The days are warm. The nights are cool. The air has a musty fragrance and the landscape is bursting with shades of red, orange and gold. Yes, autumn has once again arrived. This is the time of year many “Leaf Peekers” take to the roads to view Mother Nature’s beauty. Leaf Peeker is the affectionate name given to tourists who hit the countryside to view the best that the fall foliage has to offer.
Each section of the country has what it refers to as its “peak” season. Typically, color changes begin in September, peak in October and finish off in November. Check fall foliage maps such as this http://usatravel.about.com/od/Weather/ss/Fall-Foliage_7.htm to track places for their peak colors. Now you are asking yourself, where is the best place for a “Leaf Peeker” to go?
You need not look any further than your own backyard to see the brilliance of fall. And while many of your backyards are bursting with color, I am referring to your backyard of Tennessee. A 6 -7 hour drive east of Memphis will offer you some of the best colors around. Gatlinburg, TN is a wonderful fall getaway. Gatlinburg lies at the gateway of the Great Smokey Mountains Park. There are plenty of activities, shopping and dining. There are also many trails for hikers, a chair lift ride and several scenic drives with pull over points that provide wonderful photo opportunities. Peak season will begin mid-September and carry through to mid-November, but October will offer the best that this region has to offer.
If you are looking for more golden hues, then travel west. Vail, Aspen, Telluride, Colorado have some of the best colors in the Rockies with locations that offer more than just a nature drive. And who can beat the 14,000 FT. mountains that offer the backdrop for all this color. Again, there are many trails for the hikers and drivers alike with abundant state parks to choose from. Some of the most popular spots being Maroon Bells and Steamboat Lake Park. Be sure to head out early for the most popular areas. Peak viewing time is typically during the second half of September, extending into the first week of October in the Southern Colorado Rockies.
For the most brilliant reds, you must head to New England. New England is comprised of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New Hampshire. New England offers the charm and history of our country. Winding roads, mountain back drops, quaint towns and covered bridges are just a few of these charms. For northern New England, the best time to catch the display is anywhere from the last week of September through the first couple of weeks of October. For the states, such as Massachusetts and Connecticut, the best bet for catching peak color is usually around the Columbus Day weekend.
While many areas are past their peak for this year, it is not too late to start planning your next year's travel escapes. A quick day drive or weekend getaway during the fall months can bring peace and relaxation to your hectic life.
"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf's a flower."
- Albert Camus
Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, and WI. She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds. Her agency’s focus is on creating itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind. She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember. With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide ride of leisure vacation planning.