Sunday, May 31, 2009

Younger Guests & Roadside Flowers

Not many Outer Cape bed & breakfasts accept children. Personally, I am delighted to have children stay at Chez Sven, having spent a year as a toddler teacher. My granddaughter lives far away, in California, so I do not get the opportunity to interact with children as often as I might like. This week we enjoyed a visit from a young German couple who were great sports about the weather: it rained four out of their five days. They had never visited Cape Cod and loved it. Their sixteen-month-old son did not care about the weather. He played with the sand and went on long walks. It was a real treat for me to hold his hand as he explored the garden, sniffing flowers and picking up stones. End of May is always particularly busy here. I plant more flowers every day. Here is a new lupin with raindrops cupped in its spectacular leaves. When Sven and I went off Cape last week, we admired a hillside of lupins and daisies at the intersection right after the Sagamore Bridge. Sweden's roadsides sparkle with flowers. How nice it would be if the same were true in our country!

Friday, May 29, 2009

New Report on Climate Change Issued

Gray cars by the gray ocean. Sven and I journeyed out today for some fresh air. The beach was almost deserted.
We witnessed a sponge massacre, or rather the aftermath. Bits of sponges littered the shore. It was high tide and the waves carried up seaweed, broken balloons from harbor cruises, plastic cups and other evidence of modern life. Rather discouraging to be reminded of what civilization has done to nature. I thought I would use today’s photos to illustrate a report, gleaned from CNN this morning, discouraging, too, but reprinted, not my custom, in case you missed it: “More than 300 million people are already seriously affected by the gradual warming of the earth and that number is set to double by 2030, the report from the Global Humanitarian Forum warns.
"Climate change is the greatest emerging humanitarian challenge of our time, causing suffering to hundreds of millions of people worldwide," said the forum's president, former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

In a statement accompanying the report's release in London Friday, Annan said that it gave the world a glimpse of a grim future if Member States fail to reach a "global, effective, fair and binding" outcome on climate change at the United Nations Climate Conference in Copenhagen in December.

"I hope that all Member States will go to Copenhagen with the political will to sign up to an ambitious agreement to tackle climate change," he said. "As this report shows, the alternative is greater risk of starvation, migration and sickness on a massive scale."

The report's startling numbers are based on calculations that the earth's atmosphere is currently warming by 0.74 degrees Celsius The Global Humanitarian Forum says that temperatures will rise by almost two degrees Celsius, regardless of what's agreed in Copenhagen.

"No matter what," the report concludes, "the suffering documented in this report is only the beginning." A rise of two degrees, it says, "would be catastrophic."

Of the 300,000 lives being lost each year due to climate change, the report finds nine out of 10 are related to "gradual environmental degradation," and that deaths caused by climate-related malnutrition, diarrhea and malaria outnumber direct fatalities from weather-related disasters."

Read the updated article here.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Ode to Seagull Cottage

Oh, to stay in Seagull Cottage in the springtime .... Our cottage is a most popular place. It is booked almost non-stop from now through Labor Day. The only availability is four days in early June and three days in July. Seagull cottage is very cozy, even when it rains. What makes the cottage so special is the fact that Sven and I lived there for a year when we moved back from Europe, so it feels more like a home than a rental property. There's a fireplace, a really comfortable bed, a cute kitchen, a beautiful tiled bathroom, birds fussing at the feeder, a sun porch. What more could anyone want?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Wellfleet Harbor Actors' Theater now has a blog! You can check out the first entry here. Jeff Zinn writes that he has the intention of blogging weekly, which will be a great way to get firsthand news about what's going on behind the scenes. I'm always very proud to tell guests that Wellfleet has its own theater and to suggest they enjoy an evening of edgy drama at WHAT during their stay. I hope the 25th season finds the theater full every night. In these difficult economic times, we have discovered that everyone is counting pennies, more conscious than ever before of where money is going. While this is surely a good thing in the long run, the Outer Cape has come to depend on a steady stream of dollars, especially during peak months, from tourists. A night at the theater is a great way to relax and "se changer les ideés," ie. experience something so different that you are whisked away to another world. There were not many tourists in downtown Wellfleet this afternoon. The lack of cars reminded me of the difference with Memorial Day. The town was not full then, either, but there were enough people around for these kids to set up a lemonade stand on Main Street.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Mac's Shack: Always a Treat!

