Commissioning Week Rentals: Caution

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by smithneck, Jul 6, 2011.

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Feel exploited at times by locals?

Poll closed Jul 10, 2011.
  1. Never

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  2. Rare, but present

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  3. Yes, and be careful

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  1. smithneck

    smithneck Member

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    What a grand week of commissioning, so many wonderful events, vivid emotions...men and women who demonstrate the best of this generation willing to serve at a time of war and without hesitation. Lingering for me, now rising beyond disappointment, is a sense of exploitation by some locals. I have experienced first hand a underlying disrespect for the midshipman and the Academy, gaining economically from the visitors and military but at the same time hating its presence there. Capitalize on the mood and participation of families but disregard them personally. Such was the rental owner and the neighbors, even, an attitude among several businesses in town as well. I would ask many questions of those that seek your hard earned thousands for the week...are they military or former military...what is the attitude of the neighbors to families, traffic and frequent comings and goings...I have now heard from many others who have shared identical experiences, and sadly, that some of the repeat "hosts" that actively seek to rent are the most hateful. Has this happened to you?
     
  2. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

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    Not specifically during commissioning week/renting, but yes.

    I think you'd find it the same in almost any college town, especially one that's also a tourist attraction. That obviously doesn't excuse rude behavior to people who haven't done anything wrong, but the renters possibly have gotten burned before. Mids and their families aren't always perfect guests.
     
  3. MIHOSER

    MIHOSER Member

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    At non-academy towns, it's called Town and Gown hostility. I have seen it in every college town that my children have attended. Some are worse than others, but it always exists to some extent.
     
  4. 2012mom?

    2012mom? Member

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    It is frustrating to think of all the work our Mids put in to become officers, only to have a noticeable portion of the surrounding population that shows such dislike/disrespect. However, it helps me to think about it from a local's perspective. Yes, we bring in money, but we also bring in traffic to the point of gridlock, impossible lines in stores and restaurants, etc. I'm sure that many locals rent specifically to help pay for them to be gone while we invade. And, unfortunately, some renters have been left with messes by previous rentees, leaving them with a feeling of distrust. Not saying that it's right to treat anyone badly; just trying to "wear their shoes" for a 1/4 mile or so.
     
  5. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    Over the past few years I have never seen or experienced any disrespect toward Parents or Mids in Annapolis. I have done rentals and stayed at Hotels. Yes they charge a lot for rentals and Hotels during certain periods. Try Newport in the summer or Outer Banks during prime time or any other prime place. Try traffic and rentals when the boat show is on. You may have had a bad experience but I dont think that "many" have had the same.
     
  6. LongAgoPlebe

    LongAgoPlebe Member

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    I've been on both sides of the town and gown tension and have had everything from great to abysmal experiences in both regards.

    As a plebe, I always felt welcomed at my sponsor's house. The courtesy and respect lessons we got as plebes explicitly extended beyond military courtesies to civilian. I found that being polite and looking people in the eye got us (plebes) the same courtesy on those rare occasions when we were allowed off the Yard.

    Toward the end of my plebe year, there was an incident where a bunch of firsties rented a local house for a June Week get-together and totally trashed the place - not just bottles and trash everywhere but damage. Vandalism.

    I transferred to a SLAC in a small town - and was really surprised to find there was even more tension in the town and gown relations. I was still courteous, and I hung out with friends who were courteous, but we were often, often treated with contempt. I can remember a couple of times, waiting to be seated at a local restaurant, where the waitstaff bypassed our group for the townies behind us. And it's not like I went to a party school - the college had a reputation as a rigorous, serious college, and although we had our share of parties and fun, the yearly police calls were rare and (mostly) benign.

    For a while during graduate school I lived near Naptown. For the most part, the ambivalence that locals had about being around during heavy-tourism weeks, like 2012mom said, had much more to do with the traffic, gridlock, inability to get a seat at a restaurant - and frankly, tourists as a group can behave poorly: pushy, demanding, oblivious to their effects on one another and the environment. Also it seems like those effects are amplified when density increases: you can ignore one dufus having a loud cell phone conversation on the train, but when there are three of them and you're in a group of fifty people you can't escape, the annoyance factor goes up by >3. People shove a little. People drop little tiny pieces of trash because they'll blow away, but then 5,000 people do it and streets are trashy. People drink a little too much, laugh a little too loudly, tell off-color jokes that can be overheard by too many others. People rent cars but decide the maps aren't worth it, and cut you off or drive like the out-of-towners they are. Minor nits to pick when there's just one of the cads - whether townie or mid, but now (as a local) you have to spend a week putting up with this on a large, uninterrupted scale. And we homeowners can be a pretty cynical lot, whether it's about renting the place out or the neighbor next door who won't cut his dang weeds, or the guy three houses down who almost set two of us on fire this last 4th. (Next year, I'll make sure my insurance is current, then plan on going camping during the week of the 4th.)

    The point? Be careful of coming to a quick judgment about why you get the vibes you do. It's (generally) not about a specific dislike or disrespect of USNA, the mids (either individually or the Brigade), or the event (I-day, Parents' Weekends, Graduation). Annapolis as a town was the most supportive college town I've lived in, by far, out of four total.
     
