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All Alone - Visiting A Resort During A Pandemic


View Weekend In New England - Pandemic traveling on littlesam1's travel map.

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I don't normally visit large expensive resorts. An all inclusive resort in the Caribbean would be my worst nightmare vacation. Recently I did visit a very beautiful resort and spa in New Hampshire. And it was not a nightmare. Of course there was no one else there but me. So that made it easier for me to enjoy. My daughter had a job interview in Lancaster, New Hampshire the first weekend in June this year. The company interviewing her booked us a room at The Mountain View Grand Resort and Spa, Of course this was in the midst of quarantines and lock downs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The resort had been closed for eleven weeks. They reopened on Friday June 5, 2020. We arrived on Sunday June 7. It was interesting to see a big resort like this with no one else there. I did see three or four people in passing. But for the most part the halls were empty. The ballrooms were vacant. The bars were closed. And there we three very friendly staff members that I interacted with during my stay.

The hotel was massive. It has 150 rooms. The have a full menu of services available for the guests. I was at the hotel for two full days while my daughter was interviewing for the job. She took the car each day into the tiny town of Lancaster, New Hampshire and I stayed behind at the hotel. I had planned to bring my lap tap with me. I was going to relax at the hotel and work on editing my travel photos. I figued a glass of wine from the bar or on the patio with my lap top in front of me would be perfect. When we arrived I realized I had left my lap top packed up in its travel case back at home. And then I found out the bar would not be open and there was no alcohol being served on the patio or any where else in the hotel. New Hampshire only had restaurants and bars opened if they had outside seating. So I had lunch on the patio deck each day but no wine or beer to relax me.

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That is my lunch view. Some water, a menu and a table with beautiful mountains in the background. It was a bit odd. I was the only person at the hotel other than one or two other guests. I asked the lady at the desk about lunch. She told me I would need to make a reservation each day for lunch. I looked at her with a grin and kind of looked over my shoulder to make sure there was no one else in line for reservations. So I asked to make a reservation. She asked me what time. It was 11:45 am. I looked at my watch and asked "Is 12:00 alright." And I am not exaggerating here. She pulled her little electronic tablet out of the drawer and checked the calendar. She keyed me in for 12:00. She then told me to come down to the lobby a few minutes before 12:00 and some one would come to seat me in the porch dining area. By this time it was already 11:50 so I just walked over and sat on one of the large couches in the lobby and waited to be called for seating.

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So there I sat with my mask, which was required in any public area of the hotel, waiting for someone to call me for lunch. And magically at precisely 12:00 a lady appeared from the porch area and called my name. I was the only person in the lobby. But I guess she wanted to make sure I was indeed the person waiting for lunch. I turned my head around and she asked me, "Are you Larry?" I assured her I was Larry and we walked out to the porch together. I looked around. There were several tables on the terrace all empty. She asked if I had a preference. I said no so she looked at all of the tables and pointed to one and asked if that was alright. She then looked around as if it was crowded and seated me. They were not using individual menus and I had to use my cell phone and focus on the link provided at the table to see the menu. She brought me a bottle of water and left me to read the menu on my phone. I did understand that the kitchen was not fully stocked yet and the menu was not full of choices. They had sandwiches for the most part and a pizza. I opted for the cheeseburger platter and had an enjoyable lunch. I took photos of my food and chatted on Facebook while I was eating. There wasn't much else to do.

After lