The change was abrupt. A cold front rushed through New England and temperatures dropped, as rain, and then snow, began to fall. After a generally warmer-than-normal autumn, it was rather shocking to be reminded that sometimes in New England, autumn means pulling out the winter hat and gloves! By Sunday morning, skies had cleared, but temperatures all across […]
By Jim Salge
Oct 22 2015
Old Sugar Maples Are Always Among The Last To Turn In The LandscapePhoto Credit : Jonathan Steele
The change was abrupt. A cold front rushed through New England and temperatures dropped, as rain, and then snow, began to fall. After a generally warmer-than-normal autumn, it was rather shocking to be reminded that sometimes in New England, autumn means pulling out the winter hat and gloves!
By Sunday morning, skies had cleared, but temperatures all across Northern New England were solidly below freezing. When the winds picked up mid-morning, a steady stream of leaves—representing some of the finest foliage on the planet—was sent flying from the treetops. By days end, most areas that had been at peak before the weekend had shed much of their prime color. Past-peak in this region certainly doesn’t mean ‘no color,’ but opportunities for leaf peeping are far less widespread.
While the wave of peak colors has largely passed in northern New England at this point, southern areas are set for their big weekend. Connecticut and Rhode Island will be the states with the most consistent color this weekend, with great driving route options through a variety of scapes. Most of these areas are showing great color in the maples, though some of the hills in the northwest corner of Connecticut did lose some of their brightest color this past week.
Good color will also continue in an arc through central and eastern Massachusetts and into southern New Hampshire and Maine. Coastal areas in Maine, all the way up through Camden, will also have good color this weekend, though much of the early color in the red maples has fallen.
All of the areas highlighted above, as well as the Berkshires, southern Vermont, and into the Lakes Regions of New Hampshire and Maine will likely feature a lull and double-peak this foliage season. The brilliant maples and birches are seemingly decoupled from the oaks this year, and when some of the early color was partially stripped this past week, a lot of the landscape didn’t really turn bare as much as it went back to being primarily green, especially on hillsides where oaks are dominating. There will be some remaining color in the maples this weekend, but when the oaks begin to turn in another week or so, the landscape will become colorful one more time before stick season sets in.
One idea for those seeking foliage in central New England regions this weekend is to look for old sugar maples lining roads and farms, as well as those found in old town centers and graveyards. These trees always seem to be the last to turn, and still should be bright this weekend, even after many of the other maples have gone past. A walk through some of these pieces of New England history could prove to be beautiful and photogenic.
Further north, into and past the mountains, the hard freeze, wind and early-accumulating snows certainly have defoliated the canopy quickly. Pockets of bright colors around the large river valleys and largest lakes still exist, and the city of Burlington is always among the last places to turn in Vermont, but otherwise, the hillsides are rusts or bare. The beech understory of the forests can glow this time of year as more sunlight hits the forest floor, and our deciduous conifer, the tamarack is amazing to seek out in the lowlands and wetlands.
Even with all of this peak and past-peak color around, a few areas are only now coming in. Southwestern Connecticut, coastal Rhode Island, as well as the Cape, Islands and Boston Common in Massachusetts are all still turning, and will not peak until the last week of October, or the first week in November. If your travel plans bring you to New England over the coming weeks, there is still going to be foliage to find.
For those looking to pinpoint peak conditions this weekend, we at YankeeFoliage.com offer a variety of tools to help you.
Our Foliage Facebook Page
RealTime Foliage Maps
Also, you can use the hashtags #NEFoliage or #Foliagereports on Twitter and Instagram.
Keep the reports coming in, and we’ll see you out there!
Enjoy the weekend, and this beautiful season in New England! And don’t forget to enter our New England Fall Photo Contest!