By Richard J. Ewald
from Proud to Live Here
Tourism in the northern valley illustrates more than two centuries of human desire for interaction with the natural world and the cultural past. Wayfarers and sightseers arrived alongside the earliest settlers. Today, the region’s proximity to major population centers provides city dwellers easy access to our places that evoke “the way things used to be.” Recreational and heritage tourism contribute significantly to the year-round economy of the region. Tourism carefully focused on the natural. scenic, historic, recreational, and cultural assets of the northern valley offers our communities the opportunity to strengthen their identity and to preserve and promote their historic and natural special places.
The Basic Story
The close of active hostilities at the end of the French and Indian Wars opened New England’s wild interior to settlement by European descendants in the 1760s. Immigrants from the region’s coastal towns discovered a blank slate upon which to project their ideas about nature and aesthetics. Jeremy Belknap, a Congregational pastor and early New Hampshire historian. wrote that the White Mountains’ “wild and rugged scenes” were “sublime and beautiful.” His words were an American echo of William Wordsworth’s writings about the Alps. They represented the transplantation of the English Romantic movement across the Atlantic, and foretold the idealization of nature later expressed by Thoreau and Emerson.
Almost as soon as the communities of the northern valley took root in the second half of the 18th century, travelers came seeking adventure in a wilderness only recently settled. The mountains and free-flowing rivers lured journalists, artists, painters, poets, and preachers-those with the daring and means to travel, and sometimes the motivation to publish accounts of their experiences.
The earliest “tourist stops” were turnpike taverns and stagecoach inns. Among the first tourist destinations were mineral springs hotels that promised to cure a variety of ills both real and imagined through the drinking of sometimes foul-smelling waters. The prospect of better health prompted thousands to travel by horse-drawn coaches for long distances over poor roads, and stay in accommodations having a wide range of conveniences and amenities.
The Industrial Revolution and the expansion of urban areas led to overcrowding and unhealthful conditions in such cities as Boston, New York, and Hartford. There grew up a class of urban dwellers whose regular employment provided both the means to afford vacations and the need to take them. The mountains and waters of New Hampshire and Vermont awaited nearby as clean, wild, natural places offering cooler temperatures, clearer air, and regenerative relief. The construction of railroads in the mid-19th century brought previously remote tourist destinations in the upper river valley within a day’s travel of the East Coast’s major urban centers.
The railroad transformed the culture of the 19th century, propelling economic growth, entertainment and fashion. Rail passenger cars, while cramped and sooty, permitted Americans to travel like royalty and view the passing scenery from the comfort of a padded seat. City dwellers boarded the train in their downtown stations and stepped off at small depots high in the hills, to be carried by coach to grand hotels with mountain vistas. The hotels and railroads grew symbiotically in response to the market. Well-to-do vacationers were eager consumers of amenities and diversions such as hiking, golf, and later tennis and skiing, all of which stimulated the growth of nearby towns to supply and serve them.
While grand resorts flourished in the mountains, both states struggled with the loss of vitality in their farming base. Their population and economy had begun to move west in the mid-19th century, and within decades the states were troubled by the prospect of hundreds of abandoned farms. State officials in both states urged farmers to earn extra money by taking in tourists who would relish their farm-fresh food and the clean air of the countryside. The governor of New Hampshire proclaimed “Old Home Week” in 1899 to create celebrations with the goal of drawing home former residents who had moved away, in hopes of stimulating the economy and resettling depressed rural areas. Vermont quickly followed suit, and the tradition remains strong in both states today.
The campaign to promote tourism in Vermont was stepped up in 1911 with the creation of the Bureau of Publicity. the first state agency of its kind in the nation. In 1947, the state became the first to publish a magazine, Vermont Life, specifically to promote its pastoral image. Today, both Vermont and New Hampshire promote tourism as a form of economic development. Computers and the Internet now offer tourist oriented businesses new ways to find customers, and help potential visitors gather information and make travel decisions.
Just as the railroad spurred the growth of tourism in the 19th century, so the automobile drove its expansion in the 20th century. As early as 1907, when roads were impassable by car most of each year, auto tour guides promoted New England. One called it “the favorite touring section of America, for no where else can there be found such a variety of scenery contained within a comparatively small area, so much good or so many places of historic interest.”
After 1915, the automobile and paved roads created tourism opportunities for the growing middle class and dispersed its travelers more widely than before. Their travels no longer limited by rails and train schedules, tourists opted for short-term stays in roadside inns over long-term stays in remote grand hotels. Auto touring was promoted by the Depression-era “American Guide Series,” written by workers of the Federal Writers’ Project of the Works Progress Administration. The Civilian Conservation Corps, established by President Roosevelt to provide work during the Great Depression, supported the fledgling state park systems by building shelters, picnic areas, trails, bridges, and more. As the car replaced the railroad as the travel mode of choice from the 1930s through the 1950s, roadside motels and clusters of tiny tourist cabins sprang up, offering an alternative to the more pricy grand hotels. Gas stations, farm stands, and an assortment of roadside attractions arose to serve the new market.
Tourists who remained in the region longer than the typical two-week vacationer were known as seasonal residents, “rusticators,” or “summer people.” Wealthy and middle-class summer people bought up old farms and lived on them during the fairweather months, returning to their urban residences when mud and winter conditions challenged their patience with the truly pastoral.
During the 20th century, a cultural shift in seasonal recreation produced “winter people” who came to the region for snow sports. In January 1934, the nation’s first ski tow was built in Woodstock, Vermont. On a sloping pasture of Clinton Gilbert’s farm, skiers weary of climbing the hill after every downhill run could hold onto a rope hooked to a Ford Model T engine, to be pulled back up the hill. The ski tow launched a new era in winter sports. The Inn at Sugar Hill near Franconia Notch, no longer in existence, was the first ski school in the country and employed European instructors, who gave the sport a fashionable appeal. In 1940, a skiers’ guide listed 49 “ski towns” in New Hampshire and 31 in Vermont. The ski industry revived some of the old grand hotels, a few of which developed into year-round destination resorts with slope-side condominium communities. The northern valley today includes a number of downhill ski areas popular with residents and tourists alike, as well as miles of groomed cross-country ski trails.
In the early 20th century, long-distance hiking became popular, and winter activities such as skiing expanded seasonal tourism into a year-round industry. The development of state parks, national forests, the Appalachian Trail and scores of local and regional trails coincided with growing interest in camping, hiking, boating, and canoeing, along with steady interest in fishing and swimming. Throughout the past century, with the increase in leisure time and discretionary income, outdoor recreation has matured into a national pastime and a multibillion dollar industry.
Tourism in the upper Connecticut River Valley today draws on a combination of historic, scenic, and recreational resources that is unique in the American northeast. Communities in New Hampshire and Vermont came together in 1999 to create the Connecticut River Byway to promote heritage-based tourism and agri-tourism as a means toward economic development. The Byway is a network of scenic roads that follow and cross the river in a 275-mile-long corridor that stretches between the Massachusetts and Canadian borders, at the core of what we consider the northern valley. Ten “waypoint” communities along the river are developing interpretive centers to provide local and regional information to travelers. These places are also potential centers for community identity-building activities.
Resources & Revelations
INNS & TAVERNS
The community is rare in our region that did not have at least one tavern or inn that functioned as both traveler’ stopover and local gathering place in the period from 1780 to 1850. Their guest registers and account books provide the earliest information about the tourist industry in the northern valley.
Inns and taverns typically were located beside long-distance turnpikes, spaced along the routes between population centers, or at village crossroads. Travel by stage along the bumpy turnpikes required the same kind of traveler services that motels now provide along interstate highways. For the three days travel from Concord to Montreal, for example, a traveler might spend the first night at the Alden Inn in Lyme, situated on the Grafton Turnpike, before changing stages to continue west.
While many stagecoach inns succumbed to fire, since they were heated with multiple shallow fireplaces, a surprising number remain in the northern valley, where they still serve as restaurants or bed and breakfast inns, if they have not become private homes or apartment houses. Most were built in the federal and Greek Revival styles and occupy prominent locations. In the late 18th century, such earlier inns tended to resemble large homes, and sometimes were indeed residences that also served a public function. By the heyday of stage traffic in the 1820s-1840s, they had reached grand proportions of three stories and more, often in brick, and frequently with imposing columns or other ornament, such as the Windsor House, located on an important stop on the Connecticut and Passumpsic Turnpike, and the Putney Tavern in Putney, Vermont.
Another fine example is the former Grafton Hotel on Court Street in Haverhill, a magnificent Federal style three story brick building with a ballroom on its top floor and a curving staircase, strategically set at both the terminus of the Coos Turnpike and across the road from the county courthouse. Intact in their exterior form are Clark’s Tavern in Lisbon and another in Canaan, New Hampshire.
