A large part of Vermont’s economy depends on visits by people from other places. Her summers are bucolic, her fall foliage is legendary and, in winter, skiers flock to her slopes from miles around (spring is a tortuous slog through mud and black flies, better left unmentioned). After half the state was turned inside-out and strewn about the countryside by Tropical Storm Irene, I beat the drum as best I could and encouraged people to visit and maybe spend a little cash to help get us going again and, after what has been a mild, brown start to winter, I am happy to welcome our first real snow and the economic shot in the arm that comes with it.
There are perhaps four permanent residences on our hill, but there are twice that many second homes and vacation get aways. Some of those houses are rented out, short term, to people who come to ski at one of the nearby resorts. This weekend, every unfamiliar vehicle going up and down our road has had New Jersey plates.
Our road is not much, by most anyone’s standards. Mud in the spring, bumpy, rutted dirt in summer and fall, I think it is actually at its best in winter, when it is covered with a nice, hard layer of packed snow and ice, topped by a sprinkling of sand.
When this particular group of people from New Jersey is here, there is also a sprinkling of litter.
Come on, man.
They’re kind of wearing out their welcome. Maybe one cup doesn’t make a difference along a road in New Jersey, what with everyone throwing trash out their windows, but around here it sticks out like a sore thumb. So do they.
What follows was originally posted as a three-parter but, inspired by the love I feel today toward the residents of the Garden State, I have dusted it off, changed the formatting, and cleaned it up, presenting it now, as a gift to the Chamber of Commerce. Continue reading