Not too long ago, the only association I had with the word “peepers” came from two sources. One, “peepers” were those disgusting yellow and pink sugared-coated marshmallow globs the Easter Bunny brought on Easter morning in addition to the made- in-Pittsburgh chocolate that tastes like cardboard. Two, peepers came from that song, ”Jeepers, creepers, where’d you get those peepers?” I guess that was meant as a compliment.
Now there is a third meaning which I learned from my Garden Club ladies. Leaf Peepers are those edification-seeking individuals who wish their breath taken away by the glorious foliage colors evident all over New England, but particularly in Maine. Fascinating fact: Maine with 17 million acres of forest has more land covered by trees that any other state. That is some statistic. If you are not impressed, try Maine has 76 tree species with almost that many variations on fall foliage colors.
There are a zillion web sites for New England foliage; the one I like (because it has a minimum of ads and a great deal of information) is Visiting New England. (Beware – this web site does recommend a few towns for lodging but Belfast is glaringly absent! ) Apparently the very best time to be awed by the fall colors in Maine is late September through the third week in October. I can attest to the end date for certain – four years ago Santiago and I took a driving trip through Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine; by the time we reached Maine in early November nary a leaf remained on any branch.
Jeepers, creepers, where are all these leaf peepers? Jeepers, creepers, they have all gone to Maine!