Press Kit

Mt Washington Valley Chamber offers three predictions and tips for fall foliage trips

News from Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce – September 18, 2020

Contact:  Marti Mayne, 207-846-6331,


Book now or forever hold your peep!

North Conway, NH – As the days grow shorter, all eyes turn to leaf peeping season in Mt Washington Valley, NH.  Long considered one of the most beautiful places in the country for fall foliage, 2020 will be no exception to the rule.  While Covid has taught us to expect the unexpected, one thing remains certain each fall season.  Mother Nature always performs her magic in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and leaf peeping season will not disappoint those who come to see the colorful mountain vistas.

However, the pandemic has resulted in a propensity for New England visitors to jump in the car, drive to the White Mountains, and escape the confined of home. This is expected to be true especially as the weather grows colder.  Thus, it’s a good idea to understand the predictions and follow the tips from the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce to ensure a successful and gratifying leaf peeping trip to the Valley.

Prediction 1: NH’s drought could mean more brilliant, but possibly shorter fall foliage season

For advice on what to expect in 2020’s fall foliage season, we turn to foliage prognosticator and photographer, Jim Salge, contributor to Yankee Magazine’s New England foliage pages.  According to Jim’s predictions, New Hampshire experienced a strong start to the growing season with plenty of rain through June, but then came an extremely dry, hot summer. Supposedly, in drier years, leaves tend to turn a bit early and their color is often short-lived yet brilliant. However, this fall, the La Niña weather pattern is expected to keep the storm track a bit farther north across the United States, with warmer conditions expected across New England. This will hopefully be accompanied by rainfall, which would go a long way to adding to color this fall, expects Salge. 

Decent rainfall in the form of showers will help to brighten and lengthen the fall foliage season.  Tropical storms, however, could do the opposite, knocking leaves off trees.  Grounded in tradition, and knowing that no matter what the weather conditions, we predict that fall foliage season in Mt Washington Valley will be brilliant in 2020.

Tip 1: Book now or forever hold your peep

While international travel, motor coach tours and many large seasonal events may be on hold for fall 2020, don’t assume that there’ll be plenty of room at Mt Washington Valley lodging.  Au contraire.  This fall is expected to be the season for drive vacations.  For the first time, New Englanders will find room at the inns (hotels, resorts, campgrounds, etc.) and one tank vacations will reign.  The Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce strongly suggests not leaving home without a lodging reservation. Like every other fall foliage season in the Valley, expect plenty of interest and competition for overnight accommodations.  The earlier you book your reservation, the better availability there’ll be. And remember, book directly with the lodging property for the best experience and price.

While the traditional peak of fall foliage in Mt Washington Valley usually coincides with Columbus Day, the drier conditions could trigger an earlier peak for fall foliage.  The first two weeks in October could therefore be the busiest and best for catching fall color this summer.

Prediction 2: Scenic trails and foliage drives will be filled with closer-to-home leaf peepers, especially on weekends. This is the year for New Englanders to take a New England fall getaway.

Traditionally, international visitors, Canadians, fly-in visitors from California, Texas and Florida, motorcoach tours and Fryeburg Fair goers have flocked to the White Mountains each fall, filling the lodging properties to capacity during peak foliage season.  This year, the visitor base is expected to be different.  Motorcoach tours have cancelled, international and West Coast USA visitors have cancelled trips and are staying closer to home, and Canada has closed its borders making it impossible for Canadians to visit.  Plus, with the Fryeburg Fair a virtual event, those ten days typically surrounding Columbus Day will no longer be filled with fair vendors and visitors. All that means that accommodations are available for New Englanders and Mid-Atlantic visitors to plan a trip this year to Mt Washington Valley.  Put off in the past by the thought of crowds or inability to secure a room, those within a driving distance often saved their trips to Mt Washington Valley for less busy seasons.  However, 2020 has proved to be a year like no other.  The trend this year is toward one-tank getaways, and Mt Washington Valley’s fall foliage colors offer the perfect reason for New Englanders to have their turn at “hailing to the leaf” in Mt Washington Valley in 2020.

The Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce expects the trend toward more crowded weekends that marked the summer will continue through the leaf peeping season.  Expect better availability and fewer crowds in the Valley midweek during Fall 2020.

Tip 2:  Peep a leaf midweek – the perfect science field trip!

Those seeking to replace school field trips that have gone virtual will find the ideal science study guide in Mt Washington Valley’s fall foliage process.  Bring the whole family for a hands-on botany lesson in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. The beautiful vistas also double as the perfect backdrop for art lessons in painting and illustration too! 

Based on the trends from summer 2020, midweek will be less crowded than weekends.  Make Mt Washington Valley your in-person classroom Sunday through Thursday when availability at lodging properties will be best.  On weekends, you’ll share this beautiful classroom with more visitors.

Prediction 3: Mask wearing and social distancing will gain steam

The Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce and businesses throughout the community have been vigilant in promoting social distancing and mask wearing.  From the beginning of the pandemic, the entire community has committed its resources and philosophy to maintaining a safe place for residents and visitors alike.  This has contributed significantly to a low Covid incidence, which in turn motivates the community’s commitment even further.  Given state and federal guidelines, there is little tolerance in Mt Washington Valley for those not willing to wear masks, keep social distance, make reservations where required and maintain capacity limits. Ignore these requirements and visitors may find themselves unable to enter businesses that are stalwart in their pledge toward safety.

Tip 3: Mind your manners

The pandemic has sent visitors seeking to escape the homes that have become their schools and offices to enjoy the wide open mountains for outdoor recreation that feels safe.  While the Mt Washington
Valley community is dedicated to welcoming visitors, the trend has resulted in overcrowding, lack of respect for trash removal and a general lack of respect for the woods, the town and other people.  The Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce is working hard to remind visitors to mind their manners. Simple respect for the parking rules, picking up trash rather than throwing it on the ground, wearing masks and social distancing are the expectations for all visitors.  If a parking lot is crowded, find another legal place to park; carry a trash bag with you for rubbish removal. These are just two of the commonsense requests being made for all visitors. 

Recently, the Mt Washington Valley has been named among the top five fall foliage destinations in America by Epoch Times and the most beautiful storybook towns by Reader’s Digest. For more information on planning a trip to Mt Washington Valley, visit for full planning resources.  To learn more about visiting New Hampshire go to

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