A Stowe Photographer’s Day in the Life: Fall Edition

September 10, 2019

by SCOTT BRAATEN

Although it comes and goes faster than any other season, fall in Stowe, Vermont is simply magic. It starts with the first chilly evening of the season and smell of burning wood in the air, followed by majestic mountains and rolling hillsides transforming from summer greens to a kaleidoscope of fall colors—orange, crimson and gold. As a local photographer, it’s really easy to capture Stowe’s natural beauty. I enjoy spending a lot of time outdoors as an avid hiker in Stowe for 18 years. My dog Sasha and I like to explore quiet pockets that show the very unique exquisiteness this town and mountain have to offer—especially in the fall. Fall is fleeting. Peak foliage is usually condensed into a two-week period. You can rarely plan for it exactly, and you need to get out and take advantage of it, because in a moment it’s gone.

With a long “prime foliage” window, though, visitors are bound to catch a glimpse whenever they travel here. A benefit of Stowe’s diverse terrain and topography is that you can catch peak foliage in different places at different times. The higher elevations including Mt. Mansfield often peak sooner than the historic village. As an independent photographer for Stowe Mountain Resort, you’ll often find me scouring Mt. Mansfield for the best shots. This is the fifth year since the ZipTour Adventure made its way to Stowe, and it’s been a game changer. The experience of zipping through the trees and seeing that medley of rich fall color is unlike any other. While you’re up Mountain Road, a drive through “the Notch” can offer gorgeous fall colors around every winding turn.

In town, you can find breathtaking autumn views when looking down the peak of the Pinnacle hiking trail, or in Stowe Hollow where you can get lost in a long back roads drive among the foliage. Keep an eye out for Emily’s Bridge. This is not your ordinary covered bridge. According to legend, a young woman named Emily died there of heartache, and people have since recorded paranormal experiences at the bridge. The bridge, also known as the Gold Brook Covered Bridge, is especially eerie during the early hours of a frosty fall morning.

The best part about fall in Stowe is the amazing energy it brings to our town. When the clouds clear and you see that first look of snow at the top of the mountain, there’s an invigorating energy in the community. Everyone is excited for our first dusting of snow. That is also when the Gondola SkyRide is a really cool experience. It’s fall when you load the Gondola at the base, and winter when you get off at the top. It’s a really unique experience, and kids love it. This powerful energy inspires the people who live here and those who come to visit – from the white church steeple downtown to the peak of Mount Mansfield. This is a ski town after all, and fall is the last step before that time comes.

About the author:
Scott Braaten has lived in Stowe since 2010, and has been in the area since 2003. He is a talented photographer, skier, hiker and the Stowe Mountain Resort snow reporter. Follow him on Instagram at @sbraaten802.

Images courtesy of Scott Braaten, Cecelia Imagery and Stowe Mountain Resort.

Explore more:

Fall Nature Outdoors