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national park service is HILARIOUS

 

Foliage-Loving Influencers Turn Life in Vermont Town Into Hell

The town of Pomfret is restricting access to a popular photo spot after complaints of excessive traffic, trespassing, and noise. -    One of thousands of photos capturing the idyllic Sleepy Hollow Farm in Pomfret, Vermont (photo by Anthony Quintano via Flickr)

Hold off on the riding boots and camel-brown scarves! One exasperated New England town has officially approved temporary vehicle restrictions on two roads after a plot of private property became a worldwide content farm for what’s known as “Christian Girl Autumn,” a curated social media aesthetic centered on the beauty of changing leaves, fall attire, seasonal treats, and cozy vibes.

The town of Pomfret, Vermont, has seen an unprecedented surge in fall foliage fans, known as “peepers,” since its Sleepy Hollow Farm became an influencer destination in recent years. However, complaints of trespassing, invasive drone activity, littering, and excessive traffic have led the rural town to prioritize its residents.

Between Saturday, September 23 and Sunday, October 15, the town’s board has implemented vehicle and parking restrictions for Cloudland Road and Barber Hill Road, the two streets that lead to the private farm surrounded by stunning foliage at the end of a slope. Sleepy Hollow Farm is reportedly the most photographed location in the state, generating traffic congestion along the rural roads from “extraordinary tourism interest in private properties.”

The peeper pilgrimage site can also attribute some of its star power to former property owner, musician Joe Perry of Aerosmith, who sold off the plot a few years ago after owning it for over a decade.

Some social media users photograph themselves admiring the foliage while others just take pictures of the land. (screenshot Rhea Nayyar/Hyperallergic via @kristineeporter on Instagram)

In recent years, the “rural, narrow, unpaved roads” that channel visitors to the site have been rendered impassable during peak foliage season, causing concerns about emergency vehicle access for both residents and town officials.

Pomfret residents flirted with the idea of closing road access to non-residents last fall, according to a 2022 report by Vermont’s independent weekly newspaper Seven Days, though homeowners on the two streets were initially concerned that visitors would just park at either end of the roads and walk in instead. The report also outlined a visitor hopping a fence to retrieve their rogue drone, another tourist flouting “Private Property” signs for a photoshoot, and complaints from neighbors who collected about two bags worth of litter.

A town board member told Hyperallergic that the volume of tourism traffic has yielded “excessive noise, dust, trash, trespassing and property damage by visitors.” Residents also recounted tales of tourists traversing and picnicking on neighborhood property, conducting outfit changes in pop-up changing rooms onsite, and blocking residential driveways with parked cars in a Washington Post article.

The board notice mentions that additional signage and barriers have been installed to alleviate road congestion, and patrolling officers will issue warnings and citations as needed. Town officials confirmed that the Windsor County Sheriff’s Department and a private security company are enforcing the vehicle restrictions and have been briefed on the area’s residents and were instructed to ask visitors to state their purpose.

Rest assured that the remainder of Vermont remains open to the public for foliage photography and autumn vibes. Now, imagine if Starbucks said “Enough with the Pumpkin Spice Latte photos …” !

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