Thursday, July 31, 2008

What is a Swedish Breakfast?

Our Swedish guests, in Liberty Coin Suite, are leaving today. This is their third visit over four years. They come from Uppsala but used to live in the USA. When Swedish guests are here, I make a Swedish-type breakfast: bread, tomatoes, cucumbers, cheese, ham, fish pate, etc. Our new Green Room guest reported attending a great poetry reading at the Congregational Church last night. There are so many fun things to do here in the summer. I wish I had the time and leisure to take advantage of more of them! For instance, David Wright will be performing on the piano at Mayo Beach this evening.
People are always asking me, "What is a Swedish breakfast?" So, now I have put the response on the blog. I do appreciate guests who remove their shoes, the way Swedes do, prior to entering a room. I wish we had that habit here in America. Yesterday morning the father of this Swedish family was preparing a speech he will give at Harvard this week, so mother and kids were waiting patiently at the top of the stairs when I went to call them for breakfast. I could not resist taking a photo.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Email Not Working Today

Just a quick note to say my email has not been working today. I am not sure why and hope to clear this problem up quickly. I apologize to anyone who has been waiting for a response.

UPDATE THURSDAY MORNING: Fixed it. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Getting Ready for the Lobster Rodeo

To all you procrastinators out there, our Green Room is still available August 24, 25, 26, 27.

Our Green Room guest left this morning saying, "Boy, we really lucked out!" That is the way I like people to feel. One can never tell from a website what the bed & breakfast experience will be.

"I liked the fact that there were no frou-frous," his companion added, replacing the latest copy of the New Yorker on the coffee table in the living room.

Last week’s New Yorker cover showed clever lobsters, escaping prior to being eaten via napkins tied together out the window. Yesterday our guests from Sweden went to Moby Dick’s where they had the scallops, my favorite, this time, rather than lobster. There is always a line at Moby's in summer but it moves fast.

When I was at Hatch’s today, I met a burly man, dressed in a t-shirt that showed a cowboy on a bucking lobster. He was a real lobster fanatic. The specimen, that he and his wife were about to buy, weighed twelve pounds. That was one big lobster!

“Why, I used to eat a lobster like that at one sitting,” the man declared. Then he told me they would transport the purchase to Newport for the Lobster Rodeo, where he once competed with an eighteen-pounder!

Most of the lobsters sold in Wellfleet come from Maine. I remember being disappointed when I learned this. Hatch's advertises Native Lobsters above. I will have to ask whether that sign is still factual.

Anyone who likes the yucky green part inside a lobster, beware! The Cape Cod Times reported last week that it may have been affected by Red Tide. Better skip lobster for now, if you ask me …

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sheri’s Seagull Story

Yesterday a lady called hoping for accommodation in August. I gave her our available dates, but unfortunately her vacation did not coincide. She asked then, “Do you write the blog?” Hearing the admiration in her voice made me feel warm inside. When you send your words out into cyperspace, there is not usually much feedback. The stat counter tells me how many people visit per day, but it is always fun to hear from guests who enjoy reading this blog about living in Wellfleet and being a green innkeeper.

Today we are going to move cross the country to Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, where my green innkeeper friend Sheri Gibbs has opened her doors for one last season. The inn is up for sale. The building has been maintained without chemicals for more than half a dozen years. Anyone who has chemical sensitivities and wants to be an innkeeper should look into Sheri’s marvelous White Pines Victorian Lodge.

Here is Sheri’s seagull story:

“Some tourists walked into the Sister Bay tourist info office during the summer I managed the place. They just got to gabbing and asking questions...and, along with, ‘Okay, I see the hotel across the do I get there?’ was ‘Do the locals eat the seagulls after tourist season is over?’

What does she think they are? Stage props ?? How could anyone resist? I told them, 'Oh, yeah, every one of them. We light huge bonfires all along the beaches, put bones in our noses, dance around, and cook them. We poke them right into the fire on the ends of our spears.'

This explanation didn't phase them. They thought I was serious.

