Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A La Recherche Du Temps Perdu

Sven stood in the doorway and burst into tears, his body shaking. “You try to go back but it doesn’t exist,” he spluttered.

My husband has been feeling sad today. I think this emotion was due to having a Swede visit as a guest and being able to speak Swedish for a period of time. Both discovered they had worked as lumberjacks, in the forest. They both knew a lumberjack song and sang it together. Then, this afternoon, we received in the mail a marvelous book about Forshems Gastgivaregard, a very special inn, near Sweden's Lake Vänern. There’s a similar place near Sven’s house in Stromstad, where we go for dinner when in Sweden. The inn at Tanum has been in the same spot for years and years, serving guests and wayfarers with elegance and fine food. A dinner at this inn is like taking a step back in time. If you close your eyes, you can almost imagine a horse-drawn buggy pulling up at the door.

The book is a present from Stefan Jarl, who wanted to thank me for my help submitting his film Submission to the Sundance Film Festival. Since his book is in Swedish, unfortunately I will not be able to read it. But, I can admire the photos. Sven was so moved that he called Stefan on the phone to say thank you. The images recalled his childhood in Eksharad, a small town in Warmland. His grandmother ran an inn like the one Stefan helped to restore.

When Sven returns to Sweden in the summer on vacation, he finds dramatic change. The post office is gone. Doesn’t exist anymore. The local bank is gone. Transactions are all conducted online. The phone booths have been removed. Everyone has a cell phone.

Those of you who have met Sven know that he is a very special individual. He does not try to hide his emotions and has no problem shedding tears.

Is it nostalgia? No, something stronger. Losing one’s country? Missing Sweden? No, it has to do with “le temps perdu.” I know because my father felt the same emotion that caught in his throat and prevented him from speaking.

My dad had lost Russia. The Russia he knew as a child did not exist anymore due to the Revolution. He longed for the birch trees of his youth. Now St. Petersburg is surrounded by concrete, not forests of birch. My dad could visit as an older man but chose not to go back because nothing would have been the same. You cannot return to something that does not exist – except in your mind.

One of the things I treasure about Wellfleet is that you can stand still on Main Street, close your eyes, and imagine you're in another century. When residents and non-residents filled out a questionnaire about our town, most people wrote that their main desire was for Wellfleet to remain the same. We become addicted to modern gadgetry but crave stability and ... roots.

Wellfleet Water Tower Gets Coat of Paint

Summer is almost over for anyone with kids because kids are heading back to school, hopefully with green products in their book bags and healthy food in their eco-chic lunch carriers. Over the past three months, so many, many cars passed the new water tower on Long Pond Road to reach Long Pond or the Atlantic Ocean. I wonder what these drivers thought? No one, not one person, has said anything to me about the new eyesore on the Wellfleet horizon, as viewed from the marina. Chalk that. David Wright did comment, didn’t you David? But no tourists seem especially bothered by the huge town mushroom that sprouted beside the playing field. We had one guest who had thought of buying property nearby and chose rural Virginia instead.

“Why did they have to cut all those pine trees?” Robert said, in a tisk-tisk voice that also expressed exasperation.

“Access road,” I replied.

There was talk of toxic residue floating in the air above Old Long Pond Road during sand-blasting, but that died down quickly. Now the tower is receiving a fresh coat of white paint. What do you think of the new water tower?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Who Will Be Cape Cod’s Next State Senator?

Roadside signs indicate there’s an election coming up. The primary is on September 14th. The race for the Massachusetts Senate will be close, so it’s important to take a hard look at both Democratic candidates. First, Dan Wolf.

Ellen LeBow writes in the Cape Cod Times, “I can say from experience that Dan Wolf has more capacity for action when it comes to issues that can deeply affect our lives on the Cape, more integrity and follow-through than anyone I've ever known; he is ready to enter the world of policymaking on our behalf. He gives from the heart and has taught his children the same ethics. He listens, he responds, he brings others to action with an intelligence and insight unusual in the commercial or political world. People naturally respond to him. Dan has created a successful business and is a generous and thoughtful philanthropist. This is not a career maneuver, but a mature sense that he is ready to accept the next level of responsibility he feels toward his community. His goal is to be effective and to preserve what is right on Cape Cod.”

