We were supposed to be on a once in life time trip to Alaska. Co-Vid crushed those plans early leaving us with disappointment and a little travel debt. So how do you travel safely during a pandemic? We considered our options and researched areas within a day’s drive that would only require one pit stop, that had low numbers, that had a lot of safety regulations, plenty of outdoor activities, and affordable places to stay. It didn’t leave us with too many options.
We narrowed it down and started to plan. After a debacle with a fallen through rental, we found a great place on Air B and B last minute (here is my referral for $35 off your first rental). We were traveling with another family and it provided two bedrooms and two bathrooms for the adults, two decks, a kitchen, dining room, living room, and loft sleeping area for the kids. All this for less than a stay at the Comfort Inn. Our unit was one of ten in a building, but we were the only ones occupying the building until our last night there. The Resort had a fishing pond, covered grilling pavilion, tennis courts, basketball court, game room, hot tub, gym, indoor pool, whiffle ball field, playground, and plenty of space to roam. The regulations were helpful. The pool for instance could be reserved for half an hour with a sanitizing time between families, the same with all their indoor amenities.
Let’s talk about location… The White Mountains of New Hampshire. For us it was between a 7-8 hour drive. We broke it up with a stop at the beach, a five hour drive from home. Did you know that New Hampshire had a small coast line? There are state parks with bathroom facilities. You can make a reservation for a parking spot for the day for $16 a car load. They are currently operating at half capacity. After a great day at the beach, we headed north to the White Mountains.
There is plenty to do in this region and most of what we did was contactless and outside. Yes, that meant packing most of our food so we didn’t need a big shopping trip or to eat out every meal. Our first big adventure was the Mt. Washington Auto Road. You can travel up by car or take the Cog Railroad, we opted for the car trip and my husband managed the driving. It is not for the faint of heart, but the views are worth it even for someone like me with a fear of heights. The boys enjoyed pushing their luck and roaming toward the edges, I looked away.
The hiking options are endless in The White Mountains, but much more difficult than our usual Pocono trips. We chose a moderate trail in Crawford Notch which included the Bemis and Arethusa Falls. It was about 3 miles roundtrip, but took well over two hours because much of it was uphill and a bit jagged. It was well worth the spectacular views.
The town of North Conway offers a great deal of dining, shopping, and recreational fun. Due to Co-Vid we didn’t get the full experience. We did get in an early morning game of mini golf, some fun shopping at the local REI as well as the downtown, and a quick outdoor bite to eat. We also took our own Moose Tour by following route 16 north to the tiny town of Errol. No moose were out, but it was still a fun adventure.
There are so many great swimming spots along the Saco River or the Kancamagus Trail. We chose the most popular one, but went at dinner time when it was less crowded. Lower Falls offers a variety of fun with rapids, small pools of cool water, and some sandy shores to set up chairs. It is crowded on summer days and parking runs $5 as it does at all the local parks.
Our final stop was Diana’s Bath, which we squeezed in early morning as this is another busy spot. The natural rock features left by the rushing waters, are amazing. This is another spot where families splash in the refreshing pools of water.