With fear and uncertainty widely circulating about the continued dangers associated with COVID-19, and a lack of a firm understanding of what measures will keep the public safe as we head into the future, misinformation continues to engulf logical thinking. Worst, many in the population have grown fatigued and thrown caution to the wind by engaging in close interactions and the blatant refusal to use personal protection equipment.
With many events for 2020 suspended, individuals can still enjoy activities while limiting their exposure to the contagion.
We offer some exciting alternatives to group activities; we’ve tried to use common sense, but it remains the responsibility of the individuals to adhere to standard infection control protocols when in public spaces.
If you venture out to enjoy any of these leisure interests, do so with the following procedures in place.
1. Take everyone’s temperature before you leave and observe any sluggish or unusual fatigue. If you suspect symptoms of infection—cancel your trip.
2. Social Distancing is essential. Don’t rely on others to offer protection; you need to take the initiative and be observant and avoid close contact. It isn’t always easy, but it can be done.
3. Be self-contained; pack lunch, snacks, and drinks for the day; it will significantly decrease your contact with others.
4. Have and wear face coverings and carry plenty of disinfectant wipes for your hands and surfaces you’ll contact throughout the day.
5. No one is discussing the protection eye-wear offers; its use is advisable since it could decrease your chances of coming in contact with the viruses aerosol particles. Although there’s no evidence of this, it can’t hurt.
6. Once you return home, undress and wash everyone’s clothes; if away for more than a day, bag everything you wore until you can get them cleaned.
Head to the Hills—The Mount Washington Auto Road Awaits.
If you haven’t been, now is the time to take a ride above the clouds. Self-contained in your car or SUV, climb 4,618 feet and reach the highest point in the Northeast on ‘America’s oldest manufactured attraction’ (completed
and opened to the public in 1861).
Better than a roller coaster, the views from such a high elevation captivate, and the sense of being on top of the world makes this day trip one to remember
for years to come. There’s plenty of parking, and you’ll find a multitude of trails for taking in the majesty of the earth’s creation.
Word of warning; the weather can change in a matter of minutes, and on average, the temperature is anywhere from 10-30 degrees lower than the base. Pack rain gear, a sweater or vest, even long pants; part of the excitement of this journey is you don’t know what to expect or what you’ll see—be prepared.
Rates and access vary; confirm by visiting mt-washington.com.
Drive the “Kanc.”
For those interested in a more relaxed, but equally enjoyable day trip, take a ride along New Hampshire’s more well-known wilderness trails, the Kancamagus Highway.
A scenic drive, from Lincoln to Conway (or in reverse), the wilderness found within the 34.5-mile journey, cutting through the dense White Mountains, offers natural beauty without distractions of modern-day conveniences; no fast-food, gas stations, or crowds.
The trip is breathtaking and offers dozens upon dozens of areas to pull off and listen to the water rushing downriver; there are many locations perfect for swimming or to get your
On a busy day, more than 4000 cars, trucks, SUVs, and motorcycles will take the trip, but with so many waterfalls, vistas, and picnic areas open, it isn’t difficult to keep at a distance from others.
Regardless of your starting point, towns at the opposite ends of the byway offer sites worth exploring. A short ride up I-93 will deliver you to the “Notch,” which hosts dozens of trails for hiking or peaceful enjoyment. If you’re up for a climb, then look up Bald Mountain and Artists Bluff. Learn why the most striking images of Cannon Mountain, Franconia Notch, and Echo Lake were painted or taken from this vantage point. A short 1.5-mile loop offers exceptional views from the open summit.
If you end up in Conway, best bets are Diana’s Baths and Cathedral Ledge, where you’ll find daredevils climbing the sheer walls of granite.
To plan your trip, visit kancamagushighway.com or White Mountains Visitors Center.
Water Sports Training in Franklin New Hampshire.
A couple of years ago, we did a story on Franklin, NH, a town that was built on its history of generating energy from its hydroelectric plant, and whose current claim to fame is due to a series of rapids that run through its center.
A sleepy town a few miles from Tilton and not far from MA has the proverbial—one traffic light—but is home to a small group of visionaries, who are in the process of creating a serious water sports adventure center.
Old structures and buildings, wide streets and sidewalks, make it an obvious choice for those who want to have fun or learn about Franklin’s history. It’s a perfect place to learn kayaking, paddleboarding, and whitewater rafting, and not be concerned about crowds or amusement park type attractions.
The place you’ll want to call if you plan to make the trip is Outdoor New England, they’re the resident experts, and have made a name for themselves up and down the Northeast. Offering equipment, advice, and lessons, they are qualified professionals who aren’t only immersed in teaching these sports, but, are equally concerned about rebuilding the town, because, without them, it could easily fall into ruin.
A trip to Franklin isn’t like any other adventure, once you visit you can’t get it out of your mind—tell them we sent you.
To learn more or make a reservation, contact outdoornewengland.com.
The Cape Cod Canal.
For an out of the ordinary family day, take a trip to the shores of the Cape Cod Canal. As another outdoor low-contact event, the options are unlimited. Offering, biking, hiking, rollerblading, or surfcasting; whatever activity you decide to enjoy, it will be time well spent.
