Fred Giuffrida and his family from Hudson, NH were here from July 29th- August 5th. Fred had promised to keep a smile on my face long before he arrived and I can say without reservation that they were a wonderful family to host and I hope that we’ll see them many times before I grow old and senile.
Fred decided to use his camping trip here to write a review of his time in the park and their vacation and start a “squidoo” (think different version of a blog). His is an excellent example of what we all wish guide books had the time, space and desire to cover. As a quick aside, (sometime in the winter I’ll do a full posting on the subject) campground guidebooks that solicit advertising don’t paint an entire picture for you, the consumer. What you may not know is that our facilities, amenities and star ratings in the book are closely related to the amount we pay or don’t pay in advertising fees. If we buy an ad, our listing becomes greatly enhanced. With guidebooks like Frommer’s and Lonely Planet…this isn’t the case…but again, I’ll tell you more about this another time (It’s one of my favorite soapbox issues :))
So without further drama, check out Fred’s commentary because I want to explain a few things that fell into his short “bad” catagory…www.squidoo.com/searsportshoresreview/
Now, I hope that you read Fred’s review…of course I don’t want to respond to the praise…that’s the part that makes me feel warm and fuzzy. I want to respond to the “bad” not because I’m defensive, but because I’m certain that Fred speaks for a large number of people that come to the Maine coast to stay with us or anyone else so…even in our little corner of paradise, we know that things could be even better…but if you’ll indulge me…
Fred says…“The sites at this campground are small. If you’re the type of camper who doesn’t want to be able to see your neighbors, forget it. Most of the week the tent area was not filled to capacity and that was nice, but on the weekend we had neighbors close enough to hear me snoring”
Astrig responds…If you want privacy on the ocean, don’t come to the coast of Maine in July and August unless you own a private compound (and still that’s not a guarantee). Privacy is easily yours in this corner of paradise from the end of September through the end of June…in July and August you have can have it but you’ll need to work a little harder and pay a little more.
Remember that trees don’t grow densely on the coast so at least in our world, expect a canopy of shade but no brush cover. One of our biggest challenges is to minimize the compaction of land from tent pads and foot traffic in order to keep the delicate vegetation growing from year to year. Oh, and noise carries on the water so expect the world to hear your whispers in the quiet of the night…not to mention your neighbors’ snores!
Fred says…“We had a double site, which was larger, but for which we paid, well, double. It was worth it. We pretty much lived on one site with our dome tent and screen house, and the other site we used as buffer from our neighbors on one side. Having the double site also afforded us an extra little picnic table, which was nice.”
Astrig responds…Land prices and the associated taxes are climbing through the roof. We struggle every day to keep camping rates affordable for the families we want to host. We have no interest in becoming an exclusive, highly priced destination…we want to be the place where wonderful, creative people come to unwind and rejuvenate. According to your budget, we’re always happy to describe the options that are available for your vacation. Like anywhere else in the world, site further from the water (but still an easy stroll) are slightly larger and less expensive.
Fred says…”the layout of the bathroom limits privacy, and sitting on the toilet listening to the ladies gossiping around the washing machines is a little disconcerting.”
Astrig responds…Fred’s right…apparently we didn’t notice that our stereo system wasn’t working in the bathhouse…we fixed it since we read his notes. We didn’t design the bathhouse casually. We lived with and cleaned the old campground facilities for 3 years before we were confident that we knew what to do in the new bathhouse. Following our European counterparts, our bathrooms offer a balance of privacy and open space. An open plan increases personal security and reduces petty vandalism exponentially. Because we are continually sited for our exceptionally clean facilities, we think the trade-off is definitely worth it.
When our guests are leaving the campground, we try to ask four questions: (1) Did you have a good time? (2) Are you coming back? (3) Do need any stop over ideas for your ride home? and (4) When you’re discussing your vacation, if you think of ways we can improve the park, would you please send them to us by e-mail? Some of the best features in the campground are the result of guest comments. If you have thoughts, we always want to hear them. Sometimes there are reasons for the things that we do and other times we simply never saw things in the way that you experienced them…so please always share your observations with us…we have the same goal: creating the most relaxing, respectful environment for everyone who chooses to spend time here. Thanks again Fred!