The women in each of the info offices used to call each other whenever we had a reaaaaaaaaaaly wild one, kind of kept us going on the most hectic days to have something to laugh about. I called the woman in the next village...and, by later that night, so many people had heard the story all over the county, that waiters and waitresses in restaurants were asking local people they knew, 'Would you like your seagull broiled or fried?' Everybody had a great time with it, enjoying the reactions of the tourists at other tables. Some even got more than a few, 'Uh...wh...what's this 'seagull'? Sounds good, but we don't see it on the menu.'"

Here on Cape Cod, I know people did once eat seagulls. However, they caught them, put them in some kind of cage, and stopped the fish diet for a few days prior to consumption.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Need Toy Heaven? Go to Wellfleet's Abiyoyo!

Yesterday I saw a seven-year-old boy streak across the green in front of town hall, repeating over and over, loudly and with glee, “Ab-i-yo-yo, Ab-i-yo-yo.” With the accent on the last syllable, if you please. No doubt what was on his mind: shopping for toys! I got to admire the great collection put together by Cape Cod’s best toy store when my granddaughter was here last week. This store has something for everyone, including the kid that lurks in every grown-up. Not a nook or cranny is empty. There are toys everywhere. I even noticed care was taken to place baskets full of enticing objects at toddler-level. Games, puzzles, books, toy animals, cards, t-shirts, sundresses, hats, puppets, yoyos! – there is something for everyone in this shop, so it is easy for elder siblings and friends to browse while junior picks out that very special treat. This is a challenge, I repeat, because of the selection. My daughter-in-law went home with several purchases. Before leaving today, our Liberty Coin guests planned to take one last foray into town, so their children could shop at Abiyoyo. They had come with a full car, but there is always room for one more great toy. Their kids, however, proved children will play with whatever is handy, including cushions. Just look at the wonderful hiding place they created in our living room this morning!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Wellfleet Preservation Hall to Hold Art & Travel Auction

Here is a photo of the original doors, formerly of the Catholic Church, which now belong to Wellfleet's future Preservation Hall. Tomorrow there will be a Fine Art and Travel Auction to benefit this project. Don't miss this great opportunity to collect work by Wellfleet artists and help renovate the old downtown building, which will become our new community/cultural center. The event will take place on the back lawn at 335 Main Street, Sunday, July 27, 4 p.m. It is possible to see the selection online here here and submit an absentee bid. Happy auction!

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Art of Sharing Nature

When my parents moved to Wellfleet in 1970, there were few houses in the woods off Old King's Highway. Gradually the parcels have been carved off and sold. Houses have been built. My parents were friends with the lady who lived next door in the summer. She built her “bird house” at the other end of her lot, down a side lane, and talked my mother into lending her washing machine. There were no houses down her lane at the time. Now there are two others. That was thirty years ago.

Controversy with neighbors is happening more frequently these days in Wellfleet. The Banner even reported Steve Durkee’s quarrel with his new neighbors who intend to stop people from walking along the path at the foot of their property, where Steve’s wife Nancy kept a book for folks to comment on the view of the inlet beside Uncle Tim’s Bridge. New owners are more apt to bring habits from other places - for instance, from the suburbs - and do not understand the art of sharing nature the way folks who live here year-round do.

Someone in South Wellfleet put up a fence that blocked a path neighbors had always used to reach the bay. That fence got into the newspapers, too.

I do not think the fence, now erected behind Chez Sven, will make the newspapers, but since I have a blog, I can tell readers what I think of it. It's awful! The neighbors inherited money, which is nice for them. They are here in the summer and come a couple weekends in spring and fall. When they emailed me that they planned to get a puppy and wanted to put up a green fence around their property, I offered to share the expense of an invisible fence, since it is my opinion that woods should not be fenced in. There was no more discussion of the topic once I had expressed my opposition. Then, this week, they wrote to inform me that someone was coming to put up their fence. The fence turns out to be five feet high. I will have to landscape the other side of Seagull Cottage, which used to face the woods.

Last year the neighbor's car broke down. Sven went out of his way to help out, driving him all the way to Provincetown. At that time, the neighbor said to let him know if there was anything he could do for us, anything. Memories fade, apparently, when you are a non-resident.

If I am putting this information in my blog, it is so future guests will know I did my best to oppose this insult to our local environment. Guests will have to bring their imagination with them over the next couple months. The fence will eventually have roses growing on it, and perhaps I will plant some broom and rosa rugosa. But, for now it is bare. Don’t you just love summer people?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Phones, Cellular and Land-line

This morning the phone rang, and I answered on my Panasonic that can be transported from room to room. This new phone is convenient when I am outside, but the range does not allow me to take it to Seagull Cottage, unfortunately. I proceeded into my office where I switched to our regular phone. The woman was asking why our number was not on the Web site.

"One reason is that I do not want people to call me," I replied in a very sure-of-myself voice.

"You don't?" she said, surprised.

"Would you want people calling when you were trying to fix breakfast for guests?" I ask. (The first call this morning was, indeed, while I was rushing to get everything on the table.)

The caller saw the wisdom in this argument but persisted: "I had to search online to find your number."

"Yes. People who really want to talk to me will find it if they persevere," I responded.

The discussion went on for a while. She was using a cell phone. I could tell because of the bad sound quality.

I had half a dozen similar calls today regarding availability. One person, charming and eager for a stay in September, made a reservation because we are a green bed & breakfast, but the others were all calling, probably on cell phones, for August.

"How's the weather in Wellfleet today?" one caller asked.

"It was beautiful earlier, but now it's overcast. My guests say there's fog at the ocean ..."

I do not mind answering questions over the phone, although I do prefer when reservations arrive over the Internet, a fact which is posted on the Web site. Often callers are wasting my time because they have not researched our bed & breakfast.

The final call went something like this:

"Do you have any rooms available this weekend?”

“I’m sorry but we do not have availability until August.”

“What are your rates?”

“$170 for the main house, and $200 for Seagull Cottage.”

“Oh! You have cottages?”

"One cottage. Seagull Cottage. It is very popular because it is a cut above everything else.”

“Is one of your cottages available in August?

“We have only one cottage. It is booked through mid-September.”

The lady hung up on me. I think she was using a land line.

The majority of folks who call use cell phones. This is unfortunate. Cell phone use, except in emergency, is not a good idea. Today there was an article on the CNN Web site, which I hope you all will read, about the warning issued by the head of a cancer research institution to his staff on cell phone use and its possible link to cancer. There have been reports abroad that cell phone use can cause brain tumors but the cell phone lobby here, very powerful indeed, usually manages to suppress their release. At last someone is speaking out! How wonderful!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Chez Sven's Water Gets Tested

A few weeks ago a blog reader requested I post a photo of Wellfleet's rowboat for her birthday. I was sorry not to be able to comply at the time. The flowers in the rowboat still are not at their best, but above is what it looked like last week. This morning I took a sample of well water in to the health department for testing. I do not expect the results to be any different from other years, but testing is always a good idea. Water quality can be a concern in a town where everyone has septic systems. Ours is a Title V. I worry about water quality so much that we have three-stage PUR filters in both the main house and cottage. Because of leaching of plastic into the water in drinking bottles, I no longer provide guestrooms with Poland Spring. Instead, I place a pitcher of fresh, filtered water in each room. If guests come with their own bottles, I am happy to fill them. Recently we had a guest who had decorated her SIGG bottle in a great way, so I asked if I could share the idea with blog readers. Here it is, on the left!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Good Day for Laundry

The weatherman got the forecast wrong again. It was supposed to be sunny all day. This morning was damp and dreary, but at least not as humid as over the past few days. Now, at 5 p.m., the sun has come out and the birds are singing. I did not really mind it being overcast because I did laundry, which reminded me of the above photo, taken downtown a few weeks ago. The other main event was the erection of a fence on the border of our property, but more on that soon. One of the most frequent searches we see for this blog is Uncle Tim's Bridge, so here is a recent photo.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A July Day in the Life

