Granite Staters are ready for the weather to catch up to the calendar now that summer is almost here.
Temperatures in the 80s and bright sunshine throughout New Hampshire on Monday provided some respite from the rain and cooler weather that has marked the spring.
With the season officially set to change on Friday, more days like Monday would be welcomed by businesses that depend on the Granite State’s many outdoor opportunities.
“It’s going to get sunny eventually,” said Austin Parker, shop manager at Contoocook River Canoe Company in Concord.
“It does feel like there’s been a lot more rain this year than previous years. Sun is always better than rain but it hasn’t been anything drastic.”
Despite the weather, Parker said retail sales have been normal and the company’s canoe and kayak rentals, which start on Memorial Day weekend, generally pick up once school lets out for the summer.
Extended springs and slow starts to summer are also common throughout New England, so Parker said July and August tend to be bigger months when it comes to getting people out on the water.
Regional tourism officials also said the summer of 2019 still looks promising.
“Local businesses are reporting strong attendance and occupancy figures, increases in advanced bookings, and have a positive outlook for a busy summer to come for all,” said Charyl Reardon, president of the White Mountains Attractions Association in North Woodstock.
“When the weather and the forecast are favorable, business has been really good in the White Mountains.”
The New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism Development is scheduled to announce its summer visitor forecast in Littleton on Tuesday, when the weather forecast calls for more rain, but high temperatures could hit 80 or above.
Monday was a busy day at Whale’s Tale Waterpark in Lincoln, said Jesse Anser, marketing director for NH Fun. The company also owns and runs Alpine Adventures in Lincoln and Candia Springs Adventure Park in Candia, which also tend to grow more busy as the season progresses.
“The busiest season for us is probably August — for everything,” Anser said.
Anser said Whale’s Tale gets a lot of business from school trips in June and business picks up from there. Although sun is always preferable, Anser said rain isn’t always a bad thing.
“It’s what you can expect for a water park,” Anser said. “The weather definitely hasn’t been helping us, but at the same time, it has definitely created some pent-up demand. Everyone wants to get outside and do something when it’s nice out.”
On the Seacoast, the dreary spring weather hasn’t dampened the spirits of some business owners .
“At the end of the day, the actual season is July and August,” said Tom McGuirk, whose family owns McGuirk’s Ocean View hotel and restaurant.
The Hampton hotel is typically open from Memorial Day weekend to Columbus Day. Rooms there were recently renovated and have been full since they opened the first weekend in June, McGuirk said.
McGuirk said he doesn’t expect a big percentage of his business to come in June because he concentrates more on the following summer months.
Chuck Rage, owner of the Pelham Resort Motel and the Rexall Drug Store, said business in the pre- and post-summer season depends almost entirely on the weather.
“It’s been up and down,” he said, adding that the hotel, which opened for the season in April, could have 60 rooms booked on a sunny day in the spring and eight when it rains.
“We’ve had a bit of a lull lately with the weather,” said Rage, who is also commissioner chairman for the Hampton Beach Village District.
Shows at the Casino Ballroom earlier in the spring helped generate business and Rage said bookings have been stronger this week because the 19th Annual Master Sand Sculpting Classic competition is being held at the beach.
In Concord, Parker said he was confident there would be plenty of days for people to get out on the water and enjoy the summer soon enough.
“You take what you can get when you live in New England,” Parker said. “Some days it rains; some days it’s beautiful. You just have to learn to enjoy every day.”