Winter business is so very different from summer business here. It makes sense when you think about it... this is, after all, a summer vacation area. People come for sun, surf and fried seafood. The fact that any come in the winter at all is somewhat amazing, really.
When they learn that we are open all year, the next question guests ask is almost always "Do you have any guests?" Followed by "Why do they come?" Here are the answers:
Yes, we do have guests. We are rarely full in the winter, but there are few weekends that we have nobody here. They come for very specific reasons:
1) Visiting family (but want their own space);
2) Looking for property - either to rent over the summer or to buy;
3) They own a 2nd home here and it is being renovated so they can't stay there;
4) A quiet getaway.
Nearly all our winter guests are last-minute reservations. Sometimes they call a day or two in advance, sometimes they call in the morning on the day they wish to arrive. Many are coming just for one night, although the ones visiting family usually stay two or three nights if they've traveled any real distance to get here and especially if there are grandchildren. Why so last-minute, you ask? Weather. They are waiting for the weather forecast to make sure they're not going to be driving in snow or ice. It took a couple of winters for us to figure this out, but it makes perfect sense.
This past week we had guests Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, one couple each night. In all honesty I would much prefer to make breakfast for a full house than just two people, but it is what it is and we adapt.
I'm handling breakfast a little differently this winter when we have only two guests. Normally, our breakfast is set up as a buffet with fresh fruit salad, yogurt, bread for the toaster, scones or muffins and a main dish. For a number of years we've used a simple form to help us plan a scaled-down breakfast when we've had just one couple in the house, which has helped, but I'm making further improvements on the system. For one thing, I've started to do some more interesting things with fruit that become individual servings rather than a buffet item. This allows me to take better advantage of the best of the winter produce and it cuts down on waste. Two of my new offerings are broiled grapefruit with brown sugar and coconut, and poached pears with creme fraische. Both have been hits. I've also been making more egg dishes in individual ramekins. I still set scones, bread, butter, jam and yogurt on the buffet if any of these items are requested. So our winter guests are getting some things that our summer guests will never see and a little extra personalized attention as well. Not bad for the time of year when our rates are lowest as well!
Are you thinking about a winter visit? Call us! The weather out here is typically 5 - 10 degrees warmer than in Boston, the beaches are deserted and lovely for walking, a few good restaurants are open and Mother Nature saves her most spectacular sunsets for the colder months.