Saturday, October 23, 2010

In search of the holy grail of peak fall foliage

Last October my husband and I took advantage of retirement to take a two week fall foliage tour in New England.

Last year I wrote:

For many years, I longed to see New England’s spectacular fall foliage, but it’s just not possible for a teacher to take off a week or two in October. Southeastern PA is beautiful but we just don’t have all those deep reds and purples.

My husband and I just returned from our retirement gift to ourselves – a trip to New England in October. We were chasing that mythical “peak.” We just missed it in Vermont (but it was still beautiful) and we had a great time visiting with good friends.

Then off to New Hampshire in quest of the peak. Our innkeepers told us we were a little past peak. My reaction: if this is past peak, the peak must be unimaginably beautiful. We had one glorious day in New Hampshire—blue skies, brilliant sun. Then it SNOWED! See photo of Columbus Day snowfall.

Maybe next year we’ll catch that mythical peak on a balmy Indian summer day. Will I spend my retirement years chasing the mythical peak and not quite catching it? .

Well, we failed again. We had a great time visiting our friends in Vermont over Columbus Day week-end but those glorious reds and purples continue to elude us. I had read somewhere that fall is coming later to New England, but our Vermont friends say that in their patch of Vermont Fall appears to be coming earlier. Go figure.

There was still glorious foliage and unlike last year the weather was spectacular—relatively warm with dazzling sunlight—but the reds and purples were all gone. Apparently the red maples are the earliest to drop their leaves.

Oh well, the consolation prize is that it looks like we are going to have a good foliage season right here in the Delaware valley. Maybe what I was seeking is right here in my back yard.

Photos from my Philly garden:


  1. It's a bit farther off, but the upper peninsula of Michigan has the best fall leaves I've ever seen.

  2. Tim,
    Have you moved back to Michigan? If so, that’s Philly’s loss.
    Hope everything is going well,

  3. Karen, great photos. And your statement about what was there in your backyard made me think of Richard Wilbur's wonderful poem "Digging for China," whose last two lines read:

    Until I got my balance back again
    All that I saw was China, China, China.

  4. And in Sedona last weekend they told us that the Fall colors would be 2 weeks late (all we saw was green) because the winter had been so mild. Who knows... it's an ongoing mystery to me. Thanks for the photos, though.... now I don't feel like I missed anything!

  5. Juanita,I don’t think I‘ve ever that read poem. I really like Wilbur so will try to track it down.

  6. Ashleigh, I really liked your post at Blogher. I left a comment there.

    Hope you get some color in Arizona!