“A Trip for Trees?”

So, I lived in NY and NJ all my life and I moved to Amherst, MA a few years ago for college. I remember glancing at the scenery as I passed through on the drive up. The trees did display a vibrant array of colors that shouted autumn, reminding me that I was entering New England. Still, I was amazed to see lines of cars with license plates from all different states parked on the sides of highways in New England taking pictures, sight seeing and picking leaves off trees. I guess I never really took the chance to appreciate the true beauty of the New England foliage- I just didn’t get it…

I was looking through old magazines a few months ago and I came across an article in a September issue of Bergen Magazine called ‘Autumn in Vermont’ by Marilee Crocker. To satisfy my curiosity about the matter, I decided to tear it out and see what the hype was all about.

“High up in the mountains, in village centers and along the roadsides, the telltale signs are starting to appear. Though it is still summer here in New Jersey, in northern Vermont there’s already a chill in the evening air, and the trees are transforming into blazing displays of gold and orange. It’s Mother Nature’s way of heralding the season that weaves the Green Mountain State’s landscape into a tapestry of color.

It’s also your cue to plan this year’s fall foliage trip. Late September through mid-October is the peak viewing season in northern Vermont. The hues vary by region, so the best way to savor the show is by taking a leisurely drive. Especially rewarding is Route 100, a two-lane byway that winds its way through picture-perfect villages, wooded valleys and pastoral farmlands to the resort town of Stowe. There are plenty of scenic spots along the way for spying a spectrum of hues from scarlet to burnt sienna. (If you find foliage you’d like to keep, press the dry leaves in a heavy book between sheets of wax paper, or spritz them with a little aerosol hairspray and they’ll last for years)…”

Now, I certainly am a fan of sightseeing, though for me it has typically entailed large buildings, flashing lights and ‘the city that never sleeps.’ And even though I appreciate the serenity and beauty of nature…something about driving hours to look at trees always struck me as strange, until recently. In October I was driving on Interstate 91 in Massachusetts, where the highway overlooks the mountains. There was a bit of traffic and once I got over my initial state of annoyance at the wait, I began looking around, and I realized that the site was breathtaking. I remembered the article I had read and it was confirmed.

Having the opportunity to see New England foliage was like looking at a painting. The colors seemed almost artificial in their intensity, and I finally understood why thousands of people take the trip from all over the country to see the trees each fall.

It’s about that time of year again, so if you are looking for a relaxing place to take a ride, if you are especially interested in foliage, or if you are like I was and don’t particularly understand the fascination with trees- please take a ride up north this fall- you’ll be pleasantly surprised.