Ocean Shores Blog
Stay up to date! Here we post occasional newsletters that can include notable news, information, opinions, and event re-caps. Read everything we know.
4K for Cancer Team Seattle bicycles into Moclips
By Cindy Stearns
Published: 08/01/18 Topics: Comments: 0
Everyone is invited to meet and greet with them 6-8 pm, Wednesday, August 8. There will be pizza and more to enjoy while you converse with members.
"These are an inspiring group of people. Each year, we hear their stories, learn about the trip and are amazed at the calibre of person you find with 4K for cancer," St. John's Chapel by the Sea PCUSA church member said.
Thursday morning, there is a Dedication Circle. The group gets ready for the day's ride. On their legs, names are written of those whom they are dedicating their journey to, that day. It may be a person dealing with, survivor of, or who has died from cancer.
"We would like to thank Ocean Shores IGA, Frontager's Pizza, Seagate Restaurant and Lounge and Moclips Country Store and Deli for donating food for the riders." A local to Ocean Shores said.
Also, as they head through Grays Harbor, Thursday, August 9. Team Seattle members will be interviewed on SUNNY 102.1 radio by Rhys Davis. Jodesha Broadcasting will also include interviews on The Jet with Johnny Madson and on Coffee Talk KBKW with Doug McDowell.
Locals thank ShuJack's Bar and Grill for providing Philly sandwiches for lunch. They praise all of the people and businesses that are involved in the 4K benefit for cancer and make it a goal for anyone traveling through Grays Harbor to get involved in such a great cause.
Author: Cindy Stearns – Member, St. John's Chapel by the Sea PCUSA
Blog #: 0599 – 08/01/18
Lavender Festival finds a home in Grays Harbor
By Cindy Stearns
Published: 07/15/18 Topics: Comments: 0
Dale's Lavender Farm hosts the third annual Lavender Festival. This two-day festival was July 21-22, 2018 on Ocean Beach Road. This is the creation of Tom and Dale Dineen, the owners of the property and home, on-site for this annual event.
Vendors dotted the farm, with a view of the lavender fields. Both days were sunny and inviting, bringing out locals and visitors to this rural Hoquiam location on the way to the North Beach.
Musicians played on stage and strolled the grounds, setting a relaxed and enjoyable vibe for visitors and guests of the event.
People were able to visit vendors with lavender products and more. Gnomes, plants, teas and a variety of items were available for your shopping pleasure. Many were local vendors and new businesses to Grays Harbor.
Dale's Lavender Farm is located at:
48 Robertson school Road
HOQUIAM, WA 98550
Mile Post 8 on Ocean Beach Rd
On way to Seabrook
Plan now to attend the 2019 festival!
Author: Cindy Stearns, Ocean Shores
Blog #: 0604 – 07/15/18
AtTheBlue.com at Blue Heron Resort
By Libby Rogers
Published: 04/22/18 Topics: Hood Canal, Timeshares, Vacation, Vacation Rentals Comments: 0
YourShare.biz, which offers resort and owner direct vacation rental bookings for timeshare properties announced today that it has opened a new website AtTheBlue.com for the Blue Heron Condos on Washington State's pristine Hood Canal.
Participating homes are advertised on the custom built full ecommerce website at BlueHeronHolidays.com and on hundreds of prominent websites worldwide such as VRBO, Booking.com, AirBnB, Expedia and more.
For a century the Southwest corner of Washington State, the Southeast corner of Hood Canal has been the private get away for the rich and famous of Seattle's and Western Washington State including such luminaries as Bill Gates and the Nordstrom retail family.
Four decades ago, a stunningly beautiful condo resort complex was built and named Blue Heron after the magnificent birds so abundant in the area. The Blue Heron Resort features 26 one, two and three bedroom townhomes surrounding a large lawn common area, complete with towering evergreen trees.
At its center is a large year-round pool, hot tub, community center, lounge, sports facilities, gym and sauna. But folks flock to Blue Heron for its own private beach just across the State Route 106. There owners and guests can launch a boat, pick oysters, go water skiing and swim in the crystal clear salt water.
Owners at this resort get an impressive eight weeks use per year and get full weeks every sixth week of the year. With so many weeks to choose, owners can put their unused dates into the Yourshare program and get great income for dates that previously went unused.
Yourshare's innovative program offers greater marketing than most timeshare resorts can accomplish and they do it for a lower commission fee. Owners only pay a fee when their dates are booked. There is no enrollment fee, a long term contract is not required and Yourshare handles all details such as advertising, reservations phones, guest and owner services.
AtTheBlue.com allows guests to discover one of the Northwest's most stunning locations for family getaways and romantic rendezvous. Now they can book instantly online at great rates and friendly service.
For the resort itself, every guest becomes a possible new owner in a majestic Northwest resort which most did not know existed. Now, they can try it by renting before buying into the membership.
To book online go to AtTheBlue.com or call 360-614-3191 open every day of the year.
Author: Libby Rogers – Author, MayPartners Public Relations
Blog #: 0587 – 04/22/18
Sponsor: YourShare.biz – Yourshare.biz makes it easy for guests to find quality timeshare vacation rentals, for owners to rent out unused weeks, and for resorts to generate income and attract buyers for their available weeks. Everyone wins with these well maintained properties in attractive locations. – http://YourShare.biz
Seaway Dance Hall at Copalis Beach Rocked Out
By Wm. May
Published: 03/01/17 Topics: Comments: 0
Just West of the Green Lantern Tavern in Copalis Beach Washington State is a very strange looking building where Rock and Roll reigned supreme in the 1960's.
