Few regions in America are more glorious in autumn than rural New England. Known for its colonial past, Atlantic coastline, forested mountains, and dazzling fall foliage, it’s a realm of covered bridges, country inns, weathered barns, 18th-century farmhouses, mountain lakes, and maple syrup. When autumn rolls around, the six-state region explodes in radiant shades of rust, amber, and tangerine.
Within this northeast corner of the country, Vermont boasts the highest percentage of majestic maples—the trees that erupt in fall color. Three-quarters of the tiny, sparsely populated state is covered in forest, fostering the bucolic ambiance of country roads that wind through groves of tall trees. But towering evergreens take a back seat in the scheme of pastoral grandeur when the first blush of fall hits. Indeed, sometimes you literally can’t see the forest for the palette of blazing trees.
While only Mother Nature can predict when autumn’s jaw-dropping colors will first appear, or when they will peak, Vermont’s landscape usually begins to transform around mid-September. Within a few weeks, fiery autumnal shades have replaced summer’s lush greenery.
Over a two-to three-week window after the first leaves turn, usually in northern Vermont, every hillside and mountaintop across the state dazzles with fall splendor. It’s enough to attract leaf peepers and shutterbugs from around the globe, who descend in droves to capture quintessential fall scenes from September through October.
If you’re considering an autumn visit to this neon-lit neck of the woods, the latest fall foliage updates will help you track Nature’s artistry. After Labor Day weekend, Vermont’s Department of Tourism provides weekly reports, with input from the state’s volunteer Leaf Squad, at www.vermont.com/foliage.cfm.