Friday, December 29, 2006

A December Day in the Life

December is a sleepy month for bed & breakfasts. The first week of December is even known as “dead week” since everyone has just been somewhere for Thanksgiving and people want to stay home. With the Christmas holiday around the corner, emphasis shifts to shopping, not stopping in Wellfleet for a romantic getaway. Innkeepers use the free time to take stock of their business. I am pleased to say we have done remarkably well. (Chez Sven was even featured in the travel section of the Guardian earlier in the month, now linked from our Web site.) I then put together a budget for the coming year and discuss with Sven plans for a totally “green” room, which will feature an organic mattress. We beachwalk Lecount Hollow at low tide, where holiday surfers are out enjoying the ocean. Finally, I sift through 2007 reservations and realize Seagull Cottage is already booked July 1-September 15. One couple signed up for their fifth year, another for their fourth, two couples for their third. The slots go fast, since the cottage books by the week. We also have three weeks booked by new guests who were here for only a fall weekend. I note that Liberty Coin Suite also has a few bookings and confirm all these reservations in letters, which I will mail tomorrow. Finally, I spend two hours at the computer, sending holiday greetings to everyone who chose Chez Sven during the past year. Thank you for making 2006 our best yet!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Men in Trees & Winter Sunsets

This week we had some of the trees behind Seagull Cottage removed. We always enjoy watching the men climb up and slowly hack away limbs. The garden will have more light next summer. I look forward to the second step, removal of the stumps, which is to take place in January.

December is a very quiet month in Wellfleet, if you are to believe the Chamber of Commerce. We have twelve nights booked, which is not bad when you consider I closed the bed & breakfast the weekend of the memorial service for my mom. In December, Sven likes to go to Duck Harbor and admire the sunsets. “I’ve seen many sunsets up in the north, but these are remarkable,” he says. “There is such peacefulness walking on the beach. At this time of year, we are basically alone. No one there.” We did see Selectman Dale Donovan and Steven, out enjoying Duck Harbor as well, and waved. My dad used to love to watch the sunsets from the Mayo Beach parking lot. Here it is, the view that screams, “Peace! Wellfleet! Peace! ”

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

What the National Seashore Has Become Under George Bush

One of the Wellfleet facts I always tell guests is that 61% of our town is located within the National Seashore. President Kennedy was instrumental in the creation of this wonderful nature park in 1961. It includes pristine land in Wellfleet, Eastham, Truro and Provincetown. People who owned recently built homes, on parcels smaller than 3 acres, either sold them to the government in the 1970s or negotiated a sale that provided life use of the property or 25-year leases. The last leases have now come to term. At article in the New York Times of November 9, entitled “In Cape Cod’s Dunes, Something’s Growing besides Scrub Pine” describes how a change is occurring at some of the 600 private plots, where houses had been built prior to 1959. Brazen, rich, homeowners decide to teardown and rebuild on a grand scale, since they have realized no one will sue over such behavior. Sven and I saw one such house on a walk to Slough Pond last winter. We followed a path that led to an attractive mansion. Up on the deck, we realized the new, taller, house has a view of the ocean. We have also come across lovely confiscated homes, like this one to the right, that now belong to the government. They have not been removed, as the Seashore plan provided, perhaps due to a lack of funding. They sit in ruin, some obviously used by squatters in summer. Flashlights, old newspapers, empty wine bottles litter the floor. A sign tells us we should not be there: "US Property: No Trespassing." Some houses offer incredible views of ponds. Decaying deck boards, rotting beams, plants in gutters indicates no one has done any maintenance here for years. These houses are like old men on execution row: they sadly await termination. As we stand by the lakeshore and look back up at one confiscated home, I can only imagine how upset the owners must have been to lose such precious property. Had a similar experience happened to me, I would be absolutely furious at the new construction in the National Seashore, a place that was meant to be construction-free. It just goes to show what money can buy under the watch of the present administration ...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Midnight Blue and Green ...

Our recent days have been midnight blue, dark, dark, and cold here at Chez Sven because my mother, Beatrice Grabbe, our resident guest, passed away November 29. We all miss her. For more information, see my other blog, By Bea's Bedside.

Today Oprah featured Al Gore on her popular program. Sven and I finally got to see his documentary this week and recommend it highly. Oprah’s Web site has information from the show, for anyone who missed it. Here is one segment about a family’s going green ...