Saturday, June 30, 2007

Cape Cod Life Picks Winners on Outer Cape

Cape Cod Life has published its Best Of lists for 2007. The Outer Cape winners: Wicked Oyster, silver for Fine Dining; silver to Moby Dick’s for Family Dining; silver to the Beachcomber for Outdoor Restaurant; silver to the Bookstore for Water View Restaurant; gold to the Bookstore and silver to the Beachcomber for Seafood Restaurant; gold to the Bookstore for Restaurant Reachable by Boat; silver to the Wicked Oyster for Breakfast; silver to Moby Dick’s for Lunch; silver to Moby Dick’s for Chowder; silver to the Wellfleet Chocolate Sparrow for Fudge; gold to the Beachcomber for Night Life/Music; gold to the Inn at Duck Creeke for Piano Bar; gold to Eventide Motel & Cottages for Motel and Cottages; gold to Marconi Beach for the Best Beach; silver to Wellfleet Harbor for the Best Harbor for Cruising; silver to the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary for Walking/Bike Path; gold to the Left Bank Gallery for Fine Arts & Crafts; silver to Periwinkle for Shop for the Home; silver to Farmhouse Antiques for Antiques; gold to Kelley’s Flowers for Best Flower shop; silver to Herridge Books for Bookstore; gold to Abiyoyo for Children’s Shop; gold to the Wellfleet Cinema for Best Rainy Day Activity; gold to Cahoon Hollow Beach for Best Picnic Spot; silver to Chequessett Yacht and County Club for Golf Course; gold to the Cape Cod National Seashore and silver to the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary for Park/Nature Area. Whew! That’s a lot of awards for Wellfleet. No wonder people come by plane, boat, car, bike, mobile home. Too bad Cape Cod Life does not include a Best Green category ..

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Confirmation of Innkeeper Experience

Here is the view from the Studio steps, towards the main house. This blog had only 32 hits yesterday, but 1077 during the month of June. Readers do not always leave comments, which makes it hard to know what people think. I was wondering about the exasperation blog I wrote a couple days ago when I received this message from Linda Murphy at the Bird's Nest B & B in Tivoli, New York, confirming other innkeepers have had identical experience and feel the same way: "Hi, I've enjoyed reading your blog because I too have a bed and breakfast ...our 14th year. The early phone calls made me laugh - when the phone rings at 6 a.m., I think something bad, someone has died, and I hear 'Do you have availability tonight? ...' Thanks for a great site, great info, and great pictures."

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Phone-call Etiquette

Calling friends before 9:30 a.m. is not regular practice as it is thought to be inconsiderate. Ditto for calling a bed & breakfast prior to 9:30 a.m. From now on, people who call before 8:30 a.m. will simply get the cold shoulder. I have also decided not to respond to early-morning messages. If callers want lodging that badly, they will phone again later. Morning is a very busy time for innkeepers, who do not offer a buffet. When I am making and serving breakfast, it is not an ideal moment to give a description of our location in Wellfleet or explain the benefits of a green b & b. After breakfast, I frequently go into the garden and deadhead flowers in summer, returning inside once the heat of the day intensifies.

Calling friends after 10 p.m. is a no-no. Calling a bed & breakfast late at night should be, too. Innkeepers often get up very early and need a good night’s sleep, especially innkeepers at establishments that allow children. Here at Chez Sven, this week we have guests from Sweden with a three-year-old and a two-year-old. The house was perfectly quiet by 8 p.m. I turned in myself at 9, knowing we would all be rising at dawn, and we did! You can bet we will go to bed early again tonight.

Conclusion, call after 10 a.m, and before 10 p.m. Show consideration when you call an innkeeper. It is usually possible to tell from a Web site whether he/she prefers to be contacted over the Internet. Here at Chez Sven email is our preferred initial method of contact. I answer all email as soon as possible. I will be glad to answer questions over the phone, but prefer to be called at a decent time ...

