In August, the towns of Pomfret and Woodstock, Vt. voted to shut down access to Sleepy Hollow Farm — the “most photographed spot” in the entire state — after influencers and photographers have spent years clogging up the roads and trespassing on property to achieve the perfect fall shot.
Cloudland Road, which leads to the farm, will now be closed during peak foliage season from Sept. 23 to Oct. 15. Only residents and emergency vehicles are allowed to access it, and locals are thrilled with the decision.
Sleepy Hollow Farm, which changed ownership in 2020, has become popular for photos because it’s easily visible from public roads. According to New England-based influencer Shaelyn Pacheco (@shaelyn.pacheco), the original owners of the farm “welcomed” tourists because it wasn’t their primary residence, but the new owners actually live on the property and don’t want their home photographed.
Its visuals, especially in the fall, are what makes the spot so sought after by social media users, foliage expert Jim Salge told NewEngland.com.
“It has this long, sweeping driveway that winds down to the property, giving you a perfect angle from above, of the barns and house,” Salge described. “You’ve also got the ponds, which in the morning has mist coming off them and the hills behind it. In every possible way it’s perfect. It’s what you think of when you think of Vermont.”
Tourism is an important industry in Vermont and the fall season attracts visitors from around the world.
Influencer Caitlin Covington, the face behind the “Christian Girl Autumn” meme, even announced recently that she would be traveling from her home in North Carolina to Vermont for her “annual fall photo shoot.” (Covington does not specify where in Vermont.) Social media users joked that “it’s not fall” until Covington releases her yearly photoshoot.
‘Christian Girl Autumn’ influencer Caitlin Covington announces she is going to Vermont in October to take her annual Fall photos. 🍂 pic.twitter.com/nZjRCWvPIE
— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) September 18, 2023
But despite the free press these fall photoshoots provide for Sleepy Hollow Farm, locals aren’t happy with how the area is being treated.
The Boston Globe reported that despite the driveway to the farm being gated off and marked with a “No Trespassing” sign, tourists are usually not deterred from getting closer. Visitors have also allegedly been caught relieving themselves in nearby bushes on the property, and drones are frequently seen flying overhead to capture aerial footage.
Mike Doten, a resident of Cloudland Road, told The Boston Globe that there are three types of people who come to photograph Sleepy Hollow Farm: professional photographers, who are “quiet” and “don’t bother anyone”; tourists, who are usually sent by local inns and hotels to check out the scenery; and, within the last few years, social media influencers who “tend to be less respectful.”
“It’s too much,” Doten said. “Something had to be done.”
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