Well, strange as it seems, it is, though those of you who lived through the lousy, wet, cool weather we had most of the summer won't be happy to hear that the months of September and October more than made up for it. We had plenty of sunshine and warm temperatures all the way up until yesterday, November 1st, when the mercury hit 70 degrees. Of course, there was the day in October when Rick was bringing a boat down the Damariscotta River to Harborfields for winter storage and he got snowed on, but, all in all, it's been a great Autumn and the cottages were put to bed last month, awaiting the arrival of our happy guests next season.
(I could have stretched that one out forever, but the knock of the Alliteration Police on the door brought me up short)
But, seriously, the new gazebo became the scene of the revived tradition of the Sunday Evening Mixer this season, and what a success it was. A great time was had by everyone participating, and many long-time guests got to meet their fellow Harborfields mates face-to-face for the first time. We will continue to promote this event, and hope next season to incorporate a limited number of musical evenings also.
We had planned on holding this season's "Harborfields Hootenany" outside, but the damp, windless nature of the evening brought out the mosquitoes and drove the musicians inside. Thanks to the good graces of the Hillmanns, we were able to gather in the Lodge where we managed to rip the Great American Songbook to shreds without having to stop every five seconds to slap our ankles.
(Turns out it wasn't the Alliteration Police, it was the UPS man)
The new coin laundry got a lot of use this season and we wish to thank our guests for keeping the place clean and neat. The coin machines were something we kept getting suggestions about on the guest questionnaires, so please keep filling them out and letting us know what we can do to make Harborfields a more enjoyable place for you and your family.
On a related note, we want to remind guests that the Laundry Shed (the one with the clean sheets and toilet paper, not the coin laundry) is closed on Saturdays. With all the cleaning and outgoing laundry that needs to get done on change-over days, it makes everyone's job that much harder to have to dodge guests loaded down with wet towels as we zip in and out. So, if you're staying more than a week, please try and get your clean laundry needs taken care of on Friday, or wait until Sunday.
Rates will be increasing next year, on average about six percent, to reflect the amount of work and capital that has gone into improving the place over the past four years. Boothbay Harbor has also recently undergone a re-valuation for waterfront property to more accurately reflect real estate values after the latest influx of big money hit the area in the past two years, and Harborfields, as a ten-acre property on the water, was hit with a sizeable tax increase.
All we can say, to try and make this bitter pill go down a little more smoothly, is that we will continue to try and make the grounds and cottages look more attractive every year, without going overboard and losing the old-fashioned feel of the place, which, of course, means no Jacuzzis, no Magic Fingers and no TV - satellite, cable or otherwise!
Just to remind everyone, we will begin taking reservations for returning guests on December 1st, and will do our best to accommodate everyone's wishes. We want to thank all of you for being somewhat flexible overt the years and allowing us to tweak the schedule slightly here and there to better meet as many of your needs as we reasonably can. We think we've evolved a system that allows us to accommodate most people's requests most of the time, but we're always open to suggestions about how we might refine things.
As an added note, please make sure to remind us if you are bringing a pet and/or a boat, so we can bill and make arrangements accordingly. We do a pretty good job of remembering most guests, but sometimes forget whose dog is whose, so a little reminder would be very helpful.
We want to thank all of you for helping us update our e-mail list this past season. Most of the newsletters will be going out via e-mail this year, for the first time, and we'll only be mailing them to those of you who have no e-mail address or whose newsletters come back as electronically undeliverable. It would be helpful for us if you would add Harborfields to your list of addresses to whom you might send your new address in the event of a change.
Finally, we want to wish all of you a wonderful holiday season, and thank you all for making the atmosphere at Harborfields so special and so pleasant for all of us who have to mow the lawn, clean the toilets and fix the leaky faucets. For those of you who are keeping score, I believe this makes 5 years running I've managed to work "leaky faucets" into the newsletter. By next season we hope to have eliminated all faucets in favor of a well-and-bucket system, at which point, to misquote one of our more infamous ex-presidents, "You won't have drip fixin' to kick around anymore."
Anyone who can come up with a better pun based on leaky faucets and ex-presidents should submit entries care of this address, first prize yet to be determined...
Rick, Barbara, Sophie and Celeste
PO Box 524
West Boothbay Harbor, Maine 04575