November 1, 2013
October has blown into November and we have made it through our second season as stewards of your vacation experience here at Harborfields! Thank you again to all of our many wonderful guests!
The first of you arrived May 15 and the last departed 165 days later on October 26! During that time, there was only one day -- Friday May 24 --when there weren’t any guests arriving, in residence, or departing! Overall, there were 850 cottage-nights booked. Returning guests (those who stayed at Harborfields in 2012) accounted for 45% of those nights booked, with another16% booked by guests who didn’t stay here in 2012, but had stayed here sometime previously (like, say, 1954!). The remaining 39% of the cottage-nights were booked by new guests, and we hope many of you will come back to stay at Harborfields again sometime!
This provides an opportunity to remind you that if you did stay with us for a week or more this past summer, we are holding your cottage(s) for you for the equivalent week(s) in the 2014 season, until January 1st. In the meantime, we are deferring inquiries from potential new guests while we wait to hear from you. You can make your 2014 reservations at any time -- no need to wait until December 1st or January 1st! We already have 155 cottage-nights reserved for 2014! (Thanks!) As an incentive to let us know your plans ASAP, if you confirm your reservation before Thanksgiving, it will be at 2013 rates before any proposed rate increases take effect. Conversely, if you know that you will not be coming back in 2014, or know that you won’t be able to make a decision before January 1st, please let us know so that we can make the week(s) we are holding for you available to others.
Some more interesting tidbits about our 2013 season:
The Wharf Cottage was the most popular this season, booked for 129 nights, followed by Pine at 105 nights, and Rock at 100 nights.
We had 4 different guests who each came to stay two different times during the season.
We had 14 guests who stayed for two contiguous weeks or more.
In addition to Bigelow Labs and another organized group, we had 6 family reunions that rented more than one cottage, as well as a two other cases (that we know of) where related guests made separate but coinciding reservations.
We were 100% booked for the month of August but only 88% for July (the week after the 4th always seems to be slow). Surprisingly, June beat out September, 46% to 37% (doesn’t everyone know that September, with its clear crisp air, is the single best month of year to experience the Maine coast?).
In other news, most of you are probably aware that we did successfully complete our big infrastructure project of 2013 in late May/early June. Over the course of the summer the grass filled in very nicely, perhaps better than ever. Conditions were so good in fact that by August guests in the Shore Cottage were able to drive their cars down there as before. However, before the summer was over we realized that such infrastructure projects are far from over. Indeed, before winter sets in we hope to have completed construction of a new waste water system serving the 1780 Farmhouse, replacing the 100+ year old cesspool dating from when the Thorpe ancestors first put indoor plumbing in that house. And next fall we will have to replace the Overboard Discharge System (aka “the gurglers”) serving the Pine and Deck cottages.
We are hoping that we can run the waste water from all of these cottages into the large new leach field that was built this spring. To that end, we have been monitoring the amount of pumping done by the new pump station to compare actual usage to the design capacity. We have also been recording readings from the water meter on the distribution system serving the cottages. We can tell you that the 9 cottages used a total of 128,000 gallons of water this past year (not counting the main house and attached Captain’s Quarters apartment, which have a separate water meter). This is significantly down from previous years (214,000 gallons for 2012, and 245,000 gallons for 2011) despite increased occupancy levels! We attribute some of this savings to the fact that we have replaced much of the water distribution piping, eliminating or fixing a lot of leaking joints.
Another related project we have embarked on is to replace all the old toilets on the Harborfields campus -- in other words, those using 4, 5, or even 6 gallons of water for every flush -- with modern toilets that require only 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf). So how many toilets is that? Well, there are 17 toilets in all. Of those, six were already 1.6 gpf (or better) toilets, and one is a wall-mount toilet that we are not going to mess with right now. That leaves 10 toilets that we are replacing! Now that the cottages are vacant, we have removed all the old ones, including an original toilet dated 1948 from the Lodge, and another dated 1957 from the Pine Cottage. Unfortunately, these projects tend to be like opening cans of worms. In several of the cottages we need to do some work on the floors, and potentially the drain pipes as well, before we can install the new toilets! (What was our opening date next spring, again?)
Wait -- 17 toilets? But there are only 9 cottages, how can that be? Yes, that’s right, only 9 cottages, and while most of the cottages only have one bathroom (and thus only one toilet), the 1780 Farmhouse and the Deck cottage have two bathrooms (and two toilets) each, and the Lodge has three! In addition the main house has three, plus one more in the CQ! Now here’s a trivia question for you: how many kitchen sinks are there at Harborfields (including the main house and the CQ)?
Another little quantitative tidbit about Harborfields is the number of beds. Not counting the main house or the CQ, there are 2 queen beds, 7 double beds, 31 twin beds, and 6 beds of other types in the nine cottages. That is a lot of sheets and blankets! But more importantly, it’s useful to know how many pillows and pillowcases that adds up to. Why? Well, in case you were planning a wedding or other large gathering and wanted to be able to house a whole bunch of people (the answer is 56).
In fact, Lindsay and Mike will be getting married here at Harborfields in June, and we expect Erin and John will be hosting their wedding here in September! Exciting! We hope not too exciting, though! There were several weddings held at Harborfields on Barbara and Rick Prose’s watch, but these will be firsts for us. It is a challenge to juggle the wedding business with our core business of hosting your vacations, and these two events are right at critical turning points, the beginning and end of the summer vacation season (so they will not be without impact). We do hope everything goes smoothly!
Well the sun has finally broken through, as the last of the Halloween storm blows by with some bluster. Time to get back to work on the oh-so-many projects we have here at Harborfields. But what ever we are doing, and where ever we are, you can always reach us by e-mail to email@example.com, or by phone at 207-633-5082.
(Note that our online reservation system will not allow you to make reservations for periods subject to a “returnee hold,” even if you are the returnee for whom the period is being held, so just send us an e-mail.)
We hope to hear from you soon, and look forward to seeing you at Harborfields in 2014!
Wendy, Tim, Bennett, Tahoe, and Scamper
The Harborfields Herald newsletter is published annually in the fall, with maybe a few other short updates in the winter, spring, and summer.
PO Box 524
West Boothbay Harbor, Maine 04575