Forbes fetes fall in Manchester; locations city on checklist of eight prime locations | Native Information
MANCHESTER — An article in Forbes recently listed Manchester as No. 4 on a list of “8 Underrated Fall Weekend Getaways From New York City.”
The article, by contributor Katie Chang, says the eight destinations are a convenient drive of four hours or less from Manhattan and are not one of the “predictable places” New Yorkers go to get out of town.
Chang also points out, the places on the list “need our support, now more than ever.”
The article puts Manchester on a list with Alexandria, Virginia; Asbury Park, New Jersey; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Washington, D.C.; Wilmington, Delaware; and the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania.
Chang touts the regions’ leaf-peeping and hiking, fly fishing and outlet shopping.
A few local businesses get shoutouts, including the Social House, which she said, “turns out artful, globe-trotting dishes featuring local ingredients,” and Fortuna’s Sausage & Italian Market.
Chang also recommends the Orvis flagship store and American Museum of Fly Fishing as worthy stops.
The article doesn’t go in-depth, but instead hits a couple of highlights of each destination. But a few locals are glad to get whatever press they can get during a pandemic that has many businesses fighting to keep the doors open.
Bill Drunsic, who both runs businesses and rents buildings to many of the area’s businesses, said it was “pretty impressive to see Manchester ranked with the likes of Alexandria, Va., Philadelphia and the other cities mentioned.”
“Clearly, this kind of publication has a very broad-reaching audience and its target demographics includes households with a great deal of disposable income, which obviously bodes well for this town if it converts even a small percentage of readers into visitors as a result,” Drunsic said. “More importantly, however, I think it underscores the need for the town (or the Manchester Business Association) to continue and increase its marketing program and to generate more quality press, which may pay much greater dividends than simply spending money on traditional advertising campaigns.”
Lyman Orton of the Vermont Country Store said that his business has seen its fair share of press, but it’s never seen a sudden, large influx.
“Over time it all helps,” Orton said. “It will help on weekends throughout October and November but there is plenty of capacity then.”
One concern expressed by some is that marketing to people coming from an area with high COVID-19 disease prevalence may not be the best thing for a small Vermont town doing its best to keep things in check.
Drunsic said it’s a valid concern but thought the town had done an “exemplary job addressing protocol for all visitors coming into the area from out of state.”
It’s true that New York, New Jersey and Connecticut license plates seem to outnumber green plates on some weekends, but Drunsic thinks it’s workable.
“I have been impressed with how most of our visitors have adjusted and complied with our protocols,” Drunsic said. “Of course there have been a few bad apples and I know that my businesses have refused service in a few cases when they didn’t wish to comply.”
But he said it’s important to balance safety with the importance of helping businesses survive.
“We should not lose sight of the importance of ensuring that our local business community, which has gone through a tremendous degree of suffering over the last six months, remains vibrant and healthy,” Drunsic said. “That is very closely tied to the amount of inbound visitors that choose our region (over countless others) to spend their dollars and help lift our own struggling economy. So I would tend to err on the side of being supportive of whatever prudent efforts with proper precautions contribute to creating a sustainable business community and a reasonable sense of normalcy in our community.”
The fact that Manchester was included in the article at all was a matter of luck and connections.
Luis Pazos, who with his wife Debbie run the Social House, said a guest at their restaurant contacted Chang and told her that she had to check it out.
She did, and found it to be one of the top eight underrated fall getaways.