Sunday, March 25, 2007

Back at Lecount Beach ...

Sven and I took a brisk walk this afternoon. Not everyone can drop everything, drive two miles, and enjoy such splendor. The light blues and beige calm the spirit. When the beach is deserted, it can be very exciting to come upon a collection of flotsam, lovingly established in some kind of pattern by other beachcombers. We walked further than usual in order to be able to share this photo. A castle? A pirate ship? It can be whatever your imagination wants it to be.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Cape & Islands Wellness Expo Comes to Eastham!

This weekend marked the first Cape & Islands Wellness Expo to take place at this end of the Cape, ever. Several dozen health providers of everything from massage and yoga to health food and shoes that are good for your feet were on display at stands set up in the lobby of Willy’s Gym in Eastham. The mood was euphoric as practitioners shared tips and schedules with would-be clients. Workshops were held. Here was the opportunity to learn about how to avoid back pain or spend time with a Reiki master. There were lots of brochures to pick up, and even some free vegie cookies. I chatted with Dr. Lori Deveuve of Nauset Chiropractic, below left, who said 2000 to 5000 people are expected over the two days. The Cape & Islands Wellness Expo is a great place to learn new ways to stay healthy and increase vitality while having fun. Judging from turn-out this morning, the initiative will probably be renewed next year.

Friday, March 23, 2007

A March Day in the Life ...

We have lovely people from England this week, so we chatted while I was hanging laundry. Sheet inventory was front and center today. I unfolded and refolded sheets, discarded some, gazed longingly at displays of organic bedding in catalogues, dreamed of the organic bed we will provide to guests next year and even talked with the owner of European Sleepworks in California. Finally I ordered a bunch of new linens. (The photo to the right gets taken later at Great Pond.) Once my order with Coyuchi was complete, I tried the new online system offered by Johnny’s Seeds. More dreaming went into this order: cosmos, calendula, Milk Maid nasturiums, sunflowers …. plus a few vegies. I do not think our vegetable planting will be as extensive this year. The garden will be more flowery, if I have my way. I did order five pounds of potatoes for Sven, however. How easy it is to order online! Next on my list was Dancing Deer, a Boston company, which makes the most succulent brownies I have ever tasted and that includes my own. Through the Internet, I received wholesale pricing and the offer to try samples. Can’t wait for them to arrive. Then it was time for exercise. Sven and I powerwalked over to the far side of Great pond where it is possible to view two ponds at once, and back past Long Pond. I took some photos of pine roots, exposed by last winter’s storm at one of the confiscated houses. Back at Chez Sven, I prepared Liberty Coin Suite for our guests who arrive this evening. Then it was time to bake granola and make some organic yogurt. It has been a busy day!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Hurray for the Wellfleet Chamber of Commerce!

When Sven and I started Chez Sven, we joined the Wellfleet Chamber of Commerce which produces one of the best little guidebooks on Cape Cod. Inside there is a list of Chamber members. Their businesses can also be found on the Internet. The Chamber Web site recently received a complete makeover and went back online. Gone is the quaint village street, the small photo of two children frolicking on a beach, the old-fashioned sepia tones. Now, when visitors Google Wellfleet Chamber of Commerce and double-click, the photo of a summer day at one of Wellfleet's magnificent beaches greets their eyes.

The Chamber of Commerce is a “year-round organization whose mission is to represent the business community, assist visitors, and promote communication between residents, guests and town agencies.” Friendly volunteers man the information booth in South Wellfleet, open weekends in spring and fall, as well as 9 to 6 daily in the summer.

The Chamber organizes several after-hours gatherings during Quiet Season. One was held recently at the Bookstore Restaurant. Members congregated to reflect on the past season, share insight on trends, compare notes, or just shoot the breeze. Selectman Dale Donovan was a guest. Also at my table, Gail Ferguson of 130 West Main, to the left, who reported reservations are progressing at a satisfactory rate, except for June. That made me feel better. We don’t have many June reservations yet either! Together we drank to the coming season. Here, here!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

VIPs for a Day!

Yesterday Sven and I traveled to Newport, RI, where
GoNewport had invited me to participate at their March event, “It is Easy Being Green,” a panel on Eco-Tourism. Hibernian Hall rapidly filled with business owners, eager for tips and advice, who began munching organic pastries. Other panelists were Rob Cardeiro of the Norman Bird Sanctuary and Champe Speidel of Persimmon Restaurant in Bristol. Kara DiCamillo of served as moderator.

After a quick introduction by Kathryn Farrington, GoNewport V.P. of Marketing, and short speeches by two local personalities, I explained why Chez Sven is green, and what the challenges and advantages are. All members of the panel agreed that the single most important thing one can do is set a good example and spread the word.

Sven cheered me on and claims I was the most articulate of all the speakers, enthusiasm which does not surprise me, under the circumstances. I found the discussion of biodiesel particularly fascinating. Champe Speidel, to my right, immediately signed up. (A fledgling biodiesel company will travel to restaurants to collect cooking oil. Wellfleet could do with a similar service. To the left, Dyer Pond in March, looking very green.)

