas I’d focus on for your best chances of peak foliage as of now.

    We’ll be fine tuning the forecast in the months ahead, but I’d focus more on upland and interior…

  • It will depend on how the year shapes up ultimately, and it’s a bit too early to tell, but towns like Portsmouth, NH, Kennebunkport, Maine and the Cape Ann region may be good places to look into based on historical averages. It may be early color yet along Cape Cod, but early color is very nice as well!

    Stay tuned as we fine tune the forecast in the months ahead!

  • Hi Lynne,

    It’s going to be pretty early…The swamp maples will be turning all over new england, but those are really isolated in specific environments and surrounded by green. Best bet will the the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, Pittsburg, NH or Far Northern Maine, but it really will just be quite early.

    If you are willing to give up on the maples…a great show that time of year is the alpine zone of the high peaks. The autoroad to the top of Mount Washington will give you a nice perspective on fall in the alpine tundra. Might be your best bet…

  • Great! We would like to know your thoughts on the best coastal towns during 20-25 Oct. this will be our first trip.

  • Also, forgot to mention that we will be there from approximately September 26 through October 5, or those are our plans at the moment.

  • Bridget

    Hi Jim,

    We will be traveling to Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermonth 9.6-9.12, any recommendations on best leaves? I know we are a bit early, but missed everyting last year when we were in northern Mass., Maine and Canda in mid-October.

  • Thanks for the response to my question. A bit more information for you: Our plans are to drive from Boston as far north as Acadia National Park, through more of the center of the states on the way to the park and possibly hitting a bit of Vermont as well, and then down along the coast to Cape Cod. We will be in the area about 10 days. So, are we going to totally miss the best of the fall foliage?

  • We r planning a trip for fall of 2013. Would like to spend 2-3 wks. Would like to know best rt and best dates to go. Would like to avoid the snow. Will be leaving southwest La. going through Savannah, Ga. Thanking u in advance. Beth

  • Hi There

    Sorry to butt in on your stream, however couldn’t find a way to pose a question separately.

    We are in Boston till the 10th September and have hired a car till the 19th September and plan to drive to wherever we have to in order to see some of the infamous fall colours.

    I am aware that 10-19th September is really early to hope to catch some of the more magical scenery, however we are here from the UK and hope is now my middle name.

    I understan there are no guarantees but if you could please give me some pointers as to the best route to take, with the most chance of seeing some glorious colours I would be very grateful.

    We leave and return to Boston and ideally would like to see fall colour, especially Maples, which we don’t have many of in the UK and some little towns which have not been taken over by the corporate chains yet (if possible).

    Tall order I know but I am ever hopeful and we will drive as far as it takes.

    I look forward to any help anyone can give us.

    Thank you in anticiation


  • Well you will need to add some dates to that question… but mid October is usually a really good time to plan a trip. The earlier you come (late Sept) means the further north you will be exploring.
    The later in the month of October means the further south you can explore. By 20-25 Oct you can expect to be on the coastal areas of New England and seeing very nice, if not great color and still get to visit coastal towns and all that they have to offer.

    You start out by figuring out what you want to see (priorities) then that will help you pick locations and the locations will help you determine the dates. Or do it in reverse pick a set of dates and this will determine your locations due to when the color will be in that area… One leads to the other and if you try to arrive early and see color in CT you will get lovely scenery and green trees.
    One does lead to the other… :-)

  • We will be making our first-ever visit to the New England area this fall and would like to time it so we see beautiful leaves. Any educated guesses as to when we should make the trip?


Leave a Comment

Enter Your Log In Credentials