Tag Archives: “northeast foliage”

morning reflection in Harold Parker State Forest in Autumn

Harold Parker State Forest

A quick look North of Boston at the Harold Parker State Forest

Recreational opportunities include hiking, mountain biking, fishing, hunting, horseback riding, camping and picnicking.

Entrance to state forest

As the middle of October arrives in my neck of the woods, my trips begin to get more relaxed because I don’t have to drive nearly as far to find beautiful color.

Just 10 miles away is the Harold Parker state forest (42°37’32″ N 71°4’11″ W) and for those who like to get out into the woods but don’t want to over exert themselves, then this is a place for you.

biking in the state forest and trails

biking in the state forest and trails

Overall they’ve got 3000 acres of ponds, swamps, rolling hills and rocky outcroppings. There is camping from May through September and visitors use the logging roads and trails for hiking, walking, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing.

Wildlife abounds in the state forest and people fish from non-motorized boats or the shore. Birders of all stripes will be happy with the numbers of feathered friends that they can find along the trails.

The great blue heron waits in the golden autumn colored grass waiting for breakfast.

Blue heron waiting for breakfast to move.

From the Harold Parker state forest you can travel a short distance into Middleton mass or Andover Massachusetts. A short drive further will take you into either New Hampshire or up into Cape Ann where you can explore the areas around Gloucester and Rockport. You can read about the hidden images of Gloucester in this article.

fall colors reflected on the pond.

fall colors reflected on the pond.

While I can stop in here anytime during the year, the autumn in the Harold Parker state forest is my favorite time. The marsh grasses turn a golden hue and  the Maples and other deciduous trees give a wonderful show of autumn reflections on the surface of the ponds.

No matter what time of the year you come to visit Harold Parker state forest, you’ll find both relaxation and quiet contemplation to be the order of the day.

Jeff “Foliage” Folger

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Fall foliage 2012 season in review

My 2012  fall foliage review

I was watching the weather all year long with great interest. In late July there were unusual reports of early fall color and when I looked at my records, I could see that we usually get trees showing stress color in August but not July.

Rainfall deficit

Like most of the nation we in the northeast had little to no snow during the winter and then we had a downright balmy spring leading into a summer that provided only average rainfall. We maintained a 3-6 inch deficit on the rain amounts coming into Sept. (This was a good thing)

Scientists say concentrated sugars, good!

The general consensus from the scientists was that, if we got just enough rain but not too much it would concentrate the sugars in the leaves and give us an explosion of color.

Great colors due to early cold temps.

Well, the late Sept fall color leading into early October was some of the best I’ve ever seen. This was due to the arrival of cold temps across New England. In fact much of New England started showing color in Sept which was very unusual.

On October 1st, I started out greeted with rainy morning light and then as the day continued the rain dissipated and I was able to get some good shots. (see the grist mill below, in the rain!)

There was only one major negative consequence of the drought, the connection of the leaves to the branches. These weren’t as strong, so it didn’t take much to bring the leaves down. :-(

On the 2nd of Oct, I awoke early, eager to get to the Beaver pond on lost river rd, north of Woodstock NH. This is one of my favorite spots to hit in the Sugar Hill area of New Hampshire. It’s great for a short walk around the edge of the pond and you should really explore to get some great shots. (in other words leave the parking lot)

This morning, the color was incredible and I’m hard to please when it comes to fall colors. This morning was no exception but I walked around the pond with a big smile on my face. :-)

The rest of October wasn’t as easy when it comes to peak fall color. We received wave after wave of rain passing through New England. A threat from TS Nicole that veered off to the nations midsection ended up dropping several inches of rain on us but the winds never materialized, so we didn’t really lose the leaves.

The season slowly ended

The end of October found me wandering back and forth in my local area but the color that I had found early in Oct was to remain unrivaled for intensity and diversity of colors. The rest of the month showed good color in little spurts but “all over peak color” wasn’t to be found.

I hope you had a great fall season and I look forward to having you travel with me next season.

Jeff “Foliage” Folger
Salem MA
New England Stock photos and Artwork
My online gallery
Jeff Foliage autumn Resource page

Fall foliage and classic cars in Canterbury NH

The Saturday fall foliage show was impacted by the 20MPH winds flowing over New England and the leaves that were at peak were being strewn across the landscape.


Shaker meeting house in Canterbury New Hampshire with fall foliage

Shaker meeting house

I’ve been to the Canterbury Shaker Village in New Hampshire twice this past week and the color was very good. On Saturday they had the White Mountains classic car club show up and display their labors of love.

