The quick brown fox jumped over the good, but lazy Parker family.
First thing we learned was to not trust state tourism department’s web sites. It makes sense with hindsight, but both Virginia and Maryland seem to have incentive to be less then honest about the status of the foliage in their respective purviews. In their “foliage reports,” they used words like “spectacular” and “peak” that roughly translated to “intermittent” and “you should have visited two weeks ago.”
The only people who seemed to have a clue about what was going on was The Weather Channel, which has a forecast map showing the state of the foliage on the ground. This turned out to be the most correct, largely because it said that vast majority of the country is, in fact, “past peak”.
In search of what was left, we drove out to Elk Neck State Park in Maryland, which is situated right on the northern tip of the Chesapeake Bay. The drive in had some widespread (but muted) foliage, but there wasn’t anything — and I mean anything — once we go into the park itself. From there, we headed 20 miles west of Baltimore to Morgan Run Natural Environment Area. While the drive in wasn’t as pretty as in the far northeast of the state, the hiking was great.
From all reports, this just isn’t going to be a good year for foliage. I found a great write-up on what makes for good foliage, and we just didn’t have the wet growing season and dry, sunny fall needed for anything other than muted, muddy leaf peeping.