Kristen Shantz had this to say: “For decades Dan Wolf has quietly and steadily involved himself in the issues that affect our Cape and Island communities. Review his volunteer activities and one is immediately impressed by the depth of his involvement. Dan’s community service shows an individual who understands the big picture affecting all of our communities. Here is an individual who ‘walks the talk’. His philanthropic activities have been performed quietly for decades. As a community health nurse there were numerous times over the years in which I had to get a patient, or a family member up to Boston. Too many times this seemed to occur on a Friday before some long holiday weekend. Dan’s company, Cape Air, never refused a request. In fact if he learned of a family’s struggle to make those weekly drives to Boston for appointments or treatments, the offer of assistance came to you. He has helped us all without looking for credit or accolades. Speak to those organizations and boards who have had the benefit of his intelligence, business acumen, and negotiating skills. Speak to the employees of Cape Air. The results will be impressive.”

Next up, Sheila Lyons, County Commissioner, who lives in Wellfleet. Here I had to go further afield. I ran into Peter Hall in front of the S. Wellfleet Post Office yesterday morning. Peter told me, “I did support Sheila. We put her in to do a job and she’s moving up. That doesn’t sit well with me.”

I called Helen Wilson: “I’m still weighing it. I have a lot of positive feelings for both.”

Not sure who else to call, I decided to share remarks by both candidates in the Cape Cod Times column My View, so you can make up your own mind. Please feel free to post your choice and why in the comments section, if you feel so inclined.

First Sheila Lyons, then Dan Wolf. Each also has a Facebook page.

Who will I vote for?

As County Commissioner, Sheila Lyons recently put together a working group to study the herbicidal spraying issue. A great initiative, but a year or so too late ….

Dan Wolf is strongly opposed to the spraying of herbicides under the power lines and is not afraid to state his position. He not only talks about protecting the environment, he actually does it, and was endorsed by a coalition of Cape environmentalists. He installed solar panels on his company’s Hyannis headquarters. This action not only reduces his company’s carbon footprint but also creates jobs and supports green industry. I’m voting for Dan Wolf.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Filmmaker Premieres Just Do It Clips at Wellfleet Library

Two dozen Wellfleetians gathered at the library yesterday evening to watch Just Do It, a documentary by Emily James, actually more "a work in progress" than a finished film. I attended because of my interest in climate change. The subject turned out to be more climate-change protesters in Great Britain and what they have, or have not, achieved. Emily showed clips and provided brief commentary in between. The clip I liked best introduces Marina, called a "domestic extremist" by the British government. Marina explains that she has gone way beyond recycling and walking the kids to school. She mentions Rosa Parks as a role model: "She sat down on a bus and the law changed." While Rosa Parks's act of defiance certainly took bravery, I see it as being quite different from the type of organized civil disobedience in Just Do It: carrying fish and chips past a police line to workers on strike in a factory, a foiled attempt to ground a private jet, an encounter with police in Copenhagen, bikers in funny outfits who protest in front of corporate offices in London. Emily plans for her film to be given away for free. (Donations welcome!) Some of our B&B guests hail from the UK. Getting to know a number of British citizens over the years has made me realize they are leaps and bounds ahead of us here in the USA when it comes to carbon footprint and saving the planet. After the clips, there was a Q&A. One member of the audience asked how successful the environmental activists have been. Emily responded there was one big win with defeat of the new runway at Heathrow. She concluded the evening by saying, "Climate change is one of those problems that is overwhelming. Some people just freeze up. They live their life and stop worrying. These guys can't do that. Doing the things they do makes them feel better about their place in the world ..." Just Do It is Emily's way of making a difference in the world. I will be curious to see the complete film and wish her luck with this ambitious project.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Wellfleetians Say Nay to Spray: Video

Above, the power lines near Dyer Pond, less than half a mile from here as the crow flies. Below, a video by Carl Freeman of the "pruning party" under the power lines near Duck Pond, organized by the Town of Wellfleet. Since Wednesday, I have spoken with half a dozen people who intended to come and for one reason or another did not make it. The message? There are alternatives to herbicides. We do not want any more toxic chemicals in our drinking water. New studies show even traces of toxins can be detrimental to babies in the womb and small children. Repeat after me: "We say nay to spray!"

