2012-04-26 / Letters to the Editor

Town should cater to residents, not tourists

Here it is 2012 and once again the question the question arises: Should we increase the number of bed-and-breakfasts in Jamestown?

In 1996, in response to the same question we are facing today, I wrote the following story: “Mr. and Mrs. Smith love their home and did not want to leave Jamestown. Mrs. Smith is a devoted homemaker and a fine cook. She and her husband decided that it would be ideal for them to open a bed-and-breakfast. Their spacious house could easily accommodate guests. The extra income would allow them to remain in Jamestown and maintain their home. They would have to meet a high standard to keep their bedand breakfast license. They welcomed the challenge.

“I live next door to the Smiths and have always found them to be delightful neighbors, that is until they opened their bed-andbreakfast. Actually that is not quite fair, because I still do like them. I am certain that I would enjoy their guests, who are occasional in the winter, but constant on spring and fall weekends, and daily during the summer, if they were neighbors not tourists.

“The problem is not that the guests are obnoxious, they are simply on vacation. I do not blame them when they return at different hours, close their car doors while conversing in fairly loud voices about the beauty of the island I call home or raving about the great meal they have enjoyed in one of the fine restaurants. It just disturbs my night’s sleep. The first guests arrive at 10:30 p.m., the second couple at 11:15, and guest number three at 12:45. I live on what was a quiet street.

“Now on any summer afternoon, I must keep my eyes on my 4-yearold. I constantly warn my 10-yearold to be very careful as he rides his bike or skateboard home from Mackerel Cove. The ‘guests’ coming to stay with the Smiths, as I have said, appear to be quite nice, but they have never been to Jamestown and as they try to locate the Smith’s house, their mind is on destination, not the energetic 4-year-old playing in the area, or on the 10-year-old and his friends coming home from the beach.”

In last week’s Press, enthusiasm was expressed for the many bedand breakfasts (converted Victorian homes) and souvenir shops in Cape May, N.J. (letter to the editor, “Town should allow bed-andbreakfasts,” April 19). In the 1940s I spent a fair amount of time in Cape May. Those Victorian homes were then occupied by families. We, as children, enjoyed the special freedom to play and ride our bikes in a safe atmosphere, an atmosphere similar to that currently in Jamestown. That is no longer the case in Cape May. Yes, I have been back, and no, I do not want to visit again.

I have lived in Jamestown for more than 50 years. I doubt that there is any resident who loves the island more than I do. As we consider adding more bed-andbreakfasts, we should think about the type of community we want: one catering to tourists, or one for the residents?

Martha Milot

Walnut Street

Jamestown

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