My apologies for the huge gap between posts. But, begging your forgiveness, and patience, I hope the following will help you understand. I also apologize for the length of this post. I promise to never have another post as long as this one.
We enjoyed a good first season of innkeeping. Our website did not get finished and published until September of 2019, so the possibility of direct reservations did not materialize until later that year. No one knows you’re there until you are officially online. Thanks to many wonderful reviews from our guests, we made a small mark in the hospitality community in our very first year. Armed with our new knowledge, we were ready to make some more upgrades to the Inn to further enhance our guest’s experiences. I decided to take a job at a local warehouse store called BJ’s, for those west of the coast, a Costco-like store. I was uneasy about the money we had made being able to carry us through the long winter. Chris was still at the Inn, taking calls, keeping up with books and doing some minor repairs. We had a few guests stay with us during the holidays and opened our Inn to the annual Yarmouth Port Christmas Stroll. A really cool tradition, where the local villages open homes and businesses to the public to come through and visit and enjoy some of our tasty treats. We were overjoyed when over 700 people came through to check out all of our hard work on the renovations. We rode that high right through the holidays.
Then came January of 2020. I made a quick trip back to California to visit with my 2 kids and 3 grandsons. There was talk of the nasty virus that was shutting down entire cities in China. Soon after I returned home, the US started to see infections popping up, with one of the first infections in the Boston area. Then the world shut down. Still working at BJs, many of my team members made the decision that the risk of exposure from their work at BJs was too great, so many decided to isolate at home. I started working 40 – 50 hours a week to cover their shifts and helping our community shop during these uncertain times. Chris and I decided to open our Inn to any first responder who needed to isolate from family. We called our local hospital and listed our Inn as a place they could stay safely. We also decided to crowd fund resources to allow our heroes to stay for little to no cost to them. They were paying a much too high price already by being away from their families. We had a few stay with us. One nurse ended up staying almost 3 months. She’s since become family. Together, we got through the worst of the pandemic. Chris also decided to help out our new community and became an Instacart shopper. Many of our Cape residents are elderly in age and chose to isolate to reduce their risk of catching the virus. This got us through the winter months. As summer of 2020 approached, the certainty of us even having a “season” was not very promising. The reservations we had already taken from our European and Canadian guests were the first to evaporate. Then, the wedding party guests, vacations from those out of state and eventually those reservations from in state or close proximity also evaporated. We were in a total state of panic. June came. A few brave guests learned how safe we could keep them so they could enjoy a few days away from their homes. July and August proved to be pretty good months for us. I think most people were pretty sick of being cooped up at home and decided their mental health needs exceeded the risk factors of the virus. We had not really experienced a second wave, yet. We had planned to do some more bathroom renovations after the 2020 high season as laid out in our 5-year business plan. (A pandemic was not part of our business plan – in any year…go figure…) Chris and I decided to sit on that money. That decision proved to be a wise one. The Federal Loan programs were up and running at this time. We filled out the applications and submitted the necessary documentation. Then we waited. And waited. We shared our fellow Innkeeper’s joy when they were lucky enough to grab a small slice of funding to save their businesses. We heard the news that some really large companies also received some rather generous small business loans as well. Still, we remained hopeful. We continued to find ways to bring in money. We are the only Inn on the Cape listed on the Massachusetts Film Site Registry. Hey Hollywood, anyone want to shoot a Hallmark Christmas movie at our Inn? We’re here!
In October of 2020, Chris had a scary health issue. He ended up with a severe case of pancreatitis. He spent 14 days in the hospital before they let him come home to continue his recovery. My daughter and my sister-in-law came to help us out at the Inn. They cooked and cleaned, helped walk the dog, took me to work and much, much more. About 2 months after the first attack of pancreatitis, Chris got another gallstone semi-blockage and ended up back in the hospital for 4 more days. He came home on Thanksgiving Day. Our Innkeeping community brought us a Thanksgiving dinner to celebrate. We are truly grateful to our fellow Innkeepers for all their love and support during this time. He ended up in the hospital one more time in April, when another gallstone blocked the common bile duct and he became very jaundiced. He finally got that pesky gallbladder out at the end of April, and continues to enjoy good health.
January 2021, the state of Massachusetts was offering some Small Business grants – specifically for really small businesses such as ours. We filled out the application and sent the requested documents and then we waited. And waited. Then, 5 days after our shared birthday, we received notice that our application had been approved and we were indeed going to receive one of the grants! I slept like a baby for the first time in about a year that night. I continued to work the other jobs and we kept our Inn open and available for guests. When the opportunity to get vaccines became available, both Chris and I got ours. I cried when I received my first shot. I was so relieved! And, I could finally go to visit my children and grandsons in California in the near future. I stopped my outside employment at BJs in April and have been back at the Inn full time. I have been doing paint touch ups, and landscaping updates, ordered supplies for the season and spring cleaned. We are READY! Now, all we need are our wonderful guests to book your summer vacation, today.
We have received Trip Advisors Top Destinations to Stay Award. The award comes from our past guest reviews. So, to those of you who have stayed with us, THANK YOU! We are so thankful that you took the time to leave us a review. We work really hard to ensure your experience on the Cape is a memorable one. We hope to see you in the future.
Thanks for bearing with me!