(NECN: Jack Thurston) - Ice coated trees and plants on Vermont's highest peak Monday, after temperatures plunged into the 20s and low 30s, causing rain to freeze. While it may have looked like a winter scene atop Mt. Mansfield, at the base of the mountain, autumnal reds, yellows, and oranges lit up the leaves on trees in Stowe, Vt. "It's summer down there and it's winter up here," observed tourist Debbie Peacock of East Greenwich, R.I.
Peacock, along with her husband, Wayne, rode the Stowe Mountain Resort's gondola several thousand feet up, and found a taste of weather to come. They photographed trees and plants coated in ice. "That's beautiful," Wayne Peacock said. "That's like crystals and diamonds on there!"
It was even colder and gustier at higher elevations on New Hampshire's Mount Washington Observatory (http://www.mountwashington.org/weather/cam/deck/). At one point Monday, it was hard to even make out where the weather observers' web cameras were pointing through the fog, snow, and ice.
"Lovely September weather for New England," chuckled Scott Braaten as he manned the gondola at the Stowe Mountain Resort. "We're all ready to ski! Ready to go!"
The icy blast may have been too much, too soon for Debbie and Wayne Peacock. They seemed to want to take their time, and enjoy a lot more of fall before winter weather sets in for real. "I'm looking forward to getting in the hot tub when we get back down [to the base of the mountain]," Debbie Peacock said.
The good news for other visitors was that the ice stayed only at the very highest elevations, meaning the valleys saw much nicer and more comfortable weather Monday. Nice weather is, of course, a boost to Vermont's critical fall foliage tourism season, which is just kicking off. For more information on traveling to Vermont during the fall, visit this website.