Mt Washington Valley ends a strong summer season with a stellar Labor Day Weekend, 2015
Good News from Mt Washington Valley, NH – September 8, 2015
Contact: Marti Mayne, 207-846-6331, PR@mtwashingtonvalley.org
WEATHER, GAS PRICES, TRAVEL INTEREST ALL ALIGN FOR SUPER LABOR DAY & SUMMER SEASON
IN MT WASHINGTON VALLEY, NH
North Conway, NH – Glorious weather, lower gas prices and a positive travel sentiment all contributed to a very strong Labor Day weekend and end to a good summer for businesses in Mt Washington Valley. The Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce (MWVCC) distributed a survey to members and the unanimous response was positive for both Labor Day and summer 2015 businesses. The Valley is poised for a strong fall foliage season, as evidenced by advance reservations and MWVCC member confidence.
“We’ve been hearing positive reports from our members throughout the summer,” said Janice Crawford, Executive Director of the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce. “We think that the combination of a strong economy, lower gas prices and warm, sunny weather has contributed to an excellent summer and certainly carried us through a busy Labor Day weekend. And hats off to the meteorologists; just as important as the great weather we enjoyed was the forecast for a sunny, warm weekend, giving last-minute planners the confidence to come spend their weekend in Mt Washington Valley ,” finished Crawford.
Steve Lambert, innkeeper at the Bernerhof Inn B&B, reported that the inn was sold out for four nights in a row over Labor Day weekend, noting a 25-percent increase in add-ons like dinners, cooking classes and spa services throughout the summer. Lambert credited the great weather and a strong economy for the good fortune in July and August.
Mary Ann Meyer, owner/innkeeper at the Mt Washington B&B in Shelburne, NH, credited the lower gas prices bringing more Canadian visitors to stay both over Labor Day and throughout the summer. Both Labor Day and July/August were up over 2014 for the Mt Washington B&B, mostly due to lower gas prices for both Canadians and Americans, making travel more affordable. Meyer reported one of the strongest August months ever for the B&B.
Christopher Bellis, co-owner/innkeeper at the Cranmore Inn, told the chamber, “Labor Day weekend sales were up this year compared to last year due to increased demand as well as the improving economy. The weather was fabulous and helped fill any empty rooms we had.” Additionally, Bellis credited the Valley’s attractions for a boon this summer, saying “the investment in some of the attractions helped the Valley become more attractive to visitors.”
Jen Kovach, co-owner/innkeeper at the Snowvillage Inn, told the chamber that more than half of the Labor Day visitors booked at the last minute, concurring with other lodging properties that many people waited to hear the weather forecast before making Labor Day plans. Guests at the Snowvillage Inn came from Europe, Asia and Mid-Atlantic and New England states. Bookings for Labor Day weekend were up over 2014 for the Snowvillage Inn.
Labor Day Weekend was sold out for the third consecutive year in a row at the White Mountain Hotel and Resort according to Carol Sullivan, Marketing Director. Additionally, the hotel was up on average 5.5-percent this summer with strong on-line bookings. Sullivan credits a strong recovery in the economy and subsequently in New England travel plus an aggressive marketing campaign and new website for the positive changes.
Charlene Brown at the Farm by the River B&B with Stables, concurred with other lodging properties saying that great weather contributed to a strong Labor Day for the inn and stables.
Turning to the attractions, Jonathan Sarty White Mountain Music Group and producer/host of the Cold River Radio Show, told the chamber, “Labor Day weekend was a banner weekend with music every day and night. Big crowds of happy people, great weather made for a better Labor Day weekend than last year ending with producing a successful Harvey Baldwin Scholarship Fundraiser for Mt Top Music at the Wildcat Tavern.” Additionally Sarty felt summer 2015 was better than 2014 with more people attending the shows and better weather contributing to travel enthusiasm this year.
Jack Mahany, Assistant General Manager at Story Land, told the chamber that park revenues were up slightly over last year for Labor Day weekend. He noted that starting the school year before Labor Day may have had a negative impact on the attractions, as there were less families in the valley the week before Labor Day. Yet, Story Land’s numbers are on par with last year for the summer and above last year for Labor Day weekend.
