Autumn views like this one at Vermont’s Strong House Inn are what that state is famous for. But a Sierra foothills' fall gives the Green Mountain State a run for its money. Photo by Susan Laird

Spotlight Columns

‘Boo-tiful’ autumn in the Sierra Foothills

By From page B2 | October 23, 2013

I recently attended a retreat for writers in the Green Mountain State of Vermont. It was the beginning of the fall color season — the landscape was alight with crimsons, golds and greens.

As a writer, I wanted to experience this. With other writers from around the country, I hiked through the Robert Frost Wayside Trail near Middlebury. I actually took the famous “Road Less Taken.” (I also took the Road Most Taken on the hike back to the parking lot).

There is a peace that prevails in Vermont. A certain “quietude.”

Yet, as I encountered the East Coast’s glory, I couldn’t help but compare it to nature’s show in the Sierra foothills and in the Sacramento region. The capital city is, after all, known as the “City of Trees.” And the Sierra foothills teem with native species such as our fiery and beautiful Western Redbud (Cercis orbiculata).

True, the pace of life is a lot faster out here. The Golden State isn’t known for “keeping it simple,” as Vermont is. Yet, I’d put our community up against Vermont’s lovely fall any day. 

‘Boo’ your neighbor

Vermonters love to decorate for autumn, and they are a friendly lot. So are the folks in our neck of the woods.

Throughout the villages in El Dorado Hills, and in the neighborhoods from Folsom to Cameron Park to Placerville, one sees homes decorated to celebrate the harvest season — and Halloween — in all their splendor.

One local El Dorado Hills/Folsom tradition is that of “Boo-ing” your neighbor. It’s really quite simple. Just make a large sign that says “Boo!” Fill a goody bag or basket with treats. Take them to your neighbor’s door. Stick the “Boo” sign on the door and set the treats down. Then ring the doorbell and run like crazy so you won’t be caught!

The key is to include a note with the goodies that says: “You’ve been ‘boo’d!’ Now it is your turn to pass it on. Make a sign like this one and put together a goody bag. Then pick a neighbor who hasn’t been ‘boo’d’ yet. Happy Halloween!”

There’s something to be said for driving through a neighborhood covered in “Boo” signs. It warms the heart. We live in a community of giving folks. 

Local fall color

There are some pretty spectacular views to be had simply taking a stroll in many of the villages in El Dorado Hills and the surrounding area. Local parks are a good choice, too.

For one of the best shows of Western Redbud, check out Cameron Park along Highway 50. Color is just beginning to show.

If it is the peace of Vermont you crave, try going up to Apple Hill on a weekday. Many of the farms are open, and the roads are less crowded. The farm families will have more time to visit with you, too. Visit the little communities that make up El Dorado County, too, such as Rescue, El Dorado, Gold Hill and others. Beauty is in the little Sierra foothills wayside places.

Placerville puts on a spectacular show of fall color every year. Call the local chamber to ask if the colors are near peak before heading up the hill.

Vermont is lovely this time of year. And everyone should experience it at least once in their lifetime.

But know this: We have it pretty good out here in God’s Country, too. Autumn’s beauty surrounds us here. The rhythm of the season is upon us. And this is a great community to live in, work in and play in.  

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Susan Laird

Discussion | 1 comment

  • Mary WilliamsOctober 23, 2013 - 8:24 am

    Very nice. Good picture of another part of the country. Too bad it's not a (paid for) prerequisite for life - to go tour around the whole country.



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