“What a marvelous day and evening!” Sven exclaimed as we exited Mac’s Shack and proceeded into the clam shell parking lot. The Shack was still full of diners, perusing the fancy black menu, savoring lobster or steamed clams, or sitting at one of the tables outside, drink in hand.
When I dine at Mac's, I am always impressed at what these two young men, Mac and Alex Hay, have been able to accomplish in ten short years. Assisted by cousin Sam Bradford, the Hay brothers are definitely on a roll, expanding this year into Eastham with a fish market that follows one in Truro and the original Mac's Seafood on the town pier. By now, the Shack seems to run itself, with black-clad waitresses adroitly ducking here and there, taking orders, wielding heavy platters, but I know the maestro is somewhere in the background - or, rather, kitchen - coordinating the dance. Sven and I had not eaten at the Shack for a while. First off, we noticed more black in the decor. Elegant menus and stunning black and white prints on the walls, taken by local architectural photographer Bill Lyons. As an appetizer, we had mussels, steamed with scallions, garlic, and morel mushrooms, the evening's special. Yummy! Sven then ordered fish and chips. I had broiled scallops. I must admit we did not do the menu justice. The choices are vast and exotic. Of particular note are the sushi options and the martinis, with an oyster or Spicy Tuna/Mango. With awe, I watched a sushi master form ingredients into a roll. “Where did you find your sushi chefs?” I asked Mac. Three were busy creating beside us. “Actually Ichi, who has been with us since the beginning, I found him on the Internet!” Mac replied, still amazed at his good fortune. We have had guests who have dined at Mac’s Shack their first night and refused to let me suggest other options, that’s how enamored they were of the experience. For dessert, Sven and I shared a marvelous chocolate-orange tart. Throughout dinner I kept thinking of TV Diner on NECN. Billy Costa needs to check out this restaurant. I give it a gold plate!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Reflections on a Drizzly Sunday of Memorial Weekend

A holiday is so much more special if the sun is shining. Unfortunately, weather can be as finicky as the Greek God Zeus. One minute the sky is clear and the next waves of clouds tumble by. Last night the heavens sounded like Zeus was up there, casting thunderbolts across the sky. Memorial Day weekend 2009 will be remembered as mediocre although Monday the weatherman does predict excellence: sunshine, warmth, low humidity. No doubt the daytrippers will arrive by the thousands. After last night’s downpour, the brick path between the cottage and the main house sank in several places, so Sven is out hammering as I write. When the west wind blows, we can hear more traffic than usual from Route 6, a low hum that makes us want to stay home and not even venture downtown. Our Green Room guests went whale-watching early this morning. A couple from Boston will take over Liberty Coin Suite this afternoon. Then, tomorrow, we will have new guests in the cottage. The circular motion of innkeeping spins on, round and round. Clean, wait for new people, greet new people. Breakfast, clean, wait for new people, greet new people. What’s not so fun is saying goodbye when the weather has not cooperated. I always feel bad for folks who did not get a perfect holiday.

