This is my 28th autumn at Yankee. For each of those years, the editors have talked for hours about how to best capture on our pages this most singular of New England’s seasons. Can we do it just with photographs? Can words give our readers a sense of the color marching up the hillsides; the morning cold snap that gives way to warm afternoon sun; the startling sight of leaves blowing across our path, putting a bounce in our step?
We know that we need both photographs and words, but more than anything, we decide each year that our readers will let the season tell its own story: as they travel; or as they simply sit and watch these exquisite days unfold; or, if they live outside our region, as they dream about the New England autumn.
Our job is also to remind our readers that fall is much more than a chance to capture peak color. Look again at our cover shot: the glow of autumn on a Peacham, Vermont, hillside. At first glance, you may think our photographer has captured peak color. But notice the soft green of the grass, the sage and celadon hues lingering in the trees still awaiting their turn. If some trees lack fire-engine red — the prima donna of our colors — notice instead the variations: the russets, the pale purples, the soft yellows. The magic of a New England fall lies in the shadings — all the colors in between the exuberant scarlets and crimsons.
This issue is about the shadings of fall. We’ve found more than 100 ways to get out and enjoy New England’s autumn beauty. Start with our rambles through Vermont’s Lamoille County. Then lose yourself in the sheer lush color of our photo essay and see which of our 15 suggestions for fall viewing work for you. Get lost in one of the country’s great corn mazes, or escape to a Maine wilderness retreat. In between outdoor excursions, make your way to The Farmers Diner in Quechee, Vermont — then, after sampling Tod Murphy’s food, hike into the gorge just up the road. Lastly, I can’t think of a time when our popular events calendar will be more useful — it’s crammed with places to go. Just take it all in.
Because fall is much more than seeing. To me, it’s the most sensual of all our seasons. It’s when we hold our county fairs, harvest suppers, and craft shows, our pumpkin festivals and classic-car rallies. It’s when we pick apples and drink freshly pressed cider — and if we’re lucky, the orchards will have hot doughnuts fresh from the deep-fryer. These days are fleeting; we sense the urgency to experience New England’s autumn while it lasts. It’s our most intimate love affair with nature. Each tree, each bend in the road, each pond, each meadow brings the possibility of something new — just the way I hope you feel as you turn the pages inside this issue.