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.
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:49 PM EST2014-03-09 02:49:49 GMT
The Burlington Yoga Conference began Saturday at UVM's Davis Center. The event gives participants a chance to connect the mind body and soul through workshops they may not have access to on a daily basis.More >>
The Burlington Yoga Conference began 6 years ago and has become a staple in the community.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:29 PM EST2014-03-09 02:29:17 GMT
A warning for pet owners in our region. Coyotes are on the prowl. A biologist in New Hampshire says he has received more than 10 calls recently, in the Keene, New Hampshire area, for a deer that was takenMore >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:21 PM EST2014-03-09 02:21:44 GMT
As spring approaches, many Vermont homeowners prepare to work on their houses - so they head to the Burlington Home Show. And many Vermont small business owners - with their products and services on displayMore >>
Many business owners at the Burlington Home Show say the new health care system in Vermont is helpful, but some say it's causing a real headache.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 8:07 PM EST2014-03-09 01:07:08 GMT
A rally at the State House in Montpelier Saturday. A passionate group of dozens of women, and men, assembled in front of the State House Saturday for the Women's March for Dignity. They were demandingMore >>
Women's March for Dignity say they are demanding lawmakers support paid sick day policies for all workers.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:21 AM EST2014-03-08 15:21:27 GMT
Two firefighters are recovering from minor injuries. They were injured while fighting a at the Bennett Farm on Route 15 on the Johnson-Cambridge town line. The fire started in a shed around 7:30 FridayMore >>
Two firefighters are recovering from minor injuries.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:20 AM EST2014-03-08 15:20:42 GMT
Friends are rallying around families who lost everything in an apartment building fire in St. Johnsbury. They immediately took to Facebook after hearing about this fire and started planning to collectMore >>
Friends are rallying around families who lost everything in an apartment building fire in St. Johnsbury.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:20 AM EST2014-03-08 15:20:05 GMT
Reporter: "What are some of the most common burn injuries that we see with kids coming into the hospital?" Jim Esdon, Dartmouth Hitchcock Injury Prevention Center: "This time of year, the glass frontedMore >>
We've had another cold week that's left homeowners cranking the heat. But what does that mean for kids' safety?More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:19 AM EST2014-03-08 15:19:21 GMT
Armed with just two L rods, 87-year-old John Wayne Blassingame starts looking for water by asking yes or no questions. "Does it go past 20 feet, does it go past 30 feet, yah," he says. The rods crossingMore >>
A national organization based in Danville says it is providing resources to people in desperate need to find water.More >>