Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Whole Lot ‘a Buildin'...

Last year I attended a meeting on the town’s future. One of the Selectmen said that never, in his wildest dreams, could he have imagined all the renovation projects that would be undertaken downtown during his tenure. It is true. Wellfleet has had a serious facelift. Main Street retains its weathered charm, but everywhere storefronts sparkle with fresh paint. The sound of hammers and saws blends into the regular Quiet-Season hum. There’s a whole lot of building going on...

Last winter Marshall Smith, an entrepreneur from Boston, waved a magic wand over Lema’s, and it metamorphosed into Wellfleet Marketplace. An amusing rendition of the store's contents can be admired on the windows. This local alternative-place-to-shop now gives residents a good reason to forego the twenty-minute trip to Orleans. Gone is the moldy broccoli. In its place shoppers can gawk at a variety of organic products. And, that’s not all. The people in charge have vision, as well as retail smarts. The Marketplace is now expanding sideways. A deli and take-out counter will soon occupy the adjacent building.

Across the street, Aesop’s tables were stored away. The well-established restaurant beside Town Hall received such a thorough makeover that a former owner had difficulty recognizing the place when she finally gathered up the courage to step inside. I sent a lot of guests to Winslow’s Tavern in 2005. They spoke highly of the inexpensive, tasty bistro fare.

We cannot leave Main Street without mention of the stately old house next to Nickerson’s Funeral Parlor. For over a year Wellfleetians were able to appreciate the huge amounts of TLC – and money – going into its restoration. 348 Main will now inspire artists who must have shied away as long as it was a ramshackle eyesore. (Note 5/15: It is now clear that 348 Main is a real estate office.)

Out on Route 6, Rookies restaurant sports brand new shingles, a regional Catholic Church will rise on land adjacent to Consider the Lilies, and, beside the post office, WHAT will soon break ground for a 200-seat theatre. Finely JPs, an eatery that offered great food in a small space without soundproofing, is currently being transformed into real competition for the Outer Cape’s other fine restaurants.

And wait, that’s not all. Gourmet chefs, prick up your ears! The Lighthouse, smack-dab in the middle of Main Street, is up for grabs. Eric’s on Route 6 can also be purchased. Ditto for Captain Higgins, on Wellfleet harbor. Looks like soon our little town will have so many good restaurants that I will not know where to send guests for dinner!