Holiday weekend business was brisk


By Joe Moskowitz
It’s President’s Week. And for the first time in three years there’s plenty of snow at area ski and snowboard resorts. That should make restaurant and lodging facility owners happy, but there is at least one huge, dark cloud over the silver lining. The cloud’s name is “Sandy.”

Because of schools being closed following Hurricane “Sandy,” many downstate kids have to make up the lost time and don’t have the full week off, and that means the loss of money for businesses that still haven’t recovered from a storm that made a direct hit, “Irene.”

Joseph Massa, who along with Greg Henderson own The Roxbury contemporary lodging, says they turned away hundreds of people who wanted to stay over the weekend. Normally he says one has to reserve a room a month or more in advance to get a room during President’s Week at “The Roxbury,” but if you wanted to reserve a suite after Tuesday this week, “Your Room Pleasantly Awaits.” That’s The Roxbury’s stylish way of saying there are vacancies.

Massa says calls are beginning to trickle in from people who might otherwise not be able to get rooms this time of year, as well as people who had scheduled vacations well in advance.

Big Indian’s Peekamoose restaurant set records for meals served Saturday and Sunday evenings, and reservations indicated the same would occur Monday and Tuesday as well. But, for the first time, owner Marybeth Mills says, the restaurant would be closed Wednesday of President’s Week.
For the smaller places that do not have the resources to market themselves as aggressively, the problems are more complicated. Tanya Minteer owns the Meadowood Bed and Breakfast in Arkville. She says this is the first time ever that the Meadowood has not been full for all of President’s Week.
She says it’s more like two good weekends, rather than a good week. Again, Sandy is a problem, but she says it goes beyond that. The Roxbury, which is able to market worldwide did, according to Massa, rather well during January.

But, Minteer says, January was a disappointment. She says Belleayre Mountain’s failure to advertise downstate has hurt business, and she says the elimination of free skiing for kids may be even more damaging. She says Belleayre is known as a beginning skier’s area. The free skiing for kids makes it affordable for their parents and gets them to come to an area they might otherwise ignore.
Rob Sweeney, who operates Arkville’s Pakatakan Lodge, says they were full Saturday night, but the rest of the time there were vacancies. He says only two guests had kids. The problem, “Sandy,” and when people called and were told there were no deep discounts available at Belleayre, they decided not to book rooms.

Nadine Tischmaker, owner of Summerfield’s restaurant in Margaretville, says business has been very good since Valentine’s Day. She has heard the predictions of a bad President’s Week because of “Sandy,” but she is hoping for the best.