Fall has finally arrived in New England, which means it is the perfect time for enjoying the fall foliage – also known as leaf-peeping. New England is best known for the gorgeous autumn leaves; Connecticut specifically has the longest leaf-peeping season, which is due in part to the weather of the state. The sunny days, yet frigid nights allow for vibrant colored leaves without premature dropping. These conditions allow for people to enjoy leaf-peeping to its fullest extent.
The term “leaf-peeping” is a relatively modern term and only began appearing in the 1900s in the form of “leaf-peeker”, which was later adapted to leaf-peeper. “Leaf-peeper” is a term unique to New England and first appears in print in 1966, in a column of the Vermont newspaper “The Bennington Banner”, which described Vermont’s foliage. Though the origin of the phrase “leaf-peeper” was often negative and used to make fun of tourists, it has now lost those connotations and become very popular.
Junior Sophie Clark said, “I think it’s pretty cool. I mean I have an aunt who lives in Vermont and the amount of people that come and stay in her small town in the fall, it’s crazy. They do it just to hike and see the trees. I also think that it’s important for people who don’t have 4 seasons to get to see the leaves at least once in their life.”
If you would call yourself a leaf-peeper, then there are numerous places throughout Connecticut that are perfect to enjoy the fall foliage. Towns like Mystic and Kent are full of places that have beautiful autumnal views. Visiting B.F. Clyde’s Cider Mill and walking around the waterfront village is the best way to enjoy Mystic’s views, or going to Kent Falls State Park to enjoy not only the leaves, but also a gorgeous waterfall and covered bridge. Roads like Route 9 and Route 7 also pass through multiple towns, like Litchfield Hills, that embody the autumnal time of year and have vibrant fall foliage.
If you are still looking for places closer to home, don’t worry. Head to Zoar Trail at Paugussett State Forest to enjoy a scenic hike with views of the beautiful trees around Lake Zoar.
Another notable recommendation is “Hammertown Road, between Wild Horse Court and the shooting range, is really pretty right now. It has all these orange and yellow leaves, I think it’s worth a drive by,” Clark remarks.
Overall, there are many ways to observe the beauty of this time of year. If you ever want to experience leaf peeping, look no farther than outside your own window.