Friday, August 15, 2014

flask's tourism bureau

these days i have been hanging out near stowe.

yes, the famous ski resort town. i live very near it in crow miles, but there's this mountain thingie between here and there so it's a bit of a drive, but the scenery is fantastic.

it's also a magical journey into a wonderland where rich people live carefree in second or fifth homes, and where moderately well-off come to have vacations once or twice a year. it is beautiful vermont landscape, only with a great number of shiny recreational outfitters, restaurants, and art galleries.

and the traffic is bad, because there are basically only two roads which inconveniently double as state highways.

people from away do not seem to realize it, but most of the cars are full of other people from away. i know, because i talk to a lot of them.

the thing i get asked most frequently is what people do for a living around here.

well, as a state, we produce agricultural products, artisanal foods, lumber, granite, and other people's vacations. our economy depends rather heavily on tourism.

the people i talk to are amazed at our lack of heavy industry.

yes, that's part of that tourism thing. we're selling good clean vacations in the mountains.

the people i talk to are delighted to know that prices are cheaper in waterbury or jeffersonville. they are amazed that locals fill water bottles at roadside springs. they giggle when i tell them that yes, i DO consider 85 degrees to be way too hot.

it is weird, being in stowe, because the people from away sometimes think that this is a place people retire to, but not a place people are FROM. in stowe when you tell them you grew up here in vermont, they say it's nice that your family already had property.

they don't consider the possibility of a plain little suburban neighborhood.

anyway, i am happy to tell these people from away where to find a good cheap brewpub and where to go for a bike ride and how to get out to the backroads (and how to get back!) and how to see out-of-the way things that are fun and cheap, the sorts of things locals might do.

today i went to fill my jug at  the big spring (it's totally a thing. you can look it up on maps.) and i met a couple who had just gotten married and they were posing for a photo with them and their names spelled out in vermont stones and long island shells.

sweet, you know?

and the woman was so happy to see me and then a guy drive up to fill jugs because she hadn't realized it was an actual water source and she went and filled her bottles as well.

i'm happy to talk with all these people who are visiting. i always thank them for coming, and i try to help them find good places to go that they will enjoy.

if you guys are ever coming to vermont, make sure you give me a little jingle and i'll try to get you good inside advice.

1 comment:

Kristin @ Going Country said...

I have mixed feelings about this. We also live in a vacation destination village, in the Fingerlakes region, and in the past ten years the tourism aspect has exploded here. Although there is no doubt this area, once a center of industry and now pretty decrepit, could use the monetary infusion, I can't see that it has really helped those of that were already here. The jobs created tend to be minimum wage, the property taxes keep going way (WAY) up, and worst of all, almost everything is now geared toward tourists, not locals. So, for example, our local inn tried to shut down the village festival and parade a few years ago because it's always on a Saturday and inconveniences the wedding guests who are there every weekend in the summer.

Granted, where we are has been a particularly contentious situation for a variety of reasons, but I'm afraid I don't welcome it with open arms as you do. I don't blame the people who come, and I give them directions to the bakery or whatever when I encounter them wandering the village, but it still pisses me off sometimes.


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