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Vacation = Relaxation

Perfect weather in Wellfleet this weekend. Here are photos of a few of our recent guests, relaxing in the garden. My neighbor commented on their contentment and said she would love to be able to stretch out on a lounge chair herself and enjoy her visit the same way but must stay busy preparing her house for summer tenants. It is a good year to come to Wellfleet. My guests report amazing numbers of whales on whale-watching trips from Provincetown, breaching humpbacks for the most part. They also tell me the premiere of “The Clean House” at Wellfleet Harbor Actors’ Theatre (new Julie Harris Stage) last Thursday was a memorable experience. I hope to be able to fit in an evening out myself one of these days. All in all, June 2007 has been a wonderful month for vacationing on Cape Cod ...

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Sam Cooks Brings International Flavor to Wellfleet!

Need a bite to eat between the beach and W.H.A.T.? Check out Sam Cooks, a fancy new deli, bakery, and café located at Cove Corners in the space that used to house Christine’s Oasis. Sam Cooks is the brainchild of world-traveler Sam Baker (yup, that’s his real last name!), a Newton native who summered in Wellfleet for 20 years. A fascination for food prompted Sam to dabble in part-time catering and inspired the dream of owning a restaurant. When Christine and Bob Costa put their business up for sale last year, Sam saw an opportunity to make that dream come true. A passion for ethnic cuisine motivated his decision to feature international foods. Each week the menu will include dishes from two countries, as well as one region of the United States. Portugal, China, and the Mid-Atlantic are this week’s culinary destinations. Sam Cooks will offer more prepared meals and take-out than Christine’s Oasis, but those famous muffins and scones, hot from the oven, will still be available every morning. For lunch, try the salads and shish kabobs. Sam and his staff look forward to welcoming summer visitors and locals alike. Sam Cooks will be open through Labor Day.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

What is the Studio?

Our Studio is located in the garden. Now that Seagull Cottage and Liberty Coin Suite are fully booked through August 19, more people are requesting information on the Studio. It was built in 2003, with recycled floorboards from a porch we removed from the front of the old house. The brick pathways are made out of bricks from the porch foundation. Guests love staying in the Studio (for comments, see Web site). It is Sven's favorite place to sleep because of all the windows (seven!) The Studio is depicted to the right. To the left, our renovated guestroom.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Things To Do On the Beach

Wellfleet’s ocean beaches are renown for their beauty. The water, however, is extremely cold at this time of year. Sticking one’s toe in feels like there should be ice cubes floating beside the driftwood. In any case, tourists do not necessarily visit our beaches to swim. There are lots of other things to do. In fact, I can think of at least half a dozen:

1.) Sunbathe
2.) Watch surfers at high tide
3.) Beachcomb (not many shells these days, but look what the tide brought in!)
4.) Build sandcastles

5.) Fly a kite
6.) Watch the intrepid hang glide off the cliff at White Crest
7.) Walk or jog
8.) Admire the view
9.) Splash in the waves with a boggeyboard
10.) Slow down and enjoy life ….

Friday, June 15, 2007

Kid-Friendly, in Wellfleet

Yesterday, while waiting for guests to arrive, I got a call from a gallery. “I’ve got some folks who are looking for your bed and breakfast,” a female voice said. “Where are you located?”
I gave quick directions. Then I sat and waited for a half hour. No one showed up. After I stopped waiting, a white rental car slowly meandered up Old King’s Highway. The car contained a tired German couple with a cranky five-year-old, seeking an affordable bed & breakfast for four nights. They were not the guests I had been expecting but looked so lost that I decided to help them find a room, since Chez Sven is full.

The gentleman followed me into the house. In his Guide to Wellfleet, he had circled all the kid-friendly establishments. I called the first one and got an answering machine. At the second, I got a friend of the owners who told me there was no one home. Down the list I went. Duck Creek Inn accepts kids but all 27 rooms were full. Sweet Liberty is new. Surely, it would be eager for early season guests? I dialed the number and reached the owner, busy doing last-minute painting. “Sorry! Kids over 10 only,” he said.

