Before you pile the kids into the minivan and hit the road in search of spectacular fall foliage, you can narrow your search and expand your enjoyment by logging onto the World Wide Web.
The tourism Web sites of the larger Northeastern states are chock full of information on where and when to find peak foliage, and events and attractions to enjoy during your visit. Here's a shortcut to finding the best fall foliage facts and figures on the information superhighway.
www.state.me.us/doc/foliage: This site of the Maine Department of Conservation is highlighted by a special Maine Foliage Kids Page, with a fun animated movie showing kids why leaves change color. The children's section of the site also includes forest facts, a tree guide and glossary of tree terms. For trip-planning adults, the site contains a map of Maine's current foliage conditions, news releases on the foliage season, a foliage forecaster, tips for leaf-peepers, a foliage photo gallery and Where-When to Visit link to the states five tourism regions for information on viewing, driving tours, state parks and trip planning.
www.newhampshire.com: Produced by the Union-Leader Corporation, publishers of the state's Union-Leader newspaper, this site offers more information on New Hampshire's fall foliage season than the tourism site of the New Hampshire Division of Travel & Tourism Development (www.visitnh.gov). Newhampshire.com includes 10 suggested fall foliage driving tours, weekly foliage updates on the states' seven tourism regions, foliage viewing FAQs, links to foliage reports for other New England states, and newspaper articles on activities for leaf-peepers. The state's tourism site has foliage reports for the seven tourism regions and a link to autumn season visitor packages.
New York state
www.empire.state.ny.us/tourism/foliage: This site is produced by the Empire State Development Division of Tourisms "I Love New York" program. Here you'll find a weekly foliage report, list of fall events, a section called "Spectacular Fall Views" (map of the best foliage viewing sites in upstate New York), a peak foliage map, a New York leaf guide (leaves from 23 different trees illustrated in their fall colors), and a New York State events search link.
www.fallinpa.com: Pennsylvania's Department of Commerce and Economic Development hosts this Web site dedicated to fall foliage vacation information. Highlights include live foliage cameras, suggested driving tours in the northern, central and southern foliage zones (including foliage peak times for each), information on outdoor activities such as hiking, biking and bird-watching, links to sites for booking lodging online, and an event search engine.
www.1-800-vermont.com: Produced by the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing, the home page features a comprehensive section on everything anybody ever wanted to know about the state's foliage season. Foliage reports are updated every few days, along with a changing statewide map of coloration, a foliage forecaster, a map of 20 scenic drives with clickable links to each, a lodging availability forecaster for each of the state's 12 regions, and a list of foliage travel tips.
For information about fall foliage in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island, go to www.gonewengland.about.com or www.YankeeFoliage.com (Yankee Magazine). The site www.stormfax.com/foliage has toll-free fall foliage/events telephone numbers and Web links for 30 states, including 16 in the Midwest and Western states.
And, the USDA Forest Service has a toll-free telephone hot line and foliage information for some 18 national forests and wildlife areas on the Web site www.fs.fed.us/news/fallcolors .