Vermont was a summer destination for tourists during the first half of the twentieth century. With its beautiful lakes and healthful mountains, visitors from southern New England and New York saw the state as an ideal retreat. Small lakeside summer communities such as Cedar Beach and Thompson’s Point on Lake Champlain became enclaves of the wealthy early in the twentieth century. These visitors usually arrived by train and were transported to their cottages to spend the entire summer. Many returned year after year.
Tourism began to change during the 1920s as an increasing number of middle-class Americans had automobiles and the leisure time for vacations. Vermont began to promote itself as a destination with tourist accommodations for one- or two-week vacations. Small hotels and guesthouses served visitors on small lakes such as Harvey’s Lake and Crystal Lake near Barton. Roadside guest-houses, cottages, and tourist cabins sprang up throughout the state. The state Department of Agriculture, through the University of Vermont’s Extension Service, encouraged farm families to rent rooms and provide healthful meals to vacationers to earn extra income. Gas stations and roadside restaurants became increasingly prevalent along Vermont’s more-traveled routes. The Bennington Battle Monument, the Vermont State House, and President Calvin Coolidge’s hometown of Plymouth Notch became regular tourist attractions. Vermont’s summer camps became popular places to send children. By the 1940s Vermont advertised itself as an unspoiled vacationland.
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