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Peak foliage occurs in October. If you want to enjoy this magnificent natural wonder, you must travel then.
2 Moving foliage line
Peak fall foliage does not take place all over at once. The foliage line begins in the north and slowly moves south. Some approximate dates:
Oct 4 - Corner Brook (Newfoundland)
Oct 9 - Halifax (Nova Scotia)
Oct 12 - Bar Harbor (Maine)
Oct 19 - Boston (Massachusetts)
Oct 21 - Newport (Rhode Island)
When it's peak foliage in Newfoundland, the leaves are still green in Rhode Island. When it's peak time in Rhode Island, virtually all the foliage leaves have fallen off the trees in Newfoundland. Take this information into consideration when selecting your cruise.
3 Prediction accuracy
The dates listed above are estimates based on multi-decade averages. You cannot accurately predict local foliage peaks for any given year. Unexpected frigid nights can hasten the color metamorphosis of the leaves. Indian Summers (unusual warm spells in the fall) can delay the process. Even what happens in the summer (temperature, rainfall and sunlight) affects the eventual outcome.
4 Cruise directions
Some cruises are one-way, such as New York to Montreal. I recommend you sail the Canada to USA direction. Reason: You will remain longer within the southerly moving peak-foliage zone.
Also remember to book a cabin on the starboard side (right) when sailing south. Reason: The beautiful Atlantic coastline will be on that side, the bare ocean on the other. However, people on a northbound cruise should book a port side (left) cabin.
5 North vs South
The foliage colors (crimson, gold, and amber) are more brilliant and spectacular in the north than in the south.
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