State approves Route 100 Scenic Byway expansion
By Christian Avard
Staff Writer | April 23,2013
The Scenic Route 100 Byway is expanding 107 miles.
The Agency of Transportation announced Friday that 138 miles of Route 100 have been designated as a scenic byway and are now eligible for state and federal funding for tourism and marketing purposes. Organizers across southern Vermont have been working on the expansion since 2010 and they are thrilled that dozens of southern Vermont towns are now a part of the second largest byway in Vermont.
“As a region the towns share many common features, particularly the juxtaposition between the Green Mountain range in the west and the river valleys in the east, which provide a stunning scenic backdrop and a foundation for a wide range of recreational activities,” said Marji Graf, CEO of the Okemo Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce. “Each town has its own historic and cultural tradition, which is centered around its historic villages.”
The original Scenic Route 100 Byway was 31 miles, covering the towns of Andover, Ludlow, Plymouth, Bridgewater, Killington and Pittsfield. The byway now includes Stockbridge, Rochester, Hancock, Granville, Weston, Londonderry, Jamaica, Stratton, Wardsboro, Dover, Wilmington, Whitingham and Stamford.
Graf said representatives from each town will meet next month to discuss implementation goals. One of the agenda items is itinerary development.
According to Graf, itineraries are major landmarks on the scenic byway and feature historic downtowns, outdoor recreation areas, chews and brews and arts and culture. They will be published in brochures and a state byway map by the end of the month.
Graf said AOT will also post Scenic Route 100 Byway signs along the 138-mile route and she expects the new byway to be ready by the Fourth of July.
“The communities of Addison, Rutland, Windsor, Windham and Bennington Counties share a desire to promote economic development in a manner that balances economic development and tourism with stewardship of important local resources,” she said. “The Route 100 corridor will not only fill a byway void in the state interior along the spine of the Green Mountains, but will also promote linkage to the Mad River Valley, Stone Valley, Molly Stark and the Crossroad of Vermont byways and encourage visitation.”
Seth Webb, director of tourism and economic development for the town of Killington, played a role in getting Killington involved in the Scenic Route 100 Byway. He said the 138-mile byway has created the framework for towns to work together, provide marketing benefits and access to more state and federal funds.
According to Webb, Granville, Hancock, Rochester, Killington, Stockbridge and Pittsford have unique stories to share. The new byway will attract more visitors to the Killington area and benefit the local economy.
“It means additional marketing for four season tourism,” Webb said. “This is another way we can all work to expand and retain tourism. I think it’s an important piece of the puzzle.”