Residents of a picturesque town in Vermont have shut down roads in a bid to stop an influx of social media influencers coming to take photos — despite photographers shooting the location for “decades.”
Pomfret, VT, is famous for its stunning foliage colors in the fall, but residents have had enough and are closing down roads for the next month to prevent a horde of Instagrammers and TikTokers descending on the tiny town that has a population of less than 1,000.
The town’s classic view shows shows a winding road down into a private farm with the autumnal colors making for an enchanting backdrop. The owners of the farm, Sleepy Hollow, say photographers have been shooting there for years without any fuss.
“They’ve been coming here for decades. You might have had six or eight cars come up at dawn,” Mike Doten, who lives in Sleepy Hollow Farm, tells the Boston Globe. “They’re quiet. They don’t bother anyone.”
Social Media Influencers Have Become a Problem
However, Doten says everything changed about five years ago when Sleepy Hollow Farm became popular with content creators on social media platforms.
“We call them Tik Tockers,” Doten says. “The Tik Tockers started flocking here and they kept growing, year after year.”
@sightseeingsenorita Instagram vs. Reality‼️ #instavsreality #instagramvsreality #bts #behindthescenes #vermont #vermonttiktok #sleepyhollowfarm #traveltiktok ♬ original sound
Doten says it has become “too much” and “something had to be done” after multiple episodes saw him use his tractor to help the leaf-peepers out of ditches after their cars became stuck on the rural roads.
Buses full of selfie-seeking tourists spill onto his private property, ignoring the no trespassing signs. Drones fly overhead and people leave trash behind, even relieving themselves on Sleepy Hollow Farm.
Doten says a few years ago he and his wife watched in amazement when a young woman erected a changing booth which she used to switch outfits in multiple times for her selfies.
Local residents in Pomfret say that this new breed of picture-seekers tend to be less respectful and treat private property as if it is a public park.
Doten and some other residents of Pomfret voted to block Cloudland Road from September 23 to October 15 to anyone except residents. It is those three weeks that attract the most visitors because it is then the fall colors are their most spectacular. Winsor County deputy sheriffs will staff checkpoints on the road.