Welcome to the Fall Foliage and Festival Report for November 2 and 3, brought to you by theMaryland Department of Natural Resources.

Rocky Gap State Park, photo by Sarah Milbourne
Rocky Gap State Park, photo by Sarah Milbourne
Behind Rocky Gap State Park, photo by Dan Hedderick
Behind Rocky Gap State Park, photo by Dan Hedderick

“Most of our leaves came down with the wind and rain this past weekend and we are well past peak at this point with just a few oaks left,” states Melissa Nash, Garrett project manager with the Maryland Forest Service.Garrett County is moving on to the next season.

“This photo is the backside of Rocky Gap State Park taken on Rocky Gap Road just off of Route 144 and Interstate,” reports Dan Hedderick, project forester in Flintstone. “We are in full swing for fall color here in the Ridge and Valley Province of Maryland.”

“I feel like Allegany is in peak, if not just slightly past. We still have a few more days to enjoy the season,”Rocky Gap State ParkManager Sarah Milbourne adds.

Fort Frederick State ParkAssistant Park Manager Bob Study says, “We are most likely a week from peak color here. Most trees have turned but not completely.”

View from Clear Spring, photo by Aaron Cook
View from Clear Spring, photo by Aaron Cook

“We have peaked and are just moving past peak,” remarks Forester Aaron Cook from his office in Clear Spring. “The windy rain event certainly brought down a lot of colors that otherwise likely would have persisted for a few days. By this weekend, we will probably still have lots of colors, but we will be past peak. Though short-lived, the colors were great this fall.” Aaron added that a recent drive from Boonsboro along I-70, 29, 100, and 97 was exceptional with color.

Greenbrier State Park, photo by Christopher Gleason-Smuck
Greenbrier State Park, photo by Christopher Gleason-Smuck

“Fall colors are in full glory — but they are turning quickly,” warns Ranger Mary Ironside, South Mountain Recreation Area park manager. This photo fromGreenbrier State Park Lakeis proof.

“We are just a little past peak after the weekend in the Frederick area,” notes Ranger Mark Spurrier, manager ofCunningham FallsandGambrillstate parks.

“Carroll County is currently at the peak of fall color,” remarks Katie Garst, a natural resources technician with the Maryland Forest Service. “However, windy weather on Thursday and Friday could knock down many of the leaves before the weekend. The wind will determine if weekend visitors will be looking up at a patchwork of colorful canopies or down at a mosaic of multi-colored leaves on the forest floor.” 

Glen Artney - Avalon Area Patapsco Valley State Park, photo by Felicia Graves
Glen Artney – Avalon Area Patapsco Valley State Park, photo by Felicia Graves

“InPatapsco Valley State Parkwe’re seeing lots of vibrant hues of colors,” says Ranger Felicia Graves. “Fall is in full swing here. We’re definitely at the midpoint, so this weekend would be a perfect time to come out and enjoy the show in Baltimore County.”

“The Bel Air area in Harford County is the peak for yellow poplar, which is in full color. Sugar and red maples are also in full color or just past, as is sassafras,” writes Forester Frank Lopez, Harford-Cecil project manager. “Oaks are starting to change and American beech are about to burst into full color.” 

Big Elk Creek in Fair Hill NRMA, photo by Diana Marsteller
Big Elk Creek in Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area, photo by Diana Marsteller

“We lost quite a few leaves due to the heavy rain we received over the weekend, but the colors are changing and there are still quite a few leaves hanging on throughout the park,” remarks Abigail Matta, park naturalist atElk Neck State Park.

“We are well into peak foliage atFair Hill Natural Resources Management Area,” states Ranger Diana Marsteller. “Along Big Elk Creek we are beginning to see crimson, amber, and russet hues. Plus, now is a great time for wildlife spotting as animals prepare for the upcoming winter.”

Seneca Creek State Park, photo by Shea Niemann
Seneca Creek State Park, photo by Shea Niemann

“Anne Arundel County is in the moderate-to-high color stages now and our period of peak foliage color is almost here,” reports Justin Arseneault, Forest Service project manager. “We will have to see how much of our vibrant foliage we lose to the rain and gusty winds forecast for later this week, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed for some nice weather this weekend to hit the trails and enjoy the view.”

Cedarville State Forest, photo by Daniel Akwo
Cedarville State Forest, photo by Daniel Akwo

“Peak color atSeneca Creek State Park!” exclaims Park Manager Shea Niemann, who submitted a photograph worth a thousand words.

In Calvert and Prince George’s counties, Forest Service Project Manager Brian Stupak reports most poplars, gums, maples, and hickories have completely turned. About 50% of oaks have turned or are starting to turn. The total fall foliage is now around 60-70%.

From nearbyCedarville State Forest,Daniel Akwo captured a beautiful view of the changing season.

“The dry summer and now this rain has really confused some of the trees in Charles County; many trees are changing but I wouldn’t consider it the peak yet,” writes Forest Service Technician Collin Sapp from La Plata. From the southernmost tip of Maryland, Ranger Dawn Letts says the Point Lookout complex is close to peak.

Understory at Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park, photo by Dana Paterra
Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park, photo by Dana Paterra

Teri Batchelor, Forest Service Upper Shore project manager, writes that Kent and Queen Anne’s counties remain at peak, but are perhaps coming to an end next week. “The red maples are orange and red, yellow for tulip poplars and sweet gums, and the dogwoods are still a rich burgundy — perfect timing for the Downrigging Festival weekend in Chestertown!”

“This week the sweet gum and sassafras continue to steal the show while the oaks are just starting to change,” says Ranger Dana Pattera ofHarriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Parkin Dorchester County.

