Wednesday , May 29 2024

Escape from New York – New Hampshire

After months of lockdown due to the coronavirus, we were all getting a little more than antsy. We did take a short daytrip to Westport, Connecticut, at the end of May, but that was a bust because almost the entire town was closed down except for a Starbucks that had a table outside in the parking lot to serve customers.

Doing our research, we were looking for a place that was not too far from home but also mostly open. Maine, Connecticut, Vermont, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Massachusetts were not options because of restrictions in place those states, but we found that New Hampshire had hotels operating, restaurants open for dining, and stores open for shopping.

We looked at the Lakes Region and found a nice hotel right on Crescent Lake in the town of Wolfeboro. We checked the cases of the coronavirus virus and number of deaths in that county, and the statistics were astonishing – 69 cases (total) and no deaths. Our family members all agreed that this would be our destination.

We left early in the morning on a lovely but hot New York day. Leaving the city was a little slow, especially with a fifteen-minute traffic jam on the Throgs Neck Bridge – but we faithfully followed directions spoken by Siri on one of our phones so that bridge was the best option – and then once we were in Westchester the traffic flowed smoothly.

The ride up north was a pleasant one. Beautiful scenery abounded on both sides of the road, and time for conversation was joyful since we are all not usually confined to one space for such a long time at home.

When we entered New Hampshire, the thing that struck us most was the forests on either side of the road. At home we have regular trees, but there we witnessed giant ones – especially tall and thick evergreens reaching toward the sky. I closed my eyes and imagined what the forest must have been like before they put the road through there.

Once we reached the Lakes Region – there are 273 lakes and ponds in the area – we were impressed with its beauty and simplicity. The towns we passed through were all small, quaint, and well maintained. Houses ranged from stately manors to small capes, but it seemed that most homes had generous amounts property around them no matter what their size. 

When we arrived at Crescent Lake Inn, we were immediately pleased to see that the hotel was exactly as advertised – right on the lake! Our room was spacious and well appointed, including a kitchenette that was very useful throughout our stay.

Having a view of the lake from our room made us all happy. We had a back door that we could utilize to walk down to the lake. The lake was crystal clear, coolly refreshing, and the private beach offered cabanas to shield us from the sun. The only drawback was that, because of the virus, we were unable to use the canoes and kayaks on the lake.

We brought flotation devices and there was a platform about 20 yards away from the beach to which we could swim, climb upon, and rest in the sun. My kids loved swimming out to it and jumping off it into the clear water. Standing on the beach, the lake reflected the green trees around its perimeter and the blue sky above it. With a gentle breeze flowing off the lake, it was a perfect and relaxing setting.

Wolfeboro is a nice, quiet town. We happened to be there for the Fourth of July weekend, so some places were closed for the holiday. Many restaurants were open for outside and inside dining. Social distancing was practiced in all the establishments we visited, and most people were wearing masks as were we. A number of stores were opened for shopping as well, but everything – including restaurants – closes early (like 9-10 o’clock).

One day we drove all around the biggest lake in the region (and New Hampshire) – Lake Winnipesauke (The Smile of the Great Spirit) – and it is a lovely ride that took us a few hours because the lake is 72 square miles, but we also made a couple of stops along the way. Our first stop was in the town of Meredith. It was a much busier place than quiet Wolfeboro, and everything seemed to be open.

We got some shopping done there, and we discovered that it was home to Bob Montana, the creator of the Archie comic book series. A statue of Archie sits on a bench next to the monument, and during these times it is wearing a mask.

Once we left Meredith, we continued our trip south along the lake to go back to the hotel, but we stopped to eat lunch in a place that was right on Alton Bay. It offered a beautiful waterfront setting for lunch with a view.

On another day we did go to Lake Wentworth – yet another beautiful lake in the region. The water was crystal clear, and the beach was a little busier because it was a public beach, but there was still plenty of room for everyone to social distance and enjoy the water. This beach also has public restrooms for beach goers.

Most of the rest of our time was spent in either the town of Wolfeboro or on that pristine beach at our hotel. Fourth of July was nothing like it is back home – we saw only a few bottle rockets and a couple of Roman candles go off over the dark trees in the distance. All large fireworks displays were cancelled because of the restrictions in place.

On the way home, we all wished that we could have stayed longer. I think the best way to judge a vacation is feeling like we wanted to spend more time in a place. If we can’t wait to go home, that tells us something else about where we were staying.

The Lakes Region of New Hampshire is a lovely place for a family vacation, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking to relax and enjoy time with the family. It is very quiet and peaceful, and that is one of its major strengths.

It was really wonderful to get out of New York after being locked down for what seemed like forever. I wish we had time to explore more of New Hampshire – even to get to its ocean shoreline area – but we all agreed on the car ride home that we wanted to go back. We saw some lovely houses on Crescent Lake, and perhaps one day we will go there and stay for good. It seems like an ideal place in which to live.

About Victor Lana

Victor Lana's stories, articles, and poems have been published in literary magazines and online. His new novel, 'Unicorn: A Love Story,' is available as an e-book and in print.

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