Autumn’s Arrival Is Just Around The Corner!
We all know there are hundreds if not thousands of great spots throughout New England and I bet some would say thousands in each state! But since I’m not here to write a book… (yet) here are a few that I like to hit and the dates that I normally find good to great fall foliage.
Stark, NH – Autumn Colors, October 1st
Around October 1st (give or take a few days) Stark, New Hampshire, combines fall foliage colors on the hills that rise dramatically above the Stark covered bridge and church.
You follow Route 110 and pull into the small parking lot next to the covered bridge or church. Generally I’ve found that the best spot for photographing the covered bridge and church at the same time is to climb up the opposite hill which is a cemetery. Please be respectful of the residents of the cemetery and stay on the paths as you see them.
I found several different aspects for catching the covered bridge and the church in the same shot, all of which are overshadowed by the Devil’s Slide (I haven’t found a true name for the hill except that Devil’s Slide State Park is right behind the Stark covered bridge). Either way the hill rising a few hundred feet above the bridge makes for a dramatic backdrop with the New England fall colors.
Other places to shoot from can be found by walking down the road and to the river’s edge to get the horizontal view of the covered bridge with other autumn colored hills in the background. I also like to walk through the covered bridge to the inn on the far side and photograph it from that angle.
If you’d like a good scenic drive to follow that includes a stop at the Stark covered bridge, then please follow this link to my fall foliage website. The enclosed route has three covered bridges, three churches, one stone tower, and one Grist Mill (really in Vermont but well worth the side trip).
Northfield, VT – Autumn Colors, September 27th
The Northfield 5 (as I refer to them) are five red covered bridges in and around Northfield, Vermont, home of Norwich University. Northfield is the second town in Vermont to lay claim to five covered bridges in its vicinity. I’ve photographed four of the five bridges and have plans to drive up the first week in October and get the Moseley covered bridge, also known as the Stony Brook covered bridge. (Maybe I’ll see you there.)
Route 12A cuts through Northfield, Vermont, and depending on which direction you’re coming from will determine in which order you catch the covered bridges. For argument’s sake I’m just going to assume you’re coming in from the southwest so the first covered bridge that you come to is the Stony Brook covered bridge. This will be just after you pass by the Northfield Golf Course and on your left you will see Stony Brook Road. Take the left but be careful of the road conditions. The covered bridge is 8/10 of a mile up the road.
Now you retrace your steps and continue back on Route 12A, heading into Northfield. As you pass the college set your trip counter and look for it to hit 2 miles. On your left you should see Slaughterhouse Road. Take the left and follow it a short distance and you will be at the bridge. You can park on either the near side or far side, it’s your call.
I suggest driving through the covered bridge to the far side and up the hill a little ways. There’s no traffic to speak of since the slaughterhouse that the road is named after has been out of business for many years. Also the bridge is more photogenic from the far side than the near side. You may have heard me once or twice tell you to work the scene and this is one of those times.
I want you to go downstream from the covered bridge and it’s a fairly easy walk to follow along the pool underneath the covered bridge walking to the far side. If you go a little bit further you’ll see what I think is the best view of this covered bridge. There is a small set of rapids where the pool falls quickly several feet and runs among boulders. You also have the covered bridge above this in the distance. I got here too early (September 23, 2013) but this year it may be much better by late September.
The final three covered bridges are up Route 12A on the next left. The first bridge you come to is the Northfield covered bridge and if you angle yourself right you’ll be able to see the lower Cox Brook bridge from the first bridge. After you’ve captured these two, drive up the road to the upper Cox River bridge. You probably should drive through it and then you’ll find some places to pull off, past the bridge.
So that gives you the Northfield 5 and your target dates are somewhere between the last week in September to the first few days in October for peak fall foliage color with your red covered bridges.
My Fall Foliage Forecast for New England
I suspect that this year (which seems to be a little cooler than average) may give this amount of coloration anywhere from 3 to 5 days earlier than October 1st. But keep an eye on the weather and the temperatures and the amount of sun that New England gets during September because this will influence the fall colors’ arrival. My goal is to give you advice on where to put yourself to have the best chance of finding the fall colors. I doubt I can point to a map for any given date and say here it will be peak! But I might be able to say, if you put yourself in this location you should find yourself within a very short drive of peak fall colors. (I hear Mother Nature laughing in the background at me and that’s never good.)
Links on my website to help you get the most out of your fall foliage vacation:
*All dates are approximate and can change from year to year.
~ Jeff Foliage
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