One thing I always preach about is when you head out is not going for just one thing and especially not just foliage. I always tell people to go out and have an agenda for side trips and foliage and food.

blue sedan from the 1930's with a red barn behind the vehicle.

blue sedan

The last of the Shakers left the property and the buildings to the people, to learn their history and faith. Now you can go through the buildings with craftsmen in various stages of work creating Shaker products the way the Shakers did over the past 200 years.

This day I hoped there would still be some color left and I wasn’t disappointed. I was also able to enjoy all the classic cars that were brought in by the White Mountain Model A club and then delve into the history of the Shakers through a 90 minute walking tour through several of the buildings.


dark green sedan from the 1930's with a yellow building behind the vehicle.

dark green sedan from the 1930's

When we were done we stopped in the small restaurant and had a late lunch of tomato soup and an egg salad sandwich. All of which was very good.. I also grabbed a whoopee pie which was one of the best I’ve ever had.


Model A heading home from the 1920's with yellow and orange fall foliage falling to the cround

Model A heading home

As we were leaving the sun was low in the sky and the last of the antique cars were heading home as I thought how nice a day I had been shown. Fall foliage, antique cars and history, what more can you ask for on a Saturday afternoon?

Not much..

Jeff Foliage

My Art and New England Stock photography gallery

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2010 fall foliage was good and my 2011 prediction!

Maine barn in early Oct with fall foliage on the hills above

Maine barn in early Oct with fall foliage on the hills above

If you want a fall 2012 prediction check here.

Most people won’t go out on a limb and make a prediction about the fall foliage upcoming in New England. As long as you promise not to sue me if I’m wrong I will go out on that limb and venture my best guess.

2010 fall report

2010 was a good year (unless you arrived on one of the early weekends at the end of Sept or early Oct. We got hit by no less than three windstorms which dumped rain on us and in turn brought all the early fall foliage that was at its peak, to the ground in one fell swoop!

humorous pumpkin man tying his shoes and goose giving instructions

goose giving instructions on how to tie shoes

Now as I’ve said on my fall foliage website and blog, www.jeff-foliage-com, if you happened to come to New England in the last half of October then you had a pretty enjoyable experience.

2011 fall foliage prediction.

I posted this on the Yankee fall Foliage forum and I thought I would post it here also.  Should you base your reservations purely on my say so? Well my wife only listens to me about half the time so beware making monetary decisions based on this forecast…

“Even with the hot weather in early July through last week… I think we have been getting a good dose of rain with it. So I think there has been a balance so far.
If the temps drop at the end of August then I will put on my fortune tellers turban and look deeply into my crystal ball and saaaaaay… A great fall foliage season is ahead of us…
Of course if we get the Nor’Easters of 2010 or the rain of 2005 or the drought of 2007… Then my prediction is worth zip! zilch! nada! you get the idea”.. :-)

Orange and yellow are the colors of the day for fall foliage in New England

the colors of the day for fall foliage

But everything is looking good for this year SO FAR……. And if we’re lucky!!! we’ll get lots of shots like this…

Jeff Foliage
Got Foliage?

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Jeff Foliage website for everything fall foliage

Harpswell Maine fall color

Stress-free Fall foliage trip planning

two bike riders under an orange canopy of foliage

Stress-free fall foliage trip planning

I know for me that this is possibly one of those rock and a hard place things to try and write about.

My stress level starts rising in mid Sept as my northern friends in Vermont and New Hampshire start posting their early fall foliage shots on the New England Photography Guild page Or my New England foliage FB page.

Since I live in a fairly central location in New England I tend to ignore most of the rules that I’m going to tell you to follow..

Note! if you came from my Fall foliage site clicking this sentence will take you back to it!

So, yes, DO as I say and not as I DO :-)

Here is a short list of what I feel are stress contributors, although your list may be different

  • Driving long hours only to arrive at your desired location but little to no color
  • If I don’t make reservations will I be able to find a place to sleep at night
  • The weather craps out so now what am I going to do???

This is a basic list and if you have others I’d love to read about them! (comments are open!)

Number one stress factor – Driving long hours, locating a great spot to photograph but no color!

pond surrounded by fall color

To me, a stress-free trip is not spending the whole day on the road driving and normally, this is exactly what I do.  Of course my mission is to scout out the fall foliage and broadcast what I find through my blogs and tweets.

There is no sure fire way to beat this one. But you can minimize it in a couple of ways. First, my fall foliage page and there you will find the resources from links to the sites I research from to my posts on real time reports from photographer friends around New England and my own observations. I also tweet these reports so click the follow me on the right.

