Planning your foliage season requires shrewd timing in order to maximize peak color in any specific location of New England. This year may present an even tighter window with the drought-like conditions that the region endured through much of the summer. The abnormally-dry conditions could lead to a foliage acceleration, giving us merely a glimpse of the reds, oranges, and yellows before a more rapid switch to brown.
While heat and rainfall can certainly play a factor in the year-to-year expectations of when to expect peak colors at your favorite locale, it’s safe to bet foliage will begin to replace the greens in the trees of northern Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine as early as the second week of September. These spots will be in peak form — the height of the foliage spectrum — by the end of September. In Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island, foliage peaks by early to mid-October.
Here is a tour of coastal Route 1, one of the best driving routes to take this fall in Maine, with things to do along the way.
Route 1 — Leaf-peepers are normally hoping to inject themselves in the mountains. But in coastal Maine, a drive up Route 1 takes that autumnal beauty and pushes it to the max with a seaside coolness that arrives with fall, just as the Appalachian Mountains (it’s the only range that touches the Atlantic Ocean from New England to South America) change their colors in the distance. Take an hour-long hike to reach the summit of Mount Battie, also attainable via a five-minute car ride. Grab a spot at the harbor and watch the ships head out and return in the weeks before winter descends. Or, hop on a water vessel yourself to get a tour of the area, an unforgettable destination no matter the time of year.