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Airbnb names St. Johnsbury one of most hospitable cities in US

Published: Sep. 27, 2020 at 9:18 AM EDT
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ST. JOHNSBURY, Vt. (WCAX) - Whether you knew it or not, September 27th is World Tourism Day. But with most of our country still locked down, and borders closed, data shows tourists are now taking their own backyards for a little vacation.

St. Johnsbury, Vermont -- for some, it may not be the first pick for a vacation destination. But as far as hospitality goes, it’s actually almost unbeatable. According to a recent study from Airbnb, Saint J is one of the top 10 U..S cities with the highest percentage of 5-star ratings.

“To us, that means the host community there is doing a fantastic job welcoming guests, really showcasing Saint Johnsbury and Vermont and the local community and really going above and beyond. And that’s what’s so great about our host community," says Alex Dagg of Airbnb.

Airbnb says customers are searching for listings 200 miles from where they live. Specifically, clean, private homes in rural communities, and what better place than the most populous town in Caledonia County?

One of the Saint Johnsbury hosts who has 5 stars figured out is Dawn Aguirre with her Airbnb, “Hope Grows.” “Hope Grows -- it’s been my dream, and so I think it comes from my heart," Aguirre said.

For Aguirre, those 5-star reviews are a point of pride. She put a lot of time, energy, and thought into her space. In addition to offering a clean, private stay, she tries to make guests feel special. “If they’re coming for their anniversary, I will make sure that I have a bottle of champagne and some rose petals on the bed. Make it special and unique to each guest to make sure that they know that they’re here and they’re welcomed. So I think it’s the small things," she says.

Those small things go a long way for her guests, who mainly come from Vermont and New Hampshire, though Aguirre says she sees Maine, New York, and Massachusetts guests on her booked up weekends, too.

“We really don’t even have to interact if we don’t want to. And then they can use the whole outside area, and they can go in the walking trails and they can just be out. So for people from Massachusetts or New York, I think it’s been really amazing for them to be able to experience and just to be able to breathe again," Aguirre says.

Whether it be the fluffy bunnies or chickens, or the hammock and fountain, Aguirre says her mission to bring people peace is now rewarded with her 5-star rating. “I wanted to make an oasis for people to come and for it to nourish their souls and if they needed hope then hopefully they would find it here," she says.

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