I am not a native Texan. I was born and raised on a dairy farm in Iowa where I earned my ‘farm girl’ street cred. In one post I can’t begin to highlight all the differences between Iowa and Texas, but at this time of year the most notable difference is the absence of fall as I know it.
The temperature is dropping, oh so slowly, but at midday we are still reaching upper 80s. That would be a beautiful Iowa summer day, but I expect more out of fall. I expect cool, crisp mornings and evenings. I want to crave the warmth of homemade soup, and most of all, I want to see fall foliage. Nothing changes the tone of the year like seeing the greens turn into reds and golds.
I spent some time in Pennsylvania a few years ago for work and I got two real deal falls out of it – just enough to remember how much I missed it. The awesome factor goes way up when you see the foliage covering mountains.
These photos were taken on a hike through Ohiopyle State Park, south of Pittsburgh. It really puts our green Texas leaves to shame, and makes me want to start up the car and head north.
The difference between getting brilliant colors on the trees and seeing winter-ready barren trees can be a matter of one week, so you need to plan your leaf peeping trip carefully. You also have to remember that when they change varies from year to year and depends on things like the type of trees present, the amount of rain they got during summer months and the whether there is an early frost.
Before you plan your trip, do some research. Because of the big tourist bucks tied up in getting the timing right, there are many organizations that give foliage predictions. I have an on-the-ground source in Pennsylvania who will text me photos of the leaves when they start to change. Now that I think about it, I don’t know if he is keeping me updated or rubbing it in. If you don’t have your own private meteorologist, you can check out one of the following sites for the current status:
The sites give you maps, similar to the following. You can’t rely on it as gospel but it’s a good place to start.
So what is my dream fall foliage leaf peeping trip?
Well, since you asked, I’m happy to tell you!
I want to go to Vermont and stay at a B&B. I want to find a farm to pick apples and hike through beautiful vistas of oranges and reds. I want to drink cider at a festival in Stars Hollow and make friends with Lorelai Gilmore (dream trip, remember?).
What’s your ideal fall trip?