Immediately after the interview ran, I received an angry letter from a listener who felt that Sitosky was doing his state a disservice by giving such a rosy account of the damages. "Not only is it inadvisable to go there [to Vermont], the people doing the repairs are begging people to stay AWAY. Every time they have to stop work to let cars pass, it delays them further in their vital work," wrote Ms. Drummond, a native of Rhode Island. "So for the immediate future, people should NOT drive to Vermont, and let the work crews get things repaired."
So that's the view of an outsider.
|Vermont Foliage (photo by Shiran Pasternak)|
The piece, which is running on Forbes.com, notes that a number of the roads that were affected by Irene are already on the mend, and suggests that would-be visitors head to a special web page the state has set up to notify travelers of road closures. According to Olmstead, the list on the page is much shorter than it was several days ago. And both he and Sittosky note that the trees in the state were not affected by Irene (which drenched the area but no longer packed the high winds that could have stripped leaves).
What's most persuasive about Olmstead's piece? The post-Irene photos he attaches of various touristic areas in the state that are still serene, beautiful and seemingly untouched by the recent hurricane. Yes, of course, the hurricane devastated many areas of Vermont (and that shouldn't be downplayed). But not all. And to stay away in late September will simply cause more devastation there.
To borrow a phrase from Olmstead: autumn is Vermont's "Superbowl", an incredibly important time, economically for the state. I, for one, plan to be up in Stowe, VT in December. If I can get there earlier I will. Bargain hunter that I am, I'm guessing there should be some unusually good deals this fall foliage season there. That may sound mercenary but in this case, bargain hunting, since it means traveling, will help those in need.