Strong fall and Columbus Day weekend sales reported by Mt Washington Valley, NH businesses
NEWS FROM MT WASHINGTON VALLEY, NH – OCTOBER 14, 2014
Contact: Marti Mayne, PR@mtwashingtonvalley.org or 207-846-6331
CROWDS AND COLOR WERE HIGHLIGHTS OF COLUMBUS DAY IN MT WASHINGTON VALLEY, NH
Response from businesses that sales were up over last year for Columbus Day weekend and fall weeks to date
North Conway, NH – “Wicked” good weather, flawless foliage and global guests were all reasons for a fabulous Columbus Day Weekend indicated by Mt Washington Valley, NH businesses after the holiday weekend. Virtually every business responding to an informal survey by the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce indicated that weekend sales/revenues were up over last year. For nearly all of those responding the fall weeks are also up over last year. Mt Washington Valley, NH businesses are nearly unanimous in reporting double digit increases in revenues and sales over last year for both the Columbus Day holiday weekend and the fall weeks to date.
Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce circulated an informal survey to members on Monday, October 13, 2014 asking members to compare fall and Columbus Day sales for this year to last year. Lodging members weighed in and unanimously reported that both the holiday weekend and fall weeks to date were up over last year in part due to brilliant fall foliage colors considered among the best foliage displays in five years, and in part to a huge influx of global travelers. Steve Lambert, Innkeeper at the Bernerhof Inn B&B stated that Columbus Day weekend bookings were up 18-percent over last year, and that this year’s fall foliage season to date is up by 20-percent over last year, noting that his guests came from the U.K, Australia, Germany and Canada and were also attracted by the newly opened Black Bear Pub.
Mary Ann Mayer, Owner/Innkeeper at the Mt. Washington Bed & Breakfast enthusiastically reported that Columbus Day weekend was much busier than last year noting that even with a three night minimum she sold out much sooner than last year for the holiday weekend. Similarly, she anticipates that the fall season will be the best she’s ever had, based on reservations to date. “I'm guessing the economy is indeed showing signs of improvement - this year has seen our best June, second best best August and now, potentially, the best October,” stated Mayer, noting that guests are also opting for the more expensive rooms this year.
Jen Kovach, co-owner of the Snowvillage Inn also reported that Columbus Day and fall weeks to date were both up over last year, stating that “We found more international travelers looking for the off-the-beaten path experience. They are looking for locally owned and operated businesses offering great individual service and were willing to spend money on quality food and lodging. Kovach added that “Max's Restaurant at the Snowvillage Inn had a busy fall/Columbus Day weekend with folks from all over the world. Customers said that they appreciated a local restaurant that they could enjoy a locally-based dining experience in a comfortable atmosphere.”
Admiral Peary Inn in Fryeburg, ME reported that both the weekend and the fall weeks to date were on par with last year, and that weddings in the area have been contributing to sales for the inn. And Richard Lefave, co-owner of the Old Red Inn & Cottages in North Conway reported that the inn was sold out for the entire Columbus Day weekend and fall bookings are up 14-percent over last year, explaining that people are staying longer. Lefave also confirmed that a number of his guests were from Canada.
Great leaf-peeping weather contributed to the strong weekend. Many visitors chose to peep a leaf from one of the many attractions in the region. Even Mount Washington showed its true colors with plenty of sun and some of the first snow of the year to provide a scenic backdrop. Cathy Bedor, co-owner of the Mount Washington Cog Railway told the Mt Washington Valley Chamber, “Last year we set a record for riders on a single day over the Columbus Day weekend. And this year we blew that record away by an increase of 15-percent. We expect this three day weekend and the foliage season as a whole will show a 15-percent increase over the prior year.” Bedor explained that they are actively pursuing riders from throughout the world and Asian, European, Canadian and New England ridership are all up this fall season.
According to Jim Miller at Santa’s Village in Jefferson, NH, “Santa’s Village was pleased with its results for the Columbus Day weekend, and for the fall weekends overall. Columbus Day weekend was even with last October in terms of visitors, and up slightly in terms of per capita visitor spending. We’re right on track with our projections for the year and gearing up for our Christmastime schedule on weekends in late November and December.”
Similarly, Jack Mahaney, Assistant General Manager at Story Land reported that both Columbus Day weekend and the fall weekends overall were up over last year, suggesting that the spectacular foliage season coupled with perfect weekend weather helped, not to mention the new roller coaster, Roar-O-Saurus, making its debut in the spring. Story Land is now closed for the season and counting down the 222 days until the next season opens in 2015.
Becca Deschanes, Marketing Manager for Cranmore Mountain Resort stated that the company ended the Columbus Day week up 28-pecent in admissions for the Aerial and Mountain Adventure Parks over last year and the fall foliage weeks will probably end close to 10-percent up over last year.
The Conway Scenic Railroad (CSRR) sold out six of the seven trains on Saturday and Sunday of Columbus Day weekend, and the last one was 90-percent sold out, according to Susan Logan, CSRR Marketing Manager. Columbus Day weekend was 18-percent up over last year, and overall fall weeks are up over last year by 15-percent, according to Logan. Best of all, due to interest from groups and the public, the Notch Train season will extend into the week of October 27th, the latest this train has ever run, testimony that there’s still plenty of fall foliage season left.
And even though visitors spent time outside, they also enjoyed plenty of sidewalk sales and shopping throughout the Valley. According to observers, Settlers’ Green Outlet Village was packed throughout the weekend. Additionally, North Conway Village shops also experienced sales increases. We heard from Matt Fusco, owner of The Rugged Mill in North Conway Village that the store’s Columbus Day weekend sales finished up 17-percent over last year, with Saturday being the strongest day. Fusco reported that the fall season sales are up 10-percent over last year to date and that people appear to be spending a little more this year. Shoppers came to his store from Ireland, Netherlands, Kuwait, India, Japan, Ukraine and Canada according to Fusco.
Additionally, Bill Crone of Aardvark Woodworking displayed at the craft sale held at the Gibson Senior Center over Columbus Day weekend. Crone reported that profits were up by 15-percent, crediting the motorcoach tours and the number of international visitors with the increase in shoppers. According to Crone, “Without a doubt people were willing to spend money for locally made products this year. There was a lot of positive feedback on the quality of the products and the friendliness of the various vendors at the craft show,” finished Crone.
“We have been delighted with the foliage season in Mt Washington Valley, NH to date,” said Janice Crawford, Executive Director of the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce. “Many people have commented they thought the color was more brilliant than it has been for several years, due to the lack of drought and storms this fall. Best of all, there are still several weeks left for leaf-peeping and fall adventure and shopping in Mt Washington Valley,” finished Crawford.
For more information on an end-of-October foliage getaway or November shopping getaway, please visit www.Mtwashingtonvalley.org. To talk with a vacation concierge, call 1-800-DO-SEE-NH (800-367-3364). Visit www.VisitNH.gov for information on New Hampshire vacations.
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Photos available. Please contact Marti Mayne (207-846-6331 or PR@mtwashingtonvalley.org)