Follow The Leaves Road Trip & Contest!

As the warm summer breeze gives way to the cooler, crisp air of fall, changes in nature occur noticeably around us. The leaves turn from greens to yellows, then reds, then browns, and ultimately fall to the ground to become one with the earth. I love watching the leaves change from day to day during the fall, and last week I had the opportunity to see how these changes happen up the east coast of the US – and then some. Beginning with Philadelphia where the leaves had hardly shown a hint of change, I took a drive up north to Maine and then on to Vermont, documenting the leaves as they appeared to change colors right before my eyes. Read on to see the beauty I experienced – and find out how you can win a $100 FP gift card, as well as a credit with Social Print Studio to have your Instagram photos printed!

I started my journey in the early morning. The sun, which had just risen, was shining bright, beating through my windows and onto my skin. I started the day with Lord Huron coming through my speakers and a smile on my face. I was excited for what was to come, yet somewhat nervous about the lengthy drive ahead.

Road Trip

I began my drive from Philadelphia, traveled through New Jersey, and New York, and made my first stop in Hamden, Connecticut. Driving through — as I had suspected — I was surrounded by green leaves. It seemed that the trees were holding onto summer as best as they could. I spotted a yellow leaf here and there, but they were few and far between.

Water and trees

Nature pieces

Travel quote

I continued north, through Massachusetts, and made a second stop at the Great Bay in New Hampshire. I thought for sure I’d find some fully red and yellow trees here – New Hampshire just south of Maine! – but what I came across were trees with green leaves, just sprinkled with bits of yellows, reds, and oranges here and there.


Leaves on wood

Plants and fence

After admiring the tiny bursts of color, I went around and gathered a handful of colored leaves, and then made my own fall-colored tree, inspired by the work of this artist.

Leaves and stick

Fall foliage road trip 9

Then it was time to get back on the road! I kept traveling northbound until I reached Camden, Maine. The sun had already gone down by the time I arrived, so I headed straight to an inn, not knowing whether or not I’d find more colorful foliage when I woke up! Come morning, I found many green trees, and some with leaves of slight reds and yellows – similar to those in new Hampshire.

Fall trees

Water and trees, fall

Orange and yellow leaf

Water and dock

Trees and water

I was determined to be surrounded by fall foliage, though, so I knew I had to continue my road trip! After doing a bit of research, I discovered that there are actually fall foliage maps (like this) that show you where you’ll find leaves with the most color. You can even click on a certain location and see recent foliage images taken at that particular spot! I saw that I could find leaves at their peak near Brighton State Park in Vermont, so that’s exactly where I went.

As I drove, I watched the leaves change right in front of me. I came upon a beautiful waterfall, stopped to admire some cows, and sang my way to Vermont. I took one or two long, windy roads, with some of the most breathtaking scenery I’ve ever experienced. It’s such a mind trip to watch how the trees that line the road seem to fly by at top speeds, while the mountains and hills in the distance just ever-so-slightly creep up to you, a tiny bit at a time.

Cows grazing

New England foliage

Trees in sky

Leaves in water, tree reflection

Waterfall Maine

Leaves on ground

Five hours — and no cell phone service — later, I arrived at my destination. And the leaves were just gorgeous. They ranged from greens to reds, to oranges, to yellows, to browns, all at once. Some fell to the ground, while others clung to their branches. Here, I felt that it was truly fall.

Vermont foliage

Leaves on ground

Fall leaves

Gradient leaves

This trip was an enlightening experience that allowed me to have a first-hand look at nature taking its course in different sections of the Northeast. Seeing the progression of foliage from green to turning to moderate to peak made me very excited to go back home to Philly, where I could observe the leaves as they change around me, little by little, day by day – and we want you to do the same!


From now until 10/8, take a photo of the beautiful foliage that surrounds you – wherever you may be – and upload it to Instagram using the hashtag #FPFollowTheLeaves. We will choose a winner who will be chosen based on the photo we find most inspiring. The winner will receive a $100 Free People gift card, a credit with Social Print Studio to have their Instagram photos printed, and they’ll have their winning photo featured on the Free People Instagram! We can’t wait to see all the gorgeous photos you’ll submit. Good luck and happy fall!

Follow FP Brigette on Twitter.

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8 years ago

beautiful photos! fall is my favorite season, the cool crisp air and the all the beautiful colors

8 years ago

Wow such beautiful photos! I love the red trees, nature is incredible isn’t it?

8 years ago

Totally will be tagging this!!! I can’t wait to document some colorful fall leaf adventures :)

<3 dani

8 years ago

I Live in Vermont, Fall is definitely the best season here! I’m glad to see that you made it out here. I would love to have a free people store in Burlington VT at some point.
Maybe you could make it happen.

8 years ago

I don’t have instagram, or any social networking, (weird, I know!) can we post it through FPme for a chance to win?!!?!

8 years ago

That’s my state girl! Can’t wait to go home this weekend and see the leaves! xx

8 years ago

Gorgeous photos! Unfortunately we don’t have very much fall foliage in LA…

8 years ago

can you tag a photo you posted in the past?

8 years ago

Following the hashtag and the photos are so gorgeous!

8 years ago

Seeing the leaves change is one of my favorite things to do. Pressing red and orange leaves to put in picture frames, jumping in leaf piles, and drinking cozy tea outside. This is a great contest, I love how you just took off on a roadtrip to discover and get inspired. Can’t wait to take some pictures for insta!

8 years ago

I am so excited to see the pictures from this contest. I will definitely submit a picture! My boyfriend and I are going to Salt Lake City, Utah and doing a mini-roadtrip to southern Utah to see the amazing otherworldly, desert terrain. I can’t wait for the adventure.

8 years ago

MAINE. That is my home, if you went further up it would’ve been like it was in Vermont. Although Camden is beautiful. SO perfect. You have me missing Maine in the fall (currently in boston). And definitely entering the insta contest!

xo, Juliette Laura

5 years ago

What an amazing red leaves, really wanna go there someday. Btw nice quotes on the pic, “i travel not to go anywhere, but to GO. i travel for travel’s sake. the great affair is to MOVE”