Foliage Day: Husky Nation’s Favorite Fall Tradition

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On the eve of our Bicentennial, it seems fitting to remember the many traditions that New Hampton School students have been cherishing for almost 200 years. One season particularly rich with history is the Fall. From Convocation to Powder Keg, Husky Weekend to Parents Weekend, there are many reasons why it is good to be a Husky. However, no tradition is as anticipated and celebrated as Foliage Day.

When is Foliage Day?

Your guess is as good as ours! As leaves begin to change and the temperatures start dropping, the anticipation grows. Then, when least expected, students wake up to the gratifying news that the day has come. The declaration of Foliage Day! Together with their advisory groups, students hike up Burleigh Mountain to take in the views of New England’s famed foliage from atop this 1400 foot mountain. After that, the day is spent with some outdoor fun, great food and most of all friends.

What is your favorite New Hampton Fall Tradition?

“Without a doubt, Foliage Day! It was always a surprise in the 70’s when we’d least expect it…we’d wake up and get the news! How cool is that when you haven’t finished your homework!”  – Liz Hassinger ’78

“Foliage day helped us all bond as new students and connect with returning students.”  – Gabrielle Killmer Popp ’99

“Fall Folliage Day! Hiking with my classmates followed by a sit circle back on campus. I always loved that day.”  – April Rey ’95

“An important social favorite, the school walk.”  – The Hamptonia, October 1883

How long has Foliage Day been around?

The earliest accounts of Foliage Day date back to the 1880’s. Since its inception, it has been widely regarded by current students and alumni as the most popular of all New Hampton traditions. Though the name Foliage Day was introduced in more modern times, and the logistics have been altered slightly over the years, the spirit of the day has remained unchanged, as captured in the October 1883 issue of the Hamptonia:

“The students were granted a half holiday Wednesday, Sept. 19, and participated in their semi-annual walk, an occasion which is anticipated with much pleasure. They formed in line at Chapel Hall, and proceeded to the Pinnacle, the most sightly place around New Hampton. They spent the afternoon in rambling over its top and observing the different sights visible from its lofty peak. It was a lovely day and none could help enjoying themselves. They returned home just as the sun was sinking below the western hills, rested from their studies, and with the universal sentiment that they had had a splendid time…”

Foliage Day 2019!

Last night via social media, Head of School Joe Williams announced to husky nation that today would be the day! Following school meeting, the entire community will hike shoulder to shoulder as they have done for some 140 years. And, friends will make memories that they will share for years to come.



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