Friday, May 22, 2009

A May Day in the Life

I stumble out of bed and read emails, bleary-eyed, no coffee yet because of a fasting lab appointment at Outer Cape Health. Oh, horrors! Our weekend guests in Liberty Coin Suite have canceled. I post last-minute availability on several bed & breakfast directories and contact the three couples I turned away yesterday, then hurry off to have blood drawn. I return with band-aids on both arms, since Angelo was off and his replacement could not find my veins. After breakfast, it’s back to the computer. One couple wants Saturday and Sunday. They need a lactose-free breakfast. Phew! Glad that’s taken care of. What a relief! Time for a quick walk around the garden to size up which plants seem thirsty. This week we live in Lilac Land, so I cut branches for all our flower vases. Sven joins me to say goodbye to the folks in Seagull Cottage. They both write blogs and had moved me with words, a surefire way to earn brownie points with this innkeeper/writer: “We love an innkeeper with a blog! Wondering if you might have availability in the Seagull Cottage tomorrow night and the next?” We did, they came, they stayed, and we even added a free night. I like guests with blogs, too! (Jenn writes Breed ‘Em and Weep.) Off they go at ten, relaxed and content, and into the washing machine I stuff four organic cotton sheets. Then it’s time to clean Liberty Coin Suite for my young friend Filippo, from Venice, coming with his wife and baby for one night. I hightail it downtown to fetch some lactose-free products for the lactose-free couple, stopping in to say welcome back to Lauren at Hatch’s veggie stand, one of my summer haunts. Over lunch in the garden, I observe a mother cardinal as she marshals one of her babies out of the nest for its first flight. It crash-lands in the lilac bush. After lunch, I hang the sheets up to dry. The phone rings. It’s the guests who booked Seagull Cottage for the three-night holiday. Their daughter has swine flu. Ek! Another cancellation. This is my third for the weekend, since an original booking was cancelled due to a change from full to part time work. I email the couples from yesterday again. One couple says yes to Seagull Cottage. I look up the dates they had requested and discover they need May 24 & 25. That’s Sunday and Monday! The cottage is already booked May 25th! Gritting my teeth, I contact the Liberty Coin Suite couple again to see if they do not mind switching. Then I make a list of local weekend events to post on the blog:
• Castle Hill Raku Extravaganza and pottery show and sale. Raku firing Saturday from 12 – 8, and Sunday from 12 – 3. Sale of pottery and ceramic sculpture by members of the Cape Cod Potters and Castle Hill faculty. Refreshments on Saturday from 5 – 8.
• Cape Cool Yard Sale at the dump 8-3.
• Birdhouse Auction to benefit Preservation Hall.
All these fun activities are interspersed with gardening, watering, cleaning, vacuuming, etc. etc. After dinner, I have confirmation that the couples will switch. Hooray! A particularly challenging day in the life of one innkeeper ….

Wellfleet Fun in the Sun

There were already kids out at LeCount Beach yesterday, enjoying the soft breezes and warm temperature. Today I heard that usually two-thirds of all Americans take a vacation, but this year only one-half plan to get away due to the economic crisis. What a difference it makes to spend a few days in a beautiful place! The French call it "changer d'air," and I have become convinced that seeing new things, smelling new smells, and being in a totally different "air" does work wonders. With Memorial Day Weekend, the season traditionally begins in Wellfleet. The Beachcomber, at Cahoon Hollow Beach, is now open for business.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

CEDC Holds Final Meeting

Before the week is up, I want to report on the final meeting of the Citizens’ Economic Development Commission, held Monday. First order of business was a visit from Peter McMahon who described the mission of the Cape Cod Modern House Trust, his new non-profit to save the modern houses in the National Seashore. Wellfleet, in the mid twentieth century, was a cultural crossroads with writers, artists and architects living and working here. Peter spoke briefly about the Kugel/Gips house on Northeast Pond, which will be the CCMHT’s first preservation effort. (Northeast Pond is behind Great Pond, above. Kugel/Gips is the only house on tiny Northeast Pond, so exclusive as well as an architectural jewel.) Seven houses have been pegged for restoration. Six are in Wellfleet. One is in Truro. Hatch Cottage will be next and $200,000 is needed as financing. The CCMHT is looking for volunteers as well as money. You can follow its progress here . I was especially interested to see Peter’s success with the National Seashore, since often, in the past, its relationship with Outer Cape towns has not been ideal, for instance, with regard to the Dune Shacks in Provincetown. Commission members asked lots of questions. Finally, Peter said that a Modernist House Tour is scheduled August 23rd in coordination with Castle Hill and mentioned that, in the future, such events could be organized through Preservation Hall instead. Chair Paul Pilcher suggested that holding such events in an off-peak month might be even more desirable, from our point of view, since there is already so much going on in August. We spent the rest of the afternoon finalizing recommendations for the Selectmen. Alex Hay commented on how pleasant it has been to serve on a committee that has a limited time-frame. Everyone agreed that the experience of working together has been a very positive one. Let’s hope some of our recommendations are adopted by the Selectmen!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Oh, the Beautiful Ocean!

