Mt Washington Valley businesses report extended fall color boosted business
Good news from Mt Washington Valley, NH – October 30, 2018
CONTACT: Marti Mayne, 207-846-6331, PR@mtwashingtonvalley.org
EXTENDED FALL COLOR TRANSLATES TO BOON FOR MT WASHINGTON VALLEY LODGING COMMUNITY
Strong Columbus Day weekend adds to stellar fall season for Mt Washington Valley businesses
North Conway, NH – Combine a strong Columbus Day weekend with extended color and a late leaf-peeping season and you have the ideal boon for Mt Washington Valley, NH’s tourism-led economy. An informal survey of members from the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce revealed that with fall color starting a little later, peak color extended by nearly a full week which also prolonged the flock of leaf peepers. According to businesses throughout Mt Washington Valley, the prolonged color translated into increases in bookings and sales over last fall, with an increase in international visitors too. And looking ahead, businesses are optimistic for a strong November, largely fueled by shopping events, packages and getaways.
Christopher Bellis, co-owner of the Cranmore Inn in North Conway, NH, shared that fall season revenues were up by 5-percent over last year, due entirely to the extended season.
Steve Lambert, Innkeeper/partner Inn at Thorn Hill and Spa, shared with the chamber that fall revenues were up over last year by double digits. Steve shared that Jackson and the surrounding towns were so popular for fall weddings, that it’s increasingly common for “buyout” weddings to occur midweek, taking every suite at the inn. Additionally, Steve noticed an increase in Western European visitors and travelers from the United Kingdom. “Bookings from Canada and Latin America are down,” shared Lambert, “But UK travel was more than double what it was this fall over last, which makes up for lost Canadian and Latin American business, as UK visitors enjoy three to four night stays,” added Lambert.
Donna Pearce, owner of the Admiral Peary Inn in Fryeburg, ME also weighed in to the survey telling the chamber that fall foliage season was up by three-percent over last year. She concurred with Steve, saying there were several more international visitors from Germany, Ireland, England, Netherlands and Australia coming to attend the Fryeburg Fair and then extending their stay for leaf-peeping excursions this year.
Over at the Conway Scenic Railroad, which just ended daily operations this weekend, (open weekends and event dates through the holidays) Susan Logan, Manager of Marketing and Events weighed in telling the chamber that their fall numbers were up over last year significantly due to several factors including adding additional Notch Train dates to see extended foliage making for the longest season ever. “We also increased the number of passenger cars with most trains sold out in September and October,” shared Logan. “First Class seats were completely sold out both months, and Coach seating was limited when not sold out. Interesting to note that our most expensive seats sold out first. We added departure times to our popular Pumpkin Patch Express, which was completely sold out on Saturday & Sunday of its first weekend and almost sold out this past weekend. Despite the wintery weather that moved in on Saturday, we had less than 50 Coach seats unsold on all six departures combined,” she shared. In addition, a number of last minute groups were added to the train’s already busy group schedule. Here too, international visitors continued to increase from Europe and Southeast Asia.
Bud Selmi, owner of the Margarita Grill in Glen, NH told the chamber that the restaurant was up 10-percent over last year after the extended fall season.
Many of the region’s additional attractions closed on Columbus Day; all concurring that it was a stellar holiday weekend. Lauren Hawkins, Director of Marketing for Story Land and Living Shores Aquarium, shared that the crowds on Columbus Day weekend were among the largest they’d ever seen. Likewise, Timothy Psaledakis, owner of Jewelry by Timothy W. Psaledakis & Friends, told the chamber that there were people waiting at the door for him to open on Friday of Columbus Day weekend. Thomas Prindle, Director of Marketing at Purity Spring Resort and King Pine Ski Area, shared that the annual Columbus Day weekend Brew Ha Ha event was well attended with the consensus that attendance numbers exceeded the previous year.
A new online reservation system at the Conway Scenic Railroad meant that while the trains were sold out for Columbus Day weekend both this year and last year, the booking process was much smoother at the railroad this year, according to Susan Logan. And Dot Seybold, General Manager of Settlers Green in North Conway also shared that the parking lots were spilling into the roadways and stores were very happy with the traffic over Columbus Day weekend.
As we move into November, shopping tops for driving tourism to Mt Washington Valley. With events like Settlers Green’s Bring A Friend promotion (Nov 2-12) added to promotions from the White Mountain Independents, a group of independently owned businesses in Mt Washington Valley, November has grown from one of the slowest to one of the busiest months of the year for tourism. Mainly fueled by girlfriends getaways and the lure of tax-free shopping plus exciting offers and events, the trickle down effect to the entire tourism economy has flourished due to shopping events in November.
For more information on planning a getaway to Mt Washington Valley, visit www.MtWashingtonValley.org or call one of the vacation concierge staff at 800-367-3364 (800-DO-SEE-NH). To research vacations throughout New Hampshire, go to www.VisitNH.gov.
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Photo depicts home towns/regions for visitors to the Inn at Thorn Hill. Photo provided by Inn at Thorn Hill.