Beach Stuff: Is There Ever Enough?

How very much stuff people have these days! Every time I go to the beach, usually in late afternoon, I'm struck by what has been carried onto the beach. When we arrive, usually folks are trying to fit it all back into an SUV. The trunk is wide open. The owners stand in back of the car, as if confronting a giant jigsaw puzzle. The husband scratches his head. It all fit in before. Why doesn't it fit in now? Usually the stuff includes a cooler, at least one boogey board, beach chairs, assorted tote bags. Beach umbrella, towels, blanket. What did I forget? Ah, yes. Wet suits. Judging from the number of adults and kids who now venture into the ocean dressed in black, this outfit has become indispensable to the well-dressed beach-goer. Paddle ball equipment, football, or Frisbee. What else? First aid kit. You never know when that might come in handy. Boom box. Pail and shovel. Assorted baby items, if there's a baby or toddler. Should a barbecue on the beach be planned and a permit for a bonfire have been acquired, bundle of kindling and several logs, sometimes transported by wheelbarrow or shopping cart. I have seen all this stuff carried onto the beach. Makes me feel completely naked. All I take is my camera ...

Friday, August 27, 2010

Wellfleet in Winter (Part 1)

“What’s it like to live here in winter?” I get this question a lot from B&B guests. They always have a quizzical expression on their face that says why would anyone intelligent choose to live in Wellfleet? Actually, the charm of winter in Wellfleet is a well-kept secret. And, those of us living here sure ain’t telling. Oh, no. We have no desire to share our little piece of paradise ... or, do we?

By December 21st, the gaiety of revelers at the Fourth of July parade has faded to memory. The bustle of August is forgotten. Stunning September days bring the closing of Hatch’s, on the town hall parking lot. With one last hurrah, the town welcomes the end of the “season” by throwing a magnificent street party called Oysterfest, in its tenth year now. Twenty thousand people come to savor the sweet and succulent oysters that first made the town famous. After Oysterfest, the restaurants close, one after the other. Soon the Lighthouse, Wicked Oyster, the Bookstore and Finely JPs are the only options for lunch or dinner.

In December and January, even the restaurants may be closed. The pace slows even more. Most of the shops are shuttered and dark, making Main Street resemble a ghost town. A few pedestrians shop at Wellfleet Marketplace. The town hall parking lot has become deserted. No cars are parked outside Preservation Hall, either. But all you have to do is proceed a bit further, down West Main, to find the natives. We all know where the action is: our public library – and that’s where we congregate in winter.

The beaches remain as beautiful, if not more so.

Somehow we associate sand with heat and sunshine. In winter, the tide will deposit huge chunks of ice high up on the shore at Duck Harbor or Powers Landing. Their incongruity boggles the mind. Duck Creek often becomes a logjam of sheets of ice. Patches of snow dot beaches on the Atlantic. The dunes, in a mantle of white, are majestic and cold.

When the temperature reaches 32 degrees, the shellfishermen return to the flats and go about their daily tasks, regulating their lives according to the tides. There’s something primordial about the constant harvest of shellfish. This finding subsistence from the land is part of what gives Wellfleet its soul.

“What’s it like here in winter?” I asked Sven, another relatively recent convert to yearlong Cape Cod living. “Why do you like it here?”

“The beauty and the silence,” he said. “Wellfleet has a quality beyond weather, especially for people used to big cities, who don’t know what silence is.”

No one passes on our road. In the distance the Congregational Church bell rings to mark time passing. Low tide announces itself by a strong musky smell that spreads up over the land.