I was up at 7:30 this morning, not really raring to go after a long wait yesterday for my Liberty Coin Suite guests, delayed by traffic. Since there were showers overnight and the table outside was wet, I served breakfast in the kitchen. Then it was off to Outer Cape Health for blood work, followed by a quick trip to the dump. Back home, I said goodbye to our Green Room guests, from France and Switzerland, a lovely couple with whom I spoke French, and then turned to our Liberty Coin Suite guests for a quick run-down of restaurants, ponds, and general local information and practical tips on how to have a great week on Cape Cod. Once they had left for Dyer Pond, I vacuumed the Green Room with my trusty Miele vacuum cleaner. After lunch, I made the beds and cleaned the bathroom. It is such a pleasure to be in that bathroom! I especially like the skylight. My daughter-in-law told me it is so beautiful that I should post photos to this blog. It is true that not all accommodations in Wellfleet can boast about bathrooms like ours. This afternoon I will slip into town for some more organic fruit and then wait for the arrival of new guests from Germany.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Computer Update

I would like to be standing with this gentleman in the pink shirt, caught by my camera last week admiring Wellfleet Harbor from Powers Landing. I would stand there just about half a minute before leaping into the cool water, because it is hot, hot, hot today, not ideal for cleaning guest rooms. Yet, clean I must. The cottage and Liberty Coin Suite will both host new people this afternoon. An important tool for an innkeeper is a good vacuum cleaner. We have a Miele and it has served us well. Another indispensable tool in this day and age? The computer. I have a Mac, a really cute white one that I love. While my son was here last week, he took my computer apart and installed a brand new hard drive. I realize how very lucky I am to have a son capable of such an endeavor. Now I have, basically, a new computer in an old but funky container. My son also signed Chez Sven up for Twitter. I have not had time to find out what Twitter can do but seems it is the latest thing in computer gadgetry.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Quite a thunderstorm here last night, bringing much needed rain. Lightning lit up the sky and thunder rumbled for about an hour. Thunderstorms do not seem to roll through the way they do on the mainland. They roll around, as if Wellfleet’s unique location between ocean and bay provided a barrier of sorts. Now all is peaceful again. Since I featured Dyer and Gull ponds in recent blogs, here is a photo of Great Pond, on Cahoon Hollow Road, another blissfully quiet kettle pond that prods the visitor to meditation.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


The Juice is a small, intimate restaurant on the corner of Commercial and Bank Streets in downtown Wellfleet. “Exquisite Cuisine” says the sign above the door. Indeed, past guests have reported great organic food for two summers now. The Juice is only open in summer, the one season when I usually stay close to home. But now my son is visiting, so at last I have the opportunity to see for myself. If you like pizza in an informal setting, try The Juice. Smoothies your thing? The Juice serves seven different varieties, the most popular being Maui Wowie. The pineapple, coconut and banana mixture tasted so good my granddaughter didn’t want to stop drinking it! This is where the young people, who live here year round, go for dinner. The Juice is affordable and the service comes with a big smile. You can eat outside or in, with Latino music playing softly in the background. Recent guests from Colorado raved about the fish tacos and the local organic greens in their salad. What I decided to try were the baked oysters. Yum! I also had one of the evening's specials, striped bass with kale and acorn squash (below). What can I say? Exquisite!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Dyer Pond = Perfect Pond

The number of Internet searches for WELLFLEET SECRET POND defies imagination. I see many which end up on this blog. The idea of a pond being secret mesmerizes. Oh, to be the only people to know its whereabouts! Well, our secret pond has not been secret ever since a reporter for the New York Times mentioned Dyer Pond in an article a few years ago. It remains one of the most beautiful. The water is clear. Sunshine sparkles off the surface. The peace is only broken by an occasional shout from a child playing in the water. You can make castles in the sand, swim, play with toy boats, ride in an inflated boat or on a raft, use "noodles" and much more. When my kids were small, there were two beaches, but now the northern bank is being reforested, so there is only one with access to the public. When we arrived today after walking through the woods from Chez Sven, I looked at the National Seashore sign without my glasses. It says Protect Ponds. What I saw was Perfect Pond. Indeed, Dyer is.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Kayaking on Gull Pond

Sometimes discoveries are made due to circumstance. My most recent guests spent two days exploring Cape Cod and did not want to purchase a beach sticker for their third day here. They did, however, decide kayaking would be a great final activity. Since parking is free at Gull Pond for the duration of a kayak trip, my guests rented a kayak and spent several hours exploring Gull Pond, and Higgins Pond, behind it, accessible through a sluice way. Rental of a single kayak costs $20 for the first half hour and $10 for every consecutive half hour. It is also possible to rent a pedalboat, a seacycle, a canoe, a sunfish, a surf bike, or a paddle board from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. While at Gull Pond myself this week, I saw a determined man on a windsurfer. Obviously beginner to intermediate, he took several tumbles but always got back up on the board. Gull Pond is extraordinary for its depth and the clarity of the water close to shore, where a raft encourages swimmers to take time out for a brief rest in the sun. Jack's Boat Rentals also offers rates by the day with pick up at the shop on Route 6 (delivery available) of $50 for a single kayak. The 3-day special is rent two days and get third day free. Sounds good!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Flea Market Frenzy

Whenever my children come to visit, we head for the Wellfleet Flea Market, the ultimate place to find just about everything you need - or don't need but suddenly feel like you cannot live without. Today the weather was perfect for flea-market shopping. The black-top of the drive-in theater did not burn the feet. A pleasant breeze whipped off my hat as we set off through the stalls with hundreds of other thrift-shoppers. The flea market is the place to go if you enjoy making deals. It is often possible to wrangle lower prices from the merchants who gather Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays throughout the summer. There were lots of T-shirts and sunglasses on sale, and jewelry. We made the usual stop at discount cosmetics for my daughter-in-law. I did not find any treasures this time but enjoyed the excursion anyway. The flea market is always fun!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Cape Traffic, Constant on Summer Weekends

I always ask guests to give me an approximate time of arrival, but realize no one can predict how heavy traffic will be on a specific day. Traffic is a real problem and nuisance on weekends here on Cape Cod. Everyone gets on the road at once, creating grid-lock. People coming, people going, all trying to get somewhere as quickly as possible. Sometimes traffic simply stops moving, as it did today outside Boston, way before travelers even encountered Route 6. It is possible to check the traffic now on the Internet. To find out whether to leave later, consult this website. It is also possible to watch cars crossing the Sagamore Bridge here. (The cars in this photo were heading up to Provincetown over Fourth of July weekend.)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Wellfleet-by-night: Ice Cream, Library Events, and More Shopping

Charlie Jordan, former singing butcher at Lema's, once told my mother that there was no nightlife in Wellfleet, which was why he chose to live in Provincetown. Twenty years later, not much has changed in that department, although the center of Wellfleet was buzzing around 9 p.m. last night as I walked through. Dinner guests enjoyed the summer breeze on the terrace at Winslow’s Tavern, and, across the street, I watched a few tourists leave Secret Garden and enter an art gallery. Main Street reminded me of a bracelet of jewels, in fact, illuminating the night, each jewel shining brightly. I was on my way back from the library where Margot Livesey had just read from her new novel The House on Fortune Street. Hearing one of your favorite authors read her own words is quite a trip. The audience also enjoyed the bits of conversation between excerpts. The reading was one of a series of worthwhile free events taking place at Wellfleet’s Public Library this summer, described in an earlier blog. There were not many people out walking last night. Those I did see were on their way to A Nice Cream Shop.
The owners posted a list of definitions to help customers decipher the different flavors of American ice cream, a nod perhaps to tourists from Europe who do not recognize Grasshopper or Mud Pie or Purple Cow. (And not everyone knows what "Wellfleet Mix" is either!) As I reached my car in the parking lot behind town hall, I noticed a romantic couple holding hands at one of the candle-lit tables of Winslow’s Tavern, which motivated me to add a Romantic Getaway to our list of Fall Specials at BBonline. Charlie was right. There is not much nightlife here if you compare Wellfleet to Provincetown. But it was a fine evening to be downtown anyway.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Destination: Wellfleet's Shipwreck

Where are these beachcombers going? Down Newcomb Hollow Beach to see the shipwreck. Yes, 2008 brought a new tourist attraction to Wellfleet. A shipwreck appeared out of the sand this winter. It still stands, evidence of the many boats that sank off the shores of Cape Cod over the years. When ships and cargo washed up on the beach, folks would venture out at night with lanterns to collect the booty. These scavengers were called "moon-cussers" because moonlight revealed the illegal activity and they supposedly cursed at the moon. Some of the houses in Provincetown were even constructed with planks from shipwrecks. The old boards become visible when new owners renovate.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Visiting the Atwood-Higgins House

This morning I visited the Atwood-Higgins house on Bound Brook Island, a part of Wellfleet in the National Seashore, for a guided tour with a volunteer ranger. I have been wanting to take this tour for years, since our house also dates from the early 1700s. The Atwood-Higgins house is set in a hollow not far from the Herring River, now hidden from view by trees. The river was wider when the house was placed there. First the ranger gave us some history, explaining how some of the original pilgrims left Plymouth and came to this part of Cape Cod, then known as "Nauset." There was a one-room school nearby, and a shipyard where at least one schooner was built. When we finally were allowed inside, I was stuck by how similar the house was to ours: same type of cupboards and hardware; wooden planks on some walls; corbelled chimney; wide floor boards. The house was renovated in 1919 by George Higgins and his wife. One of the members of our group had grown up in Wellfleet and remembered how paint was mixed from lead, oil, and yellow ochre from clay, when he was a child in Paine Hollow. Atwood-Higgins house had about 15 layers of paint on it, the ranger said. Those doing the restoration opted for a beige color. Much of the interior woodwork was not painted, especially in the keeping room, about half the size of ours. The tour takes place on a regular basis but it is necessary to sign up through the National Seashore.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

What to See & Do in Wellfleet

Today I became a tourist for once, showing my French in-laws around Wellfleet. We had a busy, busy day. It began with a trip to the National Seashore Headquarters where we watched a short film about the creation of Cape Cod, an experience I recommend. The rangers were very helpful, offering lots of suggestions of things to see and do in the area. After the National Seashore Headquarters, we walked the White Cedar Swamp Trail at Marconi, not the best choice given that it has not rained for weeks. The purples and yellows, which Sven and I enjoyed two years ago on our last visit, were absent. Everything was green. Beautiful, but green. Of course, I showed my friends the platform that allows a view of both sides of the Cape at once. We paused to admire Lecount Hollow Beach in the distance (above). Then it was on to lunch at Winslow's Tavern. After a short nap, we set out again for Newcomb Hollow Beach where we admired the shipwreck, still visible although the sign posted by the Seashore has disappeared. Since the water was quite cold and full of mung, we headed for town, admiring the shops, restaurants and galleries on the way to the harbor. We stopped for a swim in the warm waters off Powers Landing. There was a brisk wind, totally different from the atmosphere on the back shore.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Green Room Draws Raves

Today something unusual happened. Our Green Room guests brought friends in to see their lovely room, and especially their bathroom! I could hear the hostess on this little tour raving about how beautiful everything was, a rather strange experience. I am delighted she is so pleased with the accommodations. Yesterday I posted availability due to a cancellation for the week of July 27. I booked the Green Room for Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday this afternoon. It is still available Wednesday and Thursday. Any takers?

Sunday, July 06, 2008

What is the Difference Between "Green" Guests and Eco-tourists?