Hundreds of thousands of Quonset huts were produced by the U.S. Military in World War Two, These prefabricated structures of galvanized steel were semicircular cross-selection looked like half of barrel looking upside down on the ground.
After the war, Quonset huts were sold as surplus to the public and a very large version ended up along side the road by the Pacific ocean where enterprising music lovers decided it would be a perfect venue for the hoards of teenagers who came to the beach each weekend.
Dubbed the Seaway Dance Hall, many young rock bands got their first serious gigs there and my group "The District Five" was one of them.
At the age of 15, we were made to feel like stars as the walls of the hut seemed to pulse and swell by guitar amps played far too loud and dancers who jumped, and yelled and screamed. We played a little better, played a little longer and glowed with the acceptance the crowds gave us as we were starting our musical careers.
Bigger name bands from Washington State and the Northwest also appeared including names that may be unfamiliar except by those who haunted the Seaway all summer long.
Bands like - The Beachcombers, Little Bill & The Bluenotes, The Candidos, The Chaotics (Sumner), The Chessmen, Dennis Wayne and the Cole Jets, The Epics, The Frantics, The Galaxies, The Intricates, Noblemen, Cymantha McGugin & The Cherry Frost , The Titans.
The Seaway also showed movies during the slow season, but the wise owner had put the chairs onto risers which could be rolled out of the building to clear the floor for dances which were only held in the months of June, July and August.
Today the building sits dark and quiet just waiting for a new generate of music lovers to rediscover what great music, salt air and a bunch of fun loving people can do to transform a humble Quonset hut into a musical Manson, at least for a while.
Author: Wm. May – Beach Lover, Plumbob Publishing
Blog #: 0517 – 03/01/17
Sponsor: At The Crest – Nearby, but far from Ocean Shores. Just 10 miles North is the beachiest 54 unit condo. On the dunes, year round pool and hot tub. 1 Bedroom, sleeps 6 people. Barbecue, playground and clean salt air. – AtTheCrest.com
24 Miles of Canals at Ocean Shores
By William May
Published: 01/22/16 Topics: Ocean Shores WA Comments: 0
I know you’ve heard places referred to as the Venice of the north or the Venice of where ever but in the case of Ocean Shores, the comparison is apt. Here me out before you accuse me of hyperbole: when they were building a town out of this sand bar, they built in 24 miles of canals!
That’s 24 miles of canals in a town with a population of less than 6,000. There might be more miles of canals than roads downtown. So it’s not trite to call Ocean Shores the Venice of the West Coast.
Unlike Venice though, these canals aren’t crowded with oil slicks and boats! They’re slow moving pristine fresh water, despite the whole town being a peninsula between the ocean and a saltwater bay. That means you can tucker yourself on the ocean beach, either riding horses in the salty spray, or flying kites in the sand, and then the next day relax in a canoe for a mellow day on the canals.
Where did this canals come from? Well up until the 60’s there wasn’t much going on in Ocean Shores. Some farms and ranches here and there, mostly people that thought their ocean beach was the best kept secret in the world.
Soon or later, word got out about the seemingly endless dunes and beaches on the Washington coast, and the tourists came. Somebody had the bright idea of building world class nightclubs, and all of a sudden, the Hollywood jet set was partying it up in Ocean Shores!
But none of this has anything to do with the canals right? Well when you’re catering to celebrities that have been to all the fanciest places in the world, you’ve got to class the joint up a bit! Canals it was then, surely using Venice as the inspiration. But unlike Venice, Ocean Shores has roads too, so you don’t have to abide a nasally Italian tenor.
The canal system is centered around Duke Lake, which is a big long green body of water running north to south the whole length of the town. The Grand Canal runs parallel to Duke Lake, and many tributary canals flood out in all directions from the Grand Canal, with each smaller canal being the focal point of a residential cul-de-sac.
Don’t forget then, that even though the town is appropriately named Ocean Shores, and there is tons to do on the ocean beach, there is plenty to do on the bucolic Ocean Shores canals.
Author: William May, Oyhut Bay Vacation Rentals
Blog #: 0487 – 01/22/16
Sponsor: OceanShores.com – Here is where you can find all the fun and news about the North Beaches of Washington State, including the towns of Ocean Shores, Ocean City, Copalis Beach, Pacific Beach, Moclips and Taholah. – OceanShores.com
Chim Chimney! What to Know on Chimney Sweeping
By William May
Published: 01/01/16 Topics: Vacation Rentals Comments: 0
It’s that time of year to curl up around a warm fire - New Years has just happened, the weathers getting a little chilly, maybe there’s a light dusting of snow on the lawn. You open the flue, light your kindling, and wait for the romantic crackling to start.
But then you start wondering: when was the last time you got the chimney swept?!
It may sound like something of a Dickens novel, but modern chimney sweeping is something every homeowner needs to do. Soot deposits can clog your flue, smoking out your house, or worse, soot can create a fire hazard.
Sweeping also alerts you to any maintenance needs, and boy is it easier to repair a brick than replace the whole chimney!
So how do you go about getting your chimney swept? Well, this is something best left to the professionals. The last thing you want to do is wedge a ladder up your chimney and track soot all over the house.
Find a local sweeper who’s certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America, or the National Chimney Sweeps Guild. These groups ensure their members know what they’re doing with a brush, and can help diagnose any repairs that need to be made.
