Beating the Invasion

colorThere is something about the fall season that lifts my spirits. The air is clean under crisp blue skies and the vibrant foliage can take your breath. You just want to step outside and bask in the beauty of buttery yellows and blazing reds of the maples, elms, birches and the sumacs that front every wood line.

Fall colors are reaching their peak right now on the Kancamagus Highway, the National Scenic Byway from Lincoln to Conway NH, and I’m sure the hoards of leaf peepers have arrived. A year ago we ventured up during the peak of color and found the 35-mile road through the White Mountain National Forest bumper to bumper with cars, campers, and buses. We hardly found places to pull off and park for the perfect views. This year we thought, “Wouldn’t it be a neat idea to beat the leaf-peeper invasion?” Yes! So last weekend we jumped in the car for a pre-peeper drive on the Kancamagus Highway just to see what we could see.

We hoped to arrive just before peak color and see the emerging reds, oranges, and yellows mixed with the cool, green of conifers without the distracting flood of vehicles driving bumper to bumper along the way. The timing was perfect as we had the approaching highways almost to ourselves.

Click on photos to enlarge:

fall colors 2014 The colors were a little cooler in the distance but quite grand. It was a peaceful and enjoyable drive.

A special delight was visiting the same apple orchard farmer as last year whose truck was brimming with juicy just-picked apples and some fresh vegetables. This time we sampled and bought a bag of crisp Mcintosh.

Apples!And when we arrived home, I made this and invited the kids to come and enjoy! Life is good…

Apple Crumb Pie

Apple Crumb Pie

Becoming tourists on the ‘Kanc’

After researching the best places to see fall color and taking advice from local folks, including mister gardener’s barber, we decided pay heed and join the throngs of Leaf Peepers on New Hampshire’s Kancamagus Highway, touted as some of the best viewing of fall color in New England.

This two-lane road connects the towns of Lincoln and Conway about 35 miles through the White Mountain National Forest, providing breathtaking views of trees of crimson, yellow, amber, purples, oranges and pine greens. The fiery reds and reds and brilliant oranges of maples scattered among the deep green pines and the soft honey yellows of beech and aspen provided a riotous contrast of color on the peaks and valleys of these mountains.

I was advised not to try to photograph a sweeping vista because it just wouldn’t have the impact of a closer photograph. But I was mesmerized and overwhelmed by nature’s crazy quilt… a multi-colored blanket of fall shades.

I went in for a closer shot…..

still closer…

Then I understood.

There were plenty of opportunities for water views whether lakes or streams, waterfalls or the bit of drizzle and haze we had that day.

And there was dazzling color wherever you looked….  whether blanketing the valleys, ascending the peaks or just a bright punch of color on the side of the road.

We had fun joining the procession of Leaf Peepers who were all enjoying and exploring the scenic views along the Kancamagus Highway, affectionately called the ‘Kanc’ by locals. I can see an annual tradition in the making…

Final Glimpse of Summer

Fall is in the air in New Hampshire. Our birches have lost most of their leaves. The yellows are blazing and the reds are emerging quickly near the seacoast. Leaf Peepers must be planning their trips to New England… hopefully with airline tickets already in hand. We read that the leaf color in the Lake Winnipesaukee area in the Lakes Region is showing early reds and oranges. With temperature hovering in the upper 40’s this morning, it should only get better. We’ve flown to New England in the fall in years past but this year we plan to follow the procession of Leaf Peepers along the roads. Wish us luck.

To catch a last glimpse of summer, my sisters and I visited Stonewall Kitchen gardens (twice!) in York, Maine where colorful annuals attracted butterflies, skippers and bees. Glorious!

Click photos if you want full size….