Next don’t try to cover all of New England (that’s my job). Look at your dates and pick one or two locations to visit. I can’t give you hard and fast dates but if you arrive around Columbus Day you will have the greatest latitude for selecting locations to pick from. The downside and you knew there would be one…  Everybody always heads into New England for this long holiday weekend.

Reservations… and whether to make them or not

If you want to “wing it” then you need to get here on a Monday and leave on a Friday because everybody who makes reservations arrives on Friday and “usually” leave on Sunday or Monday.  So don’t plan on getting into a place on the weekends. Ok,  Could I be wrong? Of course but unless you are willing to sleep in that cold car backseat all night, do you want to chance it.

I have a friend who came for two weeks and only made two reservations for one night a piece the entire time. But… you knew there’d be a BUT… somewhere in here, right?  He told me horror stories about the places he stayed at. He experienced minor things like taking a smoking room all the way to having small furry guests in the room, all night… His girlfriend who was with him on this trip, left him after this… :-)  Ok you make you call on this one… was it the smoking room or the furry friends?

If you are showing up on the Tuesday before and leaving on Friday… problem solved, you just missed all the traffic and you saw all the foliage they will be seeing from behind their windshields.

fall foliage behind the windshield

fall foliage from behind the windshield

Next, about those windshields, get out from behind them. Yes, leave the car and take a walk and explore. You would be amazed at what you will find if you actually explore the area.  To ensure you feel you have time to get out and explore, plan to travel no more than 100 miles in a day. Yes you can travel safely 300+ miles on the highway but that is getting you from point A to point B in the minimum time.  Plan on getting out at every bridge and scenic outlook and really enjoy them. Plan to watch the sunrise coming over the horizon and standing at a ponds edge and watching the far bank and hillside light up with those fiery reds and gold’s of autumn.

Weather is Wicked crappy… is your vacation shot?

Well to make this easier, you can read this article on ideas and alternatives when the weather just isn’t cooperating.

Your best options for having a stress free fall foliage trip.

Ideas that reduce stress

  • BOP – Base of Operations
  • Central location based on dates
  • Not trying to drive all day
  • Having alternative plans ready in case weather is “Wicked Crappy”


Bead and breakfast in the fall with pumpkins lining the front walkway.

Choose a Base of Operations:

This one step can solve much of your stress. A Base of Operations (yes, I was in the service) is nothing more than a location that based on your dates, will be centrally located so you can travel north or south to find color.

  • First, you don’t have to worry at the end of the day where you are going to stay.
  • Second, you awake each morning, well rested, in a comfortable surrounding able to catch breakfast.
  • Thirdly, you are already either in the heart of New England’s fall foliage or very near to it.

For instance you arrive on 1 Oct, so you plan to stay at a wonderful B&B in the North East Kingdom (Peacham VT) or somewhere near there. Now for the next few days you get up in the morning and get reports from the owners where they suggest you should go such as foliage festivals and the like and then on the 4th day you pack up and travel a ways south (Why south? The color always moves south) Maybe over into NH in the White Mountains. And you explore all those towns and festivals and then you head home… Did you cover all of New England? No!

But you might have a real meaningful vacation and you found some great little places to share with your friends, and hopefully you got some wonderful snapshots of New England fall foliage… No color? Well that is why they have post cards in the stores… :-)

Or you can go to my online gallery and purchase a print to hang on your wall. You can say the next time, we’ll go find where he found this and see what we find.

I’ll continue next time with the what if the weather craps out part and maybe some of you will have posted a question or two between now and then that I can answer…

Jeff “Foliage” Folger
My online gallery
My foliage website
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Fall Foliage gets a knock down from Nicole but comes back swinging

Well my fellow fall foliage fanatics October has arrived and this year Mother Nature has been causing problems by giving us a real summer with hot temps and low rainfall which has also led to dry conditions that had the experts scratching their heads (myself included) wondering what sort of fall color we would have.

Well to start off, the Yankee Magazine foliage website has a peak foliage map that you can view an approximate guess as to when peak will hit a specific location in New England. You also have an interactive foliage map at Yankee Foliage dot com that is updated by people across New England. So by watching these to simple tools you should be able to make an educated guess on where to go to find fall foliage in New England.

This is the first year that the map was pretty close. You see the New England fall Foliage map was built on older data and we used to get color earlier then we have in the past 4-5 years. This had lead to folks getting used to seeing shots like this later rather than earlier.

