Why Our Fall Foliage Is Best

“Nature’s first green is gold”—Robert Frost

New England’s fall foliage is legendary. Each year hundreds of thousands of people flock to the Northeast to view the explosion of fall colors.

We’ve been. The bronze, bright yellow and vibrant red leaves—set amid quaint towns such as Woodstock, VT or idyllic college towns such as Amherst, MA—are stunning.

“Leaf peeping” provides an an annual economic boost to the region too. Tourists to Vermont, a beloved fall foliage locale, spend about $375 million in the fall (including $96 million on food and $75 million on lodging), according to Boston magazine.

Though New England is in the spotlight for autumn-leaf adventures, other places also are ideal for leaf-peeping getaways.

A similar custom in Japan is called Momijigari. Even Arizona is trying to claim the fall-foliage crown. The fall cover of the state’s tourism magazine reads: “Autumn in Arizona and why it’s better than in Vermont.”

We have all the activities of leaf-peeping back East—and more. Fall-foliage tourism also provides an economic stimulus in the shoulder season between boating and ‘boarding.

Think about our attributes. Historic Nevada City has iconic white steeples that are surrounded by a wonderland of fall colors, just like New England.

Nevada County has its own covered bridge, just like Bennington County, VT. In fact, the Bridgeport covered bridge is America’s longest single-span covered bridge.

We also have wonderful attractions that rural New England doesn’t:

• The grapevines of Nevada County and Placer County bronze up in October. (Our cover features Naggiar Vineyards in Grass Valley). Fall is an ideal time of year for visiting the vineyards.

•The Mandarin orchards of Placer County are open for farm tours into January. (No snowblower needed, unlike New England).

• Grass Valley offers world-class performances this fall. The lineup at The Center for the Arts in Grass Valley includes country-singer Lyle Lovett, blues guitarist Buddy Guy and real-food activist Michael Pollan.

• Road trips along historic Hwy. 40, Hwy. 49 and Colfax Hwy. show off fall colors in all their glory, along with walking tours of downtown Grass Valley and Nevada City.

(credit: Olof Carmel, TheCarmelGallery.com)

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