Assateague Corridor, photo by Angela Baldwin
Assateague Corridor, photo by Angela Baldwin

FromAssateague State Park, Park Manager Angela Baldwin reports a “very nice burst of color this week on the corridor to Assateague.”

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L' Hermitagem in Frederick County
L’ Hermitage in Frederick County, site of the former enslaved village.

On Nov. 1, 1864, the state of Maryland became the first and only border state to abolish slavery. To commemorate this important date in our country’s history, join Monocacy National Battlefield and the African American Resources Cultural Heritage Society of Frederick at the site of the former enslaved village at L’ Hermitage from 11 a.m. – noon. “We will read the powerful words of those who were emancipated in a place where many before had been enslaved.” Afterward, C. Burr Artz Library will host a program about the significance of emancipation in Maryland in the Civil War, from 2 – 3 p.m.

Washington Revels Jubilee Voices
Washington Revels Jubilee Voices

Also on Saturday in Germantown atButton Farm Living History Center, an Emancipation Day Celebration will be held from noon – 4 p.m. Button Farm will commemorate 155 years of freedom in Maryland with music, food, and history. Round out the day with a guided tour of the farm’s historic slave cemetery, along with games, crafts, demonstrations, and more. From 2:30 – 3:30 p.m. enjoy a performance of traditional African American music by the famedWashington Revels Jubilee Voices.

On Saturday from 1 – 6 p.m., more than 25 cideries, distilleries, and wineries will provide unlimited responsible sampling at theFall Back Ciders, Spirits & Wine Fest. Enjoy great local food and live music from Springbrooke and Juvenile Characteristics at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center in Boonsboro. Why? Because autumn is the best season of the year and there are many wonderful local spirits, ciders, and wines! The event is sponsored by Girls Inc. of Washington County. Age and pet restrictions apply.

Drott Lodge No. 168, Vasa Order of America, will sponsor its40th Annual Swedish Bazaaron Saturday from 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. at St. James’ Episcopal Church in Potomac. The bazaar includes imported Swedish foods and gifts, traditional Scandinavian musicians, and Swedish homemade baked goods. A smorgasbord lunch will include traditional Swedish pea soup, Swedish meatballs and red potatoes, open-faced sandwiches, and traditional desserts.

Known for its delicious Russian and other Eastern European food specialties, theSt. Mark Orthodox Church Ethnic Food Festivaltakes place in Bethesda in Montgomery County this weekend Saturday from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Sunday from noon – 4 p.m. This food festival is a must-visit for people interested in expanding their palette or remembering the food their grandmothers made.

Shop for wild and not-so-wild, new and gently-used treasures this Saturday from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. at theFriends of Patuxent Wildlife Holiday Bazaar, held at the Patuxent Research Refuge and National Wildlife Visitors Center in Laurel. Purchase one-of-a-kind gifts and support the important work of this unique research refuge and visitors center. Attractions include live animals, tram rides (weather permitting), door prizes, and more. If you have never visited this national gem, it’s time to do so – and be sure to bring the kids!

Come to the Howard County Fairgrounds on Saturday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. for theHoward County Crafts Spectacular, featuring original work hand-crafted by more than 270 artisans. Magic shows are an added attraction at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. both days. Admission is $5.

Militia Muster at Londontown
Militia Muster at Londontown

Representing early Maryland militia, the Rangers come to live in Londontown this weekend, from 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. both days, for theMilitia Muster at Londontownin Edgewater, Anne Arundel County. They will conduct blackpowder demonstrations, offer displays of 17th century colonial life, and demonstrate hearth cooking.

Downrigging Weekend in Chestertown
Downrigging Weekend in Chestertown

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Visit historic Chestertown for the Mid-Atlantic’s largest annual gathering of tall ships, schooners, and historic wooden boats, with public sails, musical performances, maritime talks, food, and family-friendly activities by Sultana Education Foundation.Sultana Downrigging Weekend Tall Ship and Wooden Boat Festivalruns Friday through Sunday and is the premier event in this historic Kent County town.

Enjoy a day by the water in Talbot County, slurping oysters and sipping craft brews at theOyster & Brew Festival on Tilghman Island. This waterfront event on Saturday from noon – 4 p.m. at the Phillips Wharf Environmental Center features oysters from all over the state of Maryland. This is a chance to taste the differences between oysters grown in different areas of the Bay and its estuaries. Oyster Jam will also play host to seven craft breweries that will collectively offer 14 different beers for your tasting pleasure. For anyone aged 21 and older.

Brilliant Baltimore
Brilliant Baltimore

Light and literature unite this weekend and next as Baltimore Book Festival and Light City join to create a one-of-a-kind international event,Brilliant Baltimore. The Baltimore Book Festival, the mid-Atlantic’s premier celebration of the literary arts, features more than 200 celebrity and local authors, readings, workshops, children’s activities, panel discussions, and cookbook demonstrations, and more than 100 exhibitors. Light City is the nation’s first free large-scale light, music, and innovation festival powering social change. The festival’s social innovation conference generates a growing ecosystem of ideas and learning during the day, before the bright lights and live entertainment make Baltimore shine at night. Brilliant Baltimore is fully accessible, free, and open to all.

Looking ahead, Easton will host the 50th Annual Waterfowl Festival next weekend.

Enjoy this colorful and fun-filled first weekend of November, Maryland!

It just doesn’t get much better than this.

“November comes
And November goes,
With the last red berries
And the first white snows.With night coming early,
And dawn coming late,
And ice in the bucket
And frost by the gate.The fires burn
And the kettles sing,
And earth sinks to rest
Until next spring.”

? Elizabeth Coatsworth

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...