Afterwards, Sven & I were given a VIP pass. We stayed at lovely Ivy Lodge, close by the mansions of Newport, and toured the Breakers with a guide who kept mentioning Anderson Cooper’s connection to the Vanderbilt family.

It was encouraging to see a County Convention & Visitors Bureau take such an initiative. I felt pleased to have been able to share our experience at Chez Sven and only wish the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce would organize a similar event.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Wellfleet Preservation Hall

Today Sven and I took a brisk walk at the beach where surfers were enjoying the waves. Then we went downtown to Wellfleet Marketplace where a neat little flyer caught my eye. The front says, “We’re Opening the Doors.” When you open the flyer, you find an image of the marvelous front doors to the old Catholic Church on Main Street. Unfold some more and there is information about the Wellfleet Preservation Hall: “The Vision for Wellfleet Preservation Hall is to restore the former Catholic church, built in 1909, and turn this beloved historic icon into a year-round, vibrant, community-based, non-profit cultural focus. The Goal is to preserve the original sanctuary building for the community, leaving the rectory footprint alongside for the town to use as it sees fit. By Creating Wellfleet Preservation Hall we will accomplish something more significant than rescuing a single structure. Preservation Hall will become the heart of downtown Wellfleet – engaged, supportive, and relevant to the spirit of this unique small town.”

Then there is an invitation: “Watch the doors open at” The Website gives information on how you can make a donation. What a great idea!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

10 Things to Do on the Beach in March

Today Sven and I took a walk at Lecount Hollow. There was a light breeze. It occurred to me how lucky we are to live in Wellfleet, only two miles from the Atlantic Ocean. I remembered the first time I put my ear to a conch shell, at my mother’s urging, and was amazed by the roar. The sea is magic. Here are 10 fun things to do at the beach in March:
1.) Walk.
2.) Jog.
3.) Look for sea glass amidst the shells.
4.) Build a sand castle.
5.) Watch surfers.
6.) Surf.
7.) Fish.
8.) Search for seals.
9.) Explore sandbars.
10.) Feel happy to be alive!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Feel Like a Guinea Pig?

Genetically engineered materials are slipping into the foods we eat here in the United States. I have had guests from Europe ask if the foods I serve are genetically modified, and I cannot always answer. Although I shop for cereals at the health food store, not everything is labeled. I myself am worried about this new development. At the very least, genetically altered foods should be labeled, so the public can make informed decisions on what to buy. If you feel the same way, go to this Web site and speak up in favor of the “Genetically Altered Foods Right to Know Act” sponsored by Barbara Boxer (D-CA). At the very least, foods should have labels. The Campaign Web site contains a good summary of the situation. Manufacturers of soybeans and corn are among the worst offenders, so always check those labels before you buy. I researched some cereals at the health food store on Main Street in Orleans (where, by the way, any health food practioners will want to shop before proceeding on to Wellfleet). Nature’s Path was one of the only companies that cared enough to be up front with information.

The purity of organic foods is at risk. The Campaign also has a page where you can take action with regard to organic foods, under attack by cross-pollination from biotech crops.

European Union nations, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and China require labeling of genetically engineered foods. We should, too. Please tell friends about The Campaign. Thanks!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

An Early Spring Walk to Five Ponds

Spring was in the air this morning. Since the tide was high at noon, Sven and I decided to walk in the woods instead of by the ocean. We parked the car over by the multiple-pond trail and hiked through the National Seashore. Some of the ponds were still frozen. Others were not. We saw a knotted old tree and another great blue door. We admired summer houses, built in the forties, and not heated. All that beauty and no one there to enjoy it. The only people we saw were lost. They had embarked on a journey through the woods without realizing there would be large puddles and no place to turn around. What's more, their car would not work in reverse. It was broken. So, they drove on and on, feeling more and more worried. That is,until they saw us coming in the opposite direction on foot! Luckily we were able to tell them how to drive out of the woods. Let's hope they made it home safe and sound. Thoreau visited the woods of Wellfleet more than a century ago. He describes meeting an oysterman in tales of his travels past these same ponds. The oysterman's name was John Young Newcomb. The nearest beach is called, of course, Newcomb's Hollow.

On our way back home, as we drove through a relatively new Wellfleet neighborhood with its enormous houses, for the most part empty, I thought, what a waste! These modern homes are twice as big as the old summer homes by the ponds. Why do humans think they need so much space? Not to mention needless energy consumption. I tried to imagine what the woods looked like before development, a rolling landscape of pines and oak. Thank goodness 61% of Wellfleet is National Seashore, even if new homeowners do not obey the rules and increase the footprint. At least they are few and far between. The pond homes get passed down in families, so nothing changes, except the taxes.

We are fortunate to live in such a beautiful place!