FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. — If you’re planning a leaf-peeping tour throughout the state, there are plenty of spots in Fairfield County to visit over the next several weeks as leaves continue to transform for autumn.
The Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens in Stamford — a 91-acre nature preserve made up of hiking trails, gardens, an education center and of course, plenty of trees — is a perfect location to enjoy foliage, said Janet Serra, director of communications and marketing for the Western Connecticut Convention & Visitors Bureau.
“The Bartlett Arboretum is absolutely amazing,” said Serra. “It’s a living museum of rare and historic trees. What better way to appreciate fall foliage than to identify the trees and what they are doing.”
Located at 151 Brookdale Road, the Bartlett Arboretum grounds are open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and the facilities are open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors can take self-guided tours and day of the week. A “Fall Colors” guided tour will be held on Sunday, Oct. 20.
Not far from the Bartlett Arboretum is the Stamford Museum & Nature Center, which also features several hiking trails. The center also hosts a variety of child-friendly events and programs, an animal embassy, playground and other amenities, making it a great destination for families looking to enjoy foliage and fun activities.
Earthplace, a nature discovery center in Westport, is another place to enjoy fall foliage and family fun, Serra said. The 62-acre wildlife sanctuary boasts trails — open daily from dawn to dusk — a museum, an Animal Hall featuring live animals and weekend activities.
At the Greenwich Audubon Center, leaf-peepers can enjoy fall color and bird-watching at the same time, Serra said. The center has documented 201 bird species. Another prime spot is the Connecticut Audubon Society Center at Fairfield and the adjacent Roy and Margot Larsen Wildlife Sanctuary.
Other places to enjoy leaf peeping in Fairfield County include the Devil’s Den Preserve in Weston/Redding and the Newman Poses Nature Preserve in Westport, which is part of the Aspetuck Land Trust, Serra said.
Although trees in the northern parts of the state are nearing their peak, Fairfield County residents will see trees pop with color through the beginning of November, said state Department of Forestry Director Chris Martin.
“Colors in northern Fairfield County will start to really kick in over the week,” Martin said. “Over the next few weeks and the first weeks of November — barring any heavy rain — is when the color really comes alive in lower Fairfield County.”
Fall color can last long beyond Columbus Day weekend, especially along the shoreline of Long Island Sound, he said.
In terms of color vibrancy, Martin said this year’s foliage is already looking much better than what residents saw over past two years. Wild weather — including Hurricane Irene, the historic October nor’easter of 2011 and, of course, Hurricane Sandy — dampened foliage the past two years.
For more leaf-peeping ideas and tips, or to view a fall foliage map, visit the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection website.