Wednesday April 24, 2013

WINDHAM COUNTY -- Representatives from several Windham County towns will be getting together next month to discuss how to take full advantage of the new Scenic Route 100 Byway designation.

The byway expansion was officially approved last week.

"It feels wonderful," said Linda Anelli, who had rallied up representatives for towns to support the project. "Although we were all cautiously optimistic that we would get it, we were able to get it quickly and with diligence. You don't know you have it until you get the final sign off."

On April 18, the Vermont Transportation Board approved the Scenic Route 100 expansion, which includes the 20 towns of Londonderry, Jamaica, Wardsboro, Stratton, Dover, Wilmington, Whitingham, Granville, Hancock, Rochester, Stockbridge, Pittsfield, Killington, Bridgewater, Plymouth, Ludlow, Andover, Cavendish, Weston and Stamford. The expansion of the designation includes adding 14 towns.

At 138 miles, it is currently Vermont's second largest byway. The largest is the Connecticut River Byway.

Anelli, who works on the Dover Economic Development Committee, said that departments within the state will be focusing on using the byway designation as a marketing tool.

"Now comes the exciting part," said Anelli. "There's already some ideas floating around."

In early May, the representatives from each of the 20 towns will meet to discuss the new byway designation. Under guidance from the local regional planning commissions, the representatives will be focusing on ideas to "integrate all the towns.


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Anelli mentioned having "a seamless wifi zone up Route 100," along with official car, motorcycle or bicycle tours.

"The idea now is not just to have two signs in each town," she said. "It's taking advantage of all possibilities for marketing this. That's the fun part. Everyone is very excited."

Anelli told the Reformer that she was proud of all the volunteers who spent a lot time on the project.

"There was a lot of data collection, organizing that data and selling the concept to each selectboard. Everybody deserves a pat on the back," she said.

Towns and businesses are looking forward to the extra attention that may come about by being part of a scenic byway designation.

Motorcycle enthusiasts enjoy riding scenic byways and others enjoy looking at historical sites that can be found on such byway designations. Maps of these byways have been popular among tourists.

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or cmays@reformer.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.