Professional chimney sweeps will set up tarps that capture failing soot, and will first inspect the flue to make sure there’s no major damage. Cleaning is done with brushes (not boys climbing up!) and high powered vacuums.
Cost typical depends on how many flues you have. While you may only have one firebox, other appliances in the house may have their own flues, such as dryers, heaters, and anything that needs to vent to the outside air.
Average prices should start around $150 and go up to $200 if video equipment is used. Video better enables diagnose of damage. For a more thorough inspection, ask for a Level II inspection.
So this winter before you pick out the movie and butter up the popcorn, make sure your fireplace is ready to go by getting it professional swept. And remember, it’s lucky to see a chimney sweep!
Author: William May – Volunteer, Vacation Rental Association
Blog #: 0481 – 01/01/16
Clammers Rejoice! Christmas Present from Dept. of Fish and Wildlife
By William May
Published: 12/16/15 Topics: Fishing Comments: 0
Pardon the triteness, but, a Christmas miracle is in the works! Washington State Department of Fish & Wildlife The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife may allow Razor Clamming on Copalis beach during the Christmas holiday.
The announcement came last Friday after Copalis passed two successive rounds of marine toxin testing. A final test late this week will finalize the decision. If the go-ahead comes, clamming will be allowed during the evening tide on December 24th, 25th, and 26th.
Recently, naturally accruing algae has produced marine toxins which make the consumption of Razor Clams unsafe. These toxins are still present in other ocean beaches, which resultantly, will not be open for clamming.
The recent Razor Clamming restriction is yet another chapter in this years continuing story of unsafe algae toxin levels. The 2015 algae bloom is the largest in over a decade, and has produced incredibly high levels of domoic acid. Shellfish can accumulate high concentrations of this acid during filter feeding. If ingested by humans, this neurotoxin can result in brain damage, and even death.
While that sounds bad, levels have been trending down lately, and so clammers are anxious to get back to the beaches and make up lost ground. Last year was a bumper season with almost 400,000 digger trips, and the harvest of almost 5.5 million clams according to the Department of Fish & Wildlife
If you’re crossing your fingers for some Razor Clam stocking suffers, make sure you know the main rules: each clammer may only take the first 15 clams their dig, and clammers older than 15 must have a 2015-2016 fishing license.
Author: William May – Reporter, OceanShores.com
Blog #: 0465 – 12/16/15
Sponsor: OceanShores.com – The center of Ocean Shores & the North Beaches of Washington State. Activites, Restaurants, Shops, Hotels & Vacation Rentals. Put your ad here to build your business. – OceanShores.com
El Nino Looms; Don't Fret Too Much
By Taylor May
Published: 12/01/15 Topics: Comments: 0
December 2015 brought us some great snow here in the Pacific North West. Just a few weeks ago there were amazing morning runs to be had at Stevens, Crystal, Snoqualmie, and others.
However, as much as we don't want to admit it, El Nino is on its way. What does that mean for us Northwest Skiers? Better than last year, but less snow than the average. Typically, El Nino hits the West Coast after New Years. This year looks to be no different, with Alaska experiencing warming temperatures, and California getting some much needed rain. The Northwest is right in the cross hairs for the rest of the winter.
El Nino is a complicated event relating to cyclical temperature changes in the southern Pacific Ocean and atmosphere. These cycles are made up of warm (El Nino) and cool (La Nina) phases, which phases lasting a few months, to a few years. 2016 is set to be a strong El Nino, which means the Polar Jet Stream and Pacific Jet Stream will split and create an area of low pressure off the West Coast, bringing rainstorms to California and parts of Alaska. Don't fret too much about the word “strong” though, as there isn't always a direct correlation between high temperatures and a strong or weak El Nino; sometimes weak El Nino's produce the hottest, driest winters.
A strong El Nino doesn't mean NO snow, but we should expect warmer than average temperatures for the rest of the winter. These conditions should persist from eastern Oregon all the way up to skiing grounds in British Colombia. Given our season last year, even a decrease from the average would still be an improvement!
Author: Taylor May – Contributor, Northwest Skiers Magazine
Blog #: 0479 – 12/01/15
Sponsor: Northwest Skier – A magazine For skiers, snowboarders and everything snow started in 1964 now an online source of with news, comments, articles, photos and videos. If you slide, visit our Website and join the email list to get instant mountain info year round. – NorthwestSkiers.com
Special Insurance for My Condo or Vacation Home?
By April Klazema
Published: 07/01/15 Topics: Insurance, Property Management, Vacation Rentals Comments: 0
If you own a condo in Florida or Hawaii, or a vacation home in some other exotic locale, you are likely curious about what kind of insurance you need to get to cover the property.
Will a general homeowner's policy do? Or will you have to acquire a different kind of insurance to cover the vacation home?
Determining the purpose of your home
To answer this question, we'll ask you a question of our own: for what purpose is the vacation home being used?
If the purpose of the vacation home is for personal use only, then a homeowner's insurance policy will be sufficient to cover the property. Perhaps you and your family take frequent trips to the West Coast and always stay at the vacation property when you do.
Or maybe you spend your summers in one part of the country and live out your winters somewhere else. In these and other similar scenarios, your insurance company will usually be more than happy to provide you with a second homeowner's policy to cover your vacation home.
The bottom line in these scenarios is that your vacation property is still being used as a residence. As a result, the insurance rules for the property are the same as for your full-time home.