Sometimes the wind makes it hard to walk on the beaches. The salty air is crisp and clear, the shadows long. Then we walk the woods of Dyer Pond instead. Sven lights the wood stove and curls up with a good book. The winter months here can be summarized by one word: retreat. Winter allows us to draw closer to nature.

The appeal of winter reminds me of Thoreau, that is, a return to an era of simplicity, where people did not spend all day bent over a computer. They valued their neighbors and lived off the land. No cell phones or renegade car alarms disturbed the peace. It is an ideal people everywhere aspire to but rarely achieve. In Wellfleet, in winter, the illusion of living in Thoreau's time is still possible.Do you live in a rural setting, a city, or a suburb? Do you yearn for a return to nature? If you live here already, why do you enjoy Wellfleet in winter so much? Do you dream of retiring here? If you have only visited in summer, what would it take to get you to move here?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bonus Post: Newcomb Hollow Beach, Late Afternoon

Finding Inspiration at Dyer Pond

Rainy overcast days are conducive to reflection. Yesterday Sven and I went walking at Dyer Pond, an ideal place to think about nature and the ongoing destruction of the environment. The serenity at Dyer Pond gives pause.

Disconcerting realization: leadership on global warming and the environment, ie. the future of life on this planet, is not happening.   Government seems to be failing us on a regular basis.   Look at the way the Gulf oil spill was handled, at how the climate bill was blocked. Even the media no longer does a satisfactory job. We must look elsewhere for inspiration, to Canada, which will ban BPA, to Facebook, where strangers can exchange constructive ideas, to Europe, which protected its citizens from GM crops and toxins a decade ago. I’m excited to be starting a working group here in Wellfleet to study ways to improve our community by going green, one town among many in search of transition. When inspiration does not come from above, we must find it within ourselves …

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wellfleet Pruners Say No to Herbicides

Almost a year to the day after the first “Prune-in”, Laura Kelley, of Littlefield Landscapes, led a second foray into the Wellfleet woods to demonstrate Cape Codders have not changed their minds about herbicidal spraying. We do not want toxic chemicals used to remove vegetation since they will filter down into our groundwater. This time newspapers ran articles about the “pruning party,” and the event was endorsed by Paul Sieloff, Wellfleet Town Administrator, himself. Paul showed up with lopers, flanked by health agent Hillary Greenberg and Building Inspector Paul Murphy. This time organizers had obtained permission to remove saplings, the idea being that, therefore, the utility company does not need to. Apparently, the request application was complicated, in part due to the presence of box turtle habitat.

“Ninety days of paperwork!” Hilary groaned.

This left me scratching my head. Box turtles get protection, while humans must demonstrate to attract attention …

Regular Wellfleetians answered the call, as did a group of professionals from Old Sod Landscaping in Hyannis. Lydia Vivante of the Recycling Commission came, ready to prune. Tom Reinhardt and Seth Rolbein were also present, along with a half dozen other members of the community.

Non-resident taxpayer Irene Goldman could not be at the event but sent her best wishes and a reminder: “This is only a first step. I hope more like-minded taxpapers are ready to join the party in coordinating similar action in other parts of Wellfleet and beyond.”

Peter and Femka Rosenbaum also called in, disappointed that they could not make it because of the imminent birth of a first grandchild.

Meanwhile Laura had begun speaking to a reporter from the Cape Cod Times: “We’re here to show we do not want N to …”

He interviewed me, too, as well as Paul Sieloff, who here jokes around with Hillary, attempting to remove a small pine tree: "This is hard work!" he declared.

There was talk of planting a green carpet of native perennials that do not grow higher than two feet, or blueberries that all Wellfleetians could pick and enjoy every summer. Lydia suggested the clearing be used partially for solar panels to generate electricity.

One hundred and fifty miles of Cape Cod means a lot of toxic chemicals if N gets its way and sprays the vegetation. Although the mood was joyous under the power lines today, no one could forgot how serious the issue remains. New research shows that even minute amounts of toxic chemicals can have an effect on behavior. The most vulnerable are children. This week USNews and World Report ran an article about a possible link between exposure to pesticides while in the womb and ADHD ...