Having exhausted all Wellfleet options, I called the Provincetown Chamber of Commerce. An employee told me that the bed and breakfasts in her town, as a rule, do not accept children. I was able to obtain the name of one that does, the Surfside Inn. What’s more, it had a vacancy, as well as a pool. Off my Germans went with a Chez Sven card, which I hope they will share with all their friends back in Dusseldorf. This little exercise taught me that most bed and breakfasts on the Outer Cape are not an option for families. Sad to say, since Wellfleet, in June, is perfect for a family vacation ….

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Another Beautiful Weekend at Chez Sven!

For regular readers, know that the noise I reported the other day has not returned. Birdsong has become the soundtrack to our day. Sometimes I feel like we live in an aviary. We have chickadees, and cardinals, catbirds, and nut-hatches, even orioles and a wren, which Sven calls “the spiller” because of its tendency to spill the safflower seeds all over the cottage deck. Cottage guests love watching the birds. There is a great view of the feeder from the shower.

Sven and I took time to go to the beach today. Once again the weatherman got it wrong. The Outer Cape was sunny and pleasant this weekend and yet some people decided not to come down, based on the forecast for Boston, where it did, indeed, rain. Our guests found lots to do. They enjoyed theatre at WHAT – free tickets in fact – biking, picnicking on the beach, exploring art galleries and the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, taking in a movie, beachcombing, and, of course, eating lobster and other seafood at a couple of Wellfleet’s great restaurants. As for me, I spent most of the weekend in the garden. A gardener-friend came over to help spread the mulch. This year I tried something called “Agresoil,” based on a recommendation from the ladies at the garden center. My friend says Agresoil will make my flowers go bananas. Stay tuned!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

A June Day in the Life

A brisk cup of coffee helped me wake up this morning. My night had been disrupted by loud voices from the top of the hill. I looked at my watch: 2:35! First thing I did after breakfast was trot up to the police station to request a telephone number for reporting any more such incidents. The next time the strangers make noise, a cruiser will stop by to give a warning. After all, the woods are silent for the 300 some odd days when these young partying folks are away. Honeymooners were sleeping in Seagull Cottage last night, and two more sets of guests arrive this afternoon for the main house. The order of the day was making beds and cleaning. I also cut fresh flowers for the bedrooms and dining room table. Reservations have slowed down, but I did book the cottage for one of our cancellations. During the afternoon, I must bake granola and banana bread for breakfast, then receive our weekend guests. New amenities arrived from Trillium Organics. I also received a shipment of Peace Coffee. After the guests check in, I will spend some time opening the boxes and putting the contents away. Then, back to the garden to plant a few more zinnias and kale. It will be a busy day!

PS. In response to the comment from Hiro, the strangers are NOT Wellfleetians. If they lived here year-round, they would understand that sound carries a great distance and be more consideate of the neighbors. They have been quiet since this incident, but should they start merrymaking at 2 a.m. again, a police brigade will come by and issue a warning.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Finding Peace at Chez Sven ...

When I was a teenager, I put Keats’ poem “Innisfree” to music and would sing the words while strumming my guitar:

“I will arise and go now,
And go to Innisfree …”

The second verse begins

“And I will find some peace there,
for peace comes dropping slow,
dropping from the veils of morning
to where the cricket sings …”

The poem is, in fact, all about nature and finding peace in nature. Wellfleet offers Nature with a capital N, thanks to the National Seashore, which makes up 62% of the town. Folks in search of the ideal bed & breakfast sometimes look for a water view. There are a few, pricey options, in Wellfleet. Here at Chez Sven, we suggest walking the beach or the woods, or just watching birds at the Seagull Cottage feeder to find peace. We have had folks up from Manhattan who simply wanted to sit outside at night and admire the stars. Reading comments in our Guestbook is a great way to perceive what past guests have experienced. As regular readers know, I love walking Lecount Hollow beach. There is beauty even in the stark cliff side of a dune. Yesterday I commented to Sven about how peaceful the garden is now with Siberian irises and peonies in bloom. Memorial Day weekend was the busiest yet on Cape Cod, and come July, I know there will be loud voices breaking the silence in our small piece of paradise, unaware that they are destroying the peace so many people come to these woods to find. June is a great time for a vacation ...