Saturday, November 29, 2008
Many non-residents have returned to Wellfleet for the Thanksgiving holiday, and lights flicker on the hillside at night, evidence of their presence. One neighbor makes a point of walking to Dyer Pond with her daughters on every visit because of the peace she finds there. Today Sven and I went to Dyer Pond ourselves and proceeded on to Great Pond. The photo below shows nearby Turtle Pond. How serene it was! Not a sound could be heard. Quite a contrast to the village where Xmas trees are on sale outside the former Catholic Church, future Preservation Hall. "Fresh from Nova Scotia, Premium Quality, Large Assortment" read the flyer from the Wellfleet Chamber. The sale will continue tomorrow from noon to 4 p.m. and next weekend. On Sunday, December 7th, Preservation Hall will hold its annual craft fair, a great event which always features the most amazing gingerbread houses you can imagine ....
Posted by Alexandra Grabbe at 3:10 PM
Thursday, November 27, 2008
The Outer Cape shares a special history with the Plymouth Colony, where the first Thanksgiving was celebrated. Before settling in Plymouth, the pilgrims anchored their ships in Provincetown Bay on November 11, 1620. There, in the Mayflower cabin, they drew up and signed the compact for the government of the future colony. They walked as far as Wellfleet and stole corn from the Indians at Truro's Corn Hill. This corn was used for seed the following year, keeping the men and women of Plymouth from starvation. A small party of pilgrims even explored the area north of Corn Hill and camped out beside a pond on the second night. There is a bronze plaque to commemorate the event. Apparently, the pilgrims found a spring and "drank their first New England water" there ... Here at Chez Sven, as we approach this great holiday, we are grateful for all the wonderful guests who visited us in Wellfleet over the past year and hope they will return next year. If you are reading this blog and have not yet stayed at Chez Sven, do consider a visit in 2009. Thank you for reading Wellfleet Chezsven Blog. Happy Thanksgiving to you all!
Posted by Alexandra Grabbe at 8:58 AM
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
I do not have an iPhone. Neither does Sven. I do not even feel especially deprived at not having one. However, we both find this new technology impressive. I was able to admire my son's iPhone when he visited the east coast last summer. Chez Sven is now delighted to announce that we are among the first bed & breakfasts on Cape Cod available through iPhone. The screenshot to the left is of an application called"Inntouch." It can be found here. You must first download it to the iPhone or ipod touch. Then you can launch it and do a search for our B&B. The application is free, so easy to try out, and was pioneered by ILOVEINNS.COM.
Posted by Alexandra Grabbe at 5:54 PM
Monday, November 24, 2008
I made pancakes for the Green Room guests this morning, which they seemed to appreciate, and gave advice on possible outings for the day. I suggested walks at LeCount and Dyer Pond, two of our favorite places. Once they had left, I spent at least an hour trying to reach dentists for appointments and service trade folks to install a new water heater in the cottage, since ours broke this past weekend. After lunch, Sven and I went to the Wellfleet dump with trash, as well as glass, plastic, and cardboard for recycling. We continued on to the Truro Swap Shop where Sven found a brand new history book with DVD, to his great delight, about the Second World War in the Pacific. Then it was off to the beach for a walk. We saw lots of seagulls, standing sentry by the shore and water that looked like molten steel. In the parking lot, I noticed a sign indicating there will be a meeting about the proposed surfing ban tomorrow evening at the library. Back at the house, I kneaded organic bread for breakfast and worried over which photos to put on a new Web site in the United Kingdom. Sven and I decided it is impossible to choose only two and communicate everything that is going on here at Chez Sven, but choose we must, so that did not get done. I reflected on the fact that last winter, within the next two weeks, our cottage would already be fully booked for 2008. This year, what with the economic crisis, we have already had two cancellations for 2009, plus one for Thanksgiving! Yikes! What a difference a year makes...