In the second half of the 19th century, the owner of a spring or well whose water tasted odd likely found it difficult to resist the potential benefits from selling it as a remedy for whatever ills were “popular” at the time. Small-scale “mineral springs” were scattered throughout the region and met with a wide range of longevity and financial success.
On a larger scale, a handful of mineral springs resorts attracted considerable investment. They offered the promise of health through drinking or bathing in the waters as well as a variety of cultural activities involving literature and the performing arts. A stay at such resorts also served as a badge of social status and provided opportunities to make business connections. Several notable such enterprises blossomed in Woodstock and Brattleboro, Vermont. One of the most significant was at Brunswick Springs, at a bluff on the Connecticut River already valued by Native Americans as a healing place. Beginning in the 19th century, a succession of three hotels arose there and burned down, the last one gone to ashes in 1933.
In 1992, the land was purchased by Wobanaki, Inc., a nonprofit Abenaki corporation, and has since been conserved. Several sulfurous springs still pour out of a sloping site, and flow down into the Connecticut River.
An excellent example of the grand hotel of the Great North Woods is The Balsams, in Dixville Notch, New I Hampshire. Its origins may be traced to the Dix House, built in 1866, in which guests were treated to meals prepared by the host, the cost of which was included in the room price, a system which became known as the “American Plan.” In 1897, ownership passed to I Henry S. I Hale, who renamed it and built The Balsams into a grand resort, adding wings in 1910, 1912, and 1916. The latter was a six-story confection that was the first concrete and steel structure in New Hampshire and displayed architectural motifs drawn from the Spanish Colonial and Italianate styles. The Balsams has become such a local landmark that Dixville Notch voters congregate there in a special room just after midnight to cast their votes in the nation’s first primary.
The Mount Washington Hotel at Bretton Woods, which stands on the edge of the watershed at the base of the highest mountain in eastern U.S., is another of the few hotels. Built at the turn of the last century, it was reconstructed following World War II, when it hosted the International Monetary Conference. In 1869, a unique Cog Railway, designed by innovator Sylvester Marsh, was completed to the summit of the 6,288-foot mountain. While similar systems of cogs had been employed for steam locomotives hauling coal out of mines, Marsh’s was the first in the world intended to climb a Mountain.
On a smaller scale, the 1850 Greek Revival-style Thayer’s Inn in Littleton, New Hampshire, was built in anticipation of the arrival of railroads and tourism in the nearby White Mountains. In Bethlehem, a resort town launched in the late 1800s, the impressive casino built in 1888 for the Maplewood Hotel included a dance floor, bowling alleys, theater, and clubhouse for a surrounding golf course.
Hundreds gathered in May 2002 to celebrate the resurrection of the oldest grand hotel in New Hampshire, The Mountain View Grand in Whitefield. Established in 1865, it remained in the same family for over a century, but fell on uncertain times, closing its doors in the 1980s. The creative and ambitious $20 million restoration included repair (not replacement) of 937 wooden windows and preservation of 78 miles of 135 year old cedar siding, and captured an award from the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance.
As it happened, on a rainy night in 1865, a stagecoach en route from Boston to Montreal hit a large pothole and overturned on a back road in rural Whitefield. Its two passengers scrambled out and found their way up the dirt road to a farmhouse, where they were welcomed despite the late hour. Charmed by the breathtaking view of the Presidential Range and the smell of a home-cooked breakfast, they prevailed upon their host to let them stay a few days and returned the following year, inspiring the farm family to begin a small boarding house they called the Mountain View House. Twenty years later, it could accommodate 110 guests, and was well on its way to earning the name of “Grand.”
A succession of inns in the famous White Mountain pass known as Crawford Notch spanned the earliest period of tourism in the White Mountains to the late 19th century era of the grand hotels. The Crawford family, for whom the pass was named, built their first inn in 1828. Frequent fires and reconstructions ensued. The third Crawford House, opened in 1859, burned in 1977.
Surviving from the late 19th century are two buildings in Carton, New Hampshire, which were associated with the last Crawford house and are listed on the National Register of Hiistoric Places. The picturesque Crawford House Artist’s Studio was built in 1880 as a workplace for Frank H. Shapleigh, artist-in-residence at the Crawford House. The artist provided an interesting attraction for tourists who visited the unusual studio. Nearby is the small but stylish Crawford Depot, a Queen Anne-style railroad station built in 1891 next to the Crawford House.
