Here in coastal San Diego we don't get a very showy display of fall colors. But the Internet provides a window onto the world, and I can watch the Eastern leaves fall from my desktop. Whether you're planning a road trip, or just want a virtual tour â€" here's where you'll find fabulous fall color online.
"Nature's annual autumn color festival is certainly one of the greatest shows on earth. Each fall, millions of trees in the eastern deciduous forests respond to the shorter days and cooler nights by beginning preparations for their dormant winter period. It is just business as usual for the trees, but for us, it is a spectacular display of the beauty and diversity of nature." This fabulous site from North Carolina includes a visual guide to fall leaves, a detailed scientific explanation of fall colors, and tidbits of fall folklore ("A warm November is the sign of a bad winter.")
"Did you know that leaves that change color in fall actually have those same beautiful colors all year round? The green pigment, chlorophyll, is so concentrated in the spring and summer that it masks the other pigments that are already there." Take a virtual trip to Pennsylvania. With birds chirping in the background, you can view six fall foliage Web cams. Okay, there's not a lot of action, but if you fall in love with one of these serene scenes, you can download it to use as wallpaper for your PC desktop.
The experts in Vermont are expecting the usual display of fall colors to be affected by this year's drought and heat. With the additional stresses of car exhaust and other environment hazards, trees on busy roads will be most affected. So if you are visiting, get off the highways and into the woods for the best show of color. For virtual visitors, recommended clicks are Leaves 1 and Leaves 2 (from Alder to Yellow Birch), Picture of the Day, and the free animated fall foliage screen saver.
"Fall color starts in September with poison ivy and sumac and ends in November with the larches and weeping willows. Frost and freezing temperatures will stop the coloration process and blacken the leaves." The best clicks here are the lists of autumn links that include Fall Fun (craft projects for all ages), Foliage Cams (from Pennsylvania and Vermont), Foliage Trees (fourteen deciduous trees in no particular order) and Foliage Driving Tours (Midwest and Eastern.)