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After a mild winter, eclipse is bringing tourists to Vermont

Eclipse tourists flocking to Vermont for April 8 after a weak winter
Eclipse tourists flocking to Vermont for April 8 after a weak winter 02:14

WAITSFIELD, VT -- If you are heading up to Vermont to see the solar eclipse, you may be too late to find a place to stay. Spots like Stowe have a 99% occupancy rate.

"There are very few places available on Sunday itself. We have a little bit more on Monday," said Jennifer Greene, Marketing Manager for the Stowe Area Association, "If you look hard enough, or if you look far enough, I think that there's definitely some places that you can still get in. Or if you call places directly as sometimes they may have availability that isn't listed."

Where tourists are going  

Stowe is within the range of totality along with places like Burlington. Area bed and breakfasts began selling out a year ago. Brady Griffin owns The Griff Inn, a bed and breakfast in Waitsfield, Vermont. Their inn is within the totality range and roughly 45 minutes from Burlington. Brady and his wife, Else, began getting booking requests a year ago.

"It was, I think, Easter last year that my wife, Else, and I started getting bookings on our phone like wildfire for April 8, and we didn't realize that it was for 2024," said Griffin, "We have been booked out for well over a year, and it was before we even found out about the eclipse. Had we known, we would have bumped our rates, but since we didn't, we have mud season rates, so whoever is staying with us is getting quite a deal."

Griffin said all of the inns and bed and breakfasts within an hour of Burlington have been sold out for months. He says the same goes for short-term rentals on Airbnb or VRBO.

How many people are heading to Vermont? 

"Some of the cheapest lodging I have seen is around $500, which is kind of mind-blowing - and a little discouraging. I wish we had known a bit in advance," said Griffin.

Traffic is also expected to be heavy. The state of Vermont is warning towns to expect 100,000 to 200,000 people heading into the state for the eclipse.

"We don't have any stop lights [in Waitsfield]. We are going to be experiencing gridlock, which is something that is very unusual for us in Vermont," tells Griffin.

"We don't want to do any townwide events that would close down roads while Burlington has a bit more flexibility with that," said Greene.

The area is expected to see a snowstorm this week and possibly another next week. After a mild winter, the snow plus the eclipse is a welcome moment for ski resorts and hotels.

"We've been deeming it the 'Miracle March' here in Stowe, or the 'March Miracle' here in Stowe," said Greene, talking about a snowstorm in late March and the snow that is expected in the coming weeks.

"We were looking at the eclipse as the end of the rainbow, but there could be more snow after," added Griffin. 

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