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Fantastic Change of the Leaves.

Rawan Radwan

Fall is a season that holds its own majestic beauty. The weather gets cooler, the days shorter, starry clear skies, the start of American football season, and oh, that crisp crunch of fallen colored leaves leaving the last traces of summer behind. Rather than the bright greens, pinks and vibrant purples of spring, falls is warm with orange, yellow and red hues. For many it is their favorite time of the year and, quite frankly, mine as well. The United States' northeast coast holds some of the most beautiful areas where you can see the leaves in their entire colorful splendor. From Starbuck's Pumpkin Spice latte, pecan pies, pumpkins everywhere to get the fall season started, for nature lovers, the fall foliage season presents some amazing views while taking a drive up and down the American east coast. The changing palette of trees is in bloom starting in late September until early November. Starting off the tour from the northern states of New England, the picturesque towns nestled in the middle of thick forest grounds from the Berkshire mountains down to the Appalachians, the red oak and maple trees shimmer in gold, red, burgundy and orange hues offer a great escape into nature's wonderland. Many New England towns have what are known to be "harvest festivals" where visitors can visit pick-your-own apple orchards, pumpkin carving, farmer's markets and much more. No matter what your plans are, the best way to cover more ground would be behind the wheel. Starting off the tour, Scenic Route 100 Byway in Vermont is one of the most scenic drives in northeast. The route runs alongside the Green Mountains with many natural recreational hiking and biking sites and, with rolling hills dotted by lakes and ponds, unspoiled forests and quintessential Vermont towns. This route is a great starting point for a drive down the east coast. Keep a camera ready at all times, pack in extra batteries and memory cards, for the route allows many to park alongside the trails and winding roads to capture beautiful vistas of red oaks, pops of gold and yellow birch, elm and hickory trees at White Mountain National Forest. Pack a picnic as one can take a break and have a late lunch next to one the many lakes as you head down south on I-93. The deep maroon and burgundy colors of the trees are at their peak staring in the first week of October close to the end of the month. Next head east to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the scenic drive from the Green Mountains drenched in early American history, the classic New England town provides some of the best in town scenes. It is a town that seems like it hasn't been touched much by evolution; walking down the roads can place visitors back in the colonial 1700s. Heading down south on the I-95 toward Concord, Massachusetts, feel free to stray from the road and get a glimpse of the countryside. There are many inns and camping grounds throughout the area that can accommodate nicely, and on a truly clear night, it is possible to view some of the fall's northern constellations. Massachusetts in general is a beautiful state from the eastern towns of Cape Cod to coastal Salem to west of the state to the town of Amherst. The Berkshires west of Massachusetts are dotted with small towns and villages flocked to each year by visitors, with great farm-to-table food, fall foliage up and over Lanesborough Mountain road. The area is known for their sugar maples and narrow forested roads, taking you down to the Berkshire Plateau with beautiful views of Mount Greylock. The roads in the area are equipped with a number of pullovers for travelers to pull up and enjoy the view. To view the dramatic colors of the changing leaves, early morning or later in the afternoon just around dusk would be ideal. Mt. Greylock State Reservation provides many trails for hiking within the thick forest grounds where hikers can picnic at one of the many designated areas. Driving down to the New York state line, many of the small towns are busy with fall festivities such as pumpkin picking, corn maze excursions, hayrides and an abundance of the best baked goods anyone can ask for. Before passing the NY state line, be sure to catch a glimpse of Williamstown along the Mohawk Trail Byway engulfed in the forests surrounding Mount Greylock. New York is best known for New York City of course, but the city is a bustling boiling pot of taxis, skyscrapers and endless numbers of people crossing streets trying to get to their destinations. The only place where one can truly see the changing of the leaves within the city boundaries would have to be Central Park. Right in the heart of the city, the most visited urban park in the world. The park is close to 3.5km filled with all sorts of trees such as European beech trees that turn a warm shade of orange-red, various oaks, elm, red maple and black cherry trees. If viewed from one of the surrounding skyscrapers, the rectangle shaped park is filled with shades of red, orange, yellow and brown with hints of blue for the ponds and lakes suited for mid-noon leisurely walks and picnics. But the truly exciting leaf peeping would be in upstate New York. Just a few hours' drive from the city, the Adirondack Mountains is an outdoor playground. Take a hot air balloon ride above the lush forests of the mountainous terrain; take a walk under the golden yellow leaves of aspen, red and silver sugar maple and sweet birch trees and take bike tours of the grounds passing by Lake Placid which provides a striking reflection of the surrounding forests. This nook of New York isn't known to many tourists since the lure of the bright city lights seems more majestic, but nothing tops the serenity of star gazing in the middle of a forest. Adirondack Mountain Park is one where you can take away all of life's busy schedules and just relax and become one with nature. Next stop, Virginia, Shenandoah National Park to be exact. The amount of beauty this area holds cannot be imagined unless experienced firsthand. The ever-so famous Skyline Drive is a long stretch of scenic roads winding through northern Virginia encircled by the most gorgeous colors. Skyline Drive has been named one of the top 10 scenic mountain drives in the United States; the drive will introduce you to the rich yellow and orange hickories, deep purple dogwoods, bright red Virginia creeper vines, buttery yellow scarlet oak, red maples, sumac, locust and sassafras trees that melt into each other as though it's a mere painting. I assure you there is nothing but beauty that comes out of this drive that will leave you in utter disbelief from the exquisiteness. With the mountainous peaks and low valleys of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the degrees of colors change from one area to another so it's best to make it a whole day's drive. The speed limit on Skyline Drive is a slow 35 miles per hour, perfect for a leisurely drive and to enjoy the beautiful view of the Shenandoah Valley as well as many overlooks by the side of the road. If lucky, you might spot bears or deer but it would be a bit difficult since the forest grounds are dense with trees, flora and fauna. Fall in general is a season of warm colors cooled by crisp cool air that won't chill you to the bone. The United States' east coastline's geography is one to be in awe of all year round, but fall is very significant in the area, it is a perfect getaway after the summer heat. Spending it within the serenity and beauty of nature is a healing and rejuvenating process one must experience every once in a while. There is simply no better way to unwind and get away from it all than this. To get a glimpse of the beautiful fall foliage and color change of the leaves, late September until early November are the best months, as the peak of the colored leaves differ from area to area. The northern states change leaves early on in the season, whereas the mid-Atlantic can peak mid-October until early November. A trip definitely worthwhile. - Email: [email protected]

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Publication:Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Oct 28, 2015
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