Socially Distant Day Trip – Maine

I’m used to traveling quite a bit. 

For the past few years, I’ve taken multiple trips. Some for a day, or a long weekend, and others for a full week or two. Before 2020 started, I had already planned multiple trips both out of state and out of country. Visiting other cities and countries, or simply enjoying some time at the beach has become such an integrated part of my life that not having it, due to COVID has been a bit of an adjustment for our family. 

Of course, we’re all having to adjust in one way or another. Travel seems like such small potatoes compared to the upheaval that we’ve all gone through this year. There has been change from every side, and pivoting, and needed flexibility. I’m definitely not discounting any of that, but traveling has still been on my mind, and the lack of it still weighed on my heart.

The year’s planned trips had long been cancelled, obviously. We’ve been in quarantine and have kept our circles extremely small since the beginning of the stay at home orders. Still, we’ve been trying to make the best of things, and still create happy memories during this year. We may not be able to travel like we used to, at least for now, but we can still have fun and explore.

We’ve been camping, we’ve taken drives to the coast, and we’ve been to the drive-in movie theaters twice. Each time we’re able to do something, it lightens the load of the quarantine we’ve been under, but we’re still taking every necessary precaution to stay healthy. 

Still, I have been missing traveling, deeply. 

So, when the opportunity arrived for a day trip to Maine— and by opportunity I mean access to an entirely safe bathroom— we were excited for a change of scenery and a day of adventure. It was the perfect way to get out of state, but still be safe and not need a place to stay overnight. We packed a picnic lunch, towels, bathing suits, and made plans for the day.

We kept in mind that we might need to be flexible, because each option of where to spend the day was entirely dependent on the amount of people and how well they were social distancing. While New England’s numbers haven’t spiked in a while, we know that the risk is still possible with the increase in tourism and the decrease in vigilance from a number of people. 

With our top plans and contingency plans ready, we packed up the car, threw on the Hamilton soundtrack, and we were off.

The drive itself was nice, even with the, “are we almost there?” questions from the backseat. It was a warm, sunny day, and traffic wasn’t too bad as we made our way to York. I could feel the anticipation building as we drew closer, with hopes that we’d have sand between our toes and be able to wade in the cool ocean water. This was followed by quite the exhale of disappointment as we went through town and gazed out at Short Sands.

The beach was packed, the streets were packed, and there were hardly any masks in sight.

I was grateful that we had already discussed this possibility, and had previously prepared our son and come up with contingency plans. The day wasn’t lost, we just needed to pivot and try other ways to enjoy it. Flexibility has been the name of the game with COVID, and this was no exception. 

We stopped at our safe pit-stop and had lunch, talked to a couple of C’s friends at a distance, relieved ourselves, and regrouped. It was during this time that an entirely different idea came up, one that we hadn’t discussed before the trip, and it sounded like the perfect solution; drive up Mount Agamenticus and check out the view.

At the very least, it would be a nice view. We wouldn’t need to worry about passing other people while hiking up it, because we’d be in the car and could park at the top. If it was clear enough, then we could get out and look around. So, we finished our lunch, and we headed out.

Thankfully, there weren’t many people atop the mountain. Those that were there were spread out, and each of them was wearing a mask. I sat in the relief that we wouldn’t be stuck in the car for the day, but only for a moment. Of course, it would have been all right to only take a nice drive and look at the sights, but it was so much better to open the door and step out somewhere new. 

And what a view it was. 

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It wasn’t the tallest mountain that I have been on, by any means, but that didn’t make it any less beautiful. The summit’s view of forests and the sea was spectacular, and the greenery around the area was pleasant. We took our time walking around, taking pictures, and enjoying the outdoors as a family. While our son wanted to rush, we were able to slow him down, at least for a little while. He loved looking at the sculptures, the distant view, and the abundance of grasshoppers. We weren’t there terribly long, but it was a beautiful stop.

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We drove past the lighthouse that we intended to view, too. Unfortunately, we didn’t get out of the car due to the same overcrowding and lack of masks as the beach, but it was still nice to see as we wrapped up our day.

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While the day may not have included the beach, or even sitting on the rocks and looking at the lighthouse, it was still a great family day. I’m grateful that we went, and that it was able to ease a bit of the gnawing wanderlust in my soul. 

We’re making more plans for day trips, and how we can accomplish them in safe ways. Continued vigilance will be important for our family, for the high risk individuals especially. We know we aren’t out of the woods yet with this pandemic, but we’re determined to make the best of it, in any safe way that we can.

-S

Published by Sarah Chase

Writer & Artist

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