Sven and I snuck off yesterday afternoon for a walk at the beach. The ocean was an incredible bottle green, so spectacular to see. I love to drive along Ocean View, where the horizon fills up with blue like a cup. The parking lot at LeCount Hollow had been commandeered by a feature film crew, and no, we did not see anyone famous. No actors of note, unless they were hiding in the trailers. There was a buggy rental truck, with a horse. We will have to try and find out which film it was. They certainly picked a perfect day for their project!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

How To Prevent Bed Bugs In Luggage

In early spring I received a letter from the Wellfleet health department, warning local innkeepers to remain vigilant as high season approaches. Bed bugs are making a spectacular comeback. An epidemic has hit New York, in fact. Not only are bed bugs in hotel rooms. They can scurry through walls and enter apartments through cracks. There’s an article in the July 2009 Atlantic Monthly, describing how beagles have been trained to sniff them out. The service costs $350/hour. Apparently these specially trained dogs are good at what they do. Boston also has a bedbug-sniffing brigade. I have heard that Disneyland hotel managers struggle to keep rooms bed-bug-free. No one talks about these things, of course. Bed bugs remind us too much of squalor. Actually, a change in pesticide use is responsible for the comeback. I believe the general public needs to be informed about this plague. So future guests, hear this: the bedbug invasion has begun. If you happen to be bitten while at a hotel, by all means inform management. Adopt new traveling habits. Keep luggage closed, especially while out of a hotel room. Do not leave open suitcases on the floor. If you hang belongings in a hotel closet, shake them out and repack with great care. Vigilance is the best defense. Not only may you be used as involuntary transport to your next holiday destination. Bedbugs may decide to wait until you get home to disembark!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Innkeeper Visits: Fort Hill B&B

In order to recommend other Outer Cape bed & breakfasts, I have decided to visit them and report back in this blog. Congratulations go out to Fort Hill Bed & Breakfast, which won Cape Cod Life’s Editor’s Choice award this year for Best B&B on the Outer Cape. (Most winners are chosen by Cape Cod Life readers, who get the chance to vote for their favorites, but this award seems to be attributed by the editors, so is even more prestigious, in my opinion.) Actually I already recommend Fort Hill as one of the places I would want to stay, if I didn’t live here at Chez Sven, when we have no availability. With the publication of the 2009 picks, it was time to visit, so I contacted innkeeper Jean Avery who gave me a royal tour. It’s rare for bed & breakfast owners to get the chance to see other establishments, which is a shame. Now I can definitely tell guests all about Fort Hill. First off, Jean and Gordon’s old house is situated at an incredible spot, in the National Seashore, with the ocean visible in the distance. Granted, Fort Hill is in Eastham, not Wellfleet, so anyone who wants to be in our trendy town, should abstain, but the rooms are very cozy. I especially liked the Emma Suite, which features a well-tuned piano. Jean serves a full breakfast. She keeps an organic garden, as do I. Two of her six guests stay in a private building, the Nantucket Cottage. I was able to understand why the editors were charmed with Fort Hill. Every June Cape Cod Life publishes these awards, based on recommendations from readers. Last summer I actually wrote to the magazine and suggested a category Best Blog. My note was not acknowledged. Perhaps more of us need to urge the magazine to include blogging as one of its categories?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Sounds of Summer, Already!

The woods ring with the sounds of summer. Birds chirping as they fly from branch to branch. A dog barking in the distance, eager to get outside. The hum of a mower as a non-resident, down for the weekend, cuts his lawn. It may rain later but the sunshine is out for the time being, as are the people. A couple just rode by on a two-seater bike, not something one sees every day on our dirt road, and waved at me, down on my hands and knees in the garden. There is so much to do here in the spring, but just look at how beautiful the flowerbeds look already!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Cape Cool Heats Up this May

