Press Kit

Memorial Day Wrap Up for 2012

Most businesses credit great weather, improving economy and lower gas prices with a strong unofficial start to the summer


Contact: Marti Mayne, PR Manager – MWVCC - 207-846-6331,


Most businesses credit great weather, improving economy and lower gas prices with a strong unofficial start to the summer

North Conway, NH (5-29-12) -- Reports were positive from businesses throughout Mt Washington Valley when asked how Memorial Day 2012 compared to 2011, according to an informal survey of membership by the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce.  New Hampshire state tourism officials estimated more than a half million (540,000) people would head to New Hampshire for Memorial Day 2012, and clearly a good percentage made their destination Mt Washington Valley.  While not all businesses reported an increase in revenues over last year, the majority concurred that good weather, and an improvement in consumer spending sentiment, along with falling gas prices contributed to a strong Memorial Day weekend for most.

According to data at, the average price of gas in New Hampshire was $3.65 going into the Memorial Day weekend, down 18 cents in the past month and 20 cents less a gallon than last year at this time.  At the same time, according to the U.S. Travel Association the overall Traveler Sentiment IndexT (TSI), which tracks Americans' evolving attitudes toward travel, reached 93.5 in April, nearly ten points higher than April 2011 indicating the pent up urge for Americans to travel this summer. This statistic was demonstrated in Mt Washington Valley over Memorial Day weekend.

The Memorial Day holiday celebrates opening weekend for many of the attractions in Mt Washington Valley.  When we checked in with Cathy Bedor from the Mount Washington Cog Railway on Monday, she shared the historic train ride was on its way to a record weekend.  Susan Logan, Marketing Director of the Conway Scenic Railroad concurred mentioning the train ride welcomed more riders and spending was up over last year for the three day weekend.  Logan also shared that there were noticeable numbers of Chinese and Pakistani and Indian guests, as well as French Canadians riding the trains over the holiday weekend. 

Karen Tolin from Raft NH & Muddy Paw Sled Dog Kennel told the chamber that the Memorial Day weekend was “incredible” and shared, “whitewater rafting and summer dogsledding numbers were double those of last year on this weekend”. Tolin credited the good fortune to larger groups contributing to double the number of rafters and summer dogsledders this year. Tolin also noted a rise in overseas travelers, specifically from Saudi Arabia. Peter Gagne from Saco Canoe Rental Company reported mixed feelings about the weekend.  While business was down by 15-percent over last year for the holiday weekend, he noted a record number of people braved the 56-degree Saco River in river tubes, and more visitors opted for the tubes than canoes this year.  According to Gagne, this was the first time the company ever rented a river tube in May.

Memorial Day weekend 2012 offered a positive start to the summer season at Attitash Mountain Resort and Wildcat Mountain, thanks to three days of great weather according to Marketing Director, Thomas Prindle. “Sunday was the strongest day of the weekend at Attitash Mountain Resort and Wildcat Mountain, with visitor numbers up 19-percent at Attitash over last year,” noted Prindle. He added that overall total visits at Attitash for the three day weekend were up 14-percent over last year. Prindle credited a perceived strengthening economy and current lower gas prices plus a great three day stretch of good weather with the strong start to the season, adding that Memorial Day weekend might be an early indication for this summer’s business potential. 

Great weather contributed to a strong holiday weekend for Mt Washington Valley’s golf courses too.  Jonathan Rivers of Indian Mound Golf Course told the chamber that it was a perfect weekend, conditions at the golf course were great, and the number of golfers and spending were both up this weekend over Memorial Day weekend 2011. 

Corrine Rober, Owner of Margarita Grill in Glen weighed in saying the restaurant had a strong leap in sales for Memorial Day weekend this year, noting that sales through Sunday increased by 25-percent over 2011 after serving more than 200 meals. Rober credited increased marketing, the NH Restaurant Week promotion, and a strong emphasis on the farm to table connection with local food sourcing plus great weather for the strong showing over Memorial Day weekend.  Across the street, Terry O’Brien, owner of the Red Parka Steakhouse and Pub, reported guest counts were up for Friday and Saturday, and Sunday was even with 2011. She also reported a slight increase in revenues for the weekend, and mentioned an apparent increase in Canadian and European visitors for the Memorial Day weekend. 

All lodging properties responding to the survey reported a nice increase over 2011 in both room nights and revenues for Memorial Day 2012.  Craig Cox co-owner of the Riverbend Inn told the chamber that a wedding party contributed to the inn’s increase over last year.  Tom Spaulding, GM at Hampton Inn & Suites reported sell-outs at the hotel on Saturday and Sunday, and shared that guest spending was up over last year by 13.5-percent. Freddie Procyk, co-owner of Cranmore Mountain Lodge concurred with her lodging colleagues saying the inn sold more room nights to more guests this year than last year, and also shared that there were more international visitors this year.  

Beautiful weather tends to translate to fewer shoppers in Mt Washington Valley, and reports from retailers were mixed.  Lynda Schuepp, owner of The Penguin Gallery of NH informed the Mt Washington Valley Chamber that sales were up by 15-percent over 2011 and the number of shoppers at the store increased by 20-percent. Interestingly, according to Schuepp, on average customers spent 14-percent less but the increased customer count made up for the spending decrease.  Timothy Psaledakis, owner of Jewelry by Tim & Friends shared that he too welcomed a higher volume of shoppers, yet sales volumes were even with last year.  He concurred that he’s observed a larger number of Canadian and European shoppers in his store this year too.  While Matt Fusco, owner of The Rugged Mill reported sales were down for this Memorial Day weekend, on average customers were spending $5 more per sale than last year.  Fusco shared that the beautiful weather contributed to fewer shoppers as visitors opted to enjoy the outdoors over the three day holiday weekend. 

All of the lodging properties responding to this survey reported that advance bookings are up for the summer and fall, adding to the optimism shared by a number of respondents from attractions for a strong summer season.  The Mt Washington Valley Chamber joins member businesses with a cautious sense of confidence for a strong summer season.

For more information on visiting Mt Washington Valley for summer vacations and escapes, visit  To talk to an experienced Mt Washington Valley vacation planner/concierge, call 1-800-DO-SEE-NH (800-367-3364) for information and ideas. For further information about New Hampshire, visit the New Hampshire Division of Travel & Tourism website at

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