What? Fall Foliage in August?

You must be kidding!

That was the reaction the first August we were here. A look out the front of the house showed that the maple tree across the street was already turning colors, and it was so early!!! While the trees on our property were still green, this one was well into its autumn uniform. And it was so early in the year!!!

Fall colors in AugustNow we've learned that the maple across the street, and a few others, here and there in the area, turn colors exceptionally early - starting around August 1 - 10, instead of late September, like their better-behaved brethren.

One nice thing about the early-turning maple is that it serves as a reminder that the "real" fall foliage colors are not far behind. As we've noted previously, peak foliage viewing generally moves from west to east and from north to south, beginning in about mid-September in the far northern and western regions, then progressing to the east and south over the next four to six weeks. The State of Maine keeps a website updated with current foliage reports beginning about September 12 or thereabouts. They also have information on historical peak foliage in different parts of Maine, along with an FAQ page.

Of course, the fall colors are magnificent for a week or two either side of the "peak" time. In fact, we've seen beautiful foliage in the Freeport area from late September to early November, though late October is normally about the end of the really good color.

According to The Foliage Network, a late Spring, like we had this year, may delay the peak foliage by a week or two. Also, they say that a lot of moisture early in the year (which we certainly had this year) helps increase the quality of the foliage, but delays the peak. Finally, a mild, sunny autumn (yet to be seen) will make for ideal viewing.

If you are planning a trip to the Maine coast to see the fall foliage this year, you may want to keep in mind that the three nearby colleges (Bates College, Bowdoin College and Colby College) all have parents weekends during the same time frame as the fall foliage. Consequently, rooms at your favorite Bed and Breakfast, or even hotels, could be hard to come by without advance reservations.

Determine when and where you want to see foliage (imagine your photos of some of the popular Maine lighthouses, with vivid fall foliage as a backdrop), make sure you know when the colors are likely to be suitable, and make your reservations!