Invasion of the leaf peepers


Avery Desruisseau

Above is a common sight for anyone who has driven in Brookline or Hollis. Every fall, the quiet streets fill with fallen leaves. The beautiful colored trees creating a comforting canopy overhead.

Avery Desruisseau, Staff Writer

Driving down the winding roads of Hollis and Brookline during the fall season is always a sight to behold. While cruising on a crisp autumn afternoon, us New Hampshire natives have learned the art of appreciating the beautiful leaves of red, orange and yellow, all while still maintaining an appropriate speed. Somehow, though, you always seem to encounter a few drivers who like to go extra slow, really taking it all in. The leaf peepers, as I like to call them, come from all over to appreciate New Hampshire’s gorgeous fall landscape.

When the leaves turn and tourists come to gawk in awe, the students of Hollis Brookline tend to take notice of the foreign slow drivers that inhibit them from sailing down the quiet streets. Elise Ferguson, a current senior at HB, drives everywhere: between her two jobs, to school, home and back again. And as can be imagined, she is often in quite a rush. “I have noticed I have been driving behind a lot of slow people recently, and it really makes me mad when I’m trying to commute somewhere and someone thinks it’s okay to go 20 in a 30,” Ferguson said.

As well as taking their time driving to peer out their windows, another factor to consider is that leaf peepers are unfamiliar with the steep, winding inclines of our not so wonderful roads. Until you get the hang of exactly when you have to break around that one tight corner, or when to start hitting the gas to make it up the hill without losing speed, you have to admit, they are quite tricky to master.

Whether the foreign drivers are looking at leaves, or just trying to get the hang of our weird roadways, they come from all over every year without fail. But are the pesky peepers actually helping out towns local economy? On any given October day, Lull Farm can be seen full of bustling tourists taking in our small town lifestyle. Katherine Henderson, an economics and civics teacher here at Hollis Brookline, gives us insight into the fragility of local economy and the potential benefits of the extra traffic. Generally, local economies’ cornerstone is tourism. “When tourists come to New Hampshire for fall foliage, they likely also have a meal, buy local products, and pay for local experiences and things like that. So yes, farms, restaurants and shops likely experience a boost in sales due to the tourism in the fall,” Henderson said.

When tourism comes to our towns, so do jobs. Leigh Farrior, of Stamp Destination Marketing, tells us that “for every 100 direct tourism jobs required, an additional 43 indirect tourism jobs are needed to support them.” By frequenting our town, the people who come to appreciate nature’s beautiful color display, help with “preserving traditions, artistic styles and various processes to be to passed on to future generations.”

So even though it can be annoying, tourism in our remote, tree-filled little towns is important for keeping our day to day lives running smoothly. Plus, who can really blame them for wanting to marvel at the magnificent vistas scattered all over the wonderful place we call home?