a town near here where they put a cinder block in the middle of an
icy lake during the winter, then start a pool on when it will fall
through the ice (the official "ice-out" of the lake, and
unofficial end of winter... think heavy square groundhog). As the
winter days get longer, the watch and speculation begin to build.
The foliage season is a little like that, with everybody seemingly
possessing a theory on how good the foliage will be this year, how
long it will last, and when "peak" will reach certain areas
of the state.
While difficult to predict with any great certainty, watching and
reporting on foliage is a little more scientific, and anyone trying
to decide when to visit the state would do best to pay a little heed
to the foliage "watchers." The Vermont Department of Tourism
& Marketing offers several services of this nature for tourists
and residents alike. In September and October, they upload foliage
reports two times a week (on Mondays and Thursdays) to their site,
so you can keep up-to-date on how the colors are developing and progressing.
You can also get a rough idea on foliage timing using their Foliage
Forecaster, an animated graphic that shows colors developingover
a timeline for the whole state. Since lodging is usually scarce this
time of year, the Forecaster should give you a pretty good yardstick
to use when booking long-range reservations.