Using your home as a rental
On the other hand, if you rent out your property to vacationers or other tenants when you are not using it, then it cannot be protected under a homeowner's policy.
If you are accepting money to allow someone to stay at your vacation home, that qualifies as commercial use, and your vacation home qualifies as a business. Businesses can never be insured under homeowner's policies, and you will need to set up a different kind of insurance policy as a result.
If you are renting out your vacation home for profit, the insurance you are looking for is vacation rental insurance.
A policy of this type will provide you with commercial liability insurance—meaning that if a customer sues for your injury sustained on your property, you will not be liable. It should also include provisions that reimburse you in case your guest damages the property, steals your belongings, or skips out without paying rent.
Don’t fall victim to insurance confusion when it comes to your condo or vacation home! If you are only using the property for personal residential use, a homeowner's policy will cover it.
If you are using the condo or house as a rental, then vacation rental insurance is pivotal to keep you, your building, your belongings, and your finances safe!
Author: April Klazema – Author, Vacation Rental Association
Blog #: 0406 – 07/01/15
State Gives Razor Clams the Boot
By William May
Published: 05/18/15 Topics: Fishing, Government, Ocean Shores WA Comments: 0
And just like that it was over.
This has been one of the best razor clam digging seasons in years. But Washington State Department of Fish & Wildlife giveth and the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife taketh away.
Today state shellfish managers announced, "Digging will remain closed on ocean beaches for the remainder of the razor clam season because of elevated toxin levels."
The result in cancellation of the two openings that were tentatively scheduled to start May 15 and May 22.
The culprit is domoic acid, a natural toxin produced by certain types of marine algae. This is bad stuff which can be harmful or even fatal if consumed in sufficient quantities. The Clams absorb the acid in their fat cells and can retain it even after the ocean is free of the stuff.
So if you dug any clams and froze, bottled or canned them it is now time to toss those critters in the trash and write it off to bad luck.
But there is good news. The phenomenon of domoic acid is nothing unusual. Clams have been going through this cycle forever. The waters will clear and razor clamming will resume again this autumn.
Until then we'll just have it switch over to greasy hamburgers and deep fried fish. Is it no wonder we all love Razors?
Author: William May – Razor Clammer, OceanShores.com
Blog #: 0396 – 05/18/15
Velella Velella Attack Ocean Shores
By William May
Published: 04/15/15 Topics: Ocean Shores WA Comments: 0
With the unseasonably warm weather, people are not the only creatures trekking to Ocean Shores Washington.
The aptly named Velella Velella jelly fish have been washing up by the millions on West Coast Beaches.
"They do look messy," said Jackie Martin, a property manager at By the Sea Vacation Rentals, "The last time we saw these was six years ago and they washed away fairly closely."
The warmer temperatures causes the creatures to migrate closer to the land and in the millions. When the wind blows in a certain direction, the jelly fish are blown off course and up onto the beach.
As small cnidarians, Velella Velella are members of a an ocean surface community that includes the better-known cnidarian siphonophore, the Portuguese man o' war. Each individual is about 7 cm long, usually deep blue in color with a small stiff sail that catches the wind and propels them on the surface of the sea.
Velella Velella are carnivorous little guys, catching plankton in their tentacles that hand down in the water They are not poisonous, and they do not have a sting.
Says Martin, "They can be handled with out any problem, but people should wash their hands after touching them."
The wind and high tides may wash them right off the beach, or they could be in evidence for months all the way into summer.
Author: William May, Plumbob Publishing
Blog #: 0393 – 04/15/15
Welcome to the New OceanShores.com
By William May
Published: 04/01/15 Topics: Ocean Shores WA, Vacation, Vacation Rentals Comments: 0
Since 1996, OceanShores.com has been the center of everything about the city of Ocean Shores and the North Beaches of Washington State. Now it is getting bigger better, and faster.
Operated by Plumbob Publishing this new revamped website pledges to find and publish everything that every visitor and resident wants to know about the area. Lodging, restaurants, activities, shopping and more.
From the tip of Damon point in south Ocean shores to the cute Quinault tribal village of Taholah, every corner is covered including Ocean City, Copalis Beach, Seabrook, Pacific Beach and Moclips. Even relevant news from Hoquiam, Aberdeen, Montesano and even Westport, Grayland and Tokeland will make its way here.
Businesses can publish full descriptions, photos, videos, special offers and news.
Visitors can search for places to stay, where to eat and shop and how to have a splendid time at one of the countries most scenic and enjoyable getaway locations..
For extra help, guests can call our toll free number open 9am to 8pm everyday of the year. They can get help about most any subject about ocean shores.
Residents too can find what they need for services, government information and more. There are even free classifieds for non-commercial use. Sell household items, give away a pet, or post your news.
The staff are quickly available to consult with advertisers, businesses and visitors to help them get the maximum benefit out of having OceanShores.com as the perfect place to find what they need.
If you have suggestions, comments or even complaints feel free to complete the inquiry form. Getting better is what OceanShores.com is all about.
Author: William May, OceanShores.com
Blog #: 0391 – 04/01/15
Razor Clams Season Announced Early.
By Emmalee David
Published: 10/17/14 Topics: Fishing, Ocean Shores WA, Westport WA Comments: 0
There are many activities to be experienced along the Washington coast. The landscape offers a different ecological landscape than what many of us see in Seattle and east. What excited me after a long warm summer spent hiking high in the mountains was receiving the tentative dates for Razor Clam digs!
