Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Letter to Paul Pilcher

Dear Paul,

Congratulations on your election as Selectman! The Economic Development Committee will miss having you as chair. Although we did accomplish a lot over the past couple years, I’m sorry we failed in the implementation of our main goal, turning Wellfleet into a town for all seasons, ie. winter, spring, summer, and fall. A "town for all seasons" Wellfleet is not.

I found myself apologizing to a guest, who arrived Monday morning, when she expressed an interest in walking through the village. She can certainly walk her heart out, but with the sidewalks torn up, walking is treacherous and most businesses remain closed. To make matters worse, it was raining outside. I hate to admit it but, during this recession, Wellfleet has begun to resemble a ghost town.

I felt rather ridiculous suggesting she go to the public library, called “the pulse of Wellfleet” about ten years ago by Philip Hamburger in The New Yorker. Not much has changed since then, despite our committee’s best efforts. Funseekers offers adventures to aspiring kiteboarders and windsurfers, who can relax with a massage at Quiet Mind Studio afterward, but tourists do hope to find a few shops open as well.

I told her Provincetown was, no doubt, more lively. Whalewatching started up in April. Most Commercial Street shops in P-town are open during the week, as well as on weekends. Art’s Dune Tours operate over the weekend and can be organized by appointment for the weekday of your choice.

I could not help but react to the crestfallen expression on her face and wish the situation were different. What’s more, she came without a car and must get around via public transportation, or on foot. I drove her down to the harbor where Pearl was all shuttered up. It is one of the first restaurants to close in the fall. Can’t we do better? I fear there are still too few attractions for tourists to take in once the last oystershell has been carted away after Oysterfest. This week Moby Dick’s and Mac’s Shack opened for business, but seriously, how can we call ourselves a town for all seasons when there’s still so little going on the first week of May?