Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Along the Way ...

Every once and a while we recommend stops along the way to Wellfleet. An easy off, easy on from Route 6 is Hunan Gourmet, a Chinese restaurant located in a small shopping center at Exit 12 in Orleans. The buffet features a wide variety of tasty dishes, and you can eat your fill for only $12. What Sven and I especially like is the fast service. When hunger pangs hit and Wellfleet is still twenty miles away, Hunan Gourmet is a great place for dinner.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Why Filter Water?

Our renovation is almost complete. We are waiting for the tile to be installed in the pantry, so the plumber can hook up the water faucet with its PUR filters. Here is the fancy new faucet in the kitchen sink before the trim went in. I think about water a lot these days. While researching Lyme Disease, I read that high levels of DEET have been found in Chicago’s drinking water. This spring we had a report of chemicals from medicine seeping into ground water in various cities across the country. In the sixties, Tom Lehrer sang, “Just one thing of which we must beware – don’t drink the water and don’t breath the air.” It seemed like a joke back then. Now the lyrics from ”Pollution” don’t seem so funny. Indeed, they feel almost prophetic. Watch what you put in your mouth. Plastic bottles, lead toys, H2O that has not been filtered … This week brought a brief report on the news stating the current administration has increased the number of steps required to identify contaminants in water. This is scary because the long process discourages their identification …

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sneak Preview

Sven and I have been busy moving furniture. We do not have the set-up completely right yet, but I thought a preview might be nice. Tomorrow we will hang the curtains. The urn-post bed from Liberty Coin Suite is now in the General’s Green Room. The pencil post bed from Eldred Wheeler is now in Liberty Coin Suite. We are happy with the exchange. Wonderful Audrey Danforth hung the wallpaper for us and finished today. The general is my grandfather, Alexander Grabbe, in the photo to the right, who was in charge of the Konvoy and a friend to Nicholas II, in as much as a monarch can have a friend. Of course, the General lost everything at the Revolution, except his life. My father wrote about their escape from Russia in Windows on the Neva. Sven thinks we should hang the portrait of my grandmother in this room as well…

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Warm Weather = Let's Go To Wellfleet!!

I did not intend to blog today, but the beautiful weather has brought inquiries for weekend accommodation, and Seagull Cottage is booked already. Sven and I are both madly painting. I am finishing up the windows in the new green room. Sven is touching up the outdoor furniture. The refrigerator is still stored in the Studio. We have hopes that the carpenters will return Friday to finish a few odd jobs, including installation of the fridge and the dishwasher. Since I am not 100% sure they will come, I am afraid we cannot have guests in the main house yet. There is availability for the first weekend in May, however. Since there is no time to go to the beach, I thought I would share this photo with everyone out there who has been dreaming of summer today ...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day!

Earth Day 2008 broke bright and sunny here on Cape Cod. The Sunday New York Times had a whole green section at the approach of Earth Day. Sven and I are glad so many people are taking action and coming up with exciting new ideas. One easy way of helping the planet is to plant trees. I plan to plant apple trees, inspired by this article, which explains how native varieties are more likely to prosper than stock which is foreign to a region.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Latest on Bees and Pollution

Our neighbor drove over with his Bobcat and dug up the roots in the vegetable garden yesterday. We have not been able to totally eliminate them, unfortunately, but at least we will be able to plant Sven's beloved potatoes. Earlier, I was sitting out in the garden, admiring the dark red shoots of the peonies, so different from the rest of the vegetation around Seagull Cottage. Then a bee buzzed by, reminding me of the fact that bees are disappearing. I wondered whether the busy bee in my garden came from Helen Wilson's hives, several miles away? No bees means no pollination, a disaster for our food supply. Today comes word of research in the United Kingdom pointing to pollution as one of the problems. Here is another example of how the modern world has a very negative impact on our natural environment. Read the article here.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Wellfleet Restaurants Open Early in 2008

Guests came to Seagull Cottage again last evening, up from New York and eager for a rest. She's from Switzerland. He's from South Africa. Sven has already brought them round this morning to peek at the floor in the new wing. They are off to P-town, whale-watching. We cannot wait to be able to move the furniture in next week. With the early warmth, the garden is bursting into bloom, just like Wellfleet. More restaurants open every day. Yesterday night the parking lot at PJ's was full. Catch of the Day, further up Route 6, is taking orders. Moby Dick's starts serving dinner May 2, and Mac's Shack's season will begin May 8. Since Memorial Day is the fourth weekend of May, all the eating establishments in Wellfleet seem to be opening earlier this year. Check out the finished floor in the green room, above!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Provincetown in the News

In the lower righthand corner, Provincetown, in this view from Duck Harbor Beach at sunset a few weeks ago. I heard a report that a ferry will travel from the North Shore to P-town this summer. Unfortunately it will only carry passengers - no cars - but folks with bikes can board and reach Wellfleet via scenic Route 6. This week's Banner brought word of numerous whale sightings off Race Point, dozens of whales, feeding together. 2007 was a great year for whale watching. 2008 looks like it may be the same way.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Dealing with the Reality of Ticks on Cape Cod

