Foliage season in Vermont is always a gift, one that draws visitors and residents alike out to admire the splendor. And not to wax rhapsodic over the annual spectacle, but you would have had to be dead not to notice what happened last weekend and in the days that led up to it.

Recall how dry August and September were and how muted and, frankly, how brown the trees were looking. There were reports that most of the leaves were already down at the top of Sugarbush and at the top of the App Gap and there were worries that foliage would fizzle.

Not to fear! Mother Nature dropped some serious precipitation on us last week and from Monday to Wednesday, everything changed. The tree by the former People’s United Bank building (one of the most often photographed trees in Waitsfield!) turned from “meh” to its usually scarlet/orange/pink. Bravo!

Beyond that from north to south and the Northfield Ridge to the spine of the Green Mountains, the whole Valley came alive with color. At The Valley Reporter, we encourage reader foliage pictures. The volume of pictures and the quality of the pictures are good indicators of how foliage is progressing. As the week went by, readers sent more and more pictures of ever-increasing beauty.

When Columbus Day arrived, Mother Nature gave us three perfect days and visitors and residents alike were treated to what could only be described as peak foliage (for the record, that peak has so far extended well into this week).

Come Monday morning, reader picture volume increased, with reader pictures joining Valley Reporter staff pictures. Who can resist trying to capture the majesty of peak foliage with a camera? Certainly none of The Valley Reporter staff can resist the allure.

It was that way throughout The Valley, with locals lining up next to visitors and second-home owners sharing their best photo-taking spots with each other and new visitors. Peak foliage is not a date on the calendar, it’s a specific grandeur created by the blue of an October sky, the blazing glory of the hillsides, plus the tree next to you, plus the sun and or the cloud.

Foliage season never disappoints and this year was one for the record books.

Keep those photos coming!