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Vermont town fed up with fall influencer invasion closes scenic road

Influencers in search of the perfect fall photo will have to keep out of one Vermont town this season.
Vermont town fed up with fall influencer invasion closes scenic road
Posted at 6:02 PM, Sep 25, 2023

Even for those who haven't been or heard of it, Cloudland Road in Pomfret, Vermont, is probably a recognizable sight for anyone with an autumnal Pinterest board. 

The dirt and gravel road is surrounded by bright green rolling hills and fall-colored leaves this time of year, making it a hotspot for tourists itching to capture the aesthetic for their social media feeds. But this year, locals have had it with the leaf-peeping crowds clogging up the rural road.

Last month, Pomfret's select board voted to close Cloudland Road, which houses the highly Instagrammable Sleepy Hollow Farm, to anyone except residents during the height of foliage season, according to The Boston Globe.

From Sept. 23 to Oct. 15, sheriffs will now be manning checkpoints at the top of the road in Pomfret and at the bottom in neighboring Woodstock to keep the influencers, their cameras and their cars out of town.

SEE MORE: This interactive map shows the best time to see fall foliage

Mike Doten, who has an 80-acre farm on Cloudland Road, was one of the residents who pushed for the closure. He told the Globe everything changed about five years ago when influencers started promoting the area as an idyllic fall photo spot.

Before then, a couple of "quiet" photographers and "not so bad" tourists came to the area, Doten said. But the past few years, he said "Tik Tockers" have become the main crowd. They tend to be disrespectful, clogging the road with dozens and even hundreds of cars parked haphazardly or on private property despite signs to keep out, and leaving trash around, he said.

Some residents fear this is causing a public safety issue for residents who don't know who's in their backyard, or if one has an emergency and an ambulance or firetruck can't get through the blockage.

But you won't see these when searching the location or hashtag on social media. Instead, there are the thousands of photos of the idyllic imagery the tourists go to see.

But thankfully for the residents pushing for change, some influencers, like Kiel James Patrick, are heeding cries to stay away from now on. Patrick, who is one influencer asked to stop promoting the area, said he'd remove any pictures of Sleepy Hollow Farm and communicate the requests to fellow social media users.

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