As we head into November, where can you find peak foliage right now? Learn more in our latest New England fall foliage report.
By Jim Salge
Oct 26 2017
Perfect peak colors in Southern NH last weekend show the spread of conditions across the region right now.Photo Credit : Jim Salge
This past weekend was just about as perfect as fall can be in New England: crisp mornings, warm and sunny days, and spectacular peak colors across a wide swath of the region’s center.
The weather was the type that draws people outside. Orchards, parks, mountains, country roads, farms, and pumpkin patches are all traditional gathering places on beautiful autumn days. With the continued streak of unseasonable warmth this year, though, people have taken advantage of the warm lakes, too — there was kayaking, paddle boarding, and even water-skiing this past weekend. Unusual, to say the least.
The warm weather also continues to affect the fall foliage in ways we could not have foreseen at the beginning of the season. Since the official start of fall, there have been only four days with below-normal temperatures in Boston, which is on track to end the month nearly eight degrees above normal. This kind of warmth has largely delayed the foliage, moving the timetable of peak fall colors in New England back a week — or even two, in some cases.
This means that in the coming weekend you can see the region’s fall colors in many more areas than you’d usually find at this time. And with the weekend weather again forecast to be exceptional, the list of recommended locales is long.
The prime area for peak colors this weekend will be central Massachusetts as well as the northern and western suburbs of Boston. Northern Connecticut and Rhode Island will also provide peak viewing, including in Kent, Connecticut, and Woonsocket, Rhode Island, which are central to favorite autumn locations. Some lingering areas of peak color will hold along the Maine coast all the way up to Acadia, as well as in central and southern New Hampshire.
Besides the lateness of all the peak color in these areas, we also are seeing a true decoupling of different species, specifically the oaks. Near my house in southern New Hampshire, the oak trees are still completely green — not showing even the slightest sign of autumn — despite beautiful reds and oranges everywhere. After the maple and birch leaves fall over the coming week, another wave of rusty colors in these oaks should arrive, even well into November.
South of the peak areas this weekend, you will still see areas of low color. Along the Long Island Sound, there are places that even look quite summery. And thanks in large part to Boston’s “urban heat island” phenomenon, Boston Common is completely green as well, though there is some color coming on along the Esplanade.
North of the peak areas, autumn’s colors are fading fast, and much of the brightest hues are on the ground. Tamaracks and beeches remain golden, but stick season is very much in effect on the ridges and hillsides, and snow will be flying soon.
New England’s geography and topography allow for a long autumn season and the opportunity to find peak colors for six to eight weeks every year. We’re looking at a great weekend for exploring farther south, where the colors hang on longer.
As always, be sure to visit NewEnglandFoliage.com for our weekly 2017 foliage forecasts and reports, as well as our live peak foliage map and everything else you need to plan your foliage trip in the region. And when you do find some color, please share it with us. Tag your Instagram photos with #MyNewEngland for a chance to be featured on our feed.
We’ll see you out there.