Sunday, May 12, 2013

Idea for Revitalizing The Harbor

I was talking with my mother in law today about an idea I had for fixing up my hometown area.  For those of you who don't know, the place I'm from suffers from extreme economic depression.  It used to be a logging community, and when the logging industry was drastically diminished due to environmental concerns, huge numbers of people lost their jobs.  Instead of solving the problem by developing new industries, people just decided to do meth and feel sorry for themselves.  Every so often someone decides to start a business - like a theater or a coffee shop or something - but not much sticks.  

I'm no economist, but I do know that it's going to take more than a couple of small businesses to get the place back on track.  

Here is my idea.  Please steal it.  

Grays Harbor needs an industry that plays to its strengths.  What are its strengths? An abundance of unspoiled natural beauty, and a human population who has excellent wilderness survival skills.  You see, everyone in Grays Harbor knows how to fish, hunt, find wild berries, build things, fix things and dig clams.  They know how to cook with local food.  All of them.  And because there are very few people who actually live there, and there is no industry to speak of, the air is clean, and there are trees and rivers everywhere, and you won't get hepatitis from the ocean, like in certain other places I could mention.

So.  My idea is - build a giant eco resort.  

The eco resort would offer three types of accommodations - 
1) Luxury log cabins, made from locally sourced wood, powered with hydroelectric power or wind power.  These would come in a variety of sizes and shapes.  All would have high ceilings, large windows, soft space rugs, organic cotton linens, etc.  Cabins would come stocked with fresh, healthful, locally made snacks, teas, etc.
 2) Luxury tree houses, some with electricity and some without.  The electricity, would of course, be sustainable, - wind or water.  These would be for the more adventurous traveler, and would have a fun "Swiss Family Robinson" vibe.  There would be rope swings, rope bridges, and spiral staircases. Some treehouses would be  connected for families who vacation together.  Some would be private for couples.
 3) Camping grounds.  For odd people who get off on pretending to be homeless.

There would be an onsite restaurant which serves gourmet cuisine made from local food - salmon, huckleberries, blackberries, clams, deer (venison), elk, etc.   Because this is an all inclusive resort, meals will be included in the price of the stay.   

* Fishing (with local guides)
* clam digging (local guides can give lessons)
* river rafting (local guide can do pick up and drop off)
* PNW cooking classes
* yoga
* pools and hot tubs (powered by wind or water)
* birding
* wildlife survival courses
* foraging classes (local guide can show guests which plants can be eaten, etc. - then they can make a salad or something with the stuff they find)
* ropes courses/zip line through the trees
* hiking (guided)
* movies
* board games
* "kids club" where adults can drop off their children for fun outdoor activities - mudpuddle stomping, etc.
* shooting/target practice
* archery

Winter/Bad Weather Activities
Of course - most of the year the weather is awful, so many of the activities won't be popular all year round.  But that's ok!  During the awful weather, the focus will be on a "retreat" atmosphere, where guests can turn off their phones, and reconnect with themselves.  
* yoga - there would be a spacious yoga studio, composed mostly of windows, to enjoy the nature without having to be outside in it.  Meditation classes also available.  Other fitness classes, if people have interest.
* movies - there would be an indoor movie theater with large, fluffy chairs.  Popcorn and other snacks would be served, of course.
* board games
* indoor saltwater pool and hot tubs. (Perhaps instead of hot tubs, they could use natural hot springs?)
* cooking classes
* arts and crafts (Native American beading and weaving?)
* hiking (hikers tend to be ok with bad weather)
* reading - there would be a large library with a fireplace and cushy chairs.  Tea, coffee and scones available.
* spa - a variety of massages and beauty treatments available - using "locally produced, organic" beauty products, of course.
* I don't freaking know.  You come up with some ideas.

I think people would actually come to a resort like this.  People have a strong desire to be in unspoiled nature, and the Olympic Peninsula could provide that.  And this would provide jobs for a lot of people - guides, teachers, servers, cooks, maids, construction crew, repair people, etc.  This would play to the best qualities in Harborites, and make use of their resources.  In order to appeal to educated, financially "comfortable" people, it would have to be  very ecologically friendly, and the words "sustainable" "organic" and "local" would have to be plastered all over everything.  It may strike Harborities as obnoxious, but it will get the job done and make people come.  Trust me on this.  Build for rich bohemians who want to get away from the city and their stressful jobs,  and they will come.  


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