Razor Clams are a meaty shellfish that can be found along the pacific coast from California up to Alaska. Harvesting Razor Clams and preparing them is an intrinsic characteristic of Washing coast culture. What makes this activity a great candidate for your fall explorations is that you only need 3 things; a clam shovel, a bucket to place them in, and your fishing license.
One thing to be noted is during the fall digging season low tides happen during the night meaning you must dig for your treasure under darkness. While the rising popularity and resurgence of Razor Clam populations has brought many newcomers to the sport, you might find the majority of people harvesting during spring when low tide appears during daylight. Feel like braving the night? Possibly braving the weather? It's likely you'll be rewarded with many opportunities and a less crowded beach! Check the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife for updates.
Hope you see you out there.
Author: Emmalee David – , Istay Reservations
Blog #: 0375 – 10/17/14
Fast efficient mobile websites for Vacation rentals
By William May
Published: 05/23/14 Topics: Comments: 0
We are just going to go out and say it, "Our new mobile website, for smart phones, is by far the most comprehensive, beautiful and functional mobile website ever."
Yes, other lodging managers have built mobile websites, but no one has built anything like this" Said, Salman Arshad of Redstone Systems.
Redstone Systems, creator of HelpBook.me software for the Inn, Resort & Vacation Rental industries just added this new mobile website capability. While that may not sound earth-shaking it is actually evolutionary - the first efficient, effect and persuasive mobile websites for smart phones.
Redstone started by studying hundreds of mobile websites for Inns, Resorts & Vacation Rental management.
Joseph Romain, Creative Director said "The variety was astounding, as was the lack of features. None of the websites had all the design and foresight necessary to book unique properties on a smart phone."
Some websites had nice graphics, some had adequate photos, showed property amenities or maybe a map. But none of them made properties shine. And none made it easy to envision what the guest was getting if they rented that particular property.
"Let's face it, smart phones are a 'very small piece of paper' on which to write a graphic novel so to speak, "Said William May, project manager. "The other websites look like someone just jumbled things together from scratch without enough fore thought."
"So we started from scratch. To figure out how mobiles should work and then do it, rather than copy what others had done"
The Redstone Advisor Board includes many experts in graphics, video and other commercial creative arts. Their input commanded the staff to start with a clear goal, and have every aspect of the website support the mission.
HelpBook.me mobile websites are, first and foremost, places to advertise and promote properties. To show their beauty and benefits. So HelpBook mobiles use full size photos, logos and graphics.
But they must also streamline the ability to select and book properties online. Other websites often taken the viewer back to a properties primary website - but those are impossible to se or use on a smart phone.
So HelpBook mobiles are fully featured and allow guests to book homes online, with full security using the payment system from Istay.net.
Best of all, HelpBook mobiles are fully deployable from a back-end database driven system. Once necessary data - such as photos, descriptions and amenity lists are secured - regular websites can be created in hours.
Then, that same data is used to create HelpBook mobiles sites in very little extra time. The fundamentals of good graphic and website design are followed, making the websites easy to use - but also impressive and persuasive.
Booking hotels and other lodging is said to be growing at a fast pace, and now all Redstone HelpBook.me properties have the ability to persuade, facilities and complete bookings for Inns, Resorts & Vacation Rentals online.
"No other company can do it as fully, as impressively and as fast as our software," notes Arshad.
- - - - - - - - -
Redstone Systems is an affiliate of the Vortex Organization that provides services, training and support for unique Inns, Resorts & Vacation Rental management firms, and administration for lodging networks such as Goldener Resorts, Sunspot Vacation Rentals, Varoom Cooperative and more.
HelpBook.me is the best lodging management software that you can not buy. The system is only available for use by members of the Vortex Organization.
Author: William May – Volunteer, Vacation Rental Association
Blog #: 0365 – 05/23/14
Government Officials Driving Tourism Economy Away
By Ron Lee
Published: 06/01/12 Topics: Government Comments: 0
Businesses, Chambers and tourism groups in every destination throughout the United States are spending money to grow their tourism segment of their economies.
That is a wise move.
Tourism is a clean, responsible industry that brings in visitors anxious to shop, attend events, tour attractions, rent lodging, and pay the taxes that go with them.
Manufacturing, distribution and other market segments sometimes seem more attractive to civic leaders, but those businesses are hard to attract, require years of courting and subject towns to intense review and - for many - rejection. Plus, big industries can leave town far quicker than they arrive, dumping lots of people out of work. Like it or not, Vacation Rentals are here to stay.
All destinations will have some luck and attract some visitors with good advertising, promotions, public relations and business participation.
Trouble is, however, many will fall short of their potential. Sometimes what the area offers just doesn't compare well with other desirable destinations. But another big mistake is when local government officials fail to offer what consumers want. Today, that one big thing is tourists who ask for, and even demand, access to good, clean, upscale vacation rental homes.
For at least a decade, the vacation rental industry has been exploding. Even during the recession the number of visitors who demand to stay in a house or condo instead of a hotel room has continued to climb.
So it is surprising to find small communities, who beg for tourists, then kill the industry by disallowing vacation rentals, making it ridiculously expensive to get permitted, or making them impossibly difficult to get approved.
They implement overzealous regulations and requirements that they would never impose on long-term rentals or full-time residents. What is good for the goose is good for the gander - as the old saying goes. So, if leaders believe that vacation homes must have new standards for health and safety, then why do they not require them for everyone? Failure to do so is just old fashioned hypocrisy.
