Arizona picks a foliage fight with Vermont
After claiming its fall colors are better, it finds out how seriously the Green Mountain State takes its lucrative leaf-peeping.
When tourists think about a trip to Arizona, they're likely pulled by the beauty of the Grand Canyon. Now the state's tourism magazine is aiming to add a new check box: the desert state's fall foliage.
That's not sitting well with Vermont.
It all started with Arizona's state magazine touting the state's autumn beauty. The October cover adds the dig "Why it's better here than it is in Vermont."
For Vermont, Arizona's swagger comes down to more than words. After all, the tiny New England state depends on tourism, with leaf-peepers spending about $460 million during the fall season (pictured), according to a 2011 study commissioned by Vermont.
In response, Vermont Life magazine prepared its own mock-up magazine cover. Its boast? That Quechee Gorge -- a picturesque spot where the Ottauquechee River falls 165 feet -- is "grander than the Grand Canyon." The magazine, run by the state's tourism office, notes that the cover was done in "some fun."
Nevertheless, not everyone is taking Arizona's boast so lightly.
"Don't make us laugh," Phineas Swann B&B, a luxury inn near Vermont's Jay Peak ski resort, wrote on Twitter. Another Vermonter wrote: "You can't steal our fall foliage thunder, #AZ."
The challenge comes just as the leaves are starting to turn in Vermont, with peak season typically hitting by early or mid-October. By that point, cars are bumper to bumper along Route 100, a picturesque road through the Green Mountains that's also the location for Unilever's (UL) Ben & Jerry's.
As a Vermont resident, I can attest to the beauty of the state's autumn colors -- and the crowds that follow. But in its blog, Arizona Highways sought to back off its claim, writing that its October cover meant to make a point about the length of their respective fall seasons.
"We're blessed in Arizona with an autumn that runs from early September on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon to early December in the southern parts of our state," the magazine noted.
That may be true, given that Vermont's drab browns come November, but Arizona is finding that messing with the Green Mountain state's fall foliage crown is serious business.
Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi.
"The challenge comes just as the leaves are starting to turn in Vermont, with peak season typically hitting by early or mid-October. By that point, cars are bumper to bumper along Route 100, a picturesque road through the Green Mountains..."
I wonder how much the pollution from all these cars is killing the countryside. But, the Vermonters don't care because they just want the tourist dollars. Maybe Ben and Jerry's should come up with a new ice cream flavor called "Gas Pipe." Hypocrite libbies.
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