Fall 2016


This fall, I turned 10! 10 years since I moved to US – first two years as a student and the next 8 years working. But never in these last 10 years have I really ventured out in search of fall colors. Well, I’m not all that surprised, esp. since I’m yet to visit the Niagra falls which was just an hour an half away from where I lived the first two years in this country. So this year, since I had some time in hand, and since my parents decided to visit in fall, I thought it might be a good idea to visit the land which some call as a heaven during fall – Vermont.

Now, fall hits Vermont rather early. Wise men from the mountains say the fall “foliage” moves from north to south. And for this same reason, last weekend was deemed as perhaps a tad too late for viewing fall colors at its peak in Vermont, by many. But then the beauty of Fall is not just its colors on the trees, but also the fallen leaves that create a carpet of colors on the ground. We picked Ludlow, VT as the spot to “camp” before venturing out to the mountains, a small village close to the vast expanse of the Green Mountains, 4 hours away from the busy traffic laden roads of Manhattan. We chose to start the drive on a Sunday afternoon, when most people decide to stay at home and soon reached those mountainous highways in Connecticut, without much delay. We caught a glimpse of what we were to expect as we went through the Heroes Tunnel in New Haven, CT, a half a mile long tunnel through the mountains, with a sign board at the entrance which says “Drivers please remove your sun glasses as you enter the tunnel”

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The traffic was uneventful through the rest of the trip and after meandering through the dark VT103 state highway, we reached our hotel. From the outside, it looked rather old and dark. However soon enough we realized it was just the reception and the actual condominium that we booked was up at the top of a hill. Now one thing that always amazes me is how dark the streets are in the villages around US. It does not just go for local streets but also the state highways. The drive up the hill was no exception. It took us a few wrong turns and a couple of private roads to finally figure out our home for the next two nights. The house itself did not disappoint – a three bedroom apartment atop a hill, looking down unto the colors of fall was everything I could have asked for. After a fireside dinner a glass of whiskey and tired from a 4 hour drive and the high beam lights that kept flashing at my eyes along the way, I decided to call it a day.

Next day morning gave us a little bit of a scare. We realized as soon as we woke up that it rained through out the night. A drizzle in the middle of fall can bring all those colorful leaves flying down to the earth. So it was with a bit of skepticism that we decided to head out to our first stop – Killington Mountain Resort, the start of the Appalachian trail in Vermont. As soon we hit the “Scenic Route” on the state highway VT100, those apprehensions went away. The colors over the mountains and the trees along the way truly took your breath away; add on the sun that peeked out of the dark clouds to add a glisten to those color filled mountaintops and lakes beneath them.

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We took several stops along the way to pause and capture the beauty of nature through lenses both natural and artificial. Although the closed Killington Mountai resort turned out to be a disappointment, the Lye Brooks Falls, that followed made up for it. An hour away from Killington with a not-so-obvious entrance, it did offer the best of both – a carpeted ground and a colorful treetop.

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And I should make a mention of the “great american breakfast” place we stopped in between, with its “Frying Pan Hall of Fame”

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After a half an hour hike at Lye Brooks Falls, when the rocks started to get slippery, we decided to head to Okemo Mountains and the ski resort around it. I must say that it was perhaps one of the best decisions we made. A 4 mile drive through the winding roads up to the mountain top offered some of the most spectacular views of fall I’ve ever witnessed.

From the ski slopes

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to the roadside trees,

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everything was “picture perfect”!

As darkness slowly started to settle in, reminding us of the impending winter days, we settled for a great american pie dinner, a glorified wood-grilled pizza and called it a day by the fireside.

The drive back to Manhattan the next day was rainy and foggy.

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The pleasantness and serenity of the village roads soon transformed into lengthy traffic blocks and noisy horns and we realized it was time to wake up from the dream and get back to reality. A truly blissful weekend to kick off the week refreshed!

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~ by Niranjan Nandakumar on October 20, 2016.

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