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Web offers kaleidoscope of autumn sites

October 3, 1996
Web posted at: 12:00 a.m. EDT

From CNN Interactive Writer Kristin Lemmerman

(CNN) -- Unless you live near or south of the equator, you probably have seen signs that winter is on its way. The air has a bite to it that wasn't there a month ago. Maybe you've noticed squirrels hoarding acorns. And if you're lucky, tree leaves are either changing color or are about to start.

The fall season is one of the most ballyhooed events for nature lovers. But if you can't drive to spectacular sites, the World Wide Web offers plenty of armchair travel.

Autumn in New Hampshire's White Mountains


This site, like many others, is primarily designed to encourage you to visit the White Mountains in New England, a part of the United States known for its spectacular autumn hues.

The site has plenty to offer: a fall foliage report showing where the best fall colors are and, on the same page, a suggested travel route. The White Mountains site also suggests appropriate dress and ways to preserve fall leaves to enjoy them through the winter.

Northern Michigan Journal -- fall issue


The Midwest may not be considered a a fall color tourism destination, but Midwestern states have the edge on seasonal Web sites. The fall issue of the Northern Michigan Journal, for example, has several links to color conditions in different parts of the state with a little leaf image next to each area. The leaf's color indicates how far along the fall show is in that area.

The site also features a color map, weather forecasts, a calendar of events and fall-related articles, including a story about a Michigan couple who is growing antique varieties of apples.

Chequamegon National Forest (Wisconsin) fall color tour


If you live in or near Wisconsin and want to take a leisurely Saturday drive, you may want to check out the Chequamegon National Forest fall color tour. The site describes weather and leaf-turning conditions. Local festivals are listed in the calendar of events, and other activities will be listed soon on the still-under-construction site.

NC Natural's Fall Color Spectacular: Autumn in the Appalachians


"Autumn in the Appalachians" serves a dual purpose. For travelers, it suggests worthwhile destinations, particularly in the North Carolina area -- complete with travel routes, festivals in progress and color forecasts.

If you can't leave home, the gorgeous autumn pictures on the site are a treat.

This is one of the more detailed and interesting sites I found on fall color. Two botanists contributed and, thanks to them, the site has information on why leaves change color, photographs of leaves from some of the region's more colorful trees and related folklore.

Planning the landscape for fall color


If you'd like to do more than just view fall color on your computer terminal, but don't have time to travel, why not plant a tree in your yard? It's the ideal time of year to plant shrubs and trees. Because it is cool outside, the plants will expend their energy setting down strong roots, rather than trying to put out new leaves and branches. That will make them stronger and more drought-resistant later.

If you have the time and the space, but aren't sure which trees and bushes will provide good fall interest, try out the University of Delaware's Cooperative Extension fall color page. It lists trees and shrubs, categorized into groups of reds and yellows, and has other plant information.

Happy sightseeing!

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