September 20, 2011
Recent cooler weather has accelerated Vermont’s foliage progression as the mountains and hillsides begin to turn red, with hints of yellow and orange.
Thanks to shorter hours of daylight and chilly temperatures over the past few days, the display of bright color is appearing right on schedule at the higher elevations and in some northern valleys.
“Early color is widespread in the Jay Peak area and forming nicely between Worcester and Morrisville. Early color is spreading in the Groton State Forest area. Look for early color in the Eden/Belvidere area north along Routes 114 and 105 in Essex County” says Chief of Forestry Ginger Anderson, following recent aerial surveys of the forest canopy.
Raymond Toolan, forester for Lamoille and Orleans counties, reports early foliage in northern Vermont appears to be on schedule.
“I just returned from Cambridge after passing through Hyde Park and Johnson. I have also been through Elmore, Morristown and Stowe today. There is plenty of foliage out there and we are still very much in the early stages of color with spots of mostly red showing up in isolated patches mostly at the higher elevations,” he says.
“With all this moisture we should be seeing a very nice year for color,” Toolan adds.
Forester Roy Olsen reports that “Route 17 from Bristol through the Appalachian Gap has a few lowland wetland and ravine areas that have begun to approach 30 percent, or at least have some beautifully vibrant, isolated red maples. And the Main Range of the Green Mountains - from the western slopes of Mount Ellen in Lincoln - visible from Route 17 and Jerusalem - has some beautiful contrasts between the changing hardwoods and the dark, needled conifers at higher elevations.”
In the southeastern part of the state, Forester Jon Boutin is observing the first tinge of color on the hilltops and reports that roads are opening rapidly as the recovery from Tropical Storm Irene continues.
Detailed road conditions reports from Vermont Agency of Transportation are being updated at least twice daily: http://www.vermontvacation.com/vtopenforbusiness.htm
Best Bets: In northern Vermont, try Route 114 from Lyndonville to Norton, Route 2 from West Danville to Lunenburg, Route 242 near Jay Peak, and Route 100 between Lowell and Westfield. Also recommended are the Burke Mountain Toll Road and back roads in the East Burke area where local roads had little impact from Tropical Storm Irene.
Elsewhere in the state, Interstate 89 from Woodstock to Bolton offers early views of emerging orange, red and yellow foliage along the hillsides. Colorful, early foliage can also be found on Route 108 between Stowe and Cambridge, Route 100B (now open) between Moretown and Middlesex, and Route 12 between Montpelier and Elmore.
Soft maples in low-lying marshy areas are the earliest show along Route 4 between Rutland and Fair Haven, and hillsides along Route 30 south all the way to Manchester, are showing areas of bright early color.
Longtime foliage spotter Tom Olson suggests Routes 140 and 155 east from Rutland to Weston and the back road over to North Landgrove are showing good, early color.
In general, higher elevations will offer the most panoramic views of emerging color across the valleys, and many low-lying marsh areas will offer some of the most vivid and varied early season change.
The Vermont Hospitality Council advises making advance reservations because the most popular lodgings may fill early on busy weekends in late September and the first two weekends in October. 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.
Also available on the website are several tools for planning a Vermont Fall Foliage tour:
• Fall Foliage Forecaster
• Lodging Availability Forecaster
• 20 Scenic Drives
• Fall Travel Tips
For more information, visit www.vermontvacation.com/Fall.aspx
Source: Department of Tourism and Marketing
Last Updated at: September 20, 2011 16:38:30