Our trip to the US in the months of September and October this year and more so to Lynnfield near Boston in the state of Massachusetts, in the north eastern part of the US, was perfectly timed to witness the riot of vibrant Fall colours in Autumn. To quote French author Albert Camus, “Autumn also is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” Nature has a way of combining the sublime with the practical, and the Autumn colours that include orange, yellow and fiery red is a wonderful example of this confluence. Autumn, also known as Fall marks the transition from summer to winter and its main feature is the shedding of leaves from the deciduous trees.
It’s almost that time of year again when the crisp air of Fall draws several visitors to wooded areas of Massachusetts to see the changing colour of leaves. As summer draws to a close, many wait in anticipation of the fall foliage season. It is a brief but stunning spectacle that welcomes the crisper, cooler air. Autumn overwhelms us with the alluring display of colours that include golden yellow, crimson red and burnt oranges. Already the deep greens of summer have morphed into their autumnal colours and the streets of Boston will soon be subdued with wintry hues.
Each year, the changing of the leaf colours takes place at different times. However, usually splashes of colours start to appear by mid-September. The leaf colours become more striking as we enter the month of October. Peak season usually comes in about the third week of October. My memory of vibrant Fall colors is limited to beautiful picture post cards. A pretty great season for leaf peeping seems to be shaping up. Owing to paucity of time we could not join any Fall foliage tour. Instead, I grabbed the opportunity of going for a long drive on the roads of Massachusetts, to witness the glorious fall colours when fiery maples set the countryside alight.
We planned the drive on a perfect Massachusetts afternoon in the month of October when the outburst of yellows and oranges against the bright blue sky makes you feel like that your life is passing through your fingers. We decide to go for a long drive on a Saturday during the three-day weekend holiday around Columbus Day that works best for peak fall foliage in Massachusetts. It was an easily drivable daytrip during the notable leaf peeping season. Columbus Day is celebrated to mark Christopher Columbus’ arrival in America on October 12, 1492, and that is why the holiday is always celebrated on the second Monday in October.
Peak fall foliage in New England, which includes Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, begins up north and works its way down, visiting each state like a loving aunt. Nowhere do we find more tone-perfect hues than in the New England region, with the region’s birches, maples, elms splashing mesmerizing colours from mighty boughs. Add to this seasonal explosion of colours that create breathtaking vistas; the rolling hills, accessible mountains and reflecting lakes decorate New England’s wonderful geographical canvas.
Hop in the car for an unforgettable fall foliage experience. We choose a long scenic, route, along 191-W, to Berkshires, a drive of two and half hours from Lynnfield. It provides world-class foliage viewing alongside notable art and culture. This route features the complete fall colour palette in the autumn months. Driving through the scenic passages of Berkshires, and getting immersed in the beautiful displays leaf colours, can easily segue into apple picking or a shopping spree in one of the vibrant communities there, where the past is valued and the future is embraced.
Berkshires Range, with best leaf peeping spots,puts a sensational display of the season, covered with colourful canopies and dotted with beautiful antique farm houses, barns, and businesses. We pass through charming historic towns and artsy communities tucked between rolling hills and farmland and are in for a visual treat of stunning vistas swathed in array of red and golden shades. On both sides of the highway we see the trees turning from green to yellow, to pink and then finally to flaming orange red. This wonderful phenomenon is known as ‘nature’s fireworks’ in the local newspapers. We stop at a local market selling scores of flowers and pumpkins as Halloween is just round the corner. There are butterflies everywhere and the kids run around trying to catch them. It is a beautiful drive through towns with houses painted white amidst the multi-coloured foliage.
We stop now and then for photographs. Suddenly the batteries in my camera are dead and we go in search of a shop nearby for batteries which consumes half an hour of our time. I had to listen to comment-why could you not bring spare batteries (It was a slip on my part-I tried explaining!). But my folks were a bit annoyed with me! While driving we see the impressive leaves peeping out from amongst the trees and bushes. The geese cackle happily in the brilliant blue sky, on their south bound journey. Oft and on we get glimpses of the stray wisp of wood smoke rising from roadside houses which hover gently in the invigorating crispy air. Dried cornstalks and pumpkins decorate porches. Blue jays peck at the sunflowers in the garden. Over there I see an apple tree that sits at the edge of a field, loaded with fruits and there are several apples are strewn around on the ground.
If you are a brazen leaf-peeper, do plan your Berkshires fall foliage getaway! The scenic roads of Berkshires offer endless possibilities but very few beat the marvel of the colourful foliage of Fall. I once again become a teenager and search for leaves with several colours on it so that I could press it and preserve that memory in time. It is indeed a precious memento that holds a special place in my heart.
The irresistible and magnetic pull of the mesmerizing colours made us wanting to stay there for a longer period of time. But our work waiting for us back home the following day made us drive towards Lynnfield half-heartedly. We stop our car at a few places and collect some of those beautiful yellow, red or orange flecked red maple leaves to give to our friends and relatives back home. We enjoyed every bit of the bursting scenery of fall, which was a fabulous experience!
Admiring the beauty of the leaves is one of the least expensive and convenient ways to soak in the awe-inspiring and natural beauty of America, Leaf peepers come from all over to see the vibrant bursts of colour that make up nature’s fireworks-a rich array of gold, yellows, and reds! Our trip was good to the last (leaf) drop! Nothing can relax and rejuvenate you more than enjoying nature and the surrounding scenery. With cooler temperatures rolling in, saying goodbye to summer and hello to Fall, a scenic drive along ‘ Berkshires’ provides the ultimate fall foliage experience.
You can’t but fall in love with New England! For people around New England, feet of snow and waves of heat end with a payoff: bursts of colours draped over the landscape in the form of fall foliage. Much of the colour is from native sugar maples. Only a few other places in the world have such dense and perfect concentrations of these maples trees.New England’s fall foliage is so stunning that it is enough to make a maple leaf blush!
A visit to the gift shop proves to be necessary if we are to brag about visiting Berkshires. There are T-shirts, bells, diaries and other knick-knacks with fall motifs on them. Pick a unique objet d’art from one of the several splendid boutiques found throughout the Berkshires. But be warned! It will create a hole in your pocket! I pick up some seasonal gifts at the Holiday Marketplace to carry home.
We see some of the best sights, smells and scenes that Berkshires has to offer, which are hypnotized by Mother Nature’s Fall foliage display. Berkshires is a scenic treasure and is sure to warm your senses! The autumn sky is drenched in hues of oranges, pinks and purples while the trees exhibit rage and fury as their colours make their final flight to the soil. Beautiful shadows cast by the cloud formations on the hills ascend and descend on either side of the road. There are several places to pull over, stop the car, and drink in the quiet beauty of Nature.
As you drive along the road you see farm stands offering apples freshly plucked from the tree; tempting cider and plump pumpkins which are as orange as the colour of the leaves above. Other than leaf peeping we have hay rides, fall festivals and corn mazes which delight the visitors and residents of Berkshires as well.