LEAF PEEPERS- that fun somewhat obnoxious group of people who descend on destinations like Vermont, Massachusetts and in general New England in a swarm come late September and last until sometime around the end of October.
Like the “Ugly American Tourist” we don’t want to be labeled as “that or Those darn Leaf Peepers” so it is important to follow a few tips!
1. DO get up EARLY for best light and to make use of the limited light in New England this time of year! Some of my best photos have been made in early morning light! www.sunrisesunset.com can give you exact times and if you look-most days in October you have about 12 hours of good light-give or take. Cloudy days or rainy days will feel like they get darker more quickly.
2. DON’T stop in the middle of a busy traveled road just for your Photograph. Choose your spot to park carefully and with consideration for other travelers or private owners. Don’t walk into chicken pens-barns private property!
3. DO stop. Don’t rush past that pumpkin stand or country fair-stop and get out-wonderful home-baked goodies await as well as meeting the locals!
4. DON’T be LOUD-observe a quiet voice when walking in the woods or standing by a wonderful waterfall- a bit of quiet is important in observing nature and you may spot that elusive moose with a bit of quiet!
5. Do ask locals where to go- stay in a locally owned bed/breakfast, small hotel and get great tips on restaurants or where that beautiful trail is! Locals WANT to share the best places and are thrilled when you ask!
6. Don’t forget to pack proper clothes like any good traveler- Fall weather is a mix of sunny 70+ days and can be a chilly bite of frosty 32 degree mornings-bring a hat both for sun or cold. Rain-gear, boots, be prepared and you will find your days much more enjoyable!
7. DO bring a camera with plenty of space even if you have been before I always see new things to photograph!
8. Don’t overplan. Leave room for spontaneity, you won’t be driving at 60mph (please no), and there is more to see than you will have time for- you can always return the following Fall! There is often much to see in a small area, historic sights, trails, and you need some time to just sit and enjoy. You need time to walk that trail that leads to a waterfall.
9. Do plan ahead for special excursions- boat rides or anything involving tickets especially on fall weekends! New England gets approximately 5 millions visitors in the fall from all over the world and this number may not account for residents who also get out on the weekends to enjoy the colors, fall foliage cruises, and train rides!
10. Don’t be that “Ugly Leaf Peeper!” Wave when driving down country roads, be friendly at the country stores, SMILE, be courteous especially to the locals who may just be trying to get to work in the morning. Pull over and let faster moving vehicles pass you, let the locals get in and out of the convenience stores quickly- be patient and most of all just enjoy!! You aren’t working you are enjoying the beauty of fall in New England!