Wellfleet's Public Library will soon have a solar-panel system on its roof. The project began last year with a burst of generosity: $30,000 provided by an anonymous donor. Other individuals and organizations have also helped raise money, including Cape Cool. When the going gets tough, the folks who care about climate really get going. Cape Cool was present at Oysterfest. They also marched in the Independence Day parade. You may have admired their oh-so-cool t-shirts or even purchased one. 2009 has seen new growth and aspirations. First off, Cape Cool now has its own Web site which is worth a visit, if, for nothing else, to learn from the cool photo of the Wellfleet Swap Shop, one of Sven’s favorite places, that the building once was Dan Silverman’s home! The recycling Commission's ECO EXPO will take place at the Recycling and Transfer Station tomorrow, May 16. This free event sounds fascinating, with cool info on solar showers, local food, worm bins, water barrels, community garden news, and much, much more. The 16th annual yard sale, always very cool, is scheduled for May 23, 8 to 3. Harriet Jerusha Korim reports plans for a Planet Town Meeting with town, county, state and federal representatives.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

"Odd Things in the Water"

As I write, I am listening to the The Point on Cape & Islands NPR and a discussion of a series which will start May 14: "Fresh Water, Salt Water." Silent Spring, based in Newton, has been investigating pond water in a search for possible causes of breast cancer. It has come to researchers' attention that septic systems allow pharmaceuticals into the ground water, including antibiotics and hormones. Endocrine disrupters from household cleaners also are not filtered out by modern septic systems. What are the consequences for human health? The reporter specified that it is not known whether drinking water on the Cape does contain these substances or not, but, in my opinion, it sounds highly likely that we should be concerned and this is why we provide filtered water to guests. The series sounds fascinating. Blog readers who do not live on Cape can listen online. Stay informed about our endangered groundwater and what can be done about this serious problem!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

"Nude Ponds in Wellfleet"

I am always fascinated to read Internet searches that lead people to this blog. One of the latest was from a nudist, apparently, in California who wants to locate a nude pond in Wellfleet. At first, I imagined the pond dressed, and having to step out of frilly clothes, and then, of course, let my mind digest the fact that a future visitor to the Outer Cape was looking for ponds where it is possible to swim in the nude, probably in summer. This reader found the blog I wrote last fall about Reuel Wilson’s memoir with mention that his parents would splash around Gull Pond in the nude. There were a lot less folks wandering the woods back then. My godmother’s kids used to swim naked in Slough Pond. Skinny-dipping was one of my mom’s fondest memories from adolescence. In the early 1970s there was a nude beach, or rather, part of a beach, in Truro, where nudity was tolerated. Those days are long gone. Sven and I have seen people swimming naked in Dyer Pond on occasion, but not in peak-months. If the nude-pond searcher is reading this blog, I would suggest booking a house on one of the more private ponds, where no one would be watching. Then you can swim naked as often as you want!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Preservation Hall to Hold Birdhouse Auction

Mark your calendars for a great upcoming event to benefit Wellfleet’s Preservation Hall. Sunday, May 24th, ie. the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, Preservation Hall will hold an auction of original birdhouses (Birdhouse Sanctuaries) created by fellow citizens of Wellfleet, for the most part, from salvaged materials from the old Catholic Church and rectory. The auction will have a $15 entry fee, but this money will be put to good use: funds are still needed to complete renovation of our new community center. Bird expert Vern Laux will speak at a 11 o'clock breakfast in the garden, behind the hall. There is something special about making a birdhouse. Perhaps it awakens the child in all of us who wonders where birds go at night to sleep? I notice birdhouses a lot these days. Someone put up a series of bluebird houses near the entrance to the transfer station. As far as I can tell from a distance no birds have taken up residence so far. I have been shopping for an original birdhouse for weeks to place in the yew outside the Green Room window. Here’s an opportunity to house my chickadees and contribute to our community center!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Wellfleet: A Great Place to Live, Work & Play!