On a recent trip to a beautiful Washington State Destination, a review of city and county rental regulations revealed a lack of insight by elected officials.
A clerk at the county office said, "We don't have any rentals in many areas of the county and it's surprising because some of the areas are so beautiful." she then paused and added, "Or maybe that's because vacation rentals aren't allowed there." Duh.
The geography of the area is gorgeous. The land is pristine and beautiful, with cute villages, attractive shops and periodic festivals and events. Agriculture is big business with products esteemed worldwide.
There are a number of conventional well-kept motels and cottages. But there are also properties that have seen better days and detract from the scenery. Many appear abandoned. They are not shabby chic, they are just plain shabby.
New home developments have been stymied by the economy, although some recent additions bode well for demand. Peeking out among nicely kept homes, are houses and cottages that have seen better days. Many of those, as well as some of the nicer second homes, sit empty year round, even during the busy summer season.
City and county officials have made short-term vacation type rentals illegal, or permits difficult to get. The up to $750 annual special use permit is one of the highest known in the country and requires begging neighbors for permission, and having the kind of inspections that would cause long-term rental home owners to go ballistic. With the inspections and other nonsense they require, costs can exceed many thousands of dollars.
And for what reason?
Like most areas, the reasons cited are that vacation rental homes "could" get used as party houses. Or that "Tourists drive cars through the neighborhoods and sometimes the trash isn't taken out to the street on time." complained one person at a county "scoping session."
No one wants trouble in their neighborhoods, but these possible issues never materialize. Some neighbors even say they "do not want people in the area that I don't know personally." Supposedly, "It destroys the character of the neighborhood", whatever that means.
There is no right in the Constitution that you must know and like your neighbors. But it is a foundation of American liberty that owners have a bundle or rights related to their real estate, including the right to right them out. So much for freedom.
In jurisdictions where rental permission is more easily obtained, but just as rigorously policed, and where owners must engage a competent local manager or management firm, problems do not happen.
The County even caved into neighbors in one desirable neighborhood who don't want "to have different neighbors each week," as the County clerk explained. Fear of problems is valid, but refusing entry to visitors feels a lot like simple xenophobia, the "fear of others."
A local real estate leader, who wished to remain anonymous, said, "You know the reasons for the lack of vacation rentals is regulations, don't you? Most people just won't spend the money to see if their neighbors will allow them to rent." How come the expensive applications fees are non-refundable, if the permit is denied? Looks like just another shake-down by officials.
Communities who enacted vacation rental prohibitions years ago, are seeing the light and revising laws to allow vacation rentals in all residential areas with proper permitting; and the requirement that properties be occupied within reasonable rules.
Doing otherwise scares away visitors. Consumers have decided they want to stay in vacation rentals and no amount of meddling in the free market by officials will dissuade them. Take away vacation rentals and they are sending visitors elsewhere, while local shops, restaurants and attractions lose out. It is not just home owners who lose.
The cities and counties where vacation rentals are allowed gain fee income; shops, events and attractions do more business; additional jobs are created; and tourism taxes flow.
Let's hope that officials in counties and communities, all over the country, wake up and stop killing the tourism business they so desperately need - by giving consumers what they want - many more vacation rentals.
Author: Ron Lee – Volunteer, Vacation Rental Association
Blog #: 0212 – 06/01/12
Sponsor: VRAI – As a fast growing industry we need your help and support. Join today to learn, share and promote your properties. – VRIA.org
Glorious Days on Washington State Beaches
By William May
Published: 05/15/12 Topics: Comments: 0
With winter still ebbing, the arrival of spring and even summer like conditions reminds us that the long days of sun and fun are upon us. A quick trip to the Coast of Washington State reveals that 80 degree temperatures are not here yet but the bright beating sun surely is.
So it is time to plan your summer at the beach. Vacation Rental managers are not yet sold out but will be soon. To get your choice place get off the couch and make that call today. Or checkout the wide range of properties on any of the websites offered by the Vacation Rental association such as WashingtonCoastVacationRentals.com.
The need for sun protection wasn't on the packing list and what a mistake. Thursday at Ocean Shores dawn brought calm, little wind and a great many visitors out on the streets, in the shops and restaurants and driving, walking and riding bikes on the beach.
"This is the earliest crowds we've seen and it’s a happy site for shopkeepers, "Said Jennifer Sturm who along with her husband Michael operate a unique Gift shop "Flying Cats" located on the Point Brown Boulevard, one of the main drags leading into town.
"The town is lucky to receive visitors year round and business is always good, but summer is when the crowds swell and our shop is often so packed the customers jostle each other around the merchandise," said Michael.
Washington coastal waters often feature big frothy waves but this week the water was calm and fishing boats from Westport Harbor trolled up and down not far off the beach.
Just weeks before, razor clam digging had been in high season and that too brought a steady stream of cars down the roads leading to the South Beaches including Westport Washington as well as to the North Beaches, how to Ocean Shores, Copalis Beach, Moclips and other small enclaves.
Lu Ann Kolten, owner of Beachy Day Vacation Rentals in Westport reports, "The winter was good this year other than a week in January which brought us our first deep snow fall in many years.".
Patrick Kolten, Lu Ann's husband and a native of France said, "I get every morning and find myself beaming along with the bright sunshine. We have many cabins, homes and condos ready for visitors if they call early."
To make reservations for late spring, memorial day, summer and later you can see beach rentals from the WashingtonCoastVacationRentals.com.
