Longer Fall Foliage Season, Earlier Peak Color Good for Business | NBC Connecticut

Longer Fall Foliage Season, Earlier Peak Color Good for Business



    (Published Monday, Sept. 21, 2015)

    After a dry summer, many want to know how this year's fall foliage will turn out. While the grass may be brown, the news is good.

    "Fall is our busiest season, without a doubt. If people do want to get away, they should start making their reservations soon," said Pamela Gutlon, innkeeper at Simsbury's 1820 House.

    Gutlon is fairly new to Connecticut, and while she misses the Carolinas, she speaks highly of Connecticut's fall foliage.

    "In the south, you sort of wake up one morning and you go, oh, there's a crocus. And you realize that spring has come. But here the seasons are so distinctly different that the anticipation is overwhelming," she said.

    Anticipation for a vibrant season, that is.

    "The dryness this summer and even this fall, it's going to be dry this coming week, will really start to turn the leaves earlier than normal," said state forester Christoper Martin.

    Some leaves have already started falling across the state, especially along roadways, but Martin confirms that's not cause for concern.

    "Trees that are turning color now, they're often seen along highways where road cuts exist, oftentimes are located on ledgy, shallow soils. Those soils have dried up," he said.

    But most autumn adventures take people into forests, and that's where the fall color will be vibrant this year.

    Gutlon says the inn she manages is getting many calls about accommodations for this fall and it's already sold out on some weekends.

    A longer season means more opportunities to get out and enjoy autumn. Bruce Donald, president of the Farmington Valley Trails Council, is excited about an early peak foliage. He says the trails mean business for the communities along the routes.

    "As it stays warmer through the fall, we keep a lot of the people that would traditionally back off from using the trail."

    And for those that have never gone on a leaf-peeping getaway? Gutlon has a message.

    "Oh you're missing out on having a great experience. Take a weekend, come on up, borrow a bike, go for a ride, go kayaking, go to the flower bridge, just see everything – it's spectacular."

    Peak color is projected to occur as early as the first weekend of October in the northwest and northeast hill towns, reaching the shoreline by late October.

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