Read Roberta's reflections on the Bar Harbor bed and breakfast experience. The following items are included in the forthcoming collection by Roberta Chester called “Be My Guest: The Inside Story of a B & B in Maine.”
“Lemonade on the Shore Path, News and Notes 2016”
Sometime in February of 2017, I figured I should update our few entries of “News and Notes” on the web site and add an essay for 2016, having heard from one of our guests, noting that the last entry was 2013 who thought I had passed on. So, here I am, as of this writing at least, to report that I am alive and relatively well.
Last summer, as I recuperated from my second knee surgery (I responded to the question of how I was doing by replying that I was just very happy that I don’t have three knees because I couldn’t imagine having to go through it again.) I must say, though, that the discomfort was more than offset by the presence of my grandchildren who, between their weeks at camp, were happily in residence. No sooner than the younger ones arrive that they are in full swing with their lemonade stand on the Shore Path.
Happy that their respective siblings, Aliza and Nava, are now too grown up to endear themselves to the passersby, Daniel and Shira are thrilled to have the market all to themselves. And so off they go, weather permitting, our old, venerable “frequent Flyer” red wagon loaded with jugs of lemonade, ice, napkins, and cups, down to what we think,⎯ admittedly we are not terribly objective⎯is the most beautiful public access path along both oceans, which we are very fortunate to have in our front yard.
Actually, my grandchildren “inherited” this business from their Aunt Kate who had the first lemonade stand in this spot (as far as we know) More than thirty years ago when she was just about the same age they are now. I feel compelled to remind them when they enlist their mother’s help to make the lemonade, their aunt’s help to get the ice, and their sisters’ help to gather napkins and cups as well, and my help for a bunch of change, that their Aunt Kate insisted on doing all this herself. Every day she presented me with a record of the cups she sold (ten cents then, 50 cents now), her expenses, her profit and even a weather report. She would taste the lemonade several times to gauge that it had just the right amount of sugar. Shira and Daniel listen respectively, almost jumping up and down, anxious to get going, so I don’t have the heart to detain them with a sudden memory of their Aunt Kate’s entrepreneurial skills.
On one particular occasion years back on a cold and dreary August day when the Queen Elizabeth on her first visit to Maine parked in our “back yard,” Kate had a great idea. With all those who came to see the Queen Elizabeth, there was a lot of traffic on the shore path, but due to the weather, she was not getting any takers for her lemonade. Then she had the bright idea of selling hot chocolate instead, so with several insulated jugs which she ran home to refill when they were almost empty, she was especially pleased to have done so well that day. Somewhere among my “treasures” I hope that I have saved Kate’s sales records which I would so enjoy showing to her own children.
Last year, my granddaughter Tuki , a.k.a. Elisabeth Claire (named by her aunt who had just read “The Red Tent” in which she saw the Hebrew word “metuka,” meaning sweetness, and which she felt was especially apt for her newborn niece) visited us from her home in California after an absence of several years. Tuki, especially mature and capable at 15, has been a “foodie” for some time and we were all delighted to be the beneficiary of her prowess in the kitchen. My daughter Lisabeth was very pleased to give Tuki the job of making our chocolate chip cookies which we frequently serve at tea time. We all tasted them and were unanimous that they were “amazing.”
As I write the enclosed, I am in touch with my daughter who called me from the porch of the Shore Path Cottage where she is watching a beautiful snowfall blanketing the front lawn. It is incredibly quiet and peaceful, she reports, and I envy her a bit for not being there myself, bitter cold and all. Before I know it, summer will be here and Shira and Daniel will be busy on the Shore Path refreshing the tourists and joyfully counting their profits. As we say every year when they return from a day’s work with a cup full of bills and change, this is quite a business they have, (age sensitive though it is) and one which may be financially more profitable, when all is said and done, than the B & B.
- Roberta Chester, 2016