Along with apple picking, corn mazes, and cider-flavored doughnuts, one of the great New England traditions is to check out the fall foliage.
The leaves have already started to change in some parts of New England, so if you’re hoping to become a foliage fanatic, the time is nigh.
Tip No. 1 on your road to becoming a foliage connoisseur: Wherever your leaf peeping takes you, chat up the locals, said Jim Salge, a former meteorologist at Mount Washington turned foliage expert.
“I think the main thing is a good sense of adventure and a willingness to talk to people,” Salge said. “Find out where the locals are going, not only for the leaves, but for the whole leaf-peeping experience.”
While experts like Salge attempt to pinpoint peak foliage as best they can, colors and timing can vary from town to town or tree to tree. A tree that gets insufficient sunlight won’t produce the same brilliant red colors as one sitting in direct sunlight. Different types of trees can change color at different rates, a phenomenon known as decoupling, according to Salge. A tree’s proximity to the coast can also cause it to change colors a bit later than its more inland brethren.
If you want to see the latest leaf reports from all around the region, New England Today created a map that allows residents to submit their own photos of changing foliage. While it certainly shouldn’t be taken as leaf gospel, it provides a nice snapshot of what the trees look like at any given time.
New England Today also has a map on its website that shows the likely colors of the leaves in each part of New England on any given day. Check it out if you want to get specific about the day-to-day progression of the leaves.