October 11, 2011
Vibrant foliage has brightened considerably this week with mid-stage to full color along the valleys and hillsides from north to south. Leaves are beginning to fall at the highest elevations, but the color display is plentiful throughout the mountain valleys where a late blossom of red maples is striking against the predominant yellow and orange.
Also, foresters expect to see more fall foliage unfold near Lake Champlain and along the Connecticut River over the next several days. While it varies by location, the color change is running four to six days later than the historical average, effectively extending the viewing season by at least a week.
While the lower elevations range from mid-stage to near peak in southern Vermont and the Champlain Valley, the mountain valleys of central and northern Vermont are expected to remain colorful through the weekend to come.
“The color is amazing everywhere in northwest Vermont,” reports Forester Nancy Patch. “The tops of the mountains in Jay and Richford have lost leaves, but only at the highest elevations. Some may call this past peak in those areas, but I think the overall, from the foothills up into the mountains, does not get any better than this. I expect it will still be fantastic, even through next week-end as some of the lower elevations bring in their color.”
“Expect lots of yellows and muted shades of orange that can give beautiful glow in early morning and late afternoon. The upper-most elevations are past peak and losing leaves pretty fast, but Routes. 12, 14, I-89, and 100 should all be good this week. Protected areas around towns and villages should also start to come into play this week,” says Forester Russell Barrett of the central Vermont area surrounding Montpelier and Barre.
From west central Vermont in the Rutland area, spotter Tom Olson reports, “Brilliant patches of near peak color can be found in the rolling hills along Rt22A in the Champlain Valley and the higher elevations along Route 7 between the Taconic and Green Mountains north from Manchester to Middlebury.
Full Vermont autumn color can still be experienced even with only mid-stage color foliage when it is contrasted with brown freshly cut corn fields and dark green meadows, whether a backdrop of morning fog or sunny blue sky, Olson notes.
“Foliage is quite colorful along the Connecticut River and at the mid to lower elevations inland.
The weather is great, the foliage fine and Vermont is definitely open with only brief delays for the continued road restorations,” adds Forester Jonathan Bouton, who toured southeastern Vermont over the past weekend.
Best Bets: In southern Vermont, suggested drives include Routes 14 along the White river, Route 4 along the Ottauquechee, and Route 103 along the Black River. Route 7A from Manchester to Bennington, Routes 153 and 315 near Rupert, Route 5 along the Connecticut River well into the Northeast Kingdom, Route 9 between Brattleboro and Wilmington, Route 11 from Springfield to Londonderry, and Route 30 from Brattleboro to Newfane.
Bright foliage can be found along Route 232 along Groton State Forest, Route 2 west of Waterbury, Route 100 between Warren and Moretown, and Route 17 between Waitsfield and Starksboro. Also try Route 22A from Fair Haven to Shoreham, Route 140 from East Wallingford to Middletown Springs, Route 53 around Lake Dunmore, Route 30 from Castleton Corners to Whiting, and Route 7 between Danby and Rutland.
In the northwest suggested routes include 100, 109, 15 and 105 to 118 in the Enosburg/Montgomery area.
The Vermont Hospitality Council advises making advance reservations because the most popular lodgings may fill early on busy weekends during the foliage season. Some innkeepers may require a minimum two-night stay, especially on busy weekends. Vermont tourism officials encourage visitors to take advantage of midweek specials during the foliage season as part of the statewide “Midweek Peek” promotion. Deals range from discounted lodging to free Vermont products. For details, visit www.VermontVacation.com.
Also available on the website are several tools for planning a Vermont Fall Foliage tour:
• Fall Foliage Forecaster
• Lodging Availability Forecaster
• Scenic Drives
• Fall Travel Tips
Source: Department of Tourism and Marketing
Last Updated at: October 11, 2011 12:14:29