Ariz. foliage claim suggests colorful imaginationBy WILSON RING
The Associated Press | August 27,2013
AP File Photo A farmer chops corn in front of a hillside of fall color in Richmond.MONTPELIER — Desert sands and spectacular gorges, sure. But fall foliage? In Arizona?
That’s what the state’s tourism magazine claims in an October cover story that takes on the apex of Vermont’s natural beauty, the reds, oranges and yellows of its spectacular fall foliage. The headline reads, “Autumn in Arizona and why it’s better here than it is in Vermont.”
“Those are fighting words,” said a chuckling Burr Morse, the proprietor of Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks just outside Montpelier. His 40-year-old family business gets about a third of its revenue during the foliage season from about mid-September to mid-October when more than a dozen tour buses a day bring people to learn about syrup production as an interlude to viewing the nearby hillsides.
“There’s no desert in the world that’s going to compare with Vermont’s foliage season,” he added.
In Vermont, tourism has been one of the top industries for generations. The cover of the 1947 premiere issue of the state’s own tourism magazine, Vermont Life, was of a woman painting colors onto the state’s leaves. Now an estimated 3.5 million people visit the state during foliage season, spending an estimated $131 million.
Arizona Highways Editor Robert Stieve said his magazine’s story was designed to draw attention and dispel some of the stereotypes that Arizona is all desert and rattlesnakes.
Attention it did draw. Vermont Life created a mock cover that claimed that Quechee Gorge is grander than the Grand Canyon.
But Stieve acknowledges that Arizona’s offerings probably don’t compare to Vermont’s.
“The truth is, we set Vermont up as the gold standard for fall leaves,” Stieve said.
Arizona’s foliage season does have one distinct advantage over Vermont: It can linger into December, when Vermont’s trees are usually barren and cold weather has set in.
Arizona’s high country boasts changing colors starting in mid-September. The colors can be found in the big-tooth maple trees, scarlet sumac and golden aspens. Some of the best places to see them include the White Mountains of eastern Arizona, Flagstaff, Oak Creek Canyon in northern Arizona and the mountains around Tucson.
“People who live in the metropolitan areas of the desert actually have to get in their cars and drive to it for the best stuff,” Stieve said. “So part of our cover line was to inspire some of our own readers to get off the couch and get out and check things out.”
AP writer Felicia Fonseca, in Flagstaff, Ariz., contributed to this report.MORE IN Vermont NewsA confidential memo obtained by Vermont Public Radio shows that the Agency of Education is still... Full Story
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day 1739, 'Richard Palmer' identified in prison at York Castle as the notorious outlaw DICK TURPIN; IN 1836, Battle of the Alamo begins near San Antonio de Bexar, Texas; 1896, the Tootsie Roll invented by LEO HIRSCHFELD.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1472, Orkney, Shetland islands put up as collateral by Norway to Scotland in lieu of dowry for MARGARET OF DENMARK on her marriage with JAMES III, king of Scotland; 1962, JOHN GLENN first American to orbit Earth.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: City mayoral candidates debate campaign issues; Hartford, Conn., woman still missing; Neal Goswami reports attempts to legislate suicide; local woman loses 100 pounds through TOPS program.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1878, JOHN TUNSTALL murdered near Lincoln, New Mexico, by the outlaw JESSE EVANS; in 1930, ELM FARM OLLIE first cow to fly in aircraft, first to be milked airborne; 1955, nuke test WASP; '79, snow in Sahara.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Rutland Herald News Editor Alan J. Keays and staff writer Gordon Dritschilo discuss stories planned for the February 18, 2015, edition of the newspaper: Winter budgets maxed, legal marijuana, Springfield bank job, USPS slowdown
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1249 AD, ANDRE of LONGJUMEAU is dispatched by LOUIS IX of France to meet the KHAGAN, ruler of the Mongol Empire; in 1804, during 1st Barbary War, STEPHEN DECATUR scuttles the pirate-held USS Philadelphia in Tripoli.