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Fall Foliage and Festival Report: November 11-12

Maryland Map with leaves marking weekend events

Welcome to the Fall Foliage and Festival Report for the weekend of Nov. 11-12, brought to you by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and Maryland Office of Tourism.

In western Maryland it appears that everything is happening at once, as eastern Allegany, Washington and Frederick counties are all reporting peak conditions, although muted. Weather has been a factor, especially around South Mountain. Washington County from Clear Spring west is just past peak.

How long the leaves will last is anyone’s guess…

Photo of couple walking on North Point State Park Trail

Couple walking on North Point State Park trail

The oaks have turned in Carroll County where the forest canopy is a mix of browns, reds and yellows interspersed with gray, where some trees have lost all of their leaves. Some golden yellows and purple reds continue to brighten up the understory shrubs such as blackhaw and spicebush.

At the top of the Chesapeake Bay, Elk Neck State Park in Cecil County is at peak, though leaves are starting to fall, a scenario being reported widely in central Maryland. Harford County should be beautiful this weekend with trees turning color now.

Most of the shrub and tree species are on full display in Anne Arundel County with peak conditions now dependent on the weather. The rains and winds this week have knocked a lot of the leaves down on some of the early fall species, but there should be plenty of color left.

Both Prince George’s and Calvert counties are close to peak conditions. Gums, hickories, oaks, maples and poplars are in full color. Foliage in southern Maryland appears to be slowly changing with lots of reds and yellows in Charles and St. Mary’s counties, where peak is expected next week.

Photo of fall foliage reflected in the Pocomoke River

Fall foliage reflected in the Pocomoke River

Queen Anne’s, Talbot and Kent counties are all near peak and will be well-worth a visit. The forests are displaying various stages of color changes from orange to yellow to red. Some dogwoods are deep burgundy while others have lost their leaves. The oaks still have some green but are changing to brown in many areas. The sumacs are yellow orange. The hickories are about the same. The red maples have dropped lots of leaves but are still orange, yellow and red in some areas.

Pocomoke River State Park, located within the 15,000 wooded acres of Pocomoke State Forest in Worcester County, reports stunning full foliage, while Assateague State Park is experiencing a very short-lived peak with good color.

Easton hosts the Waterfowl Festival this weekend and the town will be filled with art, artists, exhibits and exciting outdoor activities, including the immediately popular Retriever and Raptor Demonstrations, Dock Dogs Competition and Kid’s Fishing Derby. The World Championship Duck and Goose calling contests will begin at 4 p.m. This annual event is dedicated to waterfowl conservation, promotion of wildlife art and the celebration of life on the Eastern Shore.

Photo of geese

The Long Stretch by Julia Rogers, Featured Artist, Waterfowl Festival 2017

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge offers free admission this weekend in honor of Veterans Day. The Dorchester County refuge includes more than 27,000 acres of forest and marshland as well as the four-mile Wildlife Drive, which can be enjoyed by bike, car or foot. Nearby is the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park and Visitor Center, where admission is always free. Why not visit both?

Martinak State Park is hosting a 25+ mile dirt road and paved ride for experienced cyclists Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. Meet at the park office.

The Maryland Irish Festival will celebrate Irish culture this weekend at the Maryland State Fair Grounds in Timonium. It will feature plenty of traditional music, step dancing, authentic food and beverages, cultural exhibits, a children’s area and more.

Scurry over to Patapsco Valley State Park Saturday and Go Nuts for Squirrels. Fun for all ages, they’ll have activities and a short hike to observe squirrels in the wild. On Sunday afternoon meet at the Hilton Nature Center for some Survival Skills, including how to stay warm during cold bitter nights without a sleeping bag. Learn how to layer clothing, signal for help and to pack food to be prepared for outdoor emergency situations. Fun for ages 7 and up!

Or grab your binoculars and join friends at the Soldiers Delight Natural Environment Area on a Beginning Bird Hike Saturday afternoon to identify the birds in the area. Field guides and bird call samples will be provided. All ages welcome. You can also return at 8 p.m. for Stargazing at Soldiers Delight, a three-hour indoor program that features activities and fun facts for all!

Join Seneca Creek State Park staff and military veterans in Montgomery County for a Veterans Day Hike on the Greenway Trail Saturday at 10 a.m. This is an out-and-back hike with a halfway point for relaxing near Great Seneca Creek. Later that afternoon, you can peek inside the Grusendorf Log Cabin and try your hand at making a hand-dipped candle, tin stamp or swirl clay marble to take home. Return Sunday for a fun Reptile Encounter. Meet a living snake and examine shells and skins from reptiles living in the park!

Photo of marching band in St. Mary's County

Veteran’s Day Parade in St. Mary’s County

Come to National Harbor in Prince George’s County Sunday for an exciting free day as we light the Christmas Tree at National Harbor! Music, games, fireworks and a visit from Santa are all on the wish list!

The story of Port Tobacco in Charles County is fascinating! It includes Native Americans, missionaries, colonists, revolutionaries, assassins, spies, slaves, merchants, farmers, an arsonist and everyone in between! Explore the Port Tobacco Historic Village this weekend from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free admission.

On Saturday St. Mary’s County honors veterans and active duty military in one of the largest Veteran’s Day Parades in Maryland. The parade kicks off in Leonardtown Square at 10 a.m. followed by a memorial wreath-laying ceremony.

Soldier playing Taps

In Frederick, two Veterans Day events are scheduled Saturday. From 10:40 to 11:40 a.m. the Echo Taps ceremony will honor veterans when brass musicians line Market and Second streets. Each musician will play in turn, passing the call from Mount Olivet to Memorial Park. On Saturday evening the Weinberg Center for the Arts will honor veterans with a free performance from the U.S. Army’s Concert Band.

For more information or to see a full listing of Maryland Department of Natural Resources events and programs, please check out our interactive calendar. For more information on events around the state, please visit the Maryland Office of Tourism.

Enjoy your Maryland weekend!

Editor’s note: The last edition of the 2017 Fall Foliage and Festival Report will be issued Nov. 15.

“Nature is, above all, profligate. Don’t believe them when they tell you how economical and thrifty nature is, whose leaves return to the soil. Wouldn’t it be cheaper to leave them on the tree in the first place? This deciduous business alone is a radical scheme, the brainchild of a deranged manic-depressive with limitless capital. Extravagance! Nature will try anything once.”

– Annie Dillard

Make a Fall SuncatcherWe are lucky in Maryland to be able to see trees of many different colors. In order to save some of these beautiful leaves, try making a fall suncatcher.