It didn't take long for motorists to begin filling the new Hartford Welcome Center.
After all there are no other rest areas off the south bound lane of Interstate 91 for miles. The location, just south of the I-89 exchange, is a perfect stop for people and their pooches from all over. "We had to keep getting off the road. I was very excited to see that there was one because I had to let the dog out," said Mary Freedman of Long Island, N.Y.
Inside, free WiFi and coffee are an added bonus -- in addition to the bathrooms. "People are traveling, they need to stop. And they like to stretch their legs and have a cup of coffee and it is very friendly and there are lot of things they can look at," said Lilla Willey of Thetford.
The building's design is a throwback to the old railroad days, with a stack of 21st century literature to spark travelers' interests.
"Really, now we look at these facilities to showcase our state -- to tell stories about our communities, to promote our attractions," said Ed von Turkovich, Director of Government Businesses Services.
Out back, trucks make good use of the added space. The 4 million dollar facility is not just for tourists, but also to encourage economic growth to keep rolling forward. "Truck traffic that we have here, as you can see already this morning, having a safe place for truckers to layover is one of our vital missions," von Turkovich said.
In 2009 the state closed four rest stops in an attempt to save money, but drivers missed them. A Congressional earmark helped pay for this one to be rebuilt.
"It was a great inconvenience because we would stop quite often to take a break. It is about a two and-a-half hour ride from Burlington to Brattleboro," said Ray Carbonell, a commuter that takes the route weekly. And now he gladly adds one more stop along the way. "It's overdue I think. I think it is going to be a great asset to Vermont travelers, especially for the foliage season," he said.
It's estimated that 300-thousand people will use this rest stop in its first year. A facility hoped to add convenience for travelers, tourists, and truckers to keep them coming back.
Friday, May 24 2013 11:30 PM EDT2013-05-25 03:30:10 GMT
A hole in the road closed one of the routes into Canada Friday.State Police say Route 5 in Derby Line is closed near Caswell Avenue because of a hole in the pavement just a couple of feet over the lineMore >>
A hole in the road closed one of the routes into Canada Friday.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:17 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:17:06 GMT
It was a storm that left residents with more damage than they could have ever imagined. "The basement has about 13 inches of water," said Bob Genter of Underhill. And preparing for the aftermath of theMore >>
Flash floods left destruction across the region. And the rain is not over. Heavy downpours left some people trapped in their neighborhoods as emergency crews work to try to clear the roads.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:54 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:54:18 GMT
Vermont State Police say the following roads have been closed due to flooding:UNDERHILL: VERMONT ROUTE 15, CILLEYHILL POKER HILL ROAD NORTH UNDERHILL STATION ROAD PAIGE ROAD DAUDLIN ROAD BROWNS TRACE,More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:20 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:20:50 GMT
As the cleanup gets underway from Thursday night's flash flooding, the focus shifts now to the broader impacts of rising rivers from around the region. All the rain so far and more to come is running intoMore >>
All the rain is running into larger streams and rivers that are moving rapidly toward flood stage.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 12:44 PM EDT2013-05-24 16:44:50 GMT
Heavy rains have caused more flooding problems around our region, and the situation could get worse as the rain continues to fall over the holiday weekend. So far, the impact has mainly been seen in roadMore >>
Heavy rains have caused more flooding problems around our region, and the situation could get worse as the rain continues to fall over the holiday weekend.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 9:51 AM EDT2013-05-24 13:51:55 GMT
Over the river and throught the woods isn't just the way to grandma's house, its the way a lot of people are having to travel just to make it to their front door. Dormant brooks and sleepy streams turnedMore >>
Strong rains Thursday flooded roads in Essex.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:25 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:25:14 GMT
A rainy Vermont City Marathon forecast isn't slowing down runners or organizers. "Well, we're going to make some liquid sunshine out of all of this rain. That's the only choice we've got right now," saidMore >>
The countdown is on to this weekend's Vermont City Marathon and final preps are underway. Those finishing touches are coming in the rain, but organizers say the weather isn't slowing things down.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:35 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:35:15 GMT
The bad weather has forced the postponement of the annual Memorial Day parade in Essex. The parade is held annually on the Saturday morning of the holiday weekend. But after all the rain and flooding damageMore >>
The bad weather has forced the postponement of the annual Memorial Day parade in Essex.More >>