Fall’s finery

Experts say this fall has already been a banner year for leaf peepers. And locally, the peak is near.

Fall's foliage is in full force in the Capital District.

Fall's foliage is in full force in the Capital District. Photo by Charles Wiff.

— “The timing here in the Northeast is highly variable and changes on an almost week-to-week basis. The colors that are left depend on how much food was made late in the season,” Constantakes wrote in an email. “The later they continue making food, the more red there will be when the green goes away.”


Spotlight reader Patricia Thomas took this photo from near the Hoffman’s Car Wash on Delaware Avenue in Bethlehem.

Outside of the mountains, Robinson said there hasn’t been a hard frost triggering a “big shift” in colors. The area has also avoided winter storms, which can knock leaves down early. A drought will also lead colors to change faster.

“I think we are just fortunate with the weather, too,” Robinson said. “It has been great.”

Of course, the unexpected could happen at any point before the leaves hit the ground.

“All it takes is one good frost and it changes everything, but I would say right now the northern reaches are at their peak,” Robinson said Oct. 3.

Red and orange makes green

Tourists spent about $70 billion in New York state last year, according to Empire State Development spokesman Eric Scheffel. That spending is undeniably tied to the fall season, he said, with about 25 percent of tourism dollars spent from September to early November. And that means leaf peeping.

“Usually, if they are going out between that time that is what they are doing,” Scheffel said about the timeframe.

The Northeast’s fall foliage is renowned, but New York stands out because the state has more broad leaf trees than any other regional neighbors.

“We have exceptional foliage in New York state,” Scheffel said. “We also have such an expansive area that you can experience peak foliage from any time from mid-September … to early November.”

Viewing foliage can also be tied to many other popular seasonal activities in the state, such as apple picking. October also brings with it Halloween-themed attractions such as haunted corn mazes, haunted hay rides and haunted houses.

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