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Joyce Endee

Mixed reviews at mid-point of summer tourist season

August 02, 2012
COOS COUNTY — One campground owner in Twin Mountain reported on Saturday that he is doing "quite well" this summer, "better than last year."

Although unwilling to be quoted by name, he said that there are likely many factors at play, including pent-up demand for quality time in the White Mountains after a disastrous snowmobile season because of scanty snowfall, lower gas prices, and an uptick in the Bay State's economy. Online reservations showed growth before the campground's mid-May opening, he said, adding that he expects to rack up some 7,000 overnight stays by the end of foliage season.

Although too busy with customers to go into detail, Jim Covey, co-owner of the Profile Deluxe Motel, also in Twin Mountain, reported that he and his wife, Lisa, are having a good season and that he believes that everyone along the strip on Route 3 South is doing "fairly well."

Sunny Mahabir, proprietor of Sunny's House of Pizza on King's Square in Whitefield, said that business has picked up over last summer but is still not at the level of two years ago. "Tourists from other states are stopping in to buy pizza and subs, but locals are only buying pizza once or twice a week, whereas in 2010 many called in orders three times a week. I understand; people are trying to be frugal. Business is okay this year, but it could be better!"

"Santa's Village has experienced modest growth thus far this season," reported Chief Elf Bruce Hicks of the Christmas theme park on Route 2 in Jefferson in an e-mail exchange. "A day like Wednesday, July 25, put us ahead but we gave it all back the following day because of the rain!

"The next four weeks will tell the story," Hicks explained. "Typically we will have great attendance through mid-August but then schools start to reopen in southern New England.

"Our Canadian traffic is up about six percent thus far this summer, and, interestingly, traffic from Connecticut is up. However, the total attendance from these areas is a small part of our total business," he said.

"We have put up a N.H. Grand kiosk in our Guest Services area. It includes brochures from many of the Grand Adventures as well as area guides and rack cards from many lodging establishments. It has gotten a lot of attention from our visitors to the point that we've had to get additional rack cards from several businesses.

"The water park continues to be extremely popular and the comments on our new 'Main Street' project have been overwhelmingly positive," Hicks explained.

Thom Richardson, who is on hand most days when Jack's Dairy Bar and Snack Shop in downtown Whitefield is open, said, "May and June were generally good months." Although his wife Joanne keeps the books, Richardson said he would characterize July as "lackluster" with traffic on Routes 3 and 116 below what has been the norm in the last eight years.

"We're really counting on August to be better," he said in a telephone interview, pointing out that last year more than a week of good tourism time had been lost first in the run-up to Tropical Storm Irene and then its immediate aftermath.

Megan Gibbs, who owns the North Country Family Restaurant on Main Street in downtown Groveton, said that business was "okay," but had been better last summer. The down-home restaurant is open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

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Martin Lord Osman
Garnett HIll
Varney Smith
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