This year the fall foliage experts thought that the drought conditions might dull down the colors but apparently the color was doing fantastic, up until tropical storm Nicole knocked much of the peak leaves to the ground.
But before you go and cancel your trips! Heed this! The color this year is early but this storm only knocked the leaves down that were at peak. the leaves from the middle of VT and NH were still green so they are now turning and by this weekend they will making the Columbus Day weekend a show not to be missed.  This will also continue into the next couple of weeks as the color flows south into Massachusetts and CT & RI.

Here is a shot from this past Saturday up near Danville Vermont and you can see the color took a hit but what was there was still very colorful.
I have several links for you to visit if you need a foliage fix and either can’t get here until the weekend or next year.
First is Northeast foliage website which is a webcam site so you can see the color change by the minute or the hour at http://www.northeastfoliage.net/
Next is the Yankee interactive map which is updated based on readers reports from across New England. So stop in there to get an idea of what Yankee’s readers are seeing.
You can of course follow me on Twitter as I  make reports as foliage_reports and when I’m out and about you can also follow me and ask questions about specific color in locations.
Jeff Foliage
My photo gallery
My fall foliage blog

Planning for fall foliage and advice from Jeff Foliage

Fall foliage color

If this is your first time reading this blog then I will introduce myself. I’m Jeff Folger, photographer and travel blogger for Yankee Magazine’s website Yankee Foliage.

My editor, dubbed me Jeff Foliage due to my passion for being out on the road looking for fall colors.  If you have a question about your upcoming search for fall color then please leave a comment below and I’ll answer it as quick as possible.

I have to admit, It’s amazing how early folks get going to plan for a fall trip to New England and since a vacation like this can be a once every 5-10 year occourance then folks want to get it right and not miss the New England fall colors.

The one thing I try to remind folks is to explore like a 7 year old… Confused?  Well, it goes like this, it just doesn’t matter what you find, just get out there and have fun doing it… That’s simple, right?

I received a letter from Juli, looking to find fall foliage this fall, who asked “is it better to arrive in late Sept or early Oct? My answer is yes! (read on)

“Sorry it took me a few days but I had to get my thinking hat on for fall foliage..I’m still working on Spring or at least hopeful for it”.

The where is very inter-dependent on the when of your dates for being in New England. You have to decide where you want to be which will also determines a good range of dates.  As a rule of thumb Peacham VT will be one of the first places to turn around mid to late September. and is done a week (+/-) after it starts.

But! If your vacation from work is limited to 20-24  October??? AND you still are desiring of finding brightly colored, fully leafed trees then you will want to change from Peacham to Massachusetts and realize that northern VT  won’t be at peak color.



As a rule. The New England fall foliage show starts in the northern part of New England and flows south and also from higher elevation to lower.

To see a good visual on how this works please visit [Yankee Magazine's Foliage central here] to see a page that they created which shows the color movement and approximate dates for each zone of New England.

So once you have figured out the when and the where you can now handle the lodging and travel arrangements. Are you going to do the driving or hand it off to a tour operator. If this is your first time to do this and your aren’t a “pro” photographer who has to be on their own schedule to get particular shots then a bus tour is a great way to start.

I’m not going to recommend a particlar tour operator since I’ve never done one but find one with a good reputation. How? I would check the Yankee foliage forum and then Fodor’s and Frommer’s also.  Ask questions about how they handle not finding color and what the tour people did to entertain between stops and what the stops consist of.  Were the stops at places that you would enjoy or not. In other words if they keep stopping at tourist shops with lots of “been there t-shirts” then maybe you should find another tour operator.

Seeking fall foliage is an arcane art and it’s mysteries are seldom fathomed.   So while I feel fairly confident in my predictions, make that WAGs, (Wild A$$ Guesses)
:-)   I can still be totally out in left field when it comes right down to it.

The hard part with trying to plan your trip, is that the later you wait, the more likely things will be booked up. I will say that you need to have your reservations taken care of early.

Do you have to? No, but you will need to be the sort of person who can sleep in the car and be comfortable… (this isn’t me)

If you have more questions I’m around and will do the best I can to answer but I will admit that I’m just one man (who happens to love traveling around New England),  but to get a better viewpoint you should still post to the travel sites I’ve mentioned and see what all the others say. That way you can make the best decision possible…

May you have fair weather with warm afternoons, cool evenings and bright colors.

A couple other links you could try are the Facebook fan pages for Yankee Foliage and New England Photography And when you get done I would love to read your trip adventures in the Yankee Forum so feel free to share what you learned…

Safe and happy travels
Jeff “Foliage” Folger