TOURIST CABINS & ROADSIDE ATTRACTIONS
Tiny tourist cabins began popping up like mushrooms along state highways in the 1920s and 1930s, offering accommodations in the form of a cartoon version of “home.” Not much larger than canvas tents, they provided travelers with privacy in a minimum of space. Many still function as overnight rentals.
The best-preserved example of a 1920S tourist cabin survives at the State Historic Site and National Historic Landmark at Plymouth Notch. It was one of several “Top of the Notch” tourist cabins for visitors, possibly including members of the Secret Service who guarded President Calvin Coolidge while he visited his home town.
Abandoned gas stations, farm stands and other roadside attractions stand like fossils from the mid 20th century, put out of business and out of style when the interstates diverted travelers from state and local highways.
Fortunately, the Connecticut River Valley has relatively few could-be-anywhere tourist “attractions,” and many more authentic historic sites and compelling natural settings that give tourists a genuine experience of New England’s heritage.
For more than a century, most small communities have increased in population with the seasonal return of summer residents. Many part-time residents have been strong supporters of year-round community cultural organizations such as historical societies and arts groups. While most live modestly, a few wealthy individuals and families have transformed vernacular rural settings into stately retreats from urban life.
An excellent representative of the latter is “The Fells,” in Newbury, New Hampshire, the summer estate of John M. Hay. During the period from 1890-1905, Hay was Ambassador to Great Britain and Secretary of State to Presidents McKinley and Teddy Roosevelt. At his summer retreat overlooking Lake Sunapee he entertained international political and cultural figures. The 165-acre site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and constitutes the John Hay National Wildlife Refuge, owned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and operated by a non-profit friends group. It includes extensive historic gardens, a large Colonial Revival style house and subsidiary buildings, landscaped grounds and woodlands.
Among scores of villages that have attracted summer residents and visitors since the 1930s is the small village of Weston, Vermont. Outsiders are drawn to the picturesque hamlet by its village green and its collection of churches, homes, and mills that date from the late moos to the early 1900s. Contributing to its popularity have been the summer stock theater at Weston Playhouse and the promotions of Vrest Orton, who founded the Vermont Country Store in an historic Weston structure, and who now operates several retail outlets, including one in Rockingham.
In a number of communities-most notably Fairlee, Vermont-summer camps for children provided opportunities for out-of-state campers, their families, and camp counselors to get a taste of life in our region, beginning in the early 1900s. Many former campers returned to stay. The tradition of rustic camps runs deep, especially in the northern forest, where industrial timberland owners leased spaces just big enough for a cabin to private individuals. In Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, private camps ringing Maidstone Lake were all originally leased from Saint Regis Paper Company. In New Hampshire’s North Country, some ninety camps were leased by Diamond International Company at Nash Stream, on land since purchased by the State. St. Regis gave leases to well over a hundred camps in the 1920s on Pittsburg and Clarksville land later sold to Champion International, then to International Paper Company, before a major conservation purchase in 2002. As large industrial landowners divest themselves of acreage in the face of pressures originating in market globalization, and find eager conservation buyers for the most publicly valued lands, the future of the little cabin in the woods precariously sitting on this land has suddenly come into the public spotlight.
WINTER SPORTS & SKI RESORTS
The cultural and economic winter landscape of the upper Connecticut River Valley was transformed in 1911 when students at Dartmouth College held the school’s first Winter Carnival. Led by Fred Harris, who founded both the Dartmouth Outing Club and the annual event, the Winter Carnival introduced and popularized winter sports such as snowshoeing, ski jumping, and downhill and crosscountry skiing. Brattleboro, Vermont, holds an annual international ski jumping competition at its Harris Hill, and the Hanover, New Hampshire, high school team is still a regular winner of state ski jump meets in the only state in America that holds high school level jumping competitions.
After the invention of the ski tow in 1934 brought attention to Woodstock, Vermont, small-scale, family-operated ski areas soon were established throughout the region, often in a farmer’s hillside pasture. Through the 1950s, ski trains from New York and Boston brought flocks of winter adventurers to the mountains. Historic villages at the foot of the slopes participated directly in the economic boom. Following World War II, the return of the Tenth Mountain Division gave the ski industry a boost.
A concentration of capital in the industry rewarded those that increased mechanization through snowmaking, grooming, and high-speed, high-volume lifts. The trend continues as ski areas diversify into year-round destinations, where some have constructed condominium villages and shopping complexes on the mountains that dwarf in size the historic villages below.
OUTDOOR RECREATION TODAY
The recent boom in outdoor physical recreation appears to be inversely related to the general reduction in physically demanding outdoor occupations. In a region where many people formerly traveled by necessity on foot, and where farming, logging, and physical labor once predominated, many of us now spend our leisure time pursuing recreational exertions that contrast dramatically with our sedentary employment.
Some activities, like hiking, camping, canoeing, hunting and fishing, join a continuum of human activity that dates back to the period of settlement, if now by choice rather than necessity. Others, like bicycling, and travel by mechanized modes such as snowmobiles, power boats and jet skis, introduce a modern element. Contemporary tourism recognizes that vacationers enjoy a variety of outdoor experiences. The management of public lands should carefully balance uses while preserving natural resources. Not all uses are necessarily appropriate in all places. Posting of some private land-typically in more developed areas of the region-has slightly reduced the total area to which hunters formerly had free access. However, the less developed areas-particularly in the north-still offer vast tracts of near wilderness experiences, for both hunting and fishing. While the private hunting “camp” remains a tradition in many families, commercial lodges such as those in the Connecticut Lakes region attract many who appreciate a lot of elbow room in the outdoors.
The activity that puts us most physically in touch with our predecessors is the simple act of walking. The Appalachian Trail was completed in 1937 between Georgia and Maine. From the south and west, it enters the Connecticut River watershed in Killington, Vermont and passes through Bridgewater, Pomfret, Hartford, and Norwich, where it crosses the Connecticut into Hanover, New Hampshire. From there it proceeds through Lyme, Orford, and Piermont before it leaves the watershed in Warren, and then re-enters in Benton, Woodstock, Lincoln, Franconia, Bethlehem, Crawford Notch, Carroll, and Bean’s Grant. The route and elevations of this 2,000-mile footpath illustrate the wide range of topography and recreational possibilities of the northern valley.
SUMMITS AND PROSPECTS
From these peaks and lesser elevations, hikers earn vistas that reveal the size and scenic beauty of the watershed. At the eastern edge of the watershed, in Jaffrey, New Hampshire, stands Mt. Monadnock (3,165 ft.), said to be the world’s second-most climbed mountain, behind Japan’s Mount Fuji. The solitary mountain stands within a state park and other protected lands covering nearly 700 square miles. More than 100,000 climbers each year hike over 30 miles of trails that lead to the summit, which offers views of all New England states.
Another Mt. Monadnock (3,140 ft.) towers over the river in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont in Lemington. The tallest mountain close to the river is Mount Ascutney (3,150 ft.) in Windsor, Vermont, where there is a seasonal road to the top, a campground, and hiking trails. New Hampshire peaks and prominences include Mt. Moosilauke (4,802 ft.) in Benton, Smarts Mountain (3,360 ft.) in Lyme, Magalloway Mountain (3,360 ft.) in Pittsburg, Mount Prospect (2,059 ft.), in Weeks State Park. Lancaster, and Mt. Wantastiquet (1,300 ft.) in Hinsdale.
Within a very short walk, modern tourists may also experience the natural wonder of Quechee Gorge, in Hartford, Vermont, where the Ottauquechee River cut down 150 feet through solid rock.
Just as accessible are a variety of state parks, such as 2556-acre Mount Sunapee State Park, which receives about 250,000 visitors annually. A trail system connects this with Pillsbury State Park (4579 acres), in Washington, New Hampshire. New Hampshire’s biggest park is Pisgah Wilderness State Park, which covers 12,140 acres in Winchester, Chesterfield, and Hinsdale. It includes hiking trails, the foundations of Harlan Stone’s birthplace, and the ruins of the Dickinson Mill.
New Hampshire’s Weeks State Park in Lancaster and Franconia Notch State Park, and Vermont’s Maidstone State Park are popular North Country parks. Along the river in the south are two Vermont state parks, Wilgus, in Windsor, and Fort Dummer, in Brattleboro. In the warmer months, campers flock to many of these state parks as well as to scores of private campgrounds.
