Highsmith, C. M., photographer. (2011) Fall in Connecticut. United States Connecticut, 2011. October. [Photograph] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/2012631623/

Ask most New Englanders what their favorite season is, and you’ll get the quick and enthusiastic answer, “Fall.”  Summer’s heat and humidity finally fades, and the cleaner, clear air of autumn takes its place.  It’s Harvest time too. Many gardeners are picking their summer crops while tending their cool weather ones. And of course, there’s the colorful beauty of pumpkins, mums, and cornstalks adorning many house porch thresholds, often set off by a fall-themed door-wreath welcoming the autumn season.  But, for all these welcome signals of the season, the most beloved sign of fall to all New Englanders is the fall foliage that surrounds us. The colors of red, gold, orange, and purple tree foliage set against the green grass and shrubbery gives a feeling of warmth that perfectly balances the chill in the air. It’s a picture-perfect reminder that winter is not far away.

Highsmith, C. M., photographer. (2011) First Congregational Church, Litchfield, Connecticut. Litchfield United States Connecticut, 2011. October. [Photograph] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/2012631566/

Many of us enjoy the foliage season through hiking, biking or just viewing it from the comfort of home, but my favorite way to see the foliage is to grab my husband and throw our puppies, Callie and Jasper in the car. With a cup of our favorite coffee and the sound of classical music playing softly in the background, we put on our best highway patience and set off on our annual foliage drive, becoming “leaf peepers” for a day. Our favorite place to see the fall foliage is up in Litchfield County, one of the many in-state foliage routes we found through the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s website: https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Forestry/Foliage/Fall-Foliage-Driving-Routes

Highsmith, C. M., photographer. (2011) Fall trees in Connecticut. United States Connecticut, 2011. October. [Photograph] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/2012631687/

We usually officially begin our peeping in Litchfield itself, sometimes stopping for a quick snack at one of the quintessential New England town’s welcoming eateries. Then we follow the winding road through the Northwest Hills. We enjoy taking in the views, no matter what kind of weather our peeping day brings.  I love seeing the leaves right after a rain when the tree bark is dark, making the color of the leaves pop in the contrast. Of course, a Connecticut fall foliage drive through Litchfield County is not complete without seeing the state’s last covered bridge in West Cornwall. Spanning 172 feet across the Housatonic River, it is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places and still carries cars safely from West Cornwall to Sharon. 

Highsmith, C. M., photographer. (2011) Cornwall bridge in Connecticut. United States Connecticut, 2011. September. [Photograph] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/2012630490/

This year the peak time to see the foliage in Connecticut will be Oct 10th. But there are many websites that offer an animated map that forecasts when other areas of New England will show their peak foliage color. No matter where you like to see fall in New England, I hope you can take time to see this beautiful masterpiece Mother Nature has created. I know I will, this year, and God willing, for many years to come.

https://www.npr.org/2022/09/14/1122657153/fall-leaves-peak-map

Marie Woodward