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Leaf Peeping Basics
Early fall is the time of year when many people partake in what has come to be known as leaf peeping. The shorter days and longer nights of late summer and early fall kickstart this stunning process of transformation.
There are many places around the country (and world) where you can enjoy the spectacular nature show. Just about anywhere in New England (Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut) is great for leaf peeping. The Mid-Atlantic states, as well as those of the Southeast, also have many great peeping areas. In the Midwest, you can catch this seasonal show in regions along the Great Lakes. On the western front of the U.S., you can find the leaf change going on along the Rocky Mountains or in many areas along the Pacific Coast from Northern California on north. Canada, Europe, and Northeast Asia also have many areas with spectacular foliage displays.
Wherever you decide to take in this colorful show, keep in mind you should plan your trip well in advance. There is usually greater availability (and fewer crowds) if you book your accommodations mid-week. Though it’s hard to calculate in advance just when leaves will be at their peak color, a good rule of thumb is that the farther north and/or the higher the elevation of your destination, the earlier in the season the leaves will turn. A great online resource for leaf peeping season is Yankee Magazine’s online leaf predictor. Of course, fickle weather (wind, rain, frost, and sometimes even snow) can change the scenery in a heartbeat, so be prepared.
To make the most out of a leaf peeping trip (especially if the leaves have already passed their peak by the time you arrive) plan in some of the following suggested family activities. Visit a corn maze and pumpkin patch. Go on a hayride. Attend a fall festival. Go apple picking. Get some fresh apple cider from a road side stand. Go hiking. Take some informal family pictures. Ride a ski lift. Play in the fallen leaves, and then collect some leaves to take back home and turn into keepsakes. Take part in a local Octoberfest. Most places that count on “leafers" as part of their fall tourist industry have these options available…just ask for guidance from the locals.
If you want a more adventurous leaf peeping experience than just driving on the scenic roads, consider the following ways to take in the view.
scenic train ride
We’ve planned our leaf-peeping trip, and I can’t wait! How about you?
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