Both mountain-bikers and roadbikers find a wide variety of back roads and trails to their liking. Bicycle touring groups coordinate with rural inns for inn-to-inn riding. Conversion of discontinued rail lines to multi-use trails is gaining interest and support. After the railroad removed rails from a section of line from Concord to the Enfield, New Hampshire area in 1992, local people hoping to use the corridor for a four-season all-weather trail removed 15 miles of ties. Because rail lines were built to connect communities, they pass through the hearts of down towns, offering people a place to get together in traditional commercial centers, and stimulating new activity along such converted rail trails.
THE CONNECTICUT RIVER
Certainly the most significant resource for tourism and recreation today is the Connecticut River itself. Carving gorges and ox-bows through scenic forested and rolling terrain, the river continues to shape and reshape its own bed. Its northernmost Connecticut Lakes region offers a near-wilderness experience. Long sections of shoreline in its northern reaches are completely undeveloped. Farther south, its tributary White River stands out as one of the last large Free-flowing rivers in New England.
Almost all of the river’s waters are once again suitable for fishing and swimming. Waterfalls, gorges and cascades sparkle on its tributaries. Boat launches and landings, and swimming, picnicking and camping areas provide public access, often at the many local or state parks in river-side towns, or at areas provided by the power company at its hydroelectric generating facilities along the river. Canoeists on many miles of the Connecticut may sec substantially the same river that Native Americans saw from their dugout canoes. The Upper Valley Land Trust established a series of primitive canoe campsites that are now maintained by a variety of public and private organizations. Truly experienced kayakers who seek white water can find it in a variety of places on the Connecticut, such as Lyman Falls at Bloomfield-Stratford and Summer Falls at Hartland-Plainfield. (Portage is essential for canoes at Summer Falls and for most boaters at Lyman.) Moore Dam at Waterford-Littleton creates 13-mile-long Moore Reservoir, one of the largest bodies of water in New England with an undeveloped shoreline, and permanently protected through the terms of the operating license for the hydro dams on this part of the river.
On the West River in Jamaica, Vermont, seasonal release of water from Ball Mountain Dam creates an exciting trip for white water kayakers. Also in the West River system, hikers can reach Hamilton Falls, Vermont’s highest waterfall at 12,5 feet, by trail from Jamaica State Park. In Ludlow, Vermont, Buttermilk Falls is a dramatic series of cascades in a geologically interesting gorge. And Brockways Mills Gorge on the Williams River, in Rockingham, is one of the three largest undisturbed gorges in Vermont In Colebrook, New Hampshire, waterfall seekers don’t even need to get out of their cars to appreciate Beaver Brow Falls, a spectacular cascade next to Route 145.
A 1996 survey of 217 New Hampshire businesses directly or indirectly dependent upon water resources along the northernmost 150 miles of the river found that water-based recreation here is a multi-million-dollar business. Owners supported public investment-particularly for increasing fishing, swimming, canoeing and kayaking access, improving water quality, and for habitat management — and government involvement to protect the watershed. The results demonstrate the economic value of clean water to area businesses, and its role in providing sustainable jobs and income in these rural communities along the Upper Connecticut River.
CONNECTICUT RIVER BYWAY
A new opportunity to promote heritage and ecotourism in the northern valley, both to the valley’s own residents and also to visitors, has been created through the Connecticut River Byway. Launched through a study coordinated by the New Hampshire Office of State Planning and the Vermont Agency of Transportation, aided by the Connecticut River Joint Commissions, the Byway took shape as regional planning commissions in New Hampshire and Vermont convened citizen advisory groups to take an inventory of tourism resources, discuss possible routes for the Byway, and identify what kind of tourism is desirable for the region. A primary focus of the effort is protection of the natural and cultural treasures which make the Connecticut River Valley so attractive to visitors, and which provide a valued quality of life to its residents.
The concept for the Byway is modeled on a string of pearls, in which the string is the byway itself and the pearls arc “waypoint communities” that act as service hubs and establish informational visitors’ centers. Organizers hope that the Byway will enhance the economic vitality of the region’s traditional commercial centers while also supporting rural agricultural and forest products businesses. Byway interpretive centers will be found at Brattleboro, Bellows Falls, Claremont, Windsor, White River Junction, Fairlee, Wells River-Woodsville. St. Johnsbury, Lancaster, and Colebrook.
The above chapter is quoted from Ewald, Richard J. with Adair D. Mulligan, Proud to Live Here, © 2003 by the Connecticut River Joint Commissions.