For many, the sight of leaves changing color in the fall is enchanting. Although the enchantment may wear off when the time to rake arrives, it is a small price to pay for the natural beauty the hues of autumn provide. But why do the leaves change colors?
The truth is, they don’t. In fact, leaves are red and yellow all year round. No, it is not an optical illusion; it is just that in the spring and summer the red and yellow pigments are “outshined” by the green pigment chlorophyll, which is responsible for capturing energy from the sun in order to feed plants. However, plants are a model of efficiency. As autumn and winter approach, the need for leaves begins to fade, and receptors within the leaf signal a need to conserve water within the tree, which causes the chlorophyll to degenerate quickly. Consequently, the red and yellow pigments can shine through, which causes the beautiful colors that are emblematic of the autumn season.
Here in Lancaster County, we are blessed to have many great opportunities for fall foliage viewing. The idyllic countryside and preserved forests combine to provide a breathtaking glimpse of the natural beauty of the earth that is enhanced by the gorgeous colors of fall. From parks to covered bridges to back roads, there are a million great places for fall foliage viewing. Some of our favorites are below.
Among the greatest joys of the area is having access to such an abundance of preserved natural spaces, and nowhere is that more evident than at the County Park. Many easy hikes and some more challenging ones all offer the opportunity to see leaves amidst their color “change”. Yellow is especially prevalent when the sun peeks through the canopy, which facilitates an almost celestial aura when peering through the woods. It's one of those things you truly have to see to believe.
The coalescence of the countryside and canopy on back roads throughout the county provide more views that are stunning. It really doesn’t matter which direction you drive – you will eventually find a bastion of beauty, augmented by autumn leaves. The Millersville University campus has some nice spots, including the image of the pond at the bottom of the page. Again, we are so blessed to be around such beauty!
Driving Through Strasburg
Really, you don’t even need to leave town and find a park or a back road – there is striking fall foliage right along Miller Street in Strasburg. The Borough of Strasburg has a Shade Tree Commission that gives homeowners trees to plant in their yards; no two trees are alike, and the beneficiary is all of us who love leaves, as we get the full autumn rainbow!
God’s creation here in and around Strasburg is truly glorious, and the fall colors only enhance that. Make sure to spend some time this fall enjoying the serenity of autumn.
And we couldn't let a post about autumn leaves go by without playing the iconic jazz song.