What's New On the Bookshelf?

Only one book this month, a recently published collection of short stories by an author I have always admired, Lee Smith. I've been a fan ever since discovering Fair and Tender Ladies in the 1980s. The title? Mrs. Darcy and the Blue-eyed Stranger. I have only read the first story at this point. Short story collections are great for innkeepers and B&B guests alike because one story is often all a busy day will allow. Lee Smith is masterful at her craft, creating quirky characters who are smart and funny. She makes you feel as if the characters might step right out of the book into your living room. That's how real they seem. This collection contains seven old stories and seven new ones. Thirteen more to enjoy!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Kiteboarders Rave about Wellfleet's Fun Seekers

“Kiteboarding can change your life forever.” These words were spoken by Eric Gustafson, who moved to Wellfleet in 1985 and started Fun Seekers 17 years ago. At first Eric taught surfing and windsurfing. In 2002, he switched to his new passion, kiteboarding, and hired surf instructors for non-airborne clientele. I learned about Fun Seekers in late May when my nephew visited from France.

All Xavier could talk about was “kite,” the French abbreviation. Would there be enough wind? Had his fiancé made the necessary appointment? Did I want to come and watch? He spoke with an enthusiasm that bordered on obsession. That’s when I understood what Eric meant when he described kiteboarding to me over the phone: "an amazing experience once you have it and feel it and have the wind.” Unfortunately for my nephew, there was no wind the weekend of his visit. No wind, no lessons.

“It’s a tough way to earn a living,” Erik admitted. Yesterday, for instance, there was too much wind, 35 gusting to 40. Eight days ago, there was none.

Overcast skies are okay. Rain is okay, too, but I doubt there were many pedestrians yesterday on Wellfleet's jetty, a perfect spot to observe experienced kiteboarders in action. They zip right by and jump 20 feet into the air. I know because Sven and I have watched.

"There’s no danger because they’re upwind,” Eric explained. Yesterday he took a friend, who was visiting, to the ocean. “Only the crazies were out. The rain was sideways. You almost needed goggles.”

Eric teaches all levels of this thrilling sport, booking one client per day, for a three-hour window. And, he's a great teacher. I know this because my nephew’s fiancé’s best friend stayed with us in late June. Anna, who sent me these photos, couldn’t stop raving about Fun Seekers. Kiteboarding changed her life, too.

Do you kiteboard? Is this something you would like to try?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Dressed to Prune?

This is my handy, dandy bag-bag, where I put all my plastic bags for transport to recycling at Stop & Shop. A guest left it folded in the wastepaper basket at departure, having tucked whatever she bought at the Cape Cod Mall into her suitcase, and I promptly appropriated. I think it makes a great statement, don’t you? I’m holding on to this one. Only, with such an elegant bag-bag, I need a change of clothes, don’t you think? So I flipped through the New York Times Style Magazine that came yesterday morning with the newspaper and picked out this outfit, a spaced-out gypsy look I could wear all day without a change of clothes. It would fit right in, say, Wednesday, when Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko will read at the Congregational Church at 8 pm, with a vodka reception afterward at Winslow’s Tavern, or earlier in the afternoon, at the pruning party set up by Town Administrator Paul Sieloff, under the power lines. I could tuck the pruning shears into my belt and hold a loper over my shoulder, casual like. But, I worry. Do you think I might look a bit out of place when I turn in the plastic at Stop & Shop?

Update: Oh! Sven says this outfit is way too expensive. Jacket, $11,000; Vest, $60,000; pants, $750; poncho, $1000, skirt, $4600, for a grand total of $77,350, plus tax. He's right. Much too expensive for Wellfleet. Oh, well. I'll just go in jeans, the way I usually do ...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

NRTA Gets Website Lesson & Hears Green-Wellfleet Plan

Yesterday Paul Pilcher, Chair of the Economic Development Committee, decked out in promotional T-shirt, spoke to the NRTA (Non-Resident Taxpayers Association) and I tagged along. His topic: Does Wellfleet need to change to remain the same?

