About six weeks ago, we went on our first vacation since 2019.
The teen has the benefit of a summer birthday and the best parenting idea we ever devised was birthday trips. Not only do we get to schedule some summer fun (and summer time off) but
we have gotten to see the Empire State. And as a bonus, or perhaps this was by design, we avoided having to stage large birthday parties.
Of course, the birthday parties would have ended by age 16 and we were still celebrating the teen in July, so I think we came up with a good idea. I certainly thought that last month.
This year we discovered the Thousand Islands. And when I say dis-covered, I mean fell in love with. Of course, our pathways were limited by the border being closed but there was plenty to discover on the U.S. side.
As I noted when we discovered — and fell in love with — the Adirondacks, Lake George, Lake Placid, Corning, the Hudson Valley and various Finger Lakes, there is a part of me that does not believe the history of the state.
Or, at least I snort when I come to the passage about Upstate tourism, which reads: for several hundred years, Upstate New York was a chosen tourist destination of New York City’s elite. Then plane travel took them to more exotic destinations and most abandoned Upstate completely.
I wonder if the pandemic will change that? I am not suggesting a sulphur bath revival, but will air travel decrease? Could Lake George or Thousand Islands become a NYC thing again?
I know it is the Upstater in me that says, “I hope not.” Let the Wall Street types have their islands in the Mediterranean. We’ll stick with the ones in the St. Lawrence River.
I will say it was odd to be in the streets of Alexandria Bay when they were mobbed with people. Tourism returned there in a big way this summer and the local governments were hotly debating if that tourism should include marijuana dispensaries.
Six weeks later, we seem to be in a different world. My early 2020 mantra about the coronavirus — nobody knows anything for sure and when we think we do know something, it changes — seems to be ruling the day again. Otsego County is a high-risk area for the transmission of the Delta variant and we all worry that the return of the college students, the staging of the Hall of Fame Induction and back-to-school activities will bring a huge, unwanted COVID revival here.
Personally, I know I worry about the soccer boys and the season we have been training them for most of their lives. And after two awful years of pandemic learning, I worry about my teen, too. Can we survive another year of distance learning? When your kid is in school for soccer and BOCES, how do you translate that to Zoom chats?
Not long after we returned, I asked a friend who homeschooled last year for her lesson plans. Like my threat to run for the Otsego County Board of Representatives, it is probably an empty gesture, but I feel good nowing I have more options.
Most of all, we worry about our Thanksgiving trip to see family in Georgia. Like many people, we sacrificed years of family trips for this pandemic.
Like many other people, we have limited our social interactions to preserve the chance to see the people closest to us, includng a couple of relatives who are immune-compromised. Sadly, their state is doing much worse than ours; their governor is a COVID truther, so to speak, and we worry about trekking 1,000 miles to mix germs.
I don’t know what we will do, to be honest. How could I?
That trip is 12 weeks away. Six weeks ago, walking around Alexandria Bay, it felt like the pandemic was over. (“Did you say over?”) Predict where we will be 12 weeks from now? I have a better chance of telling you where next year’s birthday trip will be, beause I know we found a region we want to explore more.
So, I am grateful for the trip, the timing of the teen’s birth a miracle yet again. And I am grateful for the last Thanksgiving trip, 21 months ago.
I have joked on our podcast (The AllOtsego Report, streaming everywhere) the theme of 2021 is “at least it is better than 2020” and I have to remind myself the motto is still true in a way we can all see.