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Best Fall Foliage in the Universe? Vermont's Claim Draws Banter From Neighbors

It's Vermont vs. New Hampshire vs. Maine in the battle to lure in leaf-peepers as fall colors peak

A friendly disagreement has emerged between two New England states, following a bold claim from a Vermont official that his state is home to the best fall foliage available on the planet — or anywhere else imaginable, for that matter.

"We like to say it's the 'world's best fall foliage,'" said Mike Snyder, the commissioner of the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation, describing his state's autumn landscape. "Some could say it's the best in the universe."

In the Waterbury Center State Park Thursday, leaf-peepers Joanne Wong and Kevin Yang were using their cameras to capture reflections in the surface of the reservoir, showing fall's natural fireworks show on the surface of the water.

"It's very, very gorgeous," Yang said.

The travelers told necn & NBC10 Boston they have never seen anything like Vermont's fall foliage in their native China or in Virginia, where they now live.

"This has really amazed us," Wong said of the scenery in Vermont. "We feel this is the most beautiful place."

Plenty of tourists agree. The autumn colors are credited for bringing in roughly a tenth of Vermont's nearly $3 billion dollars in annual tourism activity, according to a spokesman for the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing.

Travelers can marvel at sights like the bald eagle we found Thursday, soaring above the trees in the state capital, Montpelier.

Impressive, yes, but are such experiences truly the best in the universe?

New Hampshire would surely contest that bold claim. On the Twitter feed of the New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism Development, the state boasts of its "epic fall views" and "breathtaking fall colors."

Then there's Maine. The state known for its lobster has a beef with Vermont, and insists it's the prime place for peeping.

"Remember, over 90 percent of Maine is forested," observed Jim Britt of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. "And I think, really, all Vermont has is Ben & Jerry's — they don't even have enough trees to rate."

Still, Mike Snyder's sticking with a "universe's best" branding for Vermont, saying the variety, vibrancy, and vantage points in his state give visitors a range of experiences to enjoy as they check out foliage around farm stands, covered bridges, lakes, rivers, mountains, and more.

"We like to have fun with this with our neighboring states, who also have great fall foliage," Snyder said of a tongue-in-cheek rivalry with other New England states.

Wherever you like to check out the sights, necn & NBC 10 Boston would like to see your photos--we may even share them on our social media pages or in our newscasts! You can send them to us at shareit@www.necn.com / shareit@nbcboston.com.

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