Vermont Business Magazine The Southwestern Vermont Chamber of Commerce unveiled the newest edition of The Shires of Vermont Travel Guide on Friday, August 13th. The travel guide, a staple of the Chamber’s tourism efforts, is updated yearly and distributed throughout the Northeast as a way to showcase the region’s various tourist attractions. 

Traditionally, the travel guide is produced each spring and hits distribution points by Memorial Day weekend.  This year, due to the pandemic, the travel guide was delayed until the fall.

“There were multiple factors that went into delaying the guide,” Matt Harrington, executive director at the Chamber says. “First, I think everyone was in a wait-and-see mode earlier this year, especially with the vaccine roll out.  Additionally, we had a lot of guides left over from last year due to the pandemic  and they still had relevant content to get us through the summer.  Finally, we pay for this travel guide when our members take out ads in the travel guide.  Coming out of last year, we wanted to wait a little bit longer for our members to rebound before asking them to once again sponsor this useful guide.”

Cover of the 2021-2022 Shires of Vermont Travel Guide produced by the Southwestern Vermont Chamber

The 2021-2022 Shires of Vermont Travel Guide has some old and some new to it. This is in part due to the new designer, Renee Noel Cutler of Renee’s Remedy, tasked with doing some redesign of the guide.  The 8×5 guide is 132-pages front to back with the cover featuring a red barn and rolling hills of Pownal this year. A digital version is also available at:

“We were excited to give Renee a crack at this guide and we absolutely love what she has done,” Harrington continues. “Some of the bones and structure are the same, but I feel like she did a great job with more white space, spreading out content and just making the guide tighter and cleaner.  This is a transition year for us and I’m excited to see what she does in the future with it!”

The travel  guide highlights the small business members of the Chamber, which currently number around 380, throughout the region. The piece is filled with vibrant photos of the area, directories of businesses and attractions, and has a full Shires of Vermont fold out map in the middle.  In the guide there are also magazine-like narratives focusing on various elements of The Shires including the towns that make up the region and introductions to articles on arts, culture, food and more .  The guide provides tourists with destinations in the region that include shopping, dining, services, lodging and activities throughout the year.

Images and photos throughout the guide come from Lorianna Weathers, as well as a handful of Instagram accounts the Chamber has partnered with over the years. At the center of the guide stands a fold out map of the region with area attractions and the advertisers of the guide. The map was designed by Spectrum Design.

“Distribution is key to this guide and why we encourage people to invest in it,” says Harrington. “This year we will print 50,000 which is right in the middle of what we have produced in the past.”  Twenty seven thousand are delivered right to the Chamber in Bennington and distributed to members throughout the region.  The Chamber also oversees the Shires Distribution Program which has rack holders at over 20 locations throughout the region.  The Chamber will utilize the system, as they have in the past, to have the guide available throughout the area.  The remaining 23,000 are distributed through various partners including the Vermont Information Center (Vermont Welcome Centers), CTM Media Group, Berkshires Brochure Display, and North Country Brochure Distribution.  This gets the guides into the Lake George and Capital District regions, on I87, I91 and into Western Massachusetts, North Adams and Williamstown, as well as on up through Vermont.”

“Even with the pandemic stalling the production, we knew we wanted to get a new travel guide out by Bennington Battle Day Weekend 2021 and especially before our Garlic Town, USA event on Labor Day weekend.  We are proud of this little travel guide which has become the roadmap to people’s adventure and exploration in The Shires.  We hope residents and travelers alike get to pick up a copy and enjoy it for themselves!”

The Chamber is providing a Travel Guide viewing and pizza party for those that would like to come see it and pick up a box or two of the guides (100 guides per box). This will happen on Friday, August 20 from 12pm-1pm at the Chamber located at 100 Veterans Memorial Drive in Bennington, Vermont. Reservations are required and those interested can go to to register.

Source: Bennington 8.17.2021 — The Southwestern Vermont Chamber of Commerce 

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