Above, the Atlantic Ocean. How can Wellfleet mine its proximity? At today’s Economic Development Commission meeting, we heard about a fabulous project for an algae farm to create bio-diesel fuel. Curt Felix lives in Wellfleet and loves our town but will probably locate his 300-acre project in Sandwich, where it’s possible to recycle carbon dioxide from a power plant and clean up a waste-water stream. This algae farm will create 50 to 100 million gallons of bio-diesel per year. The commission then reviewed possible recommendations for the Selectmen and agreed on certain key ideas, including a comprehensive Web site, encouragement/development of the shellfishing industry, and support for a new campus for Outer Cape Health. Sam Bradford summarized our goal perfectly when he expressed the need to promote Wellfleet as a great place to “live, work and play.” Before adjournment, Sam also came up with the idea of creating a community aquaculture garden, which might draw non-residents back in the off-peak months. We also discussed the idea of marketing Wellfleet as a "green town," with the development of a green energy specialty, and promotion of renewable energy. Sounds good to me ...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Cape Pollution Makes the Headlines

During the discussion about municipal water at town meeting April 28th, I was particularly struck by the words of warning, spoken by Steven Pechonis, plumbing inspector, regarding the dire situation in downtown Wellfleet where parcels are small and some people still have cesspools, rather than Title V septic systems. Mac Hay, who owns and runs Mac's Shack, told the audience the authorities had already cracked down on his popular eatery and would give no more slack, since the restaurant is located on Duck Creek, downtown, close by the harbor. The following Monday the town voted yes to municipal water. Soon after I hope Wellfleet will also deal with the creation of the necessary sewer system. (Regarding pollution, see today's Cape Cod Times.) Out here in the woods, we have Title V for Chez Sven, but I still worry about well water, whose quality is influenced by choices made by neighbors. This is why we provide guests with filtered drinking water. There are too many people living on this incredible sandbar of ours now. It is necessary for us all to adapt new behavior and think twice about what goes into the ground. I cringe when I see folks buying lawn fertilizer, for instance. Do we really need green lawns? What about chemicals in the ground water? I wish everyone understood better how their personal choices affect us all. Wellfleet's two major industries are shellfishing and tourism. Both will take a hit if we continue along the same path. Remember Tom Lehrer's song about pollution? "Just two things of which we must beware: don't drink the water and don't breathe the air."

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Winslow’s Tavern Offers Personal Vintage

This week I had a visit from Tracey Barry Hunt, of Winslow’s Tavern. We are both Vassar grads, so it was with special pleasure that I welcomed her for a quick bed & breakfast tour. Winslow's will open May 14. Tracy came with menus for our guests and a bottle of vintage wine. Not just any wine, mind you. To celebrate five years in business Winslow’s Tavern is offering its own vintage from Sonoma, California. Tracey said Winslow’s will celebrate with guests this spring with the following treats:
• Sweet Sundays: Receive a complimentary dessert with the purchase of an entrée.
• Two for Tuesdays: Order one entree and receive a complimentary entrée of equal value.
• Wine around the World Wednesdays: Every Wednesday get 25% off all wines from a particular country.

Of course, Sven and I had to taste the new Winslow’s Tavern vintage in order to guide our guests, so we did, sharing it with a friend from France. Yum! Here is what she had to say: “Smooth, slightly fruity, just light enough. Subtle and very pleasant to drink.”

Friday, May 08, 2009

Innkeeper's Lament

Here is the view from our Green Room window. A beautiful day dawned over Chez Sven, with birds chirping delight that the rainy weather is over for now. Unfortunately, the Green Room did not find a taker this weekend, so friends will be coming to stay instead. I posted availability on the Wellfleet Chamber of Commerce blog, but the posting drew scant viewings and no click-throughs. Not a one! What a shame to have an availability blog buried under layers of a Web site, devoted to other matters! If our Green Room is available this weekend, it provides more evidence of the poor economy. I continue having requests for one-night stays, which we refuse to do, except in extraordinary circumstances. Judging from recent postings to the Chamber blog, other exceptional bed & breakfasts in the area also have empty rooms. I was relieved, in fact, to see Fort Hill still has openings for Memorial Day weekend. Memorial Day weekend has traditionally been the beginning of summer, with bookings made months in advance. The cottage was booked in January for May 22-24, but the folks had to cancel, due to a shift from full-time to part-time work. Our other two rooms have had no requests. You can bet there will be lots of phone-calls for one-night THAT weekend if the weather remains warm! I do not think people are aware of the work involved in each change-over. If they want to stay in a place that the owners fully clean, and said owners do not hire outside help like at a motel, then two-nights must be the minimum for the time it takes and the wear & tear on linens and the cost of organic food, in our case, to make a stay worthwhile, from a financial point-of-view. Okay, enough rambling for one day. It is outside for me, to mulch the garden, transplant, seed, etc. but first, a closer look at our cute batalinii apricot jewel tulips, before the application of mulch ...