  7. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig Banned

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    Agreed. This is complicated but not. Locals love the money, hate the inconveniences that accompany a college crowd. We've been both sides as well. Love the upsides of having higher educational industry in the community. Money, better schools, guaranteed influx of urgent homebuyers, lots of eateries, culture out the gazoo, a place to take visitors, and on and on. The downsides can be and often are tremendous inconveniences and annoyances. No parking. Lots of drinking, drugs, undesirable activity. (EVER been downtown Annapolis at 0300 on a Saturday nite after a football game?) Tons of parents who trek into town with attitudes that "hey, MY Mid's getting ready to fight for YOUR freedom, and you're tired of demanding customers like me wanting fed, housed, clothed, hydrated, etc. ... NOW! Don't you realize this woman at my side is a blue-star mother!"

    There are lots of old adages that might apply here.

    "Don't bite the hand that feeds you?"

    "Be careful for what you wish?"

    "All I want is ONE parking space! Preferably within 10 blocks of my house."

    "Dang! A $25 parking ticket. I was only sitting in front of that guy's house for 3 hours. I wonder if that was the owner cruising and steaming around the block all that time."

    "Well, he should be doggone grateful. I spent a ton of money at that restaurant and now this ticket and yesterday at the football game. Ingrates! See if we ever come back to this stinking town once our wonder-Mid gets his diploma and commission! harumpfffffff!"

    "Be careful for what we wish."

    "There is no free lunch. Even at Chick n Ruth's"

    "Come back again and again ... when you can't stay so long."

    "Until we've walked in the other Mid's moccasins ..."

    "I'm all for free enterprise ... and thrilled about not having to pay tuition and seeing my offsprung graduate ... until I'm being charged and arm and a leg for one lousy week of commissioning."

    My waning thoughts are of gratitude and thankfulness that we have been so blessed to experience the good, bad, and ugly of this Brigadoon in our lives. I'd die for one more shot.

    This sword cuts at least 2 ways. And it's sharp. :eek: :tank::rocket::hammer::blowup::guns4:
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2011
  8. NorthernCalMother

    NorthernCalMother Member

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    What a shame that you've had unhappy experiences in Annapolis. I think our family visited about 8 times over 4 years, and were lucky. We never had the feeling you're describing.

    Sure, it's a visitor town, w/ a certain number of bored/resentful staffers @ various venues, but in general, I've been impressed by how pleasant people there are. I could give you anecdotes re: extra-kind and helpful people @ hotels, stores, and restaurants, but the point is that they're there. Our former Mid's main complaints re: downtown Annapolis involved the tedium of tourists asking him to pose for photographs.

    We rented a house for Commissioning Week that was on the market (hence, the owner wasn't looking for our referrals/recommendations for the following year). We arrived to flowers, fruit, wine, and a lovely note in an exceptional house w/ a wonderfully helpful reference book the owner prepared for renters over the years re: local contacts we might need for a week's stay (caterers, hospitals, dry cleaners, etc.). The neighbors were remarkably friendly and made an effort to say hello and offer advice if we needed it. When I left behind a piece of (inexpensive costume) jewelry, the home owner contacted me immediately and express mailed it @ her expense, and @ more expense than the thing was worth. We had our full security deposit back in a week.

    If you want major disdain toward students and parents, visit Berkeley or Santa Barbara, where our older kids went to school.

    Incoming USNA parents: hope for the best! You might get it.
     
  9. nman

    nman Commissioning Week Man

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    I just had to reply here ... I've seen some of this negative behavior, but thankfully not too much of it. I think most of Annapolis loves the Academy and understands what comes with it.

    That said, I know of a faculty member at the USNA who is actually trying to combat some of this specifically with rentals! No joke. My understanding is that he is making this website here I'll try to put a link in...
    commissioning week rentals at midsrent.com

    and from what I understand, this is brand new really recent and he is hoping to add other functionality that will list houses with GOOD reputations. The idea is that these negative renting experiences will get reported back to the site and cause that owner a harder time to rent to naval academy families! Right now it really does look nice IMO.
     
  10. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    Any idiot who rents to a bunch of Firsties during Commissioning Week deserves it. Rent "family only" with restrictions. We have always been impressed by the courtesy afforded Mids in Annapolis. Never saw Parents or relatives pushing the "Military Privilege" but it may happen. Thought they loved everyone at Berkeley?:biggrin: Hoping for one more Brigadoon $$$$ saved. Hope it doesn't take another hundred years.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2012
  11. sprog

    sprog Member

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    I'm a townie.

    Annapolis loves USNA.

    I went to VMI, and Lexington did NOT love us (or Washington and Lee).

    There may be some who are disgruntled out there, but you really would see that in most college towns. I think it is to a far lesser extent in Naptown than in other places. Then again, despite the presence of USNA and St. John's, I'm hesistant to call Annapolis a "college town." Indeed, Annapolis is not totally dependent on USNA revenues. Some businesses surely are; however, we are the State capital and many people choose to live in the area because it is pleasant and relatively close to Baltimore and DC. I commute to DC every day, and am VERY glad that I get to go home to Annapolis.

    I'm sorry if there were some unscrupulous landlords for the Commissioning Week rentals. They don't represent the majority of our town.

    I do try and avoid DTA in the spring and summer months on the weekends. That's because I've become an old fart.

    On a positive note, for those looking for a more mellow feel, the crowd in DTA gets progressively older the farther you get from City Dock. When I do go, I like State Circle. I do community theatre, and my group meets at the upstairs part of Harry Browne's for recreation. It's not near as crazy as Main Street (and is great in the winter!!).

    I grew up and went to school proximate to Annapolis and I still, to this day, have never eaten at Chick and Ruth's.

    There are places to park....you just have to know the secrets ;).
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2012
  12. nman

    nman Commissioning Week Man

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    This made me laugh! You're my new favorite townie.
     

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