There is hope for Maryland leaf peepers after all. This is the weekend to take in some brilliant autumnal colors.
Melissa Nash, Garrett County forester says this will probably be the last hoorah for the far west as the oaks have all turned mostly brown, with a few yellows, even fewer deep reds and will be dropping the remainder of their leaves soon. However, Nash explained, “An often overlooked and somewhat unusual late fall treat is the tamarack. Also commonly called larch, tamarack is one of Maryland’s few deciduous conifers. A highly cold-tolerant tree most common in Canada and the northeastern U.S., it can also be found in isolated stands in the higher elevations and more boreal type forests of Garrett County. American larch (Larix larcinia) is native to the Cranesville and Finzel swamps. European larch (Larix decidua) is often substituted in ornamental settings and had previously been planted in various areas of the county as a timber species. Larches are a medium-sized tree with thick, scaly bark. The needle-like leaves are slender and grow in clusters of 12-20 arranged spirally along the twigs. In the fall, these trees produce a vibrant yellow color.”
“A week has made a difference in Washington and western Frederick counties,” reports Forester Aaron Cook. “The oaks, which dominate our ridges, have thrown in the towel and the ridges are now a lackluster and somewhat muted bronze and green hue. The transition happened so rapidly that we will be past peak this weekend. The leaves seem to be falling as fast as they are turning, while much of the forest had already shed leaves in advance of leaf change.”
Maryland Park Service Ranger Mary Jo Bartles says the trees are starting to get a little bit of color in Greenbrier State Park. “However, there’s still a lot of green leaves out there and it’s hard to predict whether they will continue to get some color or will just brown up and fall.
Laura Fawks Lapole, park naturalist, reports from Cecil County that Elk Neck State Park is at a 60 percent color change. “The beech trees are a brilliant gold, and the maples add in splashes of orange and red. The drive along Route 272 toward the Turkey Point Lighthouse is really beautiful right now.”
Kent and Queen Anne’s forester Teri Batchelor has good news as well. “Zelcova and red maples are turning beautiful shades of orange and red. Black walnuts have almost lost all of their leaves. Oaks are still green.”
Fall is finally showing off her colors in Patapsco Valley State Park and Ranger Felicia Graves is looking forward to seeing what the next week brings.
Assateague State Park is getting quite a lot of color in their corridor. “It’s looking like fall and it’s turning fast,” exclaims Angela Baldwin, park manager.
Pocomoke River State Park Manager Cineva Smith has some exceptionally good news for leaf peepers: “Bold colors are now visible among the dogwood and maple trees. The unusually wet weather has benefited the bald cypress trees resulting in a brilliant orange hue that is prevalent at the Shad Landing pond and along the banks of the Pocomoke River.”
In Dorchester County, Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park and Visitor Center Manager Dana Paterra says, “The colors have really started to pop in Tubman Country over the last few days with sweetgums, maples and sassafras providing nice fall color.”
Jen Selfridge with the Wildlife and Heritage Servicecommented, “Easton looks pretty green and brown, with leaves turning brown and dropping, and green leaves dropping right along with them.” Selfridge traveled to Worcester County Tuesday and reports fall foliage on the Eastern Shore varies greatly, depending on where you go. “It’s not the beautiful artists palette of colors that we usually see, but the oaks and the dogwoods are changing. I even saw some maples during the drive back to Easton that were pretty shades of orange.”
On the Western Shore, Sandy Point State Park in Anne Arundel County is “seeing some changing hues, mainly with muted reds,” writes Park Ranger Dorna Cooper.
And in southern Maryland, State Forester Brian Stupak notes, “We’re starting to see more colors here in Calvert County. The oaks and poplars are starting to change along with the gums and maples. There’s still a fair amount of green left on the trees; we are not at peak yet.”
The Apple Harvest Festival at Bragunier Orchard at Big Pool in Washington County Saturday is just plain good old-fashioned fun. Come down to the orchard and shop local vendors with handcrafted items, antiques, live music, kids’ games, demonstrations of apple cider and apple butter making, and lots of home cooked food. Get your pictures with Santa (yes, Santa!) too.
This weekend at the Howard County Fairgrounds the Howard County Crafts Spectacular features over 260 crafts people and their hand-crafted items. $5 admission; under 10 years free.
The Great Baltimore Oyster Festival returns to the Inner Harbor 1-5 p.m. Saturday. The festival includes live music, oysters, shucking contest, beer and wine, local vendors and family-friendly activities. Learn about oysters, their vital role in keeping our waters clean, how they grow and where they come from. The event is free to attend but purchased tickets are required to eat.
Come experience the longest International Tug-of-War over water in the world, between the Maritime Republic of Eastport and City of Annapolis. The Tug-of-War is a not-to-be missed event unlike any other. Festivities begin at noon Saturday.
Join the Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area at 10 a.m. Saturday for a 3-mile moderate Mason-Dixon Marker Hike and learn about the history of the famous markers. (The Mason-Dixon Line only became famous after its mention in the Missouri Compromise of 1820.)
Bring an off-road bike to ride the trails at Tuckahoe Trail Ride 11 a.m. Sunday. Helmet and water are required. This ride is for experienced riders new to trail riding. Meet at the Tuckahoe Lake parking lot at Tuckahoe State Park.
On Saturday come to American Indian Heritage Day at Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum in Calvert County. Celebrate the Piscataway Conoy Tribe in the Woodland Indian Village and experience a drum circle, flute performance, storytelling, food demonstrations, and jewelry and artifacts display.
Join a naturalist in the Hilton Nature Center at Patapsco Valley State Park to make and decorate a bird feeder from recycled materials. November through April is the most productive time put out feeders for songbirds as resources become scarce. Discover tips on how to help and attract birds to your backyard this fall and winter.
The Patapsco River is bursting with historical artifacts from Native American pottery shards, to pieces of homes washed away in the floods of the 1800s and 1900s. On Sunday explore the Patapsco Valley’s Artifacts and learning about past archaeological surveys of the area and what information was collected. Meet in the Avalon Area at 3 p.m.
Enjoy your weekend, Maryland! As always, if you would like to share photos of your autumn adventures, please send them our way!