Posted by Alexandra Grabbe at 4:05 PM
Sunday, November 23, 2008
One of the issues Sven and I have not been able to resolve is what to do about guests who drink wine in bed. There is nothing wrong with drinking wine in bed per se. The problem is drinking wine in bed and spilling the wine, especially red wine, which seems to be the drink of choice for most of our guests over the past year. Recently we had a couple in Liberty Coin Suite who managed to spill wine on the sheets, comforter cover, and linen dresser scarf. Above, Sven works assiduously at removing the stains. When my back was turned, I suspect he even tried a bit of bleach, which I stock reluctantly for such occasions. These guests also broke one of my fancy wine glasses. They offered to pay for the broken glass, but neglected to mention the widespread wine-spot orgy whose results awaited us once they had left. I liked these people but regret to say cannot have them back under the circumstances. Innkeepers must expect some damage to linens. That goes with the territory. What I felt was missing was an apology of some sort. I told Sven that no drinking of wine in the room would have to become one of our only rules. Our current Green Room guests also brought two bottles of wine, two wineglasses, and a corkscrew. They have been careful with their glasses and their wine. No signs of spots so far … Still, when we do revise the Web site, I think red wine will have to be outlawed in rooms. I have no problem with white wine. Riesling, anyone?
Posted by Alexandra Grabbe at 11:02 AM
Friday, November 21, 2008
The autumn leaves are all down now, and I have raked them up. Some I will use for future compost. Others get carted to the dump. Since ticks like to nest in beds of dried leaves, I do my best to remove as many as possible. Lyme has become a national health crisis. Ticks travel on birds, as well as mice and deer. I warn every guest about the risk ticks pose here on Cape Cod where Lyme Disease is now described as "endemic." While at the doctor's the other day, I discovered a publication about Lyme, which seemed worthwhile. I just visited the Web site for CALDA and joined. The home page shows how very SMALL deer ticks can be. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is one of the interesting new therapies which are being tried. I have written five letters to Oprah, hoping she will get interested in Lyme Disease, but so far, no response. I guess she feels tummy tucks and liposuction segments with Dr. Oz produce better ratings. If one of her close family were infected, she would quickly realize how important Lyme research is and urge listeners to contribute to organizations like CALDA.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I have had a request for a photo of Dyer Pond in the snow. No snow yet, but the air had a feel of winter this week, late afternoon. The cold winds today remind us that 2008 is drawing to a close. At Chez Sven, over the past year, we have been fortunate to receive dozens of charming people, each exceptional in his/her own way. When guests are open to conversation, Sven and I enjoy sharing our life experience with them. Often, they will do the same. Here are just a few of the interesting topics discussed at the breakfast table over the past months:
participation in Renaissance fairs throughout the county,
getting up early to milk cows on an organic dairy farm,
mixed feelings about boot camp prior to government assignment in Afghanistan,
restoration of ancient documents in Britain,
creation of new wallpaper designs,
enjoying a second education due to a new job helping a deaf student at college.
To our surprise, we have discovered innkeeping provides ample opportunity to learn about the world. Innkeeping also creates a situation that allows personal contact in an informal fashion. I have noticed that the people who chose Chez Sven often feel the same way about this exchange. Here is what one guest had to say: “Our daughter still talks about the Ice Hotel pictures Sven showed her. One of our favorite things about the B&B experiences we have had over the years is getting to know everyone through their unique life experiences.”
Posted by Alexandra Grabbe at 7:09 AM
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Sven and I love salvage. As many former guests know, the Wellfleet Transfer Station is Sven's "favorite place." We used to shop at the salvage store in Wareham, before it moved to New Bedford. A year ago our renovation project was just starting. Among the objects we were able to save: floorboards. Here they are, set out on the lawn, before installation. Now, with the green movement, salvage is going big-time, definitely a good thing. This morning NECN Dream House featured a great salvage store in Springfield, MA. If you are not close enough to shop there, find a salvage center near you here. In July, my brother Nick reported on a salvage project in Amherst.
