I had my first stint as a volunteer "ambassador" for our lovely town at the Heritage House Visitors Center last week, and I have to say that Nancy Decker and the other volunteers who have worked so hard to set up this facility have done a great job. They've got Westport memorabilia on display, binders with helpful information at your fingertips, and maps on the wall, as well as a rack of pamphlets highlighting local attractions.
It's all attractively laid-out, and the Heritage House itself is very inviting, with brightly colored signs and flags beckoning visitors inside.
I was doing an afternoon shift, 1-4 p.m., and from what the ladies who were there for the morning shift said, it had been a slow morning. But I had two customers, which I figure is pretty good for a Thursday afternoon in June. An earlier shift had recorded six visitors in the log, so I wasn't even close to the record.
The first visitor was a friendly thirtyish guy from New Jersey who was driving along the Lakes to Locks Passage with his brother, who stayed in the car outside. They were heading for the Vermont side of the lake, crossing at Rouses Point, and they had to be at their B & B there by 7.
When he said he was interested in a short hike, I knew I he'd be putty in my hands.
So, of course, I sent him up Coon Mountain. What better way to get an idea of the local layout- lake, mountains, rolling countryside, all in their magnificent splendor on a sunny summer afternoon. And it's short, so he and his brother could stay on schedule. They could also pick up some ice cream or drinks on their way at one of our many excellent establishments. They drove off to what I'm sure was a very pleasant afternoon.
The second visitor presented an interesting contrast-a woman, also thirtyish, who lived in Montreal and was heading south, not north. And instead of hiking, she was interested in architecture. Plus, she already had ice cream (looked like mint-chocolate chip), which she was enjoying as I traced out a route that would take her to the Library, past our beautiful Victorians, and up to the Fairgrounds and the Depot. As she walked happily off, I wondered if she would finish that dripping cone before she got to the Library.
So enjoy this Fourth of July weekend. Give your change to the firefighters, gasp at the fireworks on Friday night, pick up some candy at the parade on Saturday at noon, and partake of the afternoon and evening festivities afterward in Lee Park. Don't forget the Library Book Sale next weekend, "Round and Round the Garden" at the Depot Theatre July 3-12, and the Idol Contest at the Whallonsburg Grange on July 10, 17, and 18. And remember how lucky we are to live in a place where people come to get away from it all.