While portions of Vermont have been devastated by last weekend's brush with tropical storm Irene, the state is getting the word out that it is open for business on the heels of two of its busiest tourism seasons.
The Vermont Chamber of Commerce has launched a new Facebook page, dedicated to helping state business owners who depend on tourist dollars get the word out about what's open, what's closed, and how to get there. While portions of southern Vermont remain inaccessible due to massive road damage, much of the northern part of the state was spared the worst of Irene.
"We reached out to them on Monday and said tell us how you are doing," Betsy Bishop, the president of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce told WCAX. "Are you open? Are you flooded? What should visitors know? So we have reached out to them to sort of populate that information."
Vermont faces enormous challenges heading into the foliage season, as many roads that are popular driving routes like 100 and 4 remain badly damaged and probably will remain so well into the leaf-peeping period, leaving lodging and restaurant owners along such stretches with a serious hit to the wallet. That's an issue that spreads into neighboring New Hampshire, where two significant chunks of the "White Mountains Trail" - a popular foliage itinerary - the Kancamagus Highway and a portion of Route 302, remain closed. However, attractions along that stretch of 302, including the Cog Railway and Bretton Woods, may still be accessed via alternate routes.See VisitNH.com for more information.
But while Vermont and New Hampshire tourism bureaus and businesses have spent much of this week trying to relay to tourists what to expect, Irene has forced some event cancellations over the Labor Day weekend. Mount Snow, located in West Dover, Vt., was forced to cancel its annual brew fest this weekend, and as winter approaches, other resorts like Killington, which saw significant damage to various bases lodges, have major repairs and rebuilding to accomplish in time for ski season. Killington officials say they plan to open in time for the upcoming season.
Anyone travelling to Vermont is encouraged to stay up-to-date with the latest road conditions by calling 511, the state's travel information service. Meanwhile, Globe correspondents Patricia Harris and David Lyon just returned from a three-day trip to the Green Mountain State. Read their account here.