Skip to Main Content

Fall Foliage and Festival Report for Nov. 16-17, 2019

Map of fall foliage changes in MarylandWelcome to the Fall Foliage and Festival Report for November 16 and 17 brought to you by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

Photo Collage of fall foliage at Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park, Photo by Dana Paterra

Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park, Photos by Dana Paterra

Shad Landing Pond, Pocomoke River State Park, photo by Curtis Dale

Shad Landing Pond, Pocomoke River State Park, photo by Curtis Dale

Assateague State Park Entrance, photo by Angela Baldwin

Assateague State Park Entrance, photo by Angela Baldwin

While most of Maryland is settling into mid-November with weekend chores including leaf raking, it’s a perfect time to head to the far Eastern Shore, with stops in Harriet Tubman Country and a leisurely drive through Worcester County to Pocomoke River and Assateague state parks! We still have some beautiful color left to enjoy for another week or maybe even two,” remarks Ranger Dana Paterra of Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park in Dorchester County.

 “The fall colors along Route 611 are full of vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges, the prettiest of the season,” reports Angela Baldwin, Assateague State Park manager. “Even with cooler temperatures, we always recommend making a stop at the beach as well. The sights and sounds and wonders of the ocean are a welcome diversion any time of year.” 

Ranger Curtis Dale, manager of Pocomoke River State Park, says it’s peak leaf-peeping season there as well. Happy autumn, everyone! 

“There are still some scattered and somewhat protected red maples in downtown Chestertown that are all golden or all orange,” says Teri Batchleor, Forest Service Upper Shore project manager. “The ginkgos dropped the majority of their yellow leaves to the sidewalks this week and many citizens of all ages could be seen picking them up and throwing them about (mostly children). Some willow oaks are yellow green with their leaf veins discolored and about half of their leaves now on the ground.” 

Orange Grove Area, Patapsco Valley State Park, photo by Felicia Graves

Orange Grove Area, Patapsco Valley State Park, photo by Felicia Graves

“Overall in central Maryland’s Patapsco Valley State Park there’s still plenty of foliage for people to come out and enjoy. Our trails are amazing all year round,” exclaims Ranger Felicia Graves of Patapsco Valley State Park. “However, the temperature has dropped significantly, so make sure to exercise the ‘Leave No Trace’ principle, plan ahead and prepare.”

Ranger Graves has provided a brief checklist: 1) Know where you are going; 2) Have a map in hand and thorough understanding of the terrain; 3) Dress properly; 4) Alert a close friend or family member about where you are going and when you should be expected back; and 5) Pack water, snacks, medications, or anything else you will need. “The outdoors are fun, but preparation is key. It’s better to have all that you need and not have to use it than to need things and not have them,” cautions Ranger Graves.

“Surprisingly there is still plenty of color in our northern Cecil County trees – lots of reds and yellows,” writes Abby Matta, Elk Neck State Park naturalist. “We have plenty of oaks and maples as well as several white pines, and a few beech trees with popping colors. “

“A few hard freezes and wind and falling temperatures in Kent County have pushed Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area past peak,” according to Christopher Grieco, assistant park manager.

Elk Neck State Park, photo by Abby Mata

Elk Neck State Park, photo by Abby Mata

Heading south, past peak is the best way to describe the foliage scene. “I would say Anne Arundel passed through its peak last week,” writes Justin Arseneault, project forester. “The rain and wind knocked down a lot of the short-lived color display this year, though we still have some persistent oak leaves hanging on.” Ranger Dorna Cooper adds “Still some mild color, but leaves are raining down at Sandy Point State Park.

Ranger Dawn Letts, park manager of the Point Lookout Complex, adds, “I would say we are in the last stages of peak in southern Maryland. We actually had snow this morning!”

“Glorious while it lasted, it looks like the end of great fall foliage for us,” writes Ranger Mary Ironside, park manager, South Mountain Recreation Area. “While there is color, it is all on the ground due to recent wet conditions and high winds.”

Forester Rob Clarke succinctly wraps up the final report for 2019 with a resounding, “Let the raking begin!” 

We hope you have enjoyed this year’s Fall Foliage and Festival Reports. These weekly commentaries were made possible by the men and women of the Maryland Forest Service and Maryland Park Service.

Sign-up here to receive weekly reports in Autumn 2020 showcasing the Old Line State’s vibrant fall foliage and best autumn festivals.

Dinosauer Park in Laurel

Dinosauer Park in Laurel

Galileo once used a simple telescope to see the planets and stars. Your chance (solo or family) to borrow and use a Galileoscope to see the night sky is on Saturday from 4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. at the Benjamin Banneker Historical Park & Museum in Oella. Event is for ages 10 and older; fee is $3 per person. Preregistration required via email at

Come back on Sunday from 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. for a 3.5 mile Oella History Hike along our trails and down to the Trolley Trail and Ellicott City as we explore the history of the Oella community. The event is free for adults and children age 10 and older. Preregistration required via email at

On Saturday from noon – 1 p.m., discover an ancient world right in Prince George’s County! Paleontologists and educators will display fossils, casts, and models of Astrodon johnstoni, Maryland’s state dinosaur, along with other 112 million-year-old creatures found at Dinosaur Park Open House in Laurel. Weather permitting, visitors can help search for new fossils and make discoveries that will be preserved with their names for all time! All ages are welcome to this free event.

