Visiting North Conway, NH, Concord, NH, Damariscotta, ME, South Dartmouth, MA, Ricketts Glen, PA, and Dorado, PR throughout the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
When the pandemic first hit in March 2020, like many others, I thought that I would be weathering the lockdown for just a few days or a week or two in New York would be easy. But as days turned into weeks and weeks to months, leaving the city became a necessity.
Over the next two years, I would escape to many a pandemic hideaway, most close to New York and others farther. By the end of 2021, I had made my way to New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Puerto Rico.
I was very lucky to never catch COVID and be able to work remotely, first at The Times and later with Ambrook, making it possible to endure lockdown in more spacious accommodations than my New York City apartment. My first stop was New Hampshire.
North Conway, NH
In April of 2020, hastily packed suitcases and boxes in tow, my roommate Nathan and I fled to his family's house in North Conway, New Hampshire. We didn't know then how long we'd be there (months) and that we'd return several times over the next two years. This house, nestled into the White Mountains, was a welcome change of pace from the city.
I returned to North Conway several times throughout the pandemic. I captured the view from my guest room in both spring and winter.
Echo Lake, just a few minutes drive away, has a still, reflective, surface.
The train tracks through North Conway pass through a beautiful swamp.
We enjoyed hiking the surrounding trails.
Dead trees stand tall by a still river.
A beaver nest we spotted, just a few hundred feet off the road.
In places, the water has risen up to the railroad ties.
In winter, the Mount Washington Hotel is a beautiful visit, even if you don't spend the night.
Later that summer, I spent time at my dad's house in Concord, New Hampshire. We got some time to hike, relax, and pop down to Manchester to visit the Currier Museum of Art.
Same state, same railroad tracks. The clean lines just beg to be photographed.
I was thrilled to find several pieces I liked at the Currier, in Manchester
My favorite was an oriental rug by Azerbaijani artist Faig Ahmed. It takes seeing it from two angles to really figure out what's going on.
The Courier had a great selection, from Black Mountain College (Albers) to Hudson River School (Cropsey).
I visited Maine twice during the pandemic, first for my birthday and second for New Years 2021. Damariscotta, a small town an hour north of Portland, is a beautiful slice of New England.
The Pemaquid Point Lighthouse sits on jagged cliff.
The waves lap at the rocky shore.
River House, in downtown Damariscotta, has better food than I've had in Boston.
The lobster bake is a Maine tradition.
A view of the Damariscotta river off the back porch.
South Dartmouth, MA
Visting my mom in South Dartmouth, I was pleasantly surprised by all that the New Bedford Whaling Museum had to offer.
For what seemed like just a history museum about the New Bedford whalers, the Whaling Museum also had a great collection of visual art.
Courtney Mattison's Turn the Tide was a marvelous installation of porcelain corals.
The detail work on each one was phenomenal.
I love the diversity of color, shape, and texture.
The largest piece was a massive white coral.
Christopher Volpe's series Loomings feature ships in a blur of fog. Or is it smoke?
The Whaling Museum is also the home to the largest model ship in the world, at half-scale.
We also got a chance to walk the marshes in and around South Dartmouth.
I love the view from the boardwalks.
From South Dartmouth, I also got to visit my friends Jacob and Aidan, in central Mass.
Ricketts Glen, PA
Ricketts Glen is a frequent escape from the city. Without WiFi or other distractions, it's a great place to disconnect. My extended family shares a house on Ganoga lake, near the state park.
The lake is beautiful year round.
In winter, a walk through the woods is especially calming.
I love how these little ferns look, covered in snow.
In summer, we go blueberry picking in the nearby patches.
In early spring, the waterfalls in Ricketts Glen State Park are especially active.
We spend a lot of time by the lake whenever we visit.
Saying goodbye to the lake is always the hardest part.
As months became years and working from home became the new normal, escaping the Northeast became more and more tempting. And with COVID rates lowering, we rented an Airbnb escaped to enjoy the beach!