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The Vacation Rental Association (www.Vrai.org) is a not-for-profit association of vacation rental owners, managers, suppliers and others who support the industry. VRA sponsors numerous local websites. In Washington State those include WashingtonCoastVacationRentals.com, OceanShoresVacationRentals.com and WestportVacationRentals.com.
Author: William May – Manager, Goldener Resorts
Blog #: 0207 – 05/15/12
Sunspots Compares Renting Long Versus Short
By William May
Published: 08/16/11 Topics: Comments: 0
Across the globe major change is taking place. Thousands of long-term rental homes have switched. They now only accept short-term vacation rentals.
The reason is simple. Vacation Rentals are safer, quicker and can greatly increase income. Plus owners get to use the home whenever they like and make money when they do not.
Trouble with Long-Term
Long Term Rentals sound easy but they are more difficult. Here are some of the reasons:
- Tenants are often lower income.
- Rental Agents are no help long-term.
- Laws give renters control of the property.
- Long notice is required to inspect the house
- Tenants can require costly repairs.
- Tenants can stuff in extra family members.
- Causing greater wear and tear.
- Move In-Outs, are harsh on the property.
- Property Managers collect rent only and
- Seldom inspect homes or evaluate tenants.
- Bad tenants can trash the home
- And no one knows for months.
- Tenants can skip out on rent
- Or refuse to pay for months.
- Evictions take many months
- Requiring Lawyer & Court costs
- Long Term Horror Stories
Stories of long-term Tenants who trash homes, don’t pay rent, can’t be evicted and then actually sue their Landlords are everywhere.
Those are virtually unheard of in the Short-Term market. Good Vacation Rental Managers collect rent in advance, deny occupancy to non-paying or troublesome guests, inspect homes frequently and provide quick onsite service.
Property owners love having their home carefully watched instead of infrequently cared for. They use the home when they like. And they get more money at the same time.
Vacation Rentals Benefits
Property owners, who live in desirable destinations, are flocking to the vacation rentals market. Here is how it compares.
- Guests are higher income & more desirable.
- Lodging Managers are with you for the long term.
- Lodging laws protect the property.
- Guests do not have Tenant rights.
- They bring only their clothes & food.
- Vacation Managers inspect homes weekly.
- Occupancy can be greatly limited.
- Properties are used less, reducing wear & tear.
- Damages are infrequent and insignificant.
- Costs can be charged to the Guest.
- Guests pay in advance,
- Eliminating Collection Problems.
- Guests are required to follow strict rules.
- And can be evicted immediately.
In some cases houses should be rented short-term during high seasons, and long-term during slow seasons. Vacation Rentals are adept at both while long-term property managers fail at short-term. They are used to renting the house once every few years, while lodging managers are highly skilled at finding and renting homes weekly.
For properties that need a combination of long and short term stays, a Vacation Rental Manager is the best solution. They can even apply their kind of tight hands-on guest oversight to long-term tenants.
Lots of Service
Sunspot Vacation Rental Managers are expert lodging operators. They find the best marketing and operating program for many types of proper-ties. Don’t take chances. Call 888-628-8989 or visit SunspotResorts.com
Author: William May – Manager, Sunspot Vacation Rentals
Blog #: 0188 – 08/16/11
Sponsor: Signatours Photo Team – – Signatours.com
Everything Robert Fulgham Learned in Kindergarten
By William May
Published: 11/01/09 Topics: Comments: 0
I stumbled onto an Internet posting the other day that told me it has been twenty years since Robert Fulgham wrote "Everything I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten."
That is stunning really because it does, as they say, seem like yesterday. Of course I've read some of his other books and now that I've visited his website (RobertFulgham.com). I see there are others I will have to savor. So should you.
After 22 years as a Unitarian Minister in the Pacific Northwest, Fulgham published that first book and has never looked back. His view of the world is pretty simple or so it seems. As the world accelerates and technology dominates, Fulgham would remind us of the basic, appropriate and mature.
Although his attitude might strike some as youngish or maybe even immature, the stories and ideas he illustrates so well are the basic foundation on which we as humans should strive.
So what would all of this have to do with the somewhat non-universal industry of vacation rentals? Well plenty as it seems. Or maybe I should say it has to do with every business, every career and certainly every calling.
The kindergarten book reminds us all to foster those concepts which are universal in every culture. Things like:
- Don't lie. Always tell the truth.
- Don't hit.
- Treat your parents well.
- Pick up after yourself.
- Say Please and Thank You.
To me it seems like Fulgham’s message might be summed up in the phrase "treat everyone well" or at least try.
I am not sure I have always accomplished that goal but I know I am always aware of it and have always tried. I also know that isn't easy when conflict exists in the world, as it inevitably does. Nor is it easy when others might try to bring you down to their level. An acquaintance who becomes distraught, a customer who is unreasonable or even governmental bureaucrats who steal more and more freedom from Americans.
It would be easy to despise such people but in the end, we have to remember to treat them well also. Even if that respect will not be reciprocated.
VACATION RENTALS & LODGING
So is there anything practical in this blog? Yes I assure you there is. Here are a set of rules for how we conduct our business in hopes that guests, owners and vendors will treat us likewise.
- Be Clear. In advertising, contracts, phone calls, emails.
- Be Fair. It can be difficult to understand unreasonable requests, but we gotta keep trying.
- Be Quick. Get back to people. Take care of problems as fast as possible.