Peter Gagne, of Saco Canoe Rental Company described the summer as “perfect”. The hot weather sent visitors to the rivers and lakes for boating and contributed to the business being up over last summer. Gagne also reported this was the best Labor Day weekend ever for the Saco Canoe Rental Company.
Rich Parmenter, Manager of Northeast Snowmobile and ATV Rentals in Gorham, checked in to say that both the summer and Labor Day weekend were up over last year, with plenty of families renting ATVs throughout the summer and Labor Day weekend. Labor Day weekend was a sell-out for Northeast ATV and Snowmobile Rentals.
Susan Logan, Marketing Director for Conway Scenic Railroad, reported in with enthusiasm about both the Labor Day weekend and summer, 2015. According to Logan, Conway Scenic Railroad sold out dinner trains, and had near peak capacity excursion trains on Saturday of Labor Day weekend, which was also their Railfans’ Day. Additionally, the gift shop reported near-record sales, especially Saturday. On Saturday of Labor Day weekend sales were up 27-percent over last year and Sunday and Monday of Labor Day weekend were very strong, too according to Logan, who also added it’s been a great summer for the train.
John Lowell, President of Attitash Mountain Resort and Wildcat Mountain, commented on the weekend telling MWVCC, "Both Attitash and Wildcat had a wonderful weekend, including two spectacular weddings. Both attractions had their busiest day of the summer season over the holiday weekend. This is not usually the case for Labor Day weekend. It is always a strong weekend but has never been the best of the summer. The Attitash Grand Summit Hotel was sold out. We could not have asked for anything more!"
Becca Deschenes, Director of Marketing, Cranmore Mountain Resort reported that the Cranmore Adventure Park had a stellar three day Labor Day weekend, up 17-percent in admissions over last year's holiday weekend. Additionally, she reported a 16-percent increase for the summer over last year.
Cathy Bedor, co-owner of the Mount Washington Cog Railroad, reported that the historic train ride posted an all-time record Labor Day, nearly 30-percent ahead of last year. Additionally, according to Bedor, the Cog is on track (no pun intended) for a fourth record year in a row; 11-percent ahead of last year to date. Bedor acknowledged that lower gas prices and the positive economic mood were contributors to the growth of her business. Yet she also added that the increased train capacity-with five biodiesels along with the steam locomotive, an upgraded advance ticket system and working with several new partners to expand visibility for the train ride in the U.S. and abroad have contributed to the success of the Cog this year.
Dan Houde, Marketing Director for the Mt Washington Auto Road, shared that with warm temperatures and light winds over the Labor Day weekend it was likely one of the top Labor Day weekends for private cars and guided tours that the Auto Road has seen in the past decade. Many guests chose to spend the majority of their day exploring all the scenic vistas and paths along the Auto Road since the high elevation provided a great way to beat the heat, according to Houde.
Restaurants reported strong sales over the Labor Day weekend too. Christopher Bellis, co-owner of Chef’s Bistro in North Conway told the chamber that sales were very brisk for the weekend, and Jen Kovach reported that Max’s Tavern at Snowvillage inn was packed over the weekend too, contributing to sales being up over last summer for the dining room.
Laura Tuveson at Settlers Green Outlet Village reported a strong end-of-the-summer Labor Day weekend for the mall with many stores holding sidewalk sales. According to Tuveson, “We definitely had a solid influx at the Customer Service office taking advantage of coupons for back-to-school shopping.”
As we look to the fall, the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce predicts a very strong season as long as the weather stays warm and clear, which NOAA weather forecasters predict will be the case. Advance reservations for hotels are pacing ahead of last year with many dates already sold out, according to the White Mountain Hotel and Bernerhof Inn B&B. Susan Logan tells us that the Conway Scenic Railroad’s Upper Dome has been sold out for the season for months and the attraction has already sold out a number of their other train rides for early October, plus group bookings are above last year. Likewise, Cathy Bedor shared that fall is looking very strong too for The Mt Washington Cog Railway, with advance group bookings well ahead of last year.
For more information on planning a fall foliage or winter getaway to Mt Washington Valley, visit www.MtWashingtonValley.org. Additionally, call 800-367-3364 (or 800-DO-SEE-NH) for up-to-date availability at lodging properties throughout fall foliage season. For more information on planning a New Hampshire getaway, visit www.VisitNH.gov.
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