The short answer is yes. Paul pointed out real estate has become unaffordable for young people raised here. He explained how our committee has zeroed in on the fact a seasonal economy cannot support year-round subsistence. This explained our choice of the “town for all seasons” model and our recommendation, to the Selectmen, for a new website: DiscoverWellfleet.com.

A member of the audience piped up, “But I don’t want any more people discovering Wellfleet!”

Laughter rang out and gray heads bobbed in agreement. Indeed, we all realize the saturation point was reached this summer when PB Boulangerie Bistro became the gastronomic Mecca for New England and beyond. Paul patiently replied that our desire was to expand the shoulder seasons and make Wellfleet a viable destination during spring and fall.

Wellfleet’s young tech star Cristian Patapie then gave a demonstration of how DiscoverWellfleet.com works.

During the Q&A period, there were several questions on funding. (Taxpayers seem to care a lot about where money is spent, and they are right to remain vigilant.) Paul was able to assuage their fears. Someone asked about a pharmacy. Paul replied that it was part of the plan for the expansion of Outer Cape Health. Another person suggested activities at Thanksgiving. And one lady in the back – bless her heart! – asked about the placement of blogs on the new site. Paul explained Cristian is working on a blog-auto-update module. Of course, this was the perfect lead-in for me. Paul had provided attendees with a typed summary of our committee’s activities and areas of interest for 2010-11. I had come prepared to describe #6. Here’s what I said in the two minutes I was allotted:

“I write a blog about living in Wellfleet and being a green innkeeper. Before moving here, I came every summer for 30 years. I’ve been following the green movement since 2004 when I started a green Bed & Breakfast in my mom’s old Cape Codder. At first going green seemed audacious. Now everyone’s doing it. Even whole countries. I was reading yesterday about how Portugal has gone green. If a country can do it, a small town like Wellfleet can, too.

Early on, members of the Econ. Dev. Com. touched on Wellfleet's becoming a "green" town as a motor for economic development and abandoned this idea as too progressive. A year later, it’s almost trendy. People seem more ready to accept green initiatives. So, when Paul asked members to form sub-committees, of course I chose GREEN. As usual, our Library is leading the way with solar panels. Town Administrator Paul Sieloff is totally on board. He’s checking out a way of greening town properties.

There are several green movements in town: Cape Cool, the Recycling Commission, Sustainable Wellfleet. I hope to have reps from each one in my working group.

You may know that I have been very active in the movement to stop the utility company from spraying herbicides under the power lines, so besides taking on the bed & breakfasts, toxic chemicals in the environment will be my personal focus.

Has this been done before? Yes, Marblehead was shifted non-toxic, as was Dubuque, Iowa, whose new green profile attracted national attention. No town on Cape Cod has gone green yet. I hope Wellfleet will choose to lead the way.”

Several people approached me afterward, and two signed up to join the working group. Progress, don’t you think?

Have you visited the new website yet? Do you have any suggestions for improvement? Where do you think Cristian should put Chezsven Blog: Wellfleet Today?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

"Be Kind to the Bee Kind ..."

Today is National Honey Bee Day. Above a new type of see-through bee hive, photographed at Littlefield Farm, in Eastham. Did you know honey bees are in danger? Colony Collapse Disorder is a worldwide problem. Take a few minutes to think about pollination and reflect on the fact that pesticides may be killing our bees. No bees, no food. Then read helpful tips on how to help the bee population, posted by my friend Melanie at her blog, The Frugal Kiwi. Melanie is learning to become a beekeeper. The bees in New Zealand are in danger, too.

I know several beekeepers. Laura Kelley has a marvelous organic garden in Eastham, the neighboring town. Lucky bees who live in her hives! Laura tends her bees with lots of TLC. On National Honey Bee Day, she reminds us, “For the flowers we love, the plants we eat and the honeybees we need, be non-toxic inside and outside your home!”