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Spring Has Sprung

"You can almost hear the leaves grow," Sven commented this afternoon once the blue sky had pushed the clouds out to sea and bright spring sunshine blazed overhead. Tulips, daffodils, viola, basket of gold, the garden is beautiful, with peonies poking their way through the mulch. With spring, comes the urge to spring clean. When the warm weather begins, innkeepers get motivated to do all the small chores, neglected over the winter. Here Sven sands the vintage patio furniture. When he finishes the divan, there are the chairs to do. Yesterday he cleaned Seagull Cottage. This morning I washed the floor in Liberty Coin Suite, in preparation for a fresh coat of paint. This afternoon I worked in the garden. So much to do, so little time to do it. How fortunate we are to live in Wellfleet! Sometimes I take a step back and let myself be swept away by how beautiful everything is here. What a shame we do not have guests in the main house who can enjoy it with us!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Moody Tuesday in Wellfleet

Raindrops cover the screens, with showers off and on all day. Not ideal weather to be an innkeeper in Wellfleet, or a guest, for that matter, unless one has booked Seagull Cottage and has an interesting book to read in front of the fire. Even walking at the ocean proved a challenge this morning. We had guests from earlier this spring whose visit was marred by inclement weather but, good sports, they were able to see the silver lining of spending time together, away from the daily grind. You can read their impressions here. Just a few days in a beautiful new place stimulates the mind and the senses. And, when it rains, Wellfleet is, indeed, ideal for a massage!

Monday, May 04, 2009

The Joys of Walking a Beach on a Gray Day

A few weeks ago, reservations picked up for summer, but now, with all the flu-mongering by the media, most future guests are again frightened of travel. It’s true that even a glimpse of the five-day forecast for the southeast coast can discourage bookings at this time of the year: showers all week, off and on. Still, the temperature is up and walking our beaches can provide great pleasure. Patterns in the sand created by the changing tide, colorful stones and rocks, tracks of birds, evidence of the passage of human beings with dogs and National Seashore vehicles, driftwood, all can be observed despite the inclement weather. Yesterday Sven and I walked under a gray sky at LeCount Hollow. There was a gentle breeze, no rain. Under such circumstances, I tend to look up or down, not out to sea. The wind carves patterns in the side of the dune that can be breathtaking.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Wellfleet Celebrates New Eco-friendly Fire Station

At least one hundred Wellfleetians gathered in front of our brand new fire station at noon today to attend the opening ceremony. Chief Dan Silverman gave a brief history of the project, thanked everyone needing thanks, and described general satisfaction with the results, a beautiful, energy-efficient fire station finished “on time and on budget,” eleven days early in fact, thanks to the efficiency of Bufftree Building. Some of the eco-friendly features are great insulation, natural lighting whenever possible, florescent or LED lights, radiant heat in the garage, and air-exchange to avoid the admission of exhaust. And, the south-facing wall will soon have photovoltaic panels, to save on the cost of electricity. Cape Light Compact has announced a $13,778 rebate for the town in recognition of these significant energy-efficiencies. Our new fire station is “a model for how public construction projects can be done right,” Silverman said with evident pride. Tony Digiantomasso, Senior Project Manager for Bufftree, presented Silverman with the shovel used for the groundbreaking ceremony, now engraved with the Wellfleet insignia. Silverman then singled out Captain Tom Ferreira as the most senior member of Wellfleet’s fire department and a key figure in the move from the old building across Lawrence Road. It was Ferreira who had the honor of cutting the red, white and blue ribbon, using with the same scissors purchased for the opening of Uncle Tim’s Bridge in November. Then the assembled guests were invited to explore the building, which is quite impressive indeed. Everyone seemed to enjoy the buffet lunch, but the most fun of all was surely had by younger guests whose eyes revealed dreams of becoming firemen. What fun to meet heroes in person and be allowed to climb aboard fire engines!