Last week was no picnic for innkeepers on the shore, as the hurricane forced closures and some mandatory evacuations.
But in the wake of Hurricane Irene, many shore innkeepers say last week’s storm won’t dampen their Labor Day business.
Vicki Palmer, an innkeeper with The Inns of Ocean Grove, said they’re open for business and expecting a big weekend.
“Ocean Grove really did not suffer any loss of power, and the beaches were not destroyed in any way,” she said. “The weather’s beautiful.”
Palmer said between her two inns, The Ocean View Inn and The Ocean Plaza, only one suite remains unreserved for the weekend, and she expects it to be taken soon.
The situation was similar down in Cape May, where Mike Duvall, owner of the Cape May Puffin Bed & Breakfast, said he expects a full house this weekend.
“The hurricane didn’t do squat here in Cape May, as far as the business part of town,” he said. “The city’s back up and open for business.”
Duvall said he’s also looking after a vacationing friend’s B&B, Beauclaire’s Bed & Breakfast Inn. He said the few openings the two inns had going into the week were quickly reserved Monday.
Duvall said last weekend was difficult, both because of a mandatory evacuation and because of the effect of power outages. He said the inn’s local Acme grocery store lost power temporarily, so he had to search elsewhere for perishable foods, including a trip to a CVS pharmacy for milk.
More broadly, it’s difficult to know what effect — if any — Irene will have on Labor Day tourism.
AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Labor Day travel forecast was released today, and found the total number of travelers planning to head more than 50 miles from home this weekend would decrease by about 3 percent, both in New Jersey and nationally. But spokeswoman Tracy E. Noble said it’s unclear how accurate those numbers will turn out to be, since the survey was conducted prior to the storm.
“It remains to be seen if people will return to the shore area for one last weekend of fun and relaxation, or remain closer to home deal with damage and devastation,” Noble said in a press release.