Where are we?
“Excuse me, can we help you?’’ a homeowner inquired of a couple wandering around the yard with a flashlight late one night a few weeks ago. It was a bit unnerving, to say the least, but it turned out the visitors meant no harm. They were looking for their rental property, which had the same street name and address, but was in a neighboring town.
First of all, it’s foolhardy to arrive at an unfamiliar house in a strange town after dark, but believe it or not, renters do it here, and probably everywhere, on a regular basis. The rental agent often can’t be reached after office hours (renters should demand their phone number) and renters are dependent upon their trusty GPS. They’re a great invention but not without flaws.For example, folks near us have been repeatedly inundated with traffic in their private driveway, which is where motorists were directed to go. While the driveway at one time had two exits, one is now closed, probably more out of necessity than desire, so motor vehicles can’t get where they think they’re going. A sign at the beginning of the driveway now alerts them, but of course some folks choose to listen to the GPS anyway.Unfortunately, people don’t update their GPS regularly, so the homeowners will be stuck with the problem for years to come.
The GPS doesn’t always distinguish between similar sounding towns or places, either and it’s only as good as the information you give it. One of the biggest mistakes motorists make, with or without a GPS, is ending up in East Boothbay when they wanted the east side of Boothbay Harbor or vice versa. It’s a common mix-up, but is just one of many. Visitors are confused, and rightly so, by the fact that there are five towns on our peninsula, many of them with similar road names. They also get their “points’’ mixed up – Ocean Point, Spruce Point, Juniper Point.
Real estate renters aren’t the only ones who neglect to give very specific instructions to visitors coming here for the first time. Homeowners, do, too when they’re expecting first-time guests. It helps to share all of the information you possibly can to make it easier for new arrivals. Let’s give them a break, folks.