Beware the “Leaf Peepers”

By Ms. Olivia Cottrell


Photo courtesy of


Fall in Vermont is more that just the beauty of the leaves, it is also a highly marketed industry. If you search google for ‘Fall in Vermont’, or anything similar to that, you can find a plethora of websites advertising an amazing natural phenomenon. This phenomenon is one that most Vermonters take for granted. This amazing spectacle draws many people from all over each year. People come from all over, in hopes of catching a glimpse of the painted trees.  If you pay attention, you can see license plates from places ranging from New York State to Washington, which is an awfully far trek to see what, to most Vermonters are just some leaves.

Many Vermonters, myself included, grumble about the ‘leaf peepers’, as we refer to them. Drive down almost any dirt road that’s not too far off the beaten path in mid-October (which according to many is prime leaf season), and you can find a car with out-of-state plates pulled haphazardly off to the side of the road with people ogling out the windows. If the residents of the car do not have their faces squashed against the glass, they will most likely be in some other inconvenient position trying to get a good photo, someplace like the middle of the road.


While people aimlessly standing in the middle of the road is quite inconvenient to those of us who have places to be and things to do, the leaf peepers actually help Vermont. They stay in our hotels and motels, they eat at our restaurants, sometimes visit the museums, and if they really have some money to spend they may pay for an all inclusive stay with a leaf tour included. This all gives Vermont state profit, and we always need more money. This is money that goes, through the roundabout system of taxing, to the state. The state can then use the money for road crews or repairs.

This fall spectacle only lasts a few weeks each year. Normally, by the end of October heavy rain, sometimes snow, or a strong wind will come along, knocking all the leaves down to their final resting place on the ground. Here, they lose their beauty as the reds, yellows, oranges, and golds fade out to monotone browns, forming a crunching carpet. The trees, once so alive with color, stand like skeletons, rattling their branches against the cold, northern winter winds.

However, for those few weeks, the Green mountains light up with color. If you reach the crest of a hill, where you can see the Adirondacks, you will be able to see a similar view, all reds, yellows, oranges, and golds with splatterings of the deep evergreen trees. It is a sight of true beauty, almost straight out of a children’s fairy tail. Perhaps we should all take a cue from the leaf peepers and go take a look in our backyards. Maybe we should all go outside and look at the amazing spectacle that is in our own backyards. After all, sometimes it doesn’t hurt to stop on the side of a road and just bask in the beauty of this amazing state we call home.