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Chasing Vermont's changing leaves - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Chasing Vermont's changing leaves

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WINDSOR, Vt. -

Windsor, Vt.; and perhaps the most recognizable landmark is the Constitution House. It's where the Vermont Constitution was signed July 8, 1777, as Vermont was admitted into the Union as the 14th state.

This time of year, visitors come to this area for the history, as well as the fall foliage.

The Smithers from England chose this time of year to tour New England because of the fall colors. They said they were warned by some friends who had traveled in the U.S. that it would be quite brilliant this time of year. And the Smithers say they were right.

This area is steeped in history, especially along Route 5, which is the old highway. It was the best way to travel along the Connecticut River before Route 91 came along, and it's still the best route to travel for a foliage tour if you want to see the towns and villages and make some stops along the way.

Further on down the road we came upon Wilgus State Park. It's the only developed state park on the Connecticut River. It's a favorite for kayakers and canoeists, but Monday night was the last night of the season!

It's a glorious time of year for Park Ranger Eric Hanson. Now that the visitors are gone, he can enjoy the peacefulness of the season.

"I don't think we're at peak just yet. The water keeps us warmer," he said.

But a look back at Ascutney Mountain and the twigs showing through on the higher elevations is a reminder that foliage is a short season in Vermont.

Just down the river is Weathersfield Bow, a bend in the river with a history of its own. There used to be a ferry there long ago. It was the only way to get across.

It's an interesting season. Close to the river, the foliage isn't at peak yet. While not far away in the hillsides and mountains, many of the leaves are already down. Regardless of the state of the leaves, it's a wonderful way to spend the day, traveling along the old highway, taking in the sights.

We stopped in Bellows Falls, a friendly place to hang your hat and to get a creemee at the local Dari Joy. It's a family-run restaurant that is celebrating its 60th birthday this year. Dari Joy will be closing down, too, for the winter once the leaves are down.

Also interesting in Bellows Falls-- look carefully at the rocks south of the dam, you can see ancient carvings of Indian faces in the ledge.

We continued on through Westminster and Putney into Brattleboro, and that's where Route 5 leaves the edge of the Connecticut River. It cuts through Guilford, and then before we knew it, we'd made it. We traveled the entire length of Route 5 from the Canadian Border to the Mass. border, a trip that is well worth exploring any time of year.

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