Baltimore American Indian Center's Annual PowWow

Baltimore American Indian Center PowWow

The Baltimore American Indian Center’s 45th Annual PowWow on Saturday from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. will include Native American dancing, drumming, music, cultural presentations, jewelry, artwork, crafts, clothing, and food vendors. Held at the Maryland State Fair Grounds in Timonium, two not-to-be-missed grand entries take place at noon and 4 p.m. Admission: Adults – $10; Kids (4-12) – $5. free parking. Please bring your own chairs.

At the “top of the Bay” in Harford County this Saturday from 4 – 9 p.m., meet at the Havre de Grace Community Center to partake in The Great Havre de Grace Oyster Feast, supporting local nonprofits with oysters (all styles), crab soup, Old Bay wings, pit beef, turkey and more. Plus great entertainment.

On Sunday from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. come to Seneca Creek State Park for a bushwacking, history-seeking Stonecutter Cemetery Hike to find the final resting place of 100 or more of the quarry workers who mined the sandstone that was used to build the Smithsonian Castle. There is NO TRAIL to the cemetery. We will be crossing farm fields and woods. Round trip hike will be about four miles. Park on the side of River Road past the Seneca School House.

Hike to Rockburn Branch ,photo by Brian Roche

Hike to Rockburn Branch, photo by Brian Roche

Union Mills Homestead Christkindlmarkt

Union Mills Homestead Christkindlmarkt

Hike along the trails in Patapsco Valley State Park to Rockburn Branch with the Mountain Club of Maryland on Saturday from 10 a.m. – noon. Hikers will depart from Belmont Manor and Historic Park in Elkridge. This moderate 4.3-mile Hike to Rockburn Branch includes hiking tips and history of the area. The hike is free but advance registration is recommended, as the program may fill up. Check website in case of inclement weather.

Thanksgiving Harvest Festival at the Ocean Pines Farmers & Artisans Market on Saturday from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. is one of the year’s most highly anticipated fall events at the Ocean Pines Farmers and Artisans Market. The festival celebrates the fall bounty with seasonal crafts, cooking demonstrations and other fun for all ages.

Union Mills Homestead Christkindlmarkt is a German-style Christmas Mart with food, drinks and a variety of hand-crafted and unique gifts available for purchase in the historic Grist Mill and Tannery on Saturday from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the holiday season at Union Mills, celebrating our German heritage! A portion of the historic Homestead in Westminster will be decorated and open for you to visit.

Celebrate the 50th anniversary of humanity’s first steps on the moon with an enlightening lecture and panel discussion on the U.S. Space Program with former astronauts and a current astronaut candidate. Space Travel: Apollo and Beyond will be held at Maryland Hall in Annapolis on Sunday from 3 – 5 p.m. Valerie Neal, curator emerita in space history for the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, will present a brief history of the Apollo program, emphasizing the involvement of graduates from the U.S. Naval Academy, who are former astronauts or current candidates. Free, but advance registration is required. 

Captain John Smith’s Shallop Replica is back in Vienna in celebration of the Smithsonian Water/Ways exhibit and Dorchester County’s 350th Anniversary! The replica is of the small boat that Capt. John Smith used in 1608 to explore the Chesapeake. Vienna was one of his stops more than 400 years ago. The shallop will be on public view daily from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. through mid-November at the Nanticoke River Discovery Center.

Enjoy this colorful and fun-filled mid-November weekend, Maryland! 

“We who are here present thank the Great Spirit that we are here to praise Him.
We thank Him that He has created men and women, and ordered that these beings shall always be living to multiply the earth.
We thank Him for making the earth and giving these beings its products to live on.
We thank Him for the water that comes out of the earth and runs for our lands.
We thank Him for all the animals on the earth.
We thank Him for certain timbers that grow and have fluids coming from them for us all.
We thank Him for the branches of the trees that grow shadows for our shelter.
We thank Him for the beings that come from the west, the thunder and lightning that water the earth.
We thank Him for the light which we call our oldest brother, the sun that works for our good.
We thank Him for all the fruits that grow on the trees and vines.
We thank Him for his goodness in making the forests, and thank all its trees.
We thank Him for the darkness that gives us rest, and for the kind Being of the darkness that gives us light, the moon.
We thank Him for the bright spots in the skies that give us signs, the stars.
We give Him thanks for our supporters, who had charge of our harvests.
We give thanks that the voice of the Great Spirit can still be heard through the words of Ga-ne-o-di-o.
We thank the Great Spirit that we have the privilege of this pleasant occasion.
We give thanks for the persons who can sing the Great Spirit’s music, and hope they will be privileged to continue in his faith.
We thank the Great Spirit for all the persons who perform the ceremonies on this occasion.

― The Thanksgivings, Harriet Maxwell Converse (1836-1903), translated from a traditional Iroquois prayer