Last night I posted availability on the Wellfleet Chamber blog as a guest, who was to attend the Cape Cod Institute in three weeks, had to cancel for professional reasons. So, our new Green Room is now open July 27, 28, 29, 30, and 31. I got to thinking about the various types of guests we have had over the past four years. There have been all sorts: Institute attendees, American families on vacation or couples celebrating an anniversary, folks on a romantic getaway, Wellfleet wedding attendees, eco-tourists from Europe and my favorite, “green guests,” who sometimes fall into one of the other categories as well. I started wondering whether there was a difference between being green and calling oneself an eco-tourist. Are eco-tourists green guests and visa versa? Here is the Wikipedia definition of ecotourism: Ecotourism, also known as ecological tourism, is a form of tourism that appeals to ecologically and socially conscious individuals. Generally speaking, ecotourism focuses on volunteering, personal growth, and learning new ways to live on the planet. It typically involves travel to destinations where flora, fauna, and cultural heritage are the primary attractions. Responsible ecotourism includes programs that minimize the negative aspects of conventional tourism on the environment and enhance the cultural integrity of local people. Therefore, in addition to evaluating environmental and cultural factors, an integral part of ecotourism is the promotion of recycling, energy efficiency, water conservation, and creation of economic opportunities for the local communities. Based on that description, eco-tourists might not necessarily choose Wellfleet. And, what is a “green guest,” you might ask? The green guest probably does all of the above. He/she cares about the environment, turns off lights when leaving a room, prefers natural products and never, never sprays perfume. (check the ingredients in your perfume here.) Green guests separate out their water bottles and eat organic food. Green guests care that we compost and use low-energy bulbs and green cleaning products. Green guests appreciate the fact that our sheets are organic cotton and know pesticides are used in the fabrication of cotton that is not organic. The point of ecotourism is to make little or no impact on the natural and human environment. Eco-tourists respect the environment on a large scale that encompasses the world, sort of like being a Peace Corps volunteer during your week of vacation. Green guests apply the eco-tourist’s philosophy to their own lives and do so every day. Here are a couple of eco-tourists from England who chose Chez Sven this month. They were great green guests, too, and left a nice note in our guestbook: “Thank you for making us and our one-year-old son so welcome. We have enjoyed our stay in Seagull Cottage, and Wellfleet has everything we could possibly want from a holiday – beautiful beaches, woods and lakes. Cycling was fun, as was the whale-watching in P-town. You have great restaurants and friendly people. We will definitely return.”

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Update: Ticks on Cape Cod

To illustrate today’s blog, more photos of the parade, after the onslaught of requests received overnight. Unfortunately, I have no more photos of Caleb, whose crew won an award this year. Here, Smokey the Bear warns about forest fires. Fire is one way to eliminate ticks in a lawn. However, setting fire to a lawn is an option the Wellfleet Fire Department would probably oppose. Yes, the subject today is a more serious one: ticks on Cape Cod, another frequent blog search. Regular blog readers know that I had Lyme disease three years ago and that this year the Massachusetts Department of Health handed out laminated Caution Tick Habitat signs to businesses here. A guest this past week was a medical student, with access to special online services. She volunteered to search for the latest information on Lyme for me. In a recent article from the Mayo Clinic, I learned that only 50 to 70% of Lyme patients recall a deer tick bite, leading one to believe often the tick was very small, larva or nymph. (I had a deer tick on me the other day. It was so small I thought it was a scab but did not remember a scab at that place on my arm, so I picked at it, and sure enough, the scab had tiny legs. Now, if the ticks were as big as this funky blue fish, at least we would be able to see them!) Even smaller is the spirochete which requires up to 36 hours after a bite to migrate from the tick gut to the salivary glands. This is why it is important to check one’s body every day and remove any ticks found immediately. In 2005, over 23000 cases were reported to the CDC, most in New England and the Great Lakes region. (I believe many, many cases go unreported.) Finally, I discovered the CDC awards more than 3.5 million per year for new research on Lyme disease.