This Week's Links

US Forest Service

Dr. Dewpoint

Senior Circle

Foliage Central

Clint's Place



Maine Dept of Conservation

Maine Office of Tourism

Northern Maine Recreation

Vermont Tourism

Vermont Foliage

Vermont Autumn

All Vermont Pages


Extra Extra*

Photo Travel

Big Yellow



Upstate NY

Adirondack Mountains

New Hampshire Inns


PA Visitor's Net




Washington DC






The Hunt for Red October no - it's not a hairpiece, just a bad haircut                    back to TTN home page
by Joe Harkins
- Sep 16, 98

    Back around 1987, at age 54, I moved to a Caribbean island to begin my career as a journalist, working for a local English-language newspaper. I lived in a terraced house on a cliff high above the sea, surrounded by acres of exotic tropical flowers. Fruit from trees and bushes around the property sweetened every meal.

    I stayed three and half years. It was summer every day, all year long. But each year, when the calendar said it should be Fall, and it brought only another unvarying season of afternoon rain-showers, intense rainbows and even more tropical greenery, I longed once again to see the burning hills of a North American Autumn.

    Most people who have had the virtually religious experience of a New England Fall, claim that the region has the best, most riotous color plus just the right kind of rolling-hill vistas. However, it's not the only place blest with an annual tumult of arboreal color. There's at least one fall foliage information site for each of some 40 states. Almost every part of North America except the southern-most sub-tropical edges or the arid desert areas has a viewing period.

    As the daylight hours shorten, broad-leafed deciduous trees prepare for their winter sleep by shutting down the production of chlorophyll, the chemical that makes their leaves green. When the green color that saturates all the cells of a leaf in spring and summer fades, the underlying reds, yellows, browns and even purples produced by the other chemicals in the leaf shine forth. The exact timing of this depends on the variables of rainfall and temperature.

    At press time, the US Forest Service hadn't posted the 1998 nation-wide leaf-viewing page but a spokeswoman assured me "it will go online any day now" as in past years (Note: 09/16/98 - it's there now!). Until it is, both Dr. Dewpoint and Senior Circle offer lists of best viewing times for spots in dozens of states as well as hotline phone numbers. Yankee Magazine's Foliage Central is a good regional resource.

    As usual, a passionate amateur has built one of most comprehensive and best-organized web sites. Clint's Place is clearly a labor of love. There are links to foliage tourism for states from Alabama to Wyoming. Others give one-click access to optimal viewing-date maps and academic sources to enhance your enjoyment of the phenomenon.

    Meanwhile leaf-viewing information for individual states, especially those in the Northeast, is on the web. In some cases the same area is covered by more than one web site.

    Maine is especially gifted with large tracts of beautiful forest views and many well-done web sites about its carpets of leafy color. The Maine Department of Conservation invites you to take a cyberstroll and experience the vibrant colors of Maine's autumn on-line. Highlights include a photo gallery created by Maine Forest Service and Park Rangers, peak color dates and best viewing locations.

    The Maine Office of Tourism also makes these accessible as driving tours. Northern Maine Recreation offers excellently planned foliage viewing driving routes.

    Vermont's official tourism pages are visually and navigationally uninspired. The site's value is mostly in its variety of useful links. Fortunately, those and other resources fill the gap.

    The Vermont Foliage Pages invite you to copy excellent photos from their gallery and install them as "wallpaper" on your own Windows desktop. Just select a photo for your monitor's size, click on it with the right mouse, and choose "set as wallpaper That's all there is to it.

    If you can't make it to Vermont to watch the sugar maples flare through their shimmering shades of red and gold, the 61-minute video available at Vermont Autumn presents the majesty of Vermont's renowned autumn beauty. The planning guide on the site may be one of the best around because it is simple, basic and apparently complete.

    Finally, to capture an autumnal aura, visit another enthusiast's site, All Vermont Pages. There you'll find details on getting flaming autumnal leaves sent to you by postal mail. 


*note: The material that appears below may or may not have been published in your local newspaper depending on the  available space in this week's edition.)

Leaves of another color:

Photo Travel
This is, beyond argument, the most complete web site on the subject. It has more Fall Foliage links than any other I've seen. Although the primary audience for the site is photographers, the information is valuable for anyone interested in fall foliage.

Big Yellow
Another good site for an overview of what's out there on the subject of Fall Foliage.

This site contains links to virtually all the most important foliage related site for this state.

The version that's here now (September 15, 1998) is still the 1997 Foliage Report. Maybe by the time you visit the web site the 1998 edition will have been added.

Pennsylvania (Official State Site)
They've laid out 29 driving tours and set up live web cameras at prime locations around the state.

PA Visitor's Net
Although the state's official site is well done, this independent one has an advantage because its driving tours are planned with the purpose of helping you make accommodation reservations.

Round The Bend (Upstate NY)
NY State is about as New Englandy as you could want. In fact, most of the land from the western edge of present-day Connecticut, Vermont and Connecticut, all the way across NY State and on into Ohio, actually was part of the original New England.

Adirondack Mountains Fall Report
Fall in the Adirondacks is a spectacular display of color and incredible scenery. Peak color in most of Adirondack Park occurs during the last week or two in September.

New Hampshire Inns
One of the most beautiful states in the Union is also home to some of the most comfortable inns anywhere. They've put together some good packages of accommodations and driving tours.

Great map, but it's another dead-end page that lacks navigation buttons to explore the rest of the site. Use your back button to return to the Travel The Net Column.

There are probably more Fall Foliage tours in Texas State Parks than this one, but the official web site doesn't say. Perhaps an email will get you more info.

Good details and frequent updates as the wave of color rolls south through the state.

Washington DC
In addition to details about foliage sites within the District, there are links to treks up to four hours drive from the Nation's Capitol.

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