Disgruntled Vermonters have voted to close access to their picturesque town after pesky influencers flocked to the area to take selfies during the fall.
Pomfret has long been a popular destination for autumn foliage fans, but fed-up locals say the influencer who has come along to create picture-perfect images for social media is a very different breed of tourist.
These visitors have been accused of flying drones, blocking roads and emergency vehicles, while their cars often get stuck on uneven terrain.
The series of annoying incidents has led residents to close Cloudland Road between September 23 and October 15, when the fall colors begin to appear.
It offers stunning autumn views, with a rolling hill showcasing classic New England buildings and an abundance of fall colors – with dozens of influencers taking very similar photos of the view.
For years, social media influencers had posed for selfies at Sleepy Hollow Farm, a private property on the street that had become the most sought-after destination for people chasing likes online.
‘It was too much. Something had to be done,” said Mike Doten, whose family has lived in the area since the late 1700s and owns the farm. the Boston Globe.
Vermont residents voted to close Cloudland Road in Pomfret (pictured) after pesky influencers flocked in to take selfies with fall leaves
The road (pictured) will be closed between September 23 and October 15, when the autumn colors start to take shape
The Cloudland Road and Doten farm was a long-time favorite among people who wanted to quietly admire the changing seasonal colors and view the rolling hills, until social media sensation took over over the past five years.
Influencers parked haphazardly on the narrow, unpaved road and brazenly trespassed on private property, seemingly ignoring the no-go signs conspicuously placed to deter nuisances.
Vermont residents are used to an influx of tourists, especially photographers, who are known to be “quiet” and “not bother anyone,” Doten said.
The innkeepers are also tolerable, said Doten’s wife Amy Robb. “Both from a numbers perspective and how they behave.”
“The TikTokers came here in droves and they kept growing, year after year,” Doten added.
Those drawn by social media visited the area thinking it was a public park, residents said.
The narrow, unpaved road (photo) is clogged by photographers, tourists and social media influencers in high season
Cloudland Road and Doten’s farm (pictured) have long been favorite spots for leaf peepers
The trouble started when the spot became a social media sensation and hundreds of cars blocked the road
A few years ago, Doten and his wife were amazed to see a woman setting up a portable dressing room and regularly emerging in an assortment of outfits to take selfies.
But the drama didn’t stop when residents revealed that pesky tourists are now flying drones a few meters above a resident’s head, stealing tomatoes from vines and using a private garden shed as a toilet.
“There’s no way a fire truck or ambulance could be coming down this road in the middle of leaf season,” Doten said. “It’s just too busy.”
Pomfret residents successfully convinced the city to close Cloudland Road for three weeks.
They have also reached out to social media influencers and local inns to stop them from promoting the area and directing tourists to other spots in Vermont.
Kiel James Patrick, a clothing designer with 132,000 Instagram followers, is one of the influencers contacted.
“When I was informed of the situation by the residents of Pomfret, I recognized the importance of respecting the wishes of the local community,” he said.
“In response, I removed posts featuring Sleepy Hollow Farm from my platforms and communicated with friends and fellow influencers about the private nature of the farm and the need for privacy and respect,” he added.
During the three-week road closure, Windsor County deputy sheriffs will man the checkpoints at the bottom and top of Cloudland Road.
Residents said they don’t think the road closure will hurt the state’s tourism industry.