In New England October and Vermont are forever linked. October is mother nature’s final fireworks show before the long cold realities of winter take over. Real or a product of tourism marketing skill, it seems mother nature has chosen Vermont to host her party every autumn. Not all Octobers are created but most seem to please. A spectacular season requires everything to go right, warm sunny days followed by cold crisp nights, add the right amount of rain and even the bugs need to do their part. When these elements come together the results can be magical and even when they don’t it can still be pretty nice. It’s all in the eye of the beholder and the Vermont Tourism board, since it is they that get to inform the rest of the world how autumn is progressing. It is often said that the difference between a good foliage year and a not-so-good year is a matter of effort. In a good season little effort is required to see spectacular color, it surrounds you. In a not-so-good year more effort is required, you will need to go find it.
The 2017 foliage season had a little bit of everything and at times needed a bit of effort to find the prize. The season started promisingly with some early color in the first half of September which naturally leads to predictions that a banner season lies ahead. Then mother nature slammed on the brakes with a prolonged stretch of summer-like weather that made visiting crowds dream of water skiing and barbecues, not pumpkins and apple picking. It wasn’t all bad, and as the season switched from early to late things started to happen. Many parts of the state accustomed to leaves on the ground by the first week of October instead had full trees for weeks later. Those leaf-peepers that had reluctantly booked after the Columbus Day weekend would be rewarded with a late-blooming and long lasting show. While the tropical weather was very active and destructive down south, New England was spared any destructive autumn storms early on.
The 2017 season was left to make of it what you could. It depended on where you were and when you were. I enjoyed my time up north in early October and by mid-month lower Vermont. Shown below are some of my favorites from this season.