Six months after our 15th wedding anniversary, the weekend in March was sidelined by the arrival of COVID-19, my husband and I ended up driving on the Sagamore Bridge, and during our first trip during a global pandemic, I never thought going to Cape Cod, just a two hour drive from our home in New Hampshire, could feel like such an exotic destination. And yet it felt like we had traveled half the world by crossing that bridge.With people avoiding air travel, regional travel is emerging as the new escape route in the coronavirus age. . rescheduling our anniversary weekend from March, but waited, unsure of whether it would be safe to travel. But somewhere around the beginning of September I started to have the urge to travel, the urge to change scenery, to break away from the routine we were at home in. With the cold looming, it seemed to be. a now or never scenario, and I started planning. I thought about what we were doing back home in New Hampshire. Limit contact with others, mask yourself, hike and walk a lot, and use outdoor restaurants to eat out. It seemed like we could do the same things in a vacation destination if we planned carefully. My grandma used to take my younger brother and I to a cottage outside of Falmouth when we were kids. But for this trip, I looked a little further into the less populated area of central Cape Town, with the goal of getting us somewhere quieter and closer to the hiking trails along the Cape Cod National Seashore. I looked at the map of COVID cases for Massachusetts, and the breakdown of cities in the area, and found that Yarmouth, where I found a hotel, had stable numbers, not much higher than those that we had at home. After years of over-planning all the vacations we took, with a record, and daily itinerary, I had finally stepped back in recent years, approaching the trip with a more spontaneous attitude. But traveling in the coronavirus era forced me to tap into these old habits as I envisioned all scenarios in advance. What kind of place would we stay? What can we do during our stay while staying away from others? What kinds of precautions are taken at the hotel to disinfect between guests? What restaurants are near the hotel and do they offer outdoor dining or take out? What additional supplies do we need to bring with us that we would not normally need? Jackie Dockham, director of infection control at Exeter Hospital, said these were good details to take into account while looking at any destination requirements, such as quarantine at the ‘arrival. , and your personal risk factors. “Are you or a member of your traveling party at increased risk for serious illness from COVID-19? Certain underlying illnesses include, but are not limited to, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, chronic lung disease, weakened immune system When traveling, Dockham said you should consider the three Cs – close contact, crowds and confined spaces. Avoid close contact with others, avoid places with large crowds and open spaces confined interiors with poor ventilation.These are all the precautions we had taken at home, so it seemed entirely doable to pursue them on a trip, but all that would take the joy of traveling? only one way to find out and so the last weekend of September we set off on our socially distant adventure. I never lost the feeling of nostalgia that comes every time I cross one of the bridges over l th Cape Cod Canal, as I remember the wonder I felt as I looked out the window of my grandmother’s old red station wagon on the same ride as a child. It’s hard not to think of simpler times when you see the large wooden windmill across the bridge, or hedges trimmed to spell Cape Cod, at the roundabout. Even many long-standing businesses have signs that seem to be there from the 1950s or 1960s We opted for a late lunch before checking into our hotel and stopped by the Captain Parker Pub, a suggestion from one local friend, who described it. as a local staple in Yarmouth. Captain Parker had two large outdoor dining rooms, with propane heaters, and we were a good distance from the other guests. Their chorizo-stuffed quahogs hit the spot and the bacon-wrapped scallops came with double scallops and perfectly crispy bacon, a win-win. From there we headed to our hotel in the Smuggler’s neighborhood. Beach in Yarmouth, where I had done all of our pre-registration and check-in on my phone in advance. The only thing I had to do when we arrived was to quickly collect our keys from the lobby. The hotel asked guests to wear masks in common areas and did not offer daily housekeeping during our stay, to reduce contact. They have added additional remediation measures between customers. We decided to splurge on an oceanfront room with a balcony, which gave us the opportunity to relax and watch the ocean, while staying away from other guests. The only downside to the room was that they removed in-room coffeemakers as part of their COVID precautions, which meant we had to have coffee at their on-site restaurant each morning or drive down the road to the drive- in the closest. I had packed breakfast bars, snacks, and bottled water, but hadn’t anticipated the coffee dilemma – even before the pandemic, fall was a great time to visit Cape Cod. The summer traffic is gone, hotel rates are lower, and the weather is perfect for walking or hiking which was high on our list. I used the AllTrails app on my smartphone to search for ocean view trails, which took us to Wellfleet, the Outer Cape, and the Great Island Trail, the longest hike in the Cape Cod National Seashore. . a lot, through a bushy pine forest, before the trail opens to the sand dunes and shark warning signs. The entire trail was about 8 miles long, but we opted for a shorter version, scaling a steep sand cliff, where we found stunning views of the ocean, marshes, and dunes. We met a group of locals, who had spread out a blanket and skipped a bottle of wine. They had never done the entire loop, they said, before they shared their tip for going down the trail at low points, to loop along the beach when you’ve gone far enough. head to the Beachcomber restaurant, across Wellfleet, for lunch. Voted one of New England’s best beachfront restaurants by Yankee Magazine, the restaurant’s main building is a former lifeboat station built in 1897. The restaurant was perched on top of huge cliff-shaped dunes. overlooking Cahoon Hollow beach and we sat on a crossbar. closed and sipped a cocktail while waiting for a table in the outdoor dining area. Their drink list included the Painkiller, a concoction of orange, pineapple and coconut which is the official drink of the British Virgin Islands, and made me feel, for a while, that we had traveled to a place tropical. our vacation more than once and we spent our second day without an itinerary, exploring the area of Smuggler’s Beach around our hotel, where it was easy to stay away from other visitors on the wide open sand. The beach at the mouth of the Bass River was said to have been the site of rumors during the ban and was home to Casa Madrid, a famous speakeasy.We ventured to the Flying Bridge in Falmouth for an early dinner, a way to avoid busier times with more clients. We were able to book a table online and sit outside on the deck away from the other diners as we watched the boats come and go from the adjacent marina, while eating a fresh haddock sandwich and lobster salad . the weather day of a trip ended up being the day we left, and this trip was no different. We woke up in the summer to warm temperatures and clear skies, prompting us to take one last walk on the beach, and the scenic drive through Sandwich, to see cranberry bogs and marshes. Our checkout was completely virtual, with our receipt emailed and the keys left in the room. Was traveling for fun during a global pandemic stressful? Sure, but it was also restful, restorative and a much needed break from the intensity of the world we live in. When we crossed the Sagamore Bridge and onto the mainland, we were already talking about other regional destinations that we could visit next.
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