The USA is known as the land of the free, but one road in Vermont will not be quite so freely accessible to everyone this autumn as residents of a small US town take action to close down a road due to congestion and nuisance caused by fall influencers.
Not so sleepy hollow
Pomfret, Vermont, is a popular destination for fall tourists but one road in particular draws crowds of visitors thanks to its beautiful countryside views. Cloudland Road, leading to Sleepy Hollow Farm, offers social media influencers the chance to gather classic seasonal images and New England views that they can pepper their Instagram and TikTok feeds with.
Or rather, it used to.
This year the town has decided to crack down on anti-social behaviour and overcrowding, with the town board closing the iconic road to outsiders, meaning only locals will be able to use the route between 23 September and 15 October.
Littering, congestion and trespassing
The drastic decision flies in the face of Vermont state tourist advertising aimed at keeping the Vermont tourism sector afloat following recent floods. Closing the road is intended to preventing littering, congestion and trespassing, which become problematic at this time of year due to the sheer numbers of visitors descending on the small community.
After attempts in previous years to manage the crowds by implementing a one-way system, this year Windsor County sheriff’s deputies are taking things a step further. They will now monitor both ends of the road to ensure the new rules allowing only locals to use it are respected.
“It was too much,” local farmer Mike Doten told the Boston Globe. “Something had to be done.” Pointing out the safety risks inherent with such huge numbers of people arriving in a small rural community, he added.
There is no way a fire truck or an ambulance can get up this road in the middle of foliage season. It’s just too crowded.Mike Doten, local farmer
Insta v. reality
While the “insta version” of the landscape often shows a lone individual savouring picture perfect autumnal views, the reality on the ground has been far more chaotic and less enjoyable. Vehicles have been known to get stuck on the mud track, and a lack of toilet facilities has resulted in visitors relieving themselves in the very nature they are supposed to be admiring. This year let’s hope the only pats to be found in fields will be those left there by cows.