Still a tad early for the hills to be all popping out — but BLUE BELLE and I had to get out, and that does not mean we cannot pop out more. Saturday, 26 September, we clocked 209 kilometers. Below is the route we traversed. (and, you can click on the map for an almost full-screen version – and you can also see larger images throughout by clicking on them).
Last year, on both 9 and 13 October, I captured some great views, and you may wish to clink on this link to revisit. I knew I would be a tad early this year, but each year is different. I left in haze (weather – not me), which began to clear once I passed through Cambridgeport on Route 121.
The big tree in front of The Grafton Inn had not yet begun to turn, but this is the view just beyond the Inn prior to Route 121 bearing right out of “town,” how can you not love this?
As you may imagine, I receive a good number of emails advising me of things of interest to me. I get a number from Happy Vermont dot Com. A recent article was Why Vermont’s Fall Foliage is Better than the Rest. You may wish to look at that article, but here are some of the fun facts quoting Vermont Forests, Parks, and Recreation Commissioner Mike Snyder. RED, ORANGE, YELLOW and GOLD, Vermont’s foliage is the world’s best because of its variation, vibrancy and vantage points (I believe this is a key factor). Factors impacting leaves changing color include: light level, temperature, soil conditions, and more. The change of colors is NOT predictable, but largely predictable in a general pattern, and within that pattern there are variances each year, adding to the fun.
But why Vermont? It is one of the most heavily forested states in the country and has the highest proportion of maple trees. Soil and geology play a part. Vermont’s calcium-rich bedrock and relative sweetness of its soils “translate into tree composition, growth, and vibrancy.” Color varieties come from the variety of species and forest types, and Vermont has more maples than any other state. Snyder says, “maples are the show stealers.” The array of vantage points is made possible with rivers (as I show above), ponds, lakes, trails, and open farm land with mountains in the background.
My route this day hit all those various type of locations. But what I found of interest is usually I see color first in higher elevations. This trip the colors I captured were east of the Green Mountains. Once I was on the other side and looking at the hills above Manchester and US Route 7 north – there is a ways to go.
Back to the map, I headed out of Grafton on 121 toward North Windham. I soon realized that I am always coming in the opposite direction – this is a first. But, in New England, I marvel at something different no matter what direction, or if the trip is only a week or season later. Going the other way, I had not seen this house before on VT 121.
Recently my lunch stops have been getting a sandwich in a general store and enjoying a picnic table. Deciding not to stop at the crowded (a relative term in Vermont and New Hampshire) general store in Peru, I decided to stop instead at the Dorset general store. Manchester was packed with out of staters, it appears they have missed Dorset. I was heading through Dorset anyway on Route 30 leaving Manchester Center. And, some nostalgia. My first trip to Dorset was in the summer of 1964 in my 1929 Model A Ford Roadster. I visited a former neighbor from Wilton. At ninety she had just made a hole in one at the country club there. We had lunch at the clubhouse. But getting my lunch this day, I sat at a picnic table, with my “Dorset Reuben” (turkey vice corned beef) on the greenway in the “town’s center” – again a relative term. You may click the images for larger views.
Another post I get every year from Happy Vermont is Get Outside This Fall on These 6 Vermont Scenic Dirt Roads. Many I have been on, but not Danby-Mount Tabor Road between Landgrove and Danby. Lunch done (enjoying church chimes at noon) I headed north to Danby Mountain Road — up and up, dirt and dirt – just what we like. No striking change of color as yet,
but rounding one corner into open fields, just guess what this will be like in a few weeks. (Click for full screen)
I revisited Danby Four Corners (which I think is really just three corners), and all the buildings (four or five) were still there. Then back down the hill to Danby which I have visited before, and you should know why it is noteworthy.
just think what color is just weeks or days away in the distance over this soldier’s shoulders.
and, here is why you need to visit Danby. You can click on this image for better readability, and I hope you do read.
Crossing US Route 7 (quiz, what is my favorite road in the US? – you better know the answer). you head through the hamlet of Mount Tabor into the National Forest, and begin the climb. Click the image below – but better yet, visit in person to see the rock erosion.
and, climbing higher
there are few open spaces, and not many leaves turning as yet. To be truthful this is not a route for leaves. BUT, if (like me) you have to say you have been on this dirt stretch, then go. But remember – closed in the winter. In fact, the road had been closed for years, another bridge taken out by Irene. Dr. Dewey had warned me that the replacement bridge was built with the wrong angles and to be careful. Crawling at maybe a mile an hour I cleared with inches, avoiding a hard bump and broken crankcase cover.
The road ends in Landgrove, just up from the Inn. I always enjoy going through charming North Landgrove, but there were no images to capture for you. But, then knowing I wanted to head to Weston, I took various turns that indeed brought me down the hill (near Dr. Dewey’s) to the village proper. You know I like to “frame” images, and this one I liked taking.
Back to my map above, note I travelled north on VT 100 from Weston heading towards Ludlow, but looking for Andover Road which I first discovered in May 2015 — take a look at that time for this amazing road and views. And, a stop at East Hill Cemetery is a must for the views. Do click this panorama for a full screen. Still aways to go, but the views at the Andover end of Andover Road – at this end East Hill Road from Andover – are amazing all the way to Mt. Monadnock when the haze cooperates.
I need to get back to this spot soon, and with a picnic. Make sure you also visit East Hill Cemetery in Andover, Vermont. The history related here is extremely interesting. Click the image for a larger aerial view.
As I said before, each year the leaves are different. I have a sugar maple in the back yard which is always the last to turn. This year it is almost the first. It was but a sapling when I moved in 18 years ago, growing from a stump of a downed tree. I did not measure its girth, but it is pretty massive now. Maybe in my next leaf post I will share my treasured tree.
I promise — you will have more short trips with scenery and leaves in the next few weeks. That you for “traveling with me,” love, RAY
Hey Ray! Loved the pics and learning that it’s not only the low temps at night that account for the leaf colors.
This year on the lake, our leaves are already about 50% changed. The peak usually happens the 2nd week of October so we feel our fall down here has come very early this year. Interesting that you didn’t notice the same thing there. The colors do seem to be pretty fantastic at least.
I really like that one picture of the bright reds on the mountain. It looked like someone threw a fall colored carpet over the rolling mountains-just beautiful! Fall is my favorite season. I love the newly crisp air and amazing colors! Thank you for sharing your fall beauty!
Love the gorgeous foliage pics and commentary. Did you see my FB post of the foliage at Lake Massawippi this year? If only we could go…
Don and I followed your map today, and enjoyed a wonderful fall foliage trip through VT!! We loved the dirt roads that we would never have known about without your seasoned travel advice. Several times, it felt like we were on a fun scavenger hunt trying to find the right turns.
We had a great afternoon!
Thank you so much! Jana and Don
I am thrilled you followed my footsteps. As I have said before, and will continue to say, “I write for myself to remember, but love to share.” And, did you pack a picnic to enjoy in the cemetery? Believe it or not, cemeteries are fun places to stop and visit. But also the views there. Hopefully I will have more routes to report on in the next two weeks. Yours, RAY
The North Landgrove photo is especially stunning!
Ray, This is pure Vermont. I have not been on the Tabor crossover dirt road since before tropical Irene. That’s always big snowbelt country over there but, we wont stay on that subject. You had an amazing ride and i enjoyed the pics, thanks ….Tom.