Are you a Secret Leaf Peeper?

Are you a Secret Leaf Peeper?

19/09/2019 Off By Cait Martin

Do you enjoy spending some quali-tree time outdoors? Is Autumn your favourite season? Leaf peeping could be your new guilty pleasure…

Photograph of an American autumn landscape. Red barn nestled in red, orange and green-leafed trees.
“There is a harmony in autumn, and a lustre in its sky, which through the summer is not heard or seen, as if it could not be, as if it had not been!” – Percy Bysshe Shelley

Whether you’re ready for the colder months or clinging onto the last strands of summer, the fluctuating temperatures making the crisp air too cold for a jacket yet too hot for a coat means autumn is slowly awakening. People still posting ‘hot girl summer’ photos can’t prevent the onslaught of pumpkin spice everything and annual reappearance of flannel, wellies and knitwear. The landscape changing from cool, forest greens to warm golden browns signals the most beautiful natural phenomenon… the breakdown of chlorophyll.

Photograph of red autumn leaves on a tree. The sun is peeping through the branches.
“The fires burn and the kettles sing, and earth sinks to rest until next spring.” – Clyde Watson

These starving leaves have made way for a specific branch of tourism focused on hunting down autumn foliage, admiring it and photographing it…

This activity referred to via the odd and slightly voyeuristic sounding term ‘leaf-peeping’ is of prominence in North America; with organised ‘foliage tours’ and people travelling far and wide view this Autumn tableaux.

To us Brits, this seems a bizarre concept… Why travel hundreds of miles to… look at leaves…? However, unlike the UK, the USA hosts a variety of weather fronts with many states not experiencing the vivid reds and oranges of September and October… Autumn without golden hues? Who is she?

Photograph of a misty mountainous scene with red leaved trees.
“Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness”- John Keats

Prime Peeping Places…

So you’ve decided to hop on this niche bandwagon, where are the unbe-leaf-able prime peeping spots?

Many Americans travel to the Northern states, with New England and the Upper Midwest being popular autumn holiday hotspots. Indeed, the visual effects of this organic chemistry are particularly colourful in New England with the broad-leaved trees of oak, hickory, ash and maple painting the landscape in radiant reds before Jack Frost’s icy fingers pull the leaves from the branches.

Road with red and orange trees around it.
“No Spring, nor Summer beauty hath such grace/As I have seen in one Autumnal face” – John Donne

Do you need to Branch Out?

New England’s autumnal scenes are one of the most spectacular in the world, boasting millions of visitors journeying into the wilds to enjoy the colours of fall. However, the acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree, as Britain similarly models a gorgeous autumn range, with the earthy oranges of larches and the vibrant tones of the oak and birch.

Despite plenty to see during an autumnal walk through the woods, including a quick game of conkers, I don’t think this breed of tourism will branch out this side of the pond- stop trying to make ‘peeping’ happen, it’s not going to happen.

What do you think of Leaf Peeping? Is fall foliage the main reason you’d book a holiday during autumn?

Boy looking through some yellow leaves.
“Autumn… the year’s last, loveliest smile”- William Cullen Bryant