Posted by Alexandra Grabbe at 10:37 AM
Saturday, November 15, 2008
The leaves are falling, what with the rain and wind. The Japanese Maple beside the house shed all her leaves, like throwing off clothes all at once. I looked out at breakfast, and the tree was clothed. By noon, the leaves were on the ground. Sven and I sat and chatted with our Green Room guests this morning. The discussion inspired Sven to blog ....There is an all-day event at the school today which I would have liked to have attended and reported on, but alas, I was doing other things, preparing rooms for Liberty Coin guests who arrive this afternoon. The program sounded really interesting. It could be summarized as Everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know-about-Wellfleet-Harbor-and-marina. While waiting for the second set of guests to arrive, I also helped Sven post his second Distant Mirror Blog, this time recounting his memories of the Second World War in the Swedish village of Eksharad. Do read it and encourage him to write more.
Posted by Alexandra Grabbe at 2:45 PM
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
At ten o'clock this morning, a crowd of citizens gathered to witness the reopening of Uncle Tim's Bridge after a total renovation that came in under budget and ahead of schedule, according to the town's assistant administrator Rex Peterson. Peterson delivered a short speech thanking those associated with the project. Then Selectwoman Jacqui Wildes Beebe cut the ribbon (with enormous scissors, visible to the left) and the school children of Wellfleet gleefully streamed across the new bridge, created to resemble the old but with structural improvements. Steve Durkee turned up in his rowboat, adding a special touch to the ceremony. The weather was perfect for the occasion. The bridge holds special meaning for me and Sven since we were married beside it eleven years ago. Uncle Tim's Bridge has become one of Wellfleet's most beloved landmarks. Wellfleet has made photos documenting the construction process available on the town's Web site. Make sure to cross the bridge to Cannon Hill during your next stay in town!
Posted by Alexandra Grabbe at 10:27 AM
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Reporting a perfect day on Cape Cod happens often in this blog! We enjoyed yet another of the invigorating kind, the type of day that makes one happy to be alive. I also would like to report an excellent article in Sunday's Boston Globe. The reporter chose the title "Kindness of Neighbors," but, in my opinion, the piece is as much about the kindness of Caleb - dressed as Yellowbeard to the right, marching in victory one year after his accident - inspiration for the kindness of neighbors, and the grace of Sharyn Lindsay, his mother, who has us all awed.
Posted by Alexandra Grabbe at 8:07 PM
Monday, November 10, 2008
Sven does a lot of walking! Right now, he is asking me to head out to the ocean for a walk since our new Green Room guests have settled in. While walking is good physical exercise, getting out and doing it takes up a good chuck of the day. For months, I have been hoping my husband would start a blog of his own since he has so many interesting ideas to share and an incredible knowledge of history. He has finally agreed and even chose the title. The first posting went up today. My son is in Japan on business, so I cannot fix all of the features as wished for now, but it is a start. I hope readers of Wellfleet Chezsven Blog will visit Distant Mirror Blog and welcome our reluctant new blogger. Former students who comment get half-price on a bed & breakfast stay this winter. (If unable to post comments to the blog, contact Boe at svenolof AT comcast DOT net.)
Posted by Alexandra Grabbe at 3:44 PM
Sunday, November 09, 2008
This fall GREEN was the big trend identified by TripAdvisor. While I am not a fan of TripAdvisor, a service pushing big hotels and discounted rates, I do pay attention to their travel trends surveys. Activities such as visiting national parks, hiking, and engaging in adventure sports were mentioned as becoming more popular. 34% of the respondents said they would visit an environmentally friendly hotel in the coming year, as opposed to 30% in 2007. This is great news, but these surveys were conducted prior to the economic meltdown. Today, in the New York Times, I noticed a survey by the Pew Center for People and the Press, Oct. 9-12, 2008. The first activity respondents said they would give up was Vacation Spending with a whopping 59%, followed closely by Eating Out Less Often, 55%. Now, that does not sound very good for Wellfleet whose two major industries are tourism and shellfishing….
