Autumn traditionally transforms the Revolutionary City into a sea of rich reds, glowing oranges, and brilliant yellows. But during a recent walk through the Historic Area, we noticed this season is a little underwhelming compared to others. Many leaves have gone straight from green to brown—that is, if there are any leaves left on the tree at all. While overall it appears to be a lackluster display, there are some bright colors shining through. It took a little bit of searching but we tracked down the top spots that will provide a perfect fall backdrop for your pictures.
The guessing game started early—everyone watching and waiting to see when our leaves would peak. And then, just as many of them were finally starting to turn, a nor’easter pushed through the area. Local meteorologists tell me winds gusted up to 43 miles per hour last weekend and we had sustained winds of 15-20 mph for 18 hours straight! Unfortunately, according to Virginia Tech tree scientist, Dr. John Seiler, the weather may have literally blown our chances at seeing the foliage at its best. And often, when the peak happens during gloomy weather, we tend to think of it as a “bad season.”
As for why there seem to be more yellows and oranges this year, Seiler explained reds need cool nights, clear days, and plenty of sunlight to develop. This year, our temperatures have been all over the map. Heck, in October, we even had some days in the 80s! Dr. Seiler says drought conditions in the fall can also diminish the color and cause the leaves turn brown sooner.
So, that’s the bad news. Now, how about some good news? As I mentioned, there are still some splendid splashes of color out there. You just have to look for them! And that’s exactly what we did. Here’s a list of the top ten most beautiful spots in and around the colonial capital. Be sure to scroll all the way through for our #1 recommendation and we’ll also reveal a special resource, designed by Dr. Seiler to help you track down specific trees, even if you live outside of Virginia!
#10 MERCHANTS SQUARE
#8 GOLDEN HORSESHOE GOLF CLUB & THE SPA OF COLONIAL WILLIAMSBURG
Don’t forget to take your phone along with your camera. Dr. Seiler has developed an app called “VTree”. It uses your smart phone’s GPS to determine exactly which tree species you’re taking pictures of. The best part is you can download it for free!