Tips for finding best places to leaf peep in Virginia

fallThe leaves are starting to fall and with that comes an abundance of beautiful landscape in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Mid to late October is designated by the Virginia Department of Forestry as the peak viewing time for leaf peepers to get a front row seat to some of the most colorful scenic drives and weekend getaways in Virginia.

“The northeast is well known for offering beautifully painted fall foliage settings, but residents of Virginia can enjoy much of the same beautiful scenery in their own backyard or just a day trip away,” stated Martha M. Meade, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Peak season is now starting in the southwest mountains and moving east. Depending on where you live in the Commonwealth, planning is key to ensure you enjoy fall’s colors at their peak in your region.”

Ash trees turn yellow or maroon during the fall.  Beech trees go from yellow to orange.  Dogwoods are scarlet to purple.  Hickories are golden bronze.  Oaks can be red, brown or russet.  Poplars are golden yellow, and red maples are a brilliant scarlet.

Bettina Ring, state forester of Virginia, said, “With 62 percent of the state in forestland, you don’t have to go far to enjoy some breathtaking color this fall.  If you are looking for a beautiful drive that’s far less crowded than skyline drive or the Blue Ridge Parkway, visit the fall foliage portion of our website for eight recommended drives that include step-by-step directions.”

AAA Mid-Atlantic and the Virginia Department of Forestry offers the following tips for fall foliage travelers:

Skyline Drive (located in Shenandoah National Park) and the Blue Ridge Parkway

skyline drive (located in Shenandoah National Park) and the Blue Ridge Parkway provide brilliant displays of color every year, making Shenandoah National Park one of the nation’s busiest national parks in the fall. Motorists are offered several scenic overlooks designated to provide wonderful photo opportunities.

 

Charlottesville

In addition to beautiful scenery, Charlottesville is rich with history and wonderful fall activities. From a visit to Monticello and Michie Tavern to hot air ballooning, visits to the area will not disappoint. Apple orchards in the area also provide a wonderful activity for families, and for a small fee, visitors can pick apples while enjoying the outdoor beauty of the fall season.

 

Washington, DC

The George Washington Memorial Parkway is much more than a commuter highway as this stretch along the Potomac River offers an abundance of natural attractions and leaf-peeping. While in the area, it’s also a great time of the year to visit the monuments in our nation’s capital.

 

For additional fall foliage information in Virginia, call:

·         Fall Foliage Report: 1-800-424-LOVE (5683)

·         Forest Service Fall Color Hotline: 1-800-354-4595 (Press “8” for Southern States Report)

·         Skyline Drive/Shenandoah National Park: 1-540-999-3500 (press “6”)

·         Blue Ridge Parkway (between Waynesboro and the North Carolina Border): 1-828-298-0398 (press “3”)

 

For information throughout the East Coast, visit:

·         http://www.foliagenetwork.com – which provides weekly reports of when leaves’ colors are peaking

·         http://www.fs.fed.us/fallcolors/2014/ — which provides National Foliate hot spots from the USDA Forest Service



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