FALL: It’s All About Falling Leaves and Festivals

Fall in Aspen, Colorado is evident by the stark white bark of the Birch Trees and their brilliant yellow leaves sprinkled with radiant reds.  Flickr photo by snowpeak
Fall in Aspen, Colorado is evident by the stark white bark of the Birch Trees and their brilliant yellow leaves sprinkled with radiant reds. Flickr photo by snowpeak

Every October the same phenomenon occurs when leaves of the quaking Aspen glow in various shades of yellow, and the Beech dazzles with golden bronze while the Birch tree’s’ bark’ is as captivating as its leaves of golden-yellow brillance. Probably the most favored trees in the fall for resplendent foliage are Maple and Oak trees. Japanese Maple trees are drenched in bronze, purple and red leaves come October, and then there is the Paper Bark Maple with its bright red leaves, or one of my favorites, the Sugar Maple with its explosion of orange foliage and the silver maple with its shimmering yellow leaves.

Japanese Maple Trees radiate a bevy of reddish-colored leaves in the fall - Flickr photo by H. Michael Arrighi
Japanese Maple Trees radiate a bevy of reddish-colored leaves in the fall – Flickr photo by H. Michael Arrighi
The last hold out for falling leaves would be the mighty oak, with deep shades of russet, red and brownish yellow. Red Oaks give off the best color with Pin Oaks following right behind rounding out the kaleidoscope of fall colors. A few other trees to add to your leaf peeping list include Black Gum and Crape Myrtle for red leaf connoisseurs, while the Gingko Tree’s leaves turn a beautiful gold, then luminous yellow before falling to the ground. Rounding out our tree picks is the Sweet Gum, if you don’t mind those sticky balls, whose leaves range from yellow to purple.

Sugar Maple Tree flickr by dendroica  ceruleaNow that our lesson in Botany regarding trees is complete, how about discovering interesting places to visit during the fall for leaf peeping and seeking out those wonderful fall festivals?

The Colorado Rockies are alight with the yellow brilliance of the Birch tree and easily seen while traveling in and around Aspen, while the New York Catskill region is ablaze with fiery reds, vibrant orange and dazzling gold leaves. Leaving the Northeast might bring you to Ohio where some 125 species of hard-wood trees give off brilliant scarlet and stunning yellow hues, whereas if you are heading south to the Great Smoky Mountain region you’ll be treated to radiant shades of crimson, orange and purple. While in Tennessee you won’t want to miss the National Southern Gospel & Harvest Celebration, taking place at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, beginning October 2 through November 2, where there are more than 350 concerts taking place during the month-long festival. Not to be forgotten are the Ozarks and the New England region, where Connecticut Route 169 (in the eastern part of the state) offers incredible foliage and tranquility. Massachusetts offers Hwy 6A, aka Old King’s Highway, meandering throughout Cape Cod, or in Maine the Old Canada Road (route 201) is a scenic byway filled with an impressive fall vista, and for sweeping views in New Hampshire you may want to take the 75-mile winding drive by following I-93 to route 3 North through Franconia Notch.

One of many Jack-O-Lanterns seen at the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular - Flickr image by Rick Payette
One of many Jack-O-Lanterns seen at the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular – Flickr image by Rick Payette
Rhode Island offers up a shorter drive of 8.3 miles with classic New England architecture, rolling farmlands and stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean along the scenic byway of Newport County.

You won’t want to miss the “acclaimed Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular at the Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, from October 3 through November 3 with a breathtaking display of 5,000 illuminated jack-o-lanterns representing regions of the U.S.A.”

Last but not least is Route 108 in Vermont that beckons leaf peeping fans to this 18-mile stretch highlighting fall at its best in Stowe, Jeffersonville and Smuggler’s Notch, a destination in itself. There are so many great places to see breathtakingly beautiful fall venues, and many more festivals, but so little space to include them all. Here are a few websites you might find of interest.

http://www.yankeemagazine.com/article/features/mysteries/ghost-town
http://www.yankeefoliage.com/
http://www.jacksonnh.com/event/81/Return-of-the-Pumpkin-People
http://www.hauntedhappenings.org/
http://www.acadiaoktoberfest.com/index.html

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