Exit And Explore Peacham: Vermont Fall Foliage Near I-91
The reds, yellows, and oranges of Vermont fall foliage come early to the “Northeast Kingdom”, in the top right of the state abutting Canada and New Hampshire.
Be ready to go there by the last week in September, otherwise you may be too late. (If you’ve missed out, try Exit And Explore The Colors Of Fall In Quechee VT: Near I-89 And I-91)
And, along with the bright colors of fall foliage, the Northeast Kingdom offers seasonal “local color”.
Get prepared by postponing your overdue jalopy wash, since your cherished vehicle will experience a back road, or two, or three.
Such is Vermont fall foliage, summer, spring….
You’re unlikely to complain…
Since Muddy Bootsers as a general rule—and 60+ reality—squeeze in some exercise first thing in the morning, take a raincheck: you will oblige by doing hill work later on.
Your day begins
At Exit 21 (St. Johnsbury) on I-91. You will make sure to gas your car so the tank is at least half full. However, you will eschew the corporate establishment—Maplefields—to the east of the exit, and instead crank your car west uphill on Route 2.
You will go out of your way to observe the speed limit, which very trickily—and beneficially for the State Police—toggles between one number and another..
Pull into the Scenic View
At the top of the hill. Aahhhh…Vermont fall foliage at its splendid best.
While you pause, prep your brain revisiting the map. You will be making a loop through Danville, Peacham, Mosquitoville (near Rygate Corner), and West Barnet.
Finish your map consultation and…
Continue onwards and follow the general drift of traffic. You will see pickups, motorhomes, tourist buses, construction workers, holiday makers, road crews, looky loos, cattle transporters, farmers, loggers, and heating oil providers zooming into an establishment known locally as Marty’s.
Feel gracious about lining the pockets of the eponymous Marty, self-evident magnate, by buying gas here. Also get picnic supplies.
And make an outlay of $1. Plunk down the buck for an Ice-Out ticket for nearby Joe’s Pond. If you screw up and forget to buy it at Marty’s, you may buy one online. You will be betting on the date and time when the pond ice melts in spring.
Joe’s Pond Ice Out
Status updates are liberally provided by the Joe’s Pond Association Website. Plus, the Association’s blog fleshes out the ice-out details and keeps its avid readers in touch with relevant pond gossip. You will humor yourself by following the official Ice-Out webcam—and the fate of your $1—for many months.
Considering that the ice on Joe’s Pond can be several feet thick, you will be entangled in the drama half way to summer. The formula for determining the exact moment when the pond meets the criteria for Ice Out is complicated and scientific. This is a very serious competition.
Ticket in pocket, hop
Back into your soon-to-be dusty car, and drive on up the hill to the traffic light in Danville. Since it’s the only traffic light for miles around, you can be sure you’ve found the correct one.
If you wish, continue straight ahead to make a quick reconnoitre of Joe’s Pond in West Danville (Route 2), the target of your rash investment. Scout it out to your satisfaction and take abundant selfies to show all your friends. Natch, they won’t believe you’ve taken up gambling, being a senior and all.
At the Danville green. Be prepared to park and leap from your not-yet dusty car if there are throngs of folks hanging out there. You may well have arrived in the middle of of Autumn on the Green.
Vermont fall foliage….onwards!
Next, you will be driving south towards Peacham on the aptly named Danville-Peacham Road, or Peacham-Danville Road, depending on your perspective.
Mosey along. Be sure to look east as you drive. From this road, you can see Mt. Washington, the Lafayette ridge, Cannon, the Kinsmans, and Moosilauke.
Enjoy Ewell Pond; pull into the boat launch and scan the pond for the resident loon pair. Feel privileged if you hear the loons call. Continue driving. Take in the big meadows and the views as you enter Peacham.
Through Peacham. The Sheriff just loves to hang out there. Hang a right uphill past the Congregational Church. You will be on a dirt road. At the crest of the hill, on the left, there’s a cemetery. Park close by and have lunch, yes, in the cemetery. Locals and frequent visitors know to bring their picnics there. Enjoy the spectacular views and the peace and quiet.
Stretch your legs
Once lunch is over and pay off your exercise rain-check by having a jaunt on the dirt roads to Green Bay or Max Mountain. Enjoy the views.
Return to your car
And more exercise. Wander around Peacham, If you’re lucky, you’ve come on Fall Foliage Day and can sign up for the afternoon Peacham Ghost Walk (small charge) to go along with your cemetery picnic. For a whole list of events, look up Peacham Fall Foliage Day for 2017. (Full week of Northeast Kingdom fall foliage events at the same link.)
That the Peacham Café may cause a budgetary heart attack, and the peeling-red-paint Peacham Store hasn’t been freshened up for many years. If you need internet access, go into the library. If it happens to be closed, local custom has people logging in from their cars in the library parking lot.
A hundred photos later
You’re off to Mosquitoville. For real. Now you’re getting into even more remote fall foliage settings. Drive south downhill from Peacham past the three Greek Revival houses on the main drag. Go straight ahead through the hamlet of South Peacham.
Ready for dirt?
Your turn-off from the hardtop, about 10 minutes away, goes left at a white clapboard grange. Note the Mosquitoville sign. Add to your selfie collection.
At Mosquitoville, you may want to wind down for the day. If so, head back to I-91 along the east side of Harvey’s Lake (more foliage and views) along Roy Mountain Road. Catch the east bound hard-top road towards Barnet. In 5 miles you come to the ramp for I-91.
If you’re still going strong, locate a church supper or find other local “do’s”.
Related, in Northeast Kingdom VT:
Oops, forgot to mention:
Listen for coyotes if you’re out after nightfall, and watch for bears. Moose, too.
Photo credits. Top photo and featured image…Scarecrows in Peacham, ia0450.JPG: CC BY 2.0 by Mark Goebel via Flickr. Danville dirt road, Natural green: CC BY-SA 2.0 by Ben Pollard via Flickr. Ice Out: Rights unknown. Danville-Peacham Road, Fall Season: CC BY 2.0 by Anand Khatri via Flickr. Meadows, color, and cows, Vermont: CC BY-SA 2.0 by Sayamindu Dasgupta via Flickr. Peacham in Fall, church, barn, whites, ia0193.jpg: CC BY 2.0 by Mark Goebel via Flickr. Peacham Vermont landscape in fall: Public Domain via Pexels. Red barn with colorful trees, Peacham, hy1766.JPG: CC BY 2.0 by Mark Goebel via Flickr. Back road VT/Northeast Kingdom: CC BY-SA 3.0 by Patmac13 via Wikimedia. Barnet with Harveys Lake, hy1751.JPG: CC BY 2.0 by Mark Goebel via Flickr. Vermont Cow, CC BY-SA 2.0 by Scott Teresi.