It does get busy on the 7-mile path, but with the constant breeze that rushes along with the tide, your breath and whatever it carries will probably be taken out to sea in quick order. Non-motorized traffic passes in opposite directions, so precautions are advised.
Watching the boats and ships traveling through the “Ditch” is exciting; the same goes for taking in the action of a sports fisherman or woman hooking up a bass or blue that hunt baitfish on incoming and outgoing tides. There’s also a chance you might see dolphins or a pod of whales making their way to Cape Cod Bay—these too are common occurrences.
There are plenty of areas to break for lunch, and restrooms are available, but it is recommended you plan carefully, it is a long walk.
More information at nae.usace.army.mil/missions/recreation/cape-cod-canal/.
It’s easy to get to, and you’ll be out in the air all day. The New Bedford Seaport is home to the Cuttyhunk Ferry Company who is responsible for getting you to the small island while offering a scenic trip across Buzzards Bay.
Known primarily by sailors, the island is the perfect day trip if you want to feel like you’re miles out at sea. And while you’ll only be island side for a few hours, the time you spend on Cuttyhunk will turn a lazy day-trip into a relaxing vacation.
Leave in the morning and head over to Barges Beach. Facing Martha’s Vineyard, the ocean breeze and sound of crashing waves on the sandy shore are hypnotic. Most everything is a short walk, but once you find your spot, its doubtful you’ll want to leave.
Food is available, as are restrooms, but it may be a good idea to bring what you need.
For scheduling or to make a reservation, contact cuttyhunkferryco.com
Day Tripping to Martha’s Vineyard & Nantucket.
These are great options that should be considered in August. Visiting the islands can limit your exposure to others while giving you the full experience these popular vacation spots offer.
From those we consulted with, all reported satisfaction; they claim that when traveling to the islands in August, crowds begin to diminish significantly. Also, boarding passes and auto rentals can be scheduled online.
Here is an example of how we intend to navigate our summer escape to Martha’s Vineyard:
A. Our backpacks will hold all necessities; lunch, snacks, water, towels, and a change of clothes.
B. Tickets are going to be reserved well in advance and booked for the earliest departure and latest return trip to lessen contact with others.
C. If possible, we’ll self-park and arrive early at the ferry terminal.
D. The plan is to board first or last. The best location is topside and on the bow (top floor and in the front), to face into the wind. The second option is at the stern (back of the boat), with air-flow at our backs.
E. A Jeep Wrangler will be reserved and ready in Oaks Bluff; all we’ll need to do is get the keys and head to Gay Head, (also known as Aquinnah). Aquinnah is known for many things, with its views topping the list.
F. With so many quaint locations around the island, it can be challenging to settle on a single location to camp out for the day; but, a special place under the radar is a fishing village known as Menemsha. When you go, there is a good chance you’ll bump into a celebrity or two (if you recognize them). There will also be plenty of locals with stories. If you time it right, you’ll join the others—at a safe distance—to watch the famous sunset fall upon the horizon of Vineyard Sound. Menemsha has much to see; a walk around the docks, a great beach with views of Cuttyhunk and other landmasses of the Elizabeth Islands, food shacks with picnic tables, parking, and restrooms.
G. Knowing boats wait for no one, we’ll refuel and return the Jeep, arrive to board the ferry with time to spare, and talk about all the fun we had in a single day.
With lots of choices, all it takes is an online search. Type in the island of your choice, and an auto rental company—on the island. Confirmation of this is important; we once heard about a poor soul who reserved a car on the mainland—believing he was speaking to an island rental company. Unfortunately, he was left to travel by bus for two days.
With recent reports that we should keep 12 feet (not the original six recommended), between each other, this beautiful day trip ranks at the top of our list.
Load up the car and head to the seaside drive known as Ocean Drive—Newport.
The historical 10-mile twisting, turning seaside roadway has been named the most scenic ride of its kind. Expect incredible views of the Atlantic Ocean, white caps in the distance, and breathtaking views of magnificent mansions that spot the landscape.
Best bet; leave early and start at Thames Street in downtown Newport—keep the harbor and ocean to the right. Signs mark the route and are easily followed, but, know that it can get crowded because everyone wants to take in the coast’s natural beauty.
A favorite stop for kite flying and a place to unpack lunch is Brenton Point State Park. It’s probably the coolest location on the island and offers unobstructed views and a constant breeze off the water.
The end of the trip delivers drivers and passengers to the famous Bellevue Avenue, which is lined with the legendary Newport Mansions.
If time allows, consider a close-up view of “summer cottages” and the other side of the point by venturing along the Newport Cliff Walk. A 3.5-mile hike, tourists enjoy incredible views of the rugged coast, impressive cliffs, and crashing wave action.
The National Recreational trail is free to enjoy, but, parking on the side streets off of Bellevue leading down to various openings, or at the trailhead at Easton Beach does charge a reasonable fee.
Be aware the walkway is narrow and traffic flows in both directions; your best bet is to start later in the day when everyone is enjoying a cocktail at one of Newport’s famous watering holes.