‘Abrupt, punctuated and spectacular’: Foliage forecast shows leaves may change early this year

In the time of the coronavirus, socially distanced travel options are more attractive than ever, making leaf peeping season in New England an ideal option for road trippers this year.

“I think people are finding the outdoors as a safe and comfortable place to be, and what’s better for social distancing than activities surrounding leaf peeping and that culture,” Jim Salge, Yankee Magazine’s foliage expert and a former meteorologist in at Mount Washington, New Hampshire, told USA TODAY.

NewEngland.com, the webspace for Yankee Magazine, and SmokyMountains.com both have fall foliage maps and resources at the ready for travelers hoping to start planning. 

The weather this time of year is great, making it the perfect time to get outside in New England, Salge said. “It’s this beautiful send off to the summer before our long hard winter.”

And the photos that capture the evolution of leaves in the autumn prove the send off is breathtaking — it’s no surprise that New Englanders and visitors look forward to the season change indicator. Some Instagram users even started to post in anticipation of the transition.

“If a year was tucked inside of a clock, then Autumn would be the magic hour,” wrote Kiel James Patrick, captioning an image of fall foliage in Vermont.

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