October 4, 2017 — The Fall Foliage Report from the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry reports 70 percent color for the upcoming Columbus Day weekend in northern Maine, while the remainder of the state is at 40 to 50 percent color change. A low leaf drop is also reported throughout the state.
Typically, northern Maine (zones 6 and 7) reaches peak conditions the last week of September into the first week of October. The rest of the state's progression of color will start occurring from north to south in mid-October. Coastal Maine typically reaches peak conditions mid-to-late October.
"I'm going out on a limb here and say that because of the warm weather we've been experiencing, it appears the progression of color is trailing about a week behind. Ideal conditions call for shorter, warm days, followed by longer, cool nights to move the colors along," according to Gale Ross, fall foliage spokesperson. "This all translates into good news for our mid-to-late October leaf peepers," noted Ross.
Enjoy Columbus Day weekend with any number of fall festivals and events taking place throughout the state. Attend Living History Days, the Maine Forest and Logging Museum's biggest event of the year. Happening October 7-8 at Leonard's Mills in Bradley, guests will experience 1790s re-enactors, demonstrations, sawmills in action and the restored Lombard log hauler running on steam power.
Get in the spirit of the autumn season by heading to Freeport for the annual Freeport Fall Festival taking place October 6-8 on L.L. Bean's campus. Sample and vote for Freeport's best chowder, enjoy a juried art show and listen to live music all day. Sunday River's Fall Festival is also taking place October 7-8, featuring the North American Wife Carrying Championship, the 3rd Annual New England Corn Hole Championship, music, a wine tent, kids' games and more. On Friday and Saturday, Acadia's Oktoberfest will offer a variety of local foods, beer, wine and crafts. In the midcoast region, celebrate all things pumpkin at the Damariscotta Pumpkinfest & Regatta™ on October 5-9, including a pie eating contest and the Pumpkinboat Regatta, a race in the harbor with boats made from 600-pound pumpkins.
Travel on the Rangeley Lakes National Scenic Byway following Routes 17 and 4 for views of the lakes and mountains region. This 52-mile drive wraps around Rangeley Lake and follows the ridgeline of the Appalachian Mountains before dropping into rolling hills and valleys. Be sure to stop at the Height of Land, a scenic lookout on Route 17 featuring views of Mooselookmeguntic and Upper Richardson lakes, Toothaker Island and the mountains for incredible views and a great photo opportunity. For lunch, pack a picnic and take the short hike off Route 4 for scenic views of waterfalls, a colorful gorge, and swimming holes. For outdoor lovers looking for a bit more of a hike, take on Bald Mountain, a moderate two-mile hike in Oquossoc, for 360-degree views of the region.
Autumn enthusiasts can visit the state's official foliage website at www.mainefoliage.comto sign up to receive weekly reports by email, and can share their photos from throughout the state as the progression of color begins. Our Facebook page will include statewide events taking place throughout the foliage season, and our Instagram account (@mainefoliage) will also feature colorful fall shots. For more information about fall activities and events in Maine, go to www.visitmaine.com.
Thanks to its lakes, coastline and mountains, Maine may well be the perfect destination for a family vacation.
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