People in the tourism industry refer to times of year in a different sort way than ordinary folk, especially here on Marthas Vineyard. Where you might say ‘summer’, we say ‘peak’ season. You may call them ‘spring’ or ‘fall’ but to us they are just ‘shoulder season’. These refer to our level of volume in the hotel, specifically and island-wide, in general.
After ten years in the business and six at the Colonial Inn, and having given it some thought, I personally have to break my year down differently. Spring is the ‘Anticipation’ season. After being closed for several months, I go a little stir crazy and it feels like it will be forever before we open up again and have guests to serve. (It is almost as bad as the furniture in the animated Beauty & the Beast, except I don’t sing as much as they do. It’s the ‘ennui’.) Summer shall hereby be known as ‘Madness’ season, simply due to the need to run madly about the property and the inability to form coherent thoughts. That’s how busy it feels some days. The fall, I call ‘Reprieve Season’. It is a time where the flow of guests begins to taper off slowly. While it would nice to be a little busier than we are, that is how it works at a beach-resort destination. It just naturally quiets, leading right into the final season: ‘Nostalgia season’ can strike at any time, but usually happens when our guest level drops below the number of employees we still have on hand. We usually have a ‘whoa…when did THIS happen’ moment in which we tell our staff they have some extra time off…um…Yay? That’s when I start thinking over the year and looking back and remembering some of our long-time repeat guests:
- Brian and Lisa who come twice a year, when it’s quiet, whether they need a getaway or not!
- Paul & Company who come for the MS Bike Tour fundraising ride in late April or early May. I have learned a lot about what makes wheel-chair accessible rooms easier to use with their patient help. (Several other wheel-chair bound guests have thanked me for those improvements to our rooms.)
- Michael, Stacey and the boys (actual kids or photo shoot crew) who almost achieved ‘Permanent Resident’ status over the years, before they bought a place on Chappy! You know we are here for you when the power goes out over there!
- Kevin & John visit regularly, even as busy as they must be. (I think Kevin is the only Town Mayor we have ever had in-house…)
- Janet and Helen – together with Joanne and Evelyn form our own little book club as they exchange titles.
- Kim & Marc and Christine & Joseph and their clans! A two-family long-weekend getaway, they have been as regular as clockwork. (They rented houses one year to accommodate their whole party…but secretly…I think they missed us too much to stay away.) How is it possible for kids to grow so much so fast?
- Barry S. and his merry band from Maine- From reluctant bus drivers to allergic reactions…we have been through some fun bus tours!
- Kris, Mike and the In-line skate group keep us busy and leave us their quiche from time to time!
- Meg should bring her Adventurers back to see us, but since she still comes by just to pop in and give us updates on Little Man, Chase…we won’t nag!
- Alan and Stephanie who 1st visited on their honeymoon and now come back with their boys, despite having a legendary air-conditioning problem on their 1st visit!
There are so many more…people we have grown to love over the years, kids we have had the privilege to watch grow into young ladies and gentlemen. We miss you when you’re gone and look forward to seeing you again soon!
So now that you know we miss you, what do you miss most about the Vineyard when you’re gone?
Michael, I loved this piece, and could picture each of the guests that you mentioned. Thanks