Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Lack of Indoor Activities Tough on Guests & Innkeepers

Rain, rain, rain. Suggestions to guests on local activities have been hard to come by this week. The Australians enjoyed the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. The Canadians bought wine at the Truro Vineyards and did some antiquing along Route 6 A in Brewster. Then, yesterday, the Australians explored Provincetown but said they were disappointed to find PAMM only open Wednesday through Sunday.

The weather was not auspicious for whale watching from out of P-town either. And, this option for visitors will dry up shortly. Dolphin Fleet’s final trips of the season to Stellwagen Bank are scheduled for October 31. No more close encounters with whales until mid-April.

Kayaking on Wellfleet ponds, with Jack’s rentals, ended after Labor Day. On behalf of one guest, I called to ask if it were possible to rent a kayak. The answer was yes, but customers need to pick up with roof rack. In general, rental cars do not feature roof racks. So, I sent this couple to Goose Hummock, in Orleans.

Several outfits do tours of the harbor, according to a new member of the Economic Development Committee. I intend to obtain more details. Doing tours is great, but the next step is to advertise and inform the Chamber of Commerce so the information gets passed on or call a few innkeepers and restaurant owners who can spread the word.

I was really glad to see the Historical Society has spruced up its front yard. I hope this small museum on Main Street will also increase hours so I can offer up the viewing of Wellfleet’s artifacts to guests in the off-season, for history can be fun for the entire family all year long. I would love to see the museum open "upon request" or "by appointment" in the off-season.

Here's the problem with Wellfleet: many businesses do not stay open for the occasional customer in the fall. How can innkeepers attract off-season guests by boasting about all the wonderful things there are to do, when there aren’t? We have a German family coming next week, and I sure hope the weather improves by then, so hiking, biking, and beachcombing become more attractive.

At Chez Sven we are fortunate to still have some mid-week bookings. During fall and spring many rural B&Bs only generate income on weekends. With the recession and local folks out of work, two restaurants even closed their doors earlier than usual: Juice and Pearl. And, twenty people watched a performance at WHAT Sunday night. All you need to do is go into Wellfleet Marketplace and observe the boredom etched on the face of the young cashier to get it. This rainy week has made me think the Economic Development Committee must do better. Discovering Wellfleet is a start, but not enough. We need to attract more year-round residents. We need to create affordable housing. How to connect with those potential year-round residents, young, able to work from home, and eager to start families so our elementary school will remain open? At Monday's Economic Development Committee meeting, Chair Paul Pilcher explained that a more powerful Internet connection will be coming to the Outer Cape in two years. In the meantime, can Wellfleet become a town that does not only cater to tourists? Ideas, anyone?