Friday, February 24, 2006

What Cape Cod Restaurant Bears the Name of a Swedish Pop Group?

Part of the fun of being a bed & breakfast owner is meeting new people. Our guests are usually charming, like the young couple from Connecticut who checked in this afternoon for a Romantic Getaway. I baked raisin bread and was just cooling the granola when I noticed their car had already pulled into the parking space beside Seagull Cottage, so I hurried over to greet them. Sven joined us as I showed off the cottage. “Did you hear what they said?” he remarked back outside. “Oh, wow!” For some reason, my husband is always surprised at people’s reactions to Seagull Cottage. In two years we have had one dissatisfied couple. The reason for their dissatisfaction was the desire to be beside the ocean. The online agency must not have taken that request into consideration. Everyone else has loved the place.

Our Romantic Getaway guests told me they had enjoyed reading this blog. The husband creates Web sites for a living and said I should write more often, so here I am, back at the computer, blogging away.

Actually, I do have another good restaurant to report. On Wednesday Sven & I traveled to Orleans to sample the fare at Abba, which has generated great vibes all the way to Wellfleet. (Sven had hoped to find a Swedish connection, but Abba also means Daddy in Hebrew.) The restaurant looks tiny from the outside, but the interior is a study in the clever use of space. Not a corner goes to waste. We immediately liked the fresh flowers, Moroccan tea glasses in which candles flickered, and soothing beige, lime-green, and apricot-pink color scheme. Soft jazz was playing in the background as Sven sipped his beer. The waitress explained that, in summer, tables are also available on the deck, under mosquito netting, which must make for a pleasant dining experience. And, the food? Excellent. It reminded us of Nouvelle Cuisine, enjoyed in France. We will definitely return. To Abba goes a Gold Plate. Reservations strongly recommended.

Monday, February 20, 2006

The Middle of Nowhere

I know, I know. It has taken us quite some time to locate the schoolhouse plaque, which marks the location of the first school in Wellfleet. We have been up Old King's Highway several times, searching, exploring the maze of dirt paths that crisscross the National Seashore. Now, at last here is the scoop: easy to miss, the plaque is tucked away, five yards off the road, at an intersection called "the Four Corners.” To be honest, we walked right past it today. Luckily a woman was out with her dog and directed us back. The old bronze plaque says “King’s Highway. Here was built the first school house in Wellfleet.” I will have to do a little research to find out why and when the building was torn down. There are no houses nearby, so it is hard to imagine the reason for a school, out in the middle of nowhere.

We continued our walk until we reached a large modern house, also seemingly in the middle of nowhere. The brand new shingles led us to believe someone rich must have purchased a teardown. There is no way the original footprint was taken into consideration, but the government doesn’t seem to care anymore. With no pond in sight, we really wondered why build on this spot? Up on the deck, we understood. There, way far off in the distance, we could see a sliver of blue Atlantic. The owners can rightfully claim a waterview.

Chez Sven is NOT in the middle of nowhere. Our old house is tucked away in the woods off Route 6, behind a rise, so that we do not hear the traffic. Guests like the fact that Old King’s Highway is still a dirt road. Last night we walked down to "the wicked oyster," which opened last year to much fanfare. Visiting restaurants is one of the fun aspects of managing a bed & breakfast. One does not want to recommend a place unless it passes muster. At the wicked oyster, floorboards are wonderfully wide, indicating age, similar to those here at Chez Sven. My salmon dinner was excellent. Our attentive waitress DJ served with a smile. The wicked oyster, open year round, uses organic ingredients whenever possible, so let’s give it a Gold Plate, okay? Within walking distance makes the wicked oyster an ideal place to dine while staying at Chez Sven!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

A February Day in the Life

To run a good bed & breakfast, one has to be adept at a very modern concept: multi-tasking! Yesterday's letter to Wendy Gordon at the Green Guide Institute has produced a quick response. Ms. Gordon agrees to list green bed & breakfasts at the bottom of the Web site. And today her assistant Kate is requesting information on Chez Sven. We email back and forth as the bell clangs outside. The UPS man waves from his truck, having left a small package on the doorstep. Inside I find 5 honeycomb tiles from Casa Talavera. I glance at the computer screen to see if a tentative booking from Belgium has been confirmed when the phone rings. Paul, in New Mexico, wants to know if we have received the tile. “Yup, it’s here,” I tell him. “Just arrived.” Then Paul, in California, emails the good news that a Canon Powershot digital camera is on the way, a present for his mom. I call Van Van, the wonderful Tileman, who promises to stop by after work and set the last 5 tiles needed to complete the tub flange in Seagull Cottage. Meanwhile Sven is painting the ceiling and oiling the floor. I take one last look at the multiple slips of yellow paint and opt for Oriole. We have a Wellfleet oriole living in the tree outside, a bird of Baltimore no more what with climate change. Off I rush to Orleans Paint, stopping on the way at Neighborhood Auto for a quick technological review of the Volvo. A CHECK MOTOR light was flashing yesterday on the way home from Trader Joe’s in Hyannis where I noted a great selection of tulips at the unbeatable price of $5.99, perfect for the cottage table. Guests are coming in a couple days, sweethearts celebrating Valentine’s Day. Since I want everything perfect, as soon as I get home, I call a friend who helps out with green cleaning. She agrees to come Thursday. I check the organic flour to make sure I can bake bread. Then it’s off to the dump. When I get home, Sven tells me I just missed Nate who stopped by to pick up the check for making the Studio's new hand rail, required by insurance. I call him on his cell. There is also a message from Christelle, excellent massage therapist. A March guest has requested salt rubs. A specialist gave her a salt rub today, so she is ready to provide this service next month. I sit back down at the computer and print out directions to Whole Health New England in Plymouth where I must go tomorrow. Then I return to the revision I did this morning of the first chapters of my novel. Busy, busy, busy have I been, as usual, even though Chez Sven has no mid-week guests in quiet season. A bed & breakfast owner’s work is never done!