Thursday, 11 September 2008

Spotlight on… Chez Sven, USA

Chez Sven is located on beautiful Cape Cod, in one of Wellfleet’s oldest houses, which Sandy’s parents purchased in 1970. Sandy and Sven turned it into a bed & breakfast five years ago when they moved from Europe to care for her elderly mom.
Sven, a retired Lyce√© International history teacher, found a 1798 Liberty Coin under the floor during renovation. A little more digging and they discovered that in around 1750, their old Cape Codder was moved to its present location on Old King’s Highway, a scenic dirt road used by George III’s tax collectors. It is still possible to imagine what the area looked like before the American Revolution.

Guests can book rooms in the main house or in Seagull Cottage (with its own kitchen), set back in the woods. The main house dates to a similar period as the Atwood-Higgins house, a top attraction in the Cape Cod National Seashore nearby.

In renovating the northern wing of Chez Sven last winter, the innkeepers paid particular attention to detail, making the new space as authentic and as green as possible. Old 12-inch wide pine boards were recycled in the kitchen, as were most of the doors and hardware. One exception is the lovely private bath, hard to imagine back in the 1700s when the owners used a two-seater outhouse.

Guests at Chez Sven can count on eco-friendly towels and 100% organic cotton sheets, washed in a low-energy front-loader and air-dried in spring, summer and fall. Sandy and Sven offer natural amenities and use only green cleaning products. The couple love to share books and magazines from the environmental shelf in their international library. They serve as much organic food as possible, including homemade granola and yogurt, and provide water that has passed through 3-stage PUR filters. No plastic bottles here, although the innkeepers recycle any that turn up in the trash.

62% of Wellfleet is within the boundaries of a national park created by President Kennedy in 1963. This unique situation means there are miles of pristine forest to discover and many deserted beaches to explore. Wellfleet’s ponds and marshes are perfect for kayaking. From Chez Sven, it is possible to hike or bike to the beach or into town. It is a short walk to the popular Wicked Oyster restaurant, open year-round.

“Consider the capacity of the destination,” Ayako Ezaki, director of communication at the International Ecotourism Society, said recently when discussing choices available to eco-tourists. The town of Wellfleet has actually been far too successful in promoting itself over the years. The winter population of 3000 swells to 25000 in July and August. Sandy and Sven encourage ecotourists to come in fall, after the summer rush is over. The town’s folk are so much friendlier without the crowds!

Like oysters? The other main industry here is shellfishing, and Wellfleet celebrates Oysterfest in October. It is possible to go out on the flats, along side locals, and bring home a bucket of shellfish. Sandy recently volunteered to edit a book on the history of shellfishing, which will be sold at Oysterfest to benefit the local historical society.

For more information on Chez Sven and details of the special offer for September 2008, visit: http://ecobookers.com/hotel/North_America/USA/Chez_Sven_Bed_%26_Breakfast/105.php