CONWAY — With a sunny forecast and a four-day weekend for most, Mount Washington Valley was a magnet for July Fourth holiday vacationers. An estimated and record-breaking 10,000 people gathered in Schouler Park for Independence Day entertainment and fireworks, according to Conway Police. Businesses throughout the valley reported a strong holiday weekend with as much as 37 percent increases in sales over last year.
“When a holiday falls on a Thursday and we get a warm weather forecast, we know we’ll have a good weekend in Mt. Washington Valley,” said Janice Crawford, executive director of the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce.
“Add to that a packed event schedule, four days in a row of fireworks and sunny and warm weather, and we have everything we need for a very successful holiday weekend, which we had,” Crawford said.
The Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce conducted an informal post-holiday weekend survey of member businesses and heard positive feedback from virtually everyone who responded. Retailers in North Conway Village were particularly happy with the increases in sales they saw from large crowds.
Deborah Jasien, owner/maker at Fields of Ambrosia Bath-Body-Aroma in North Conway Village told the chamber that she observed huge traffic on July 4 and 5, and then a 25 percent increase in sales over last year on July 6 and 7. She attributed the increase to cooler and cloudier weather on the weekend.
Timothy W. Psaledakis of Jewelry By Tim and Friends, also in North Conway Village, told the chamber that sales doubled over last year for the first week in July.
“The favorable weather certainly did help, and the heat only encouraged the shoppers to spend more time in the air conditioned stores,” Psaledakis said. In addition, he attributed his sales increases to the addition of hand engraving and “while-you-wait” service options, explaining that people actually bring items while on vacation to be re-pronged, sized or engraved while they wait.
On the lodging side, Jen Kovach co-owner and innkeeper at the Snowvillage Inn said that the inn saw a 10 to 15 percent increase in room sales over last year.
“Between July Fourth falling on a Thursday and the weather being spectacular, folks came to the area. People were here to go to weddings, getaway weekend, camp pick up, guided adventures like kayaking and mountain biking, and just relax, hike and dine. We noticed folks were traveling multi-generationally too,” Jen told the chamber.
The Inn at Thorn Hill reported a 20 percent increase in room sales over last year for the four days around the holiday.
“We had an abundance of British/Great Britain guests in who were on a Boston-North Conway-Acadia, Maine, circuit. They chose all four- and five-diamond hotels to stay at for an unbelievable four nights at each location,” Steve Lambert, Inn at Thorn Hill partner/innkeeper, told the chamber.
Visitors hit Mount Washington Valley's attractions and golf courses over the four-day weekend, too. Beth Scrimger, owner of Mystery NH, said that business was up by 28 percent for the week.
Jonathan Rivers, of Indian Mound Golf Club told the chamber that amazing weather contributed to a strong weekend there.
“Golf plus food and beverage was fantastic — better than expected for such hot weather. It was another great holiday weekend with lots of happy golfers,” he said.
Lauren Hawkins, director of marketing at Story Land, said sales were even with 2018, and that both years have been considered very strong.
“Overall the weather has been similar the last two years — hot and humid," she said.
At Cranmore Mountain Resort, Becca Deschenes, marketing director, revealed that the entire first week of July was strong.
“For the week, we were up 15 percent over the same period last year. Looking at just Fourth of July visits, we were up 37 percent in admissions. On the Fourth, we held our annual Americana Celebration, with live music from local band, Shark Martin, barbecue and yard games. We saw a good turnout from not only guests in the park, but guests coming in just for the event, which is good to see it grow, finishing up its third year,” she told the chamber.
Visitors also hit valley restaurants.
Genn Anzaldi, owner of J-Town Deli and Country Store in Jackson, had nothing but positive comments about the July Fourth holiday weekend. “The weather was perfect for folks, and the Fourth falling on a Thursday was wonderful! It was a perfect storm for maximum customers. And gas prices stayed low, too!” she said.
All indicators, including lower-than-last-year gas prices, strong consumer confidence and long range bookings, show that the valley is poised for a very strong summer and fall for area businesses.
The all-important weather and not-to-be-discounted weather forecast will be a final determining factor for summer sales in the valley.
For complete trip planning resources and information, go to mtwashingtonvvalley.org.
Marti Mayne is the public relations director for the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce.