The View From Vermont (Hardback)
  • The View From Vermont (Hardback)

The View From Vermont (Hardback)

Hardback 352 Pages / Published: 15/12/2006
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With its small native population, proximity to major metropolitan areas, and bucolic rural beauty, Vermont was fated to be a tourist mecca, forever associated in the popular imagination with maple syrup, fall colors, and ski bunnies. Tourism, for good and ill, has always been the decisive factor in the conception of rural Vermont. What is surprising, however, is the degree to which we have accepted this notion of rural Vermont as a somehow timeless entity. Blake Harrison's rich and rewarding study instead presents the construction of Vermont's landscape as a complex and ever-changing dynamic informed by progressive, modernist, and reformist thought, competing views of economic expansion, rural and urban prejudice and social exclusion, and (more recently) by land use planning and environmentalism. This broad-based study includes the early history of Vermont tourism, the concomitant abandonment of farms with the rise of the summer home, the creation of an "unspoiled" Vermont (from billboards, at least), the impact of Vermont's ski industry on tradition-bound tourism, and later efforts to legislate growth and protect an increasingly static ideal of a rural Vermont. While grounded within a specific Vermont view, Harrison has much to contribute to broader studies of rural places, tourism, and landscapes in American culture. His analysis of how physical landscapes affect and are affected by our imagined landscape, and the insight afforded by his juxtaposition of leisure and labor, will deeply inform our understanding of rural tourist landscapes for years to come. This is a truly interdisciplinary work that will satisfy and challenge historians and geographers alike.

Publisher: University of Vermont Press
ISBN: 9781584655664
Number of pages: 352
Weight: 640 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 28 mm

"In "The View From Vermont," geographer Blake Harrison explores the impact of tourism on that upcountry region's image and economy. Harrison's interest is "the nature of work-leisure relations in rural communities like those in Vermont." Its abandoned farmland from the early 1900s on "became a palimpsest on which vacationers inscribed a new rural aesthetic based on leisure and consumption rather than on productive agricultural work." In a provocative discussion, Harrison explores the relationship between controversial issues, such as sprawl and civil unions, and tourism. Those issues, he writes, owe "at least part of their meaning and resonance to tourism," because tourism exercises "tremendous power over what people think of when they think of a properly ordered rural space." Just as opponents of sprawl and supporters of civil unions find their views as defining Vermont as "a special place," echoing the message of tourist promoters, those on the other side echo "longstanding arguments about the undue influence of tourists and about tourism's place in the state's economy."--Boston Globe
," . . a provocative discussion."--Boston Globe
"Blake Harrison's The View from Vermont is a scholarly work that transcends the world of academe. Deeply researched, befitting its doctoral-dissertation origins, the book is clearly written and should be of interest to anyone who would like to consider seriously the rural world that beckons them from their urban workplaces and suburban residences."--Journal of American Cultures
"Through thoughtfully selected stories, Harrison combines sound scholarship and lively prose to illustrate tourism's central role in the 'reworking' of the rural landscape. Ultimately, as Harrison ably argues, it is naive to separate landscapes of work and landscapes of leisure, for the two are interdependent. The View from Vermont should be valuable to geographers interested in cultural landscapes and tourism studies."--Journal of Cultural Geography
"Harrison has written an interesting and provocative book. He details Vermont's allure from the nineteenth century, when it offered extended farm boarding, to the building of large hotels and lodges, to its popularity as a site for automobile vacations in summer and, more recently, for winter homes. He also depicts how tourism agents strove to spread Vermont's attractions across the seasons: from summer relaxation, to fall foliage touring, to spring maple syrup gathering, to winter sports." --New England Quarterly

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