Springtime brings warmth and sunlight but also a more unwelcome aspect to daily life: vigilance with regard to ticks. Deer ticks start searching for their next meal as soon as the temperatures rise. I am hoping Oprah will do a show about Lyme Disease, spread by ticks, now a problem in almost every state in the country, which would increase awareness. Researchers have discovered that ticks not only travel on deer and mice but also on birds as well. The tick population of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket has increased so dramatically that people speak of an epidemic. We have ticks here on Cape Cod, too. Last year I wrote a flyer about Lyme, which can be obtained from the Wellfleet Health Department. Once warm weather arrives, use bug spray to repel ticks. If ticks succeed in reaching your skin, they will transmit bacteria after 24 to 48 hours, so early removal is critical. When working in the garden, I tuck pants into socks, a doubtful fashion statement but a worthwhile precaution. Finally, I do a tick check every evening before bed and recommend guests do likewise.

Monday, April 14, 2008

An April Day in the Life

Why is it that the sunshine in Wellfleet always seems brighter than anywhere else? We are having one of those sparkling days that make this town so popular. If I had the time, I would walk to Dyer Pond to catch the sunbeams dancing on the surface of the water. But, time is scarce, with doctors’ visits scheduled for both me and Sven all month. I went to Neighborhood Auto to fetch a new battery, then gardened a bit below the swollen Persian lilac buds. I had expected the floor sanders to come. The contractor just called to say they would probably be here tomorrow instead. The service trade folks are in high demand as Wellfleet revs up for yet another season. Yesterday night Sven and I removed everything from the two rooms, so at least all is set for the job. I have not finished painting, but there are lots of other things to do. It seems like an innkeeper’s work is never done. I will iron pillow cases, if I can find the ironing board and iron. The shells on the northern side of the house were spread partially on earth, so I am digging it up and evening the line, grateful to be outside, covered with bug spray, free to enjoy this beautiful day.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A Lot of Work!

Do you know what I hear? Raindrops, on the skylights. Thunder, in the distance. Then church bells, down at the Congregational Church. Sometimes, when the surf is up, we can also hear the waves, pounding at the shore, two miles away. Today is yet another painting day. We are trying to get the country kitchen walls and trim done before the men come in on Monday to sand the old pine floors. Audrey is in the new Green Room, putting the final touches on the wallpaper. Here Sven fiddles with one of the blue doors. They all need a fresh coat of paint. What a lot of work renovation can be!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Uncle Tim's Bridge & Renovation Update

It was an absolutely gorgeous day in Wellfleet, which made me think of summer. I imagined the Web site would have lots of visitors today, all dreaming of vacation, but no. I guess everyone in the Boston area was outside, not in front of their computers! One of the searches was for Uncle Tim's Bridge, so here is a recent photo. Sven and I were married on this bridge ten years ago. Today Nate came to collect gear. The carpenters will return for one day after the floors are sanded, but otherwise the work is almost over, which is lucky because we are eager to get back to business, receiving guests again.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Renovating Hardware

Sven has been busy renovating hardware: doorknobs and hinges. In the past homeowners painted over hinges. Sven was delighted to show me our hinges were engraved "Baldwin." Meanwhile, I was posting availability for Seagull Cottage on the Wellfleet Chamber of Commerce site, a new feature that works like a blog. Check it out here.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Musical Beds

Since guests are coming to Seagull Cottage for the weekend, Sven and I moved out this afternoon. The electricity is on in the main house. Yesterday the counter-top was installed. The plumber came this morning, but his effort to provide us with water in the sink failed, since the fancy faucet from England did not work without the spray attachment, and only two holes had been drilled in the counter-top. The heat is also not yet working, but we do have a heater, so will be cozy and warm tonight, sleeping in Liberty Coin Suite. I wonder how many other innkeepers play musical beds this way?

Thursday, April 03, 2008

In Need of Serenity ...

Wellfleet was quiet this morning when I drove into town for supplies and peered down Whit's Lane at Duck Creek, just west of Uncle Tim's Bridge. Boz, our carpenter from Truro, noticed everyone was acting strange when he went to the lumberyard. Wellfleetians were again experiencing tragedy. Indeed, once home, I discovered the stat counter had numerous visits from people looking for Calebpotter.blogspot, which sent me to Sharyn Lindsey's blog about her son, severely injured in a skateboarding accident July 4th. The entry was heartbreaking: Sharyn reported her ex-husband, Jan, took his own life yesterday. The Cape Cod Times reports a memorial will take place April 20 at Newcomb Hollow Beach.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Introducing the Green Room's Private Bath ...

Voila one magnificent Toto toilet from Robinson Plumbing, and one vanity from Costco with fancy hardware picked up at Simon's end-of-the-year sale. Some days the renovation project seems to go at a snail's pace. But then the pace picks up and we pant along behind, trying to catch up, amazed at all the improvements. Today the plumber was here, and the electrician. Tomorrow the counter-top arrives. Sven and I am still madly painting. Radiators, walls, trim, ceilings, etc. We cannot wait for the project to be done!