Thursday, August 21, 2008

When Is Wellfleet's Off-Season?

Yesterday I had a telephone call from someone who wanted to know whether the off-season begins after Labor Day. “It doesn’t,” I responded, deadpan, doing my best not to laugh. (Most professional innkeepers need to make a living at the occupation, and lowering prices does not make much sense unless there is zero demand.) Our cottage has no off season at all. It is unique and so demand remains strong, even in winter. Last year we had guests in the main house through November when we were obliged to turn people away due to renovation. Although gas prices are now higher, there is no reason why reservations will not continue through the fall. Many of the Cape’s bed & breakfasts, and, indeed, the Wellfleet Chamber of Commerce booth, close in September. Now our trendy little town has Oysterfest in late October, which encourages businesses to remain open. Some of our better restaurants welcome diners year-round now, too. There are events in Provincetown during the shoulder seasons. Wellfleet is a great place to stay if one wants to get away from the bustle of P-town for a while. In summer, I often receive requests for referrals. If I had stayed at the other local establishments, I would feel able to offer referrals. Usually I send folks to the ladies at the Chamber of Commerce, who should have an availability list handy. I do not think anyone in Wellfleet provides the same intimate experience, which has become one of the hallmarks of Chez Sven, what I like to call "kid-glove care." Where else do you have access to an in-house historian able to converse about Thomas Friedman’s latest column over breakfast and a library which contains copies of The Green Guide? Our beds are super comfortable. Our linens are eco-friendly. Our organic products and foods also keep people coming back for more. Yesterday we had a return guest whose first words were, “I do hope we are having that wonderful homemade granola?” We provide more than just a bed and a box of sugarcoated cereal with coffee for breakfast. Serving organic foods raises the cost of innkeeping, as does the quality of the amenities, 100% natural, chosen for our guestrooms. With the passing years, Chez Sven has happier and happier guests, which leads me to believe we must be doing something right!