- Be Happy. No job is easy and half the job is simply deciding to go about it with joy.You can buy Robert Fulgham's Book at Amazon.com.
Author: William May, MayPartners Advertising
Blog #: 0125 – 11/01/09
Ocean Shores and Westport are Beaches Like No Other
By William May
Published: 08/01/09 Topics: Comments: 0
A truth in advertising disclaimer is required first.
Although I haven't lived in the area in almost 40 years, I must admit that I did grew up in several towns on the Washington Coast. Up until 4th grade the town of Raymond was where my parents lived along with my two brothers and I. After that we moved to Aberdeen the "Big" town some 25 miles up the Coast and it was here that I became aware of a place called Ocean Shores.
Both Raymond and Aberdeen are located on major waterways in from the Pacific Ocean. Raymond on the pristine Willapa Bay and Aberdeen on the equally large Grays Harbor.
From Raymond the drive is an idyllic 25 miles to the villages of Tokeland, Grayland and the Westport Harbor. BeachyDay.com
Located on the ocean south of Grays Harbor and area designate the South Beach for easy categorization. Later in high school my buddies and I would drive the byways of the South Beaches looking for Seattle girls who we were told, were anxious to meet local boys.
Less developed than the North Beaches of the Ocean Shores area, these little towns boast a real sea side ambiance and miles of undisturbed beaches. In recent years Westport has become a surfing Mecca. Having grown up in the area and later come to love the warm climes of Hawaii I haven't seen any good reason to venture out in to 50 degree water but surfing has been a boom for the area
Ocean shores is another 25 miles due west of Aberdeen on a pleasant and easy road to drive. BytheseaBythesea.com
In grade school, living just east of Aberdeen my friends and I loved to go up to the highway on Friday afternoon to watch all the crazy tourists from Seattle flock to the beaches. It is through this single road that all travelers must venture to reach the Westport and Ocean Shores destinations.
This was before a four lane highway was built and traffic was stop and go, bumper to bumper all afternoon. The only bad part was even our parents couldn't drive the five miles into Aberdeen in less than about an hour. We were relegated to make the trip late other times, except Sunday of course when the problem repeated itself in reverse.
Ocean Shores, Oyhut, Moclips, Copalis and Pacific Beach compromise the North Beaches with each town differing from the next and all scattered with lodging, camping, restaurants and little shops.
So what was it that all those Seattleites loved about the North and South Beaches so much they would sit in traffic for hours to reach their destination? The answer to that has changed over the years.
Once known for its huge Salmon Charter industry, Westport has seen that business taper off due to over-fishing and governmental limitations. But adventurous visitors can still catch Salmon and Halibut. Or they can opt for whale watching trips now a mainstay of the economy.
On a recent afternoon, sitting on the deck of one of the prestigious new homes at Cohasset Beach in Westport (CohassetBeachCottages.com) I was started to see a majestic gray whale breach repeatedly only 50 yards off shore. I am used to seeing humpback whales in Hawaii but this bugger was bigger and much closer.
Later that day over at the Westport At the Sea Resort I was engaged in a lengthy conversation. As it started we noticed a huge rush of small birds flying just off the Coast headed south. It is hard to explain how many birds there were. Perhaps a thousand at a time rushed past our view of the ocean. Perhaps a thousand every 2-3 seconds.
As our conversation continued, the bird flow never stopped. When we left a half hour later it was still continuing. Deep in the heart of Grays Harbor, just north of Westport, is Bowerman Basin a stopping place for many species of birds on their migration from as far north as the Arctic to the warmer south.
Having grown up in the area I knew something of Bowerman Basin, and anyone who watched the nature channel knows that bird colonies can be enormous. But not until that meeting did I understand there could really be millions of birds passing through my child-hood neighborhood. Did we see a million that day? It is entirely possible.
The South Beaches have the usual beach visitor attractions like restaurants, go-carts and fudge shops. But the best reason to visit there is to enjoy the ocean. In summer it moderates the heat and in winter, throngs of visitors come to watch the storms and get closer to nature. And, I might add, away from the hordes of city dwellers.
The North Beaches are somewhat the same as the South with many visitor attractions but Ocean Shores, in particular is more developed. In the 1960's some ambitious developers bought the entire peninsula that runs south between the Pacific and Grays Harbor. To the existent beauty they added canals running north and South, lakes and a harbor. In the center of town they erected resort like hotels and a golf course. Check out (OceanShores.com)
Although not a golfer myself, I can tell you that my golfer friends love the place. Not too pretentious and apparently a lot of fun to play. A convention center was added in recent years and the city has plans for updating the golf course.
In the center of Ocean Shores is a kind of retail center where you can buy souvenirs and some fancy shops like Fling Cats Flyingcats.com) where you can enjoy a pleasant stroll among sophisticated goods. Plus you will find a wide variety of eats, activities and adventures.
But remember people come to Ocean Shores for the Beaches. Unlike most places in the world, visitors are allowed to drive their cars down the beach which is more firm than that fluffy white sand places you see in travel brochures. And the beach runs for miles north and south. Plenty of room for bon fires, kit-flying and lazing away the time.
On a recent trip to both Westport and Ocean Shores, allowing myself a little bit of time to look around and reflect on my youth I gained a better appreciation for the place. The air is different I think. Crisp and clean and altogether enjoyable. With more time I think I could sit on the deck and devour a lot of books without an ounce of guilt.
Author: William May – Manager, Sunspot Vacation Rentals
Blog #: 0115 – 08/01/09
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