HILLS NEWSPAPERS: November 21, 2012
Pack up the pinot and the roast turkey sandwiches — it’s a beautiful weekend for leaf peeping. Yes, while most of the country ushers in winter, we’re in full autumn splendor in the Bay Area and beyond in Northern California.
Every fall, travel expert John Poimiroo tracks California’s changing colors on his website, www.californiafallcolor.com. He says the mid-elevations are the best places for crimson and gold this week, including the Bay Area wine regions.
“The vineyards of Napa and Sonoma counties have been peaking,” he notes, adding “wine country doesn’t change all at once, it shows by plot.”
At 75 to 100 percent this week, look for brilliant displays of ruby, orange, yellow and lime. The redwood and oak-studded Santa Cruz Mountains are another Poimiroo pick for Thanksgiving.
“Bigleaf maple are putting on a glorious show,” he says, with one of the prettiest drives along the Soquel-San Jose Road from Summit Road down to Soquel. Take this trip in the late afternoon, and he says you’ll see “a backlit display that will brighten your day.”
Venture out beyond the Bay Area, and you’ll be rewarded with even more eye candy. Poimiroo says the 2,000- to 4,000-foot elevations in the Gold Country are peaking this week. The mother of all color spots is the Mother Lode, with brilliant orange and yellow maples and oaks.
Then there’s the Shasta Cascade along Interstate 5, where