Friday, August 20, 2010

Free Jazz on Tap at Mayo Beach

I think the folks below have the right idea. They had appropriated a picnic table and were about to sample a new bottle of wine. Meanwhile, across Kendrick Avenue, a line had formed for the Bookstore. Further down the road, Pearl was also crowded. There were about two dozen people standing in the take-out line at Mac's Seafood. And, on Commercial Street, the wait to get into Mac's Shack was one and a half hours. I know this because our Green Room guests ate there last night. Sven and I were downtown to pick up some organic milk at Wellfleet Marketplace. On the way home, we drove through the village and parked at Mayo Beach. A breeze off the harbor had cooled off tempers and dogs. There were quite a few out walking their owners. Wellfleet Recreation has erected a tent for summer events near the skateboard park. Last night jazz reigned supreme. I did not catch the names of all the musicians, but I do know the female vocalist was none other than Lisa Brown and that she has a great voice. Lisa also plays the drums. Chalk up two more hidden talents for this Wellfleetian, who, every year, inspires a new group of teenagers with world music at Nauset High. Sven sat and listened while I roamed around playing photographer as tourists, non-residents, and locals mingled on a very pleasant August evening.

The Desperate Weekend Room Search Begins …

Still lots of room on Newcomb Hollow Beach, but no beds in town.

"Brr-innng, brr-innng."

ME: “Chez Sven, hello?”

Stranger 1: “I’m looking for a room this weekend. Do you have any available?”

ME: “No. Sorry. We’re fully booked through August 29. I recommend you call the Chamber of Commerce. 508 349 2510.”

“Brr-innng, brr-innng.”

ME: “Chez Sven, hello?”

Stranger 2: “Got a room available this weekend?”

ME: “Sorry, nope. We’re fully booked.”

Stranger 2: “Can you recommend something?"

ME: "You mean, in Wellfleet?"

Stranger 2: "Anywhere on Cape Cod.”

ME: “Whoa! Where do you live?”

Stranger 2: “Boston.”

ME: “First off, don’t come by car. Take the ferry. Call the Chamber of Commerce in Ptown to see if they have any rooms available, because Wellfleet is booked solid. Not one room open, according to the Chamber of Commerce.”

“Brr-innng, brr-innng.”

ME: “Chez Sven, hello?”

Stranger 3: “I’m looking for a double room for Saturday night.”

ME: “We don’t do one night and are fully booked anyway. The Chamber of Commerce is sending people to other towns, so don’t even bother calling in Wellfleet. I suggest you look in Provincetown or change your plans and come in September instead. There are way too many people down here this month.”

Stranger 3: “Thanks for being so honest!”

"Brr-iing, Brr-iing."

ME: “Chez Sven, hello?”

Stranger 4: “I’m looking for a room Friday night."

ME: "Sorry. We're fully booked."

Stranger 4: "How about a couch in your living room?"

ME: “Have you tried the campground?”

You get the idea ….

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Where Tradition & Organic Choice Meet ...

Notice the wide display of organic fruit juices above. Was this picture taken at, A. the health food store in Orleans, B. Stop & Shop, C. the South Wellfleet General Store? If you circled C, you got the right answer. The South Wellfleet General Store has made a particular effort this summer at providing organic food.

Now that everyone, and I mean everyone, is buying, or trying to buy, bread at PB Boulangerie, more folks will do regular shopping in the small shops across LeCount Hollow Road. It is also easy to get off the highway in South Wellfleet and buy a few items when returning from a trip off-Cape. There never seems to be a line. The old wooden plank floors hark back to another era. Not only can you find most staples but unusual stuff like Red Mill products crowd the shelves. Check out these homemade drinks. And, fans rave about the sandwiches made right before your eyes in the deli section, and the locally roasted coffee beans.

Before leaving this quaint place, tucked away between a gallery and a small traditional post office, take a gander at the potatoes. First off, they are organic and fingerling. Second, the containers are the old-fashioned kind, made out of wood. I have always admired similar bins in Sweden and wondered why they went out of style here.

Did you shop at the S. Wellfleet General Store this summer? If so, what products do you recommend?