The stage is set for a beautiful foliage season as early fall color begins to emerge across Vermont’s higher elevations and low-lying areas.With the current forecast calling for cool nights through the weekend and the combination of adequate soil moisture and healthy green leaves, Vermont foresters are predicting an excellent fall season. In the early stages of fall foliage, the best color can generally be found in higher elevations, the northern sections of the state, and in low-lying areas where red maples are the early sentinels of the seasonal change.‘The cool nights that are in the forecast may pop a little more color our way by the end of the week,’ says Ginger Anderson, Chief of Forest Management for the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation. Early morning temperatures are forecasted to dip into the upper 30s this week.Forest health aerial surveys over the North East Kingdom revealed that color in the red maple is developing well, particularly in the wetlands, Anderson said. In general, higher elevations will offer the most panoramic views of emerging color across the valleys, and many swamp or marsh areas will offer some of the most vivid and varied early season change. ‘I am also seeing scattered bits of other color, mostly weather and/or fungal related but overall leaf cover is good and I am anticipating a good color season in my little area,’ said Lamoille Country Forester Raymond Toolan.To the south, Bennington Country Forester Chris Stone reports that ‘The beginnings for the foliage in Bennington County are now mostly found among the red maples that occupy the wetlands along Route 9 as you pass over the Green Mountains between Wilmington and Bennington, and to a lesser extent in the wetlands along Route 7 between Bennington and Manchester.’Best Bets: Route 108 through Smugglers’ Notch between Stowe and Cambridge is showing early color, as is Routes 242 and 100 near Jay Peak, Routes 116 and 5A in the Lake Willoughby area.The higher elevations of the Worcester Range and Mount Elmore along Route 12 north of Montpelier are tinged with early color, as are views from Interstate 89 between Barre and Bolton.Note: Road Conditions Updates ‘ Repairs in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene are proceeding as quickly as possible on the state’s key east-west roads. Travel time may be delayed as roads open to traffic while construction is continuing in work zones. Travelers will encounter gravel surfaces and occasional one-way traffic on sections of these roads. Detailed reports on the status of all affected roads and bridges are updated twice daily on: www.aot.state.vt.us(link is external)The Vermont Hospitality Council advises making advance reservations, especially for weekends, because the most popular lodgings may fill early in late September and the first two weekends in October. Some innkeepers may require a minimum two-night stay, especially on busy weekends. Vermont tourism officials encourage visitors to take advantage of midweek specials during the foliage season as part of its statewide ‘Midweek Peek’ promotion.Also available on the website are several tools for planning a Vermont Fall Foliage tour: Fall Foliage ForecasterLodging Availability ForecasterScenic DrivesFall Travel Tips For more information, visit www.VermontVacation.com(link is external).