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Where To Find Fall Foliage And Some Of Vermont's Hidden Gems

Autumn in the Green Mountain State is when tour buses and cars full of out-of-staters trek to Vermont to see that green turn to gold. Even if it's past peak in some regions, John Sinclair with the Green Mountain and Finger Lakes National Forest says there's still great leaf peeping to be had. And VPR's own Ric Cengeri says a trip to see the foliage is a great excuse to see what Vermont's 251 towns and cities have to offer.

VPR listener Sally Burke Bartholdi shared the burnt orange leaves of North Bennington.
Credit Sally Burke Bartholdi
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VPR listener Sally Burke Bartholdi shared the burnt orange leaves of North Bennington.

"Viewing these fall colors in the national forest, and across the regions of Vermont, people aren’t going to be disappointed this year," Sinclair says. He's the forest manager for the Green Mountain and Finger Lakes National Forest.

Listen to the audio to hear Vermont Edition producer Ric Cengeri—who's been to all 251 cities and towns in Vermont—discuss the trips, sights and memories he'll share speaking at the Vermont 251 Club's annual meeting Sunday.

VPR listener John Gilbert shared this picture of fall foliage and an autumn harvest in Warren.
VPR listener John Gilbert shared this picture of fall foliage and an autumn harvest in Warren.

"The reds of the maples have just been spectacular, with their vibrant bursting colors. When the sun hits them in the morning, or later in the day, it really creates that ‘pop’ of color," Sinclair described.

VPR listener Elizabeth McCarthy shared this image of an amphibious leaf peeper in Walden.
Credit Elizabeth McCarthy
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VPR listener Elizabeth McCarthy shared this image of an amphibious leaf peeper in Walden.

"And then the golden colors of the birches and aspen are also really beautiful this time of year. That red and yellow coloration really helps those stand out on that broader landscape, particularly when they’re backed up by some evergreen foliage of spruce, fir or pines."

Eleven days into October, Sinclair says the northern portions and higher elevations within the national forest "are either at peak, or just past peak." Lower elevations, particularly near the Champlain Valley, are just nearing peak.

VPR listener Sally Burke Bartholdi shared this foliage photo from North Bennington.
Credit Sally Burke Bartholdi
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VPR listener Sally Burke Bartholdi shared this foliage photo from North Bennington.

Recent rainy weather may dampen some would-be leaf peepers with washed-out views, but Sinclair says more colors are still to come.

"We can still expect to see some really beautiful colors with some of the oak leaves changing here later in the season," he says. "Particularly in the southern part of the state, around Manchester and (further) south, should really be getting into some of the peak, beautiful color seasons."

Sinclair offered some suggestions for those looking for scenic drives looking to soak in the leaves.

VPR listener Elizabeth McCarthy shared this image of golden leaves near Walden.
Credit Elizabeth McCarthy
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VPR listener Elizabeth McCarthy shared this image of golden leaves near Walden.

North of Bennington of south of Middlebury, drives along Route 7 offer "spectacular views ... through these small picturesque Vermont communities with the backdrop of the fall foliage."

Further south, along Arlington or West Wardsboro, Sinclair suggested the scenic Kelly Stand Road. “It’s a beautiful Vermont dirt road, country road, through the woods. The leaves and trees overhanging the road, in places in peak color."

VPR listener Michelle Muller shared these trees along the water in Starksboro.
Credit Michelle Muller
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VPR listener Michelle Muller shared these trees along the water in Starksboro.

Sinclair also suggested a rest break or lunch stop at Grout Pond. "You’ll be able to see those beautiful colors over a picturesque pond. Really, this is one of the most beautiful times to be out on the national forest and visiting your public land."

Broadcast on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.

Ric was a producer for Vermont Edition and host of the VPR Cafe.
Jane Lindholm is the host, executive producer and creator of But Why: A Podcast For Curious Kids. In addition to her work on our international kids show, she produces special projects for Vermont Public. Until March 2021, she was host and editor of the award-winning Vermont Public program Vermont Edition.
Originally from Delaware, Matt moved to Alaska in 2010 for his first job in radio. He spent five years working as a radio and television reporter, radio producer, talk show host, and news director. His reporting received awards from the Alaska Press Club and the Alaska Broadcasters Association. Relocating to southwest Florida, he was a producer for television news and NPR member station WGCU for their daily radio show, Gulf Coast Live. He joined Vermont Public in October 2017 as producer of Vermont Edition.
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