Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Favorable Weather Bringing On Vermont's Second (And Better!) Foliage Season

Peak spring foliage season in
Richmond, Vermont in May, 2015.  
Vermont tourism officials and pretty much everybody in the state make a big deal out of the state's famed foliage season in the autumn.

And why not? I've lived here all of my 53 years and the foliage in late September and October is beyond fabulous.

However, I think the Vermont Department of Travel and Tourism is missing out on a great marketing opportunity.

It's Vermont's second foliage season, just now getting underway.

It's true, the state's tourism department does tout spring on it website. The maple syrup, the spring skiing, the festivals, the fly fishing.

But why not gush about the amazing scenery this time of year?

After all, zillions of people come up to the Green Mountain State in the autumn to look at the hills, mountains and landscapes that are decidely not green. Beautiful in amazing hues of yellows, oranges and reds, yes, but not especially green.

We should really make some money luring tourists here to watch as the Green Mountain State turns, well, green.

Green is only one color, I get that. But as the buds burst and the leaves unfurl on our trees, there are a million different shades of green. All fresh, beautiful, new green.  It's so overwhelmingly beautiful. I love the season much more than the glory of autumn.

Plus, there's splashes of other colors. Vermonters are famous gardeners, craving color after the many long, gray drab months of winter.

If I had a penny for every daffodil bloom in Vermont, I'd be a thousand times richer than Bill Gates. Same is true if you count up the lilac blossoms in town greens, residential streets and almost every  yard in the state.

You'd swear it's a Vermont state law to have at least one lilac bush in your yard.

We're just on the cusp of Vermont's spring foliage season now and the weather is suddenly cooperating nicely.

In the fall, the state breathlessly announces the stages of color as they progress. There's early stage, when there's a few pops of orange and red amid the green. Then there's mid-stage, which is a nice mix of green and other colors.

We go to near peak, when it's almost perfect, peak foliage, when it's the pinnacle of amazing, then past peak, where it's fading to grey, but there's still very wonderful pockets of color.

For this year'sspring foliage season, Vermont is at early stage. We had a couple of seasonable warm days Friday and Saturday.

Sunday and Monday, we had a good soaking rain. That all left the meadows a luxurious green, and in the valleys, a few trees are showing signs of baby green.

The weather this week is expected to be seasonably mild, with temperatures at least in low elevations likely to get into the low to mid 60s most days. There will be a few showers around.

That, by later this week, will bring us to mid-stage foliage, where a fairly big proportion of trees will have turned green by the weekend, with white splashes of shadbush, Forest floor trillium flowers will accentuate the scenery, but spring will not be in full gear just yet.

Next week, and probably the week after, we'll get into peak season, when we get those myriad shades of spring green, with that lovely pastel hue.

Flowering plants, and late arriving buds in subtle reds, oranges and yellows will make the forests and hills seem perfect. Tulips, lilacs, and other spring blooms will grace every yard in the state.

Towards Memorial Day, we'll get into past peak, when the forests turn into their dark, rich but still lovely summer green.

Why aren't tourism officials tracking these stages of this foliage season? No social media alerts about this wonderful situation? No foliage guides to tell you where in Vermont the foliage is best?

I know, I know, we Vermonters sometimes get a little tired of the tourists and we occasionally need a break. But tourism brings dollars.

And spring here is beautiful. We can share the love of our spring scenery with a few outsiders, I'm sure.

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