Perfect weather for leaf peepers
Updated 4:51 pm, Wednesday, October 2, 2013
If you've been griping about how chilly it has been most mornings, keep in mind that there is an upside: Warm days and cool nights are key ingredients in a good fall foliage season.
Just as April showers bring May flowers, overnight temperatures in the 40s contribute to the vibrancy of autumn leaves, she said.
On Martin's list, a rainy June, no strong winds and plenty of sunny summer days set the table for lush fall foliage. This year, Connecticut's weather fits that bill.
Peak foliage season is generally between Columbus Day and Veterans Day, though it can vary a bit from year to year.
"Fall is our second biggest season, after summer," Calcaterra said. "And the season can last up to two months. It starts in the northwest hills and moves south."
Trees are already beginning to turn. Even in Fairfield County, deep red, burnt orange and yellow leaves are starting to dot the landscape.
"The colors last the longest in the Connecticut River Valley, up as far as Moodus, Chester and Deep River," Calcaterra said.
Closer to home, several communities have been designated as "Tree Cities" by the DEEP, including Bridgeport, Danbury and Stamford.
Some residents rate the annual foliage like others review vintage wine grapes; the same weather factors can affect both "crops."
"In my opinion, the fall foliage in 2010 in Connecticut had better overall color than 2011 and 2012," Stephen Gode, of North Haven, wrote on the WeatherXEdge.com website. "This previous season had fall foliage that was a bit dull like the year before, but still, some exceptional color occurred in Connecticut."
Many leaf peepers visit Connecticut in the fall, but Carmela DeVito wanted more than a passing visit. She moved to Milford recently from Brooklyn, N.Y., partly for this region's natural beauty.
"I'm looking forward to my first fall here, the riot of colors and the beauty and serenity of it," DeVito said.
A drive along the tree-lined Merritt Parkway or beside the Naugatuck River on Route 8 can provide stunning views in fall. The DEEP website lists several state parks and forests with vistas overlooking the canopy of trees, including Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden. The DEEP already has launched its 2013 interactive foliage map. To track the spreading colors, go to http://www.depdata.ct.gov/forestry/foliage/foliagemap.htm.
Last fall, the foliage season was cut short when Superstorm Sandy rolled through Oct. 29.
"We don't want any storms or strong winds this year," Calcaterra said.