By LEIGH C. MERRIFIELD
News & Journal Editor
Although the typical reaction for most people is to feel sadness when saying good-bye to summer, West Virginians are blest to be able to enjoy what follows. Soon it will be leaf-peeping time here in the Mountain State, when fall foliage brings such a rich and vibrant display to the hillsides.
It is a great time of year to plan a weekend jaunt to view what Mother Nature spreads over our landscape before winter arrives. Combine the cooler temperatures and crispy air with the colors of our many mountains and forests bathed in beauty, and add the many fall fairs and festivals … and it all provides a good excuse for a road trip through ‘wild & wonderful’ West Virginia!
If you plan to travel to take in some of the foliage, know that leaves at the highest elevations show their colors first while other elevations peak in mid to late October. To help you plan, state foresters offer several recommendations for traveling in the state – whether you’re looking to just take a short drive or go for a hike or attend some of the festival events.
The WV Division of Forestry provides weekly fall foliage reports, maps of fall color by county and a fall foliage coloration guide by tree species. These reports are usually available the end of September or the first of October. Visit www.wvforestry.com for these updates.
If you choose an overnight trip or perhaps even an entire weekend, you can find discounts and packages available at many of West Virginia’s state parks by visiting their websites or by calling 1-800-CALLWVA.
These valuable websites offer ‘when and where to visit’ options to enjoy autumn’s brilliant display of color. Don’t sit inside and groan about the onset of winter when it is still many weeks away. Plan to get out and enjoy the fall season before the first frost. Whether it is to enjoy one of the state’s many fall festivals or to visit one of its gorgeous state parks, plan a day-trip or a weekend excursion. Leaf peepers have plenty of destination choices in the Mountain State! Take advantage of it.