Posted by Alexandra Grabbe at 7:10 PM
Saturday, November 08, 2008
Yesterday I mentioned the erosion at LeCount Hollow Beach but did not post any evidence. Here are photos for those who expressed interest. On the left, a beachcomber returns home to play Martha Stewart with driftwood and brush, possible Halloween decorations? This photo was taken less than two months ago. On the right, only the upper posts of the staircase remain after last week's storm and high tide. The unusually clement weather this weekend brought quite a few people to the beach today, for the most part, with their dogs. The landscape was starkly beautiful. Sven and I walked at Duck Harbor, where I took the below photo of the sky.
Posted by Alexandra Grabbe at 3:35 PM
Friday, November 07, 2008
Sven and I try to walk several times a week. Here in Wellfleet, we have a great variety of choices for our walks. Our most frequent pick: LeCount Hollow Beach. Some people do not understand the pleasure of walking on a cloudy day. What makes a beach attractive without blue sky to reflect on the ocean water, turning it greenish-blue? For one thing, most people do not proceed out if there is no sunshine, so the beach at low tide is clear of footprints. Walking there makes one feel like a child, faced with a sheet of glossy fingerpaint paper, somehow exhilarating even at 60! Today mist hung over the beach, and, with it came an air of mystery. The sun itself was shrouded in fog. After a few minutes, we could not see where we had been, nor where we were going. One becomes suspended in that moment of time. As we progressed, we noticed erosion from the recent storm. In the distance appeared the remnants of what must have once belonged to the Marconi Station. In Sven’s words, “The beach is always different from day to day. Sometimes one hesitates in the parking lot because of the mist. We went down anyhow today and had a very nice walk with the sea rolling in. Such silence, no sound whatsoever...”
Posted by Alexandra Grabbe at 2:17 PM
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Above, two adorable guests from Germany enjoy the old cedars in front of Chez Sven. What's the theme of the day? Obama's victory and hope for the children of the world! What's on the menu? Kale soup with organic kale and potatoes from the garden. What's important for your health? Using non-toxic products and foods. (Not sure about the sausage Sven loves in the soup though ...) I have written about body burden before in this blog. Now comes a conference, involving Seventh Generation and EWG, once more drawing attention to this problem. We are surrounded by chemicals. It is hard to avoid them. Many diseases are brought on by environmental triggers. According to the conference, there are environmental solutions, and that is the good news. We have to all work hard to raise consciousness about choices. Think twice every time you use a household product. Check the label. Don't buy beauty products until you have checked the ingredients. For a whole lot more information, read report on the conference in the Seventh Generation Newsletter and, as the year draws to a close, consider a contribution to the Environmental Working Group.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
I saw half a dozen Obama supporters on the road outside the Wellfleet Senior Center and one lone man with a McCain sign. There was a steady stream of voters heading inside, a phenomenon apparently true across the country. At the voting booths stood young and old alike, eager to be counted in this historic election. How exhilarating it felt casting a vote for the Obama/Biden ticket! It is certainly time for change and a new direction ...
Posted by Alexandra Grabbe at 12:09 PM
Saturday, November 01, 2008
Paula Erickson, who skillfully mans Hatch’s veggie stand during tourist season, stopped by the other day with her friend Nette to check out the bed & breakfast. While walking to the cottage, Paula noticed a tree that I had always thought of as obnoxious. Why? We sometimes stepped on the small bitter fruit that fell to the ground in the fall, tracking the pulp into the house. Paula, being a fruit person, saw our tree in a totally different light. She was ecstatic about it. The following day she left us a wonderful book, Cooking with Exotic Fruits and Vegetables. Sure enough, on page 30, after Pawpaw and before Pomegranate, came Persimmon and a recipe for persimmon fudge. Paula included the following note: "Methinks it is a common persimmon aka Simmon or Possumwood. Fruits are orange to purplish brown. Sweet when ripe but contains tannin; strongly astringent when immature. Here's to our local wild edibles!" Yesterday I could find no Halloween pumpkins on doorsteps. Today I spotted these beauties, evidence of such artistic ability that could not resist taking a photo.
Posted by Alexandra Grabbe at 4:41 PM