By Mary Ellen Shaw
It’s time to be a “leaf peeper” whether you are visiting us from out of state or live here. In fact Vermonters often need a reminder to get out and enjoy what is right in our own backyard.
The colorful display that Mother Nature puts on isn’t cancelled just because we are in the midst of a pandemic. So let’s get out and see what she has to offer. It actually gives me a feeling of security knowing that “the show will go on.”
So what are our options for checking out the vibrant colors?
Taking a car ride – especially one with no particular destination in mind – is a fun choice. The main highways will definitely have more traffic so choosing a back road is a more peaceful way to take in the scenery. One of the favorite drives for my husband, Peter, and me is from Rutland to Ira and then Tinmouth. Routes 133 and 140 have very little traffic compared to a major highway. You will see outstanding color when it’s at its peak. Always be aware that the beautiful colors make people want to stop and take photos. That doesn’t always occur in the best of places so be watchful and patient!
Including a pond in your road trip provides an opportunity to see the reflection of the multi-colored leaves in the water. This doubles the pleasure of viewing the foliage. So why not plan to have a picnic at a spot where you can relax by the water? Peter and I like to take a picnic to the Chittenden Reservoir and settle ourselves in the grassy area overlooking the water. The resident chipmunks seem to know when we have arrived and scurry around us hoping for a treat. There won’t be many more days to do something like this as cold weather is right around the corner.
Bike riding really makes you slow down while viewing the foliage compared to being in a car. You don’t have to be a “marathon biker” to enjoy the scenery in this manner. A favorite spot where we have biked over the years is along the Creek Road from Clarendon to Wallingford. It’s basically flat terrain with just a couple of rolling spots. You will get a firsthand look at cows along the way and that is Vermont at its finest! Toward the end of the Creek Road there are some places where you can pull off by the creek and enjoy watching it roll along.
Of course, you can always observe the color using your own two feet! A hike lets you see nature “up close and personal.” Our favorite place to hike is Pine Hill Park in Rutland. If you haven’t been there before you will find a kiosk with maps at the trailhead or you can also download the map from their website. You may have guessed by now that I love to be by water! There are two opportunities to do that at Pine Hill. The closest pond is Rocky and a short distance from that is Muddy. The most direct route to get there is to go up Pond Road which brings you directly to Rocky. Follow the map and you will be at Muddy in less than 15 minutes. Both ponds will allow you to enjoy the vibrant reflection of the trees in the water. Although I am not a mountain biker you will find plenty of trails for that activity at Pine Hill if that is your pleasure.
Another favorite place for us to hike is the area around Lefferts Pond in Chittenden. An interesting feature there is a place to sit where you can view Lefferts ahead of you and behind you is water spilling into the Chittenden Reservoir. I found several online sites with trail maps for this area as well as directions for getting to the parking area. Mountain biking is also listed as an activity in the vicinity of Lefferts.
So whether you live here or are visiting us choose the manner in which you would like to view the foliage and enjoy the marvelous display of color. You will be glad you did!