Tuesday, January 1, 2008

And so it begins...

New year, new post. This one is a little unfocused, please bear with me. Think of it as a buffet.

Before I get rolling, happy new year to anyone who actually reads my ramblings. Post a comment now and then so I know you're there, okay?

We had a lovely New Year's eve. We hosted a party at Adam's mom's house so as not to disturb our inn guests. It was a nice mix of local and out-of-town friends, good wine and way too much food. Oddly, the party really coalesced around a game brought by one of our guests. It was a lot of fun and it didn't seem to matter to anyone that we simply left off where we were at midnight to ring in the new year and we never got back to it.

The sky last night was gorgeous. The quarter-moon was low in the sky and the stars stood out in such clear relief against the inky blue-black of the night it looked like you could prick your finger on their sharp points.

Driving home at an hour that was far too late for someone who had to get up and make breakfast this morning, I saw a coyote trotting down the middle of our street. I've seen them a number of times before on side streets or along the state highway, but this is the closest I've ever seen one to the house. It got out of the road when I switched on my high beams about 30' behind it, but didn't seem particularly concerned about me until I stopped my car to get a good look at it. At that point it bounded off behind a house and I continued home. Adam followed about an hour later. I'm not sure how he got up at his usual hour of 6 a.m., but he did.

Inn guests and out-of-town friends had all left by about 12:30 this afternoon, leaving us free to attend a New Year's day brunch hosted by some friends. Late in the afternoon I indulged in a much-needed nap. Room cleaning will wait until tomorrow since we aren't expecting anyone for a few days.

Today marks a bleak two-week period in which NOT ONE restaurant in Wellfleet is open. I find this distressing both for myself and for any potential guests. In order to hold a year-round liquor license in this town, restaurants must stay open all year (sounds logical, right?). They are permitted to close for up to four weeks for "renovations". I put the term inside quotation marks because it is interpreted pretty loosely by the local population and the Selectboard that governs the town. Everyone understands that restaurants are barely breaking even in the winter and nobody begrudges them a period of downtime, but in the past few years it seems that several of the restaurant owners have begun to take advantage of local goodwill in this matter.

One year-round restaurant closed for a major kitchen overhaul a few years ago that lasted about three months. That was completely understandable as the project was large and delays do happen, but something changed after that. Up until then they had adhered pretty carefully to the 4-week rule but in years subsequent to the kitchen renovation they have closed after New Year's eve and not reopened until Valentine's day; far more than four weeks by my calendar. Another restaurant with a year-round license closed for a full winter for the first time three years ago because the owners decided they were tired and they wanted to sell. I'm not quite sure why they felt they had to close other than burn-out - which I do understand - but the restaurant did not sell that year or the year after or this year, yet they have closed each of these years in October and not reopened until April. This really seems like flaunting the rules to the detrimient of the locals. If it were up to me, I'd yank their year-round liquor license and make them reapply for a seasonal one. A third restaurant, one of our favorites, kind of arbitrarily decided to take six weeks off this winter. A fourth is taking the permitted four weeks and no more and doing it at exactly the same time he always has, it just happens to coincide with all the other closings.

It used to be that the year-round restaurants would coordinate with each other so that at least one restaurant would be open at all times - possibly not seven days a week, but at least Thursday through Sunday. This is the first time in eight years I've seen all the restaurants in town closed at the same time. We've had discussions with several friends about having pot-luck dinners and that could be a lovely way to pass some of these evenings; I hope one or more come to pass. Unfortunately that won't help anyone from out of town. If anyone calls us for a reservation during this time we will have to explain that they will need to plan their dinners in Orleans or Provincetown unless they're here visiting friends or family who will cook. That's liable to loose us a couple of reservations, but we'll see what happens. I'm not too happy about it in any case.

I've rambled on enough for one post. Tomorrow is back to work on winter projects; more about that another time.

1 comment:

Larry said...

I absolutely read your blog, and recommend it to anyone who expresses an interest.

I've also recommended the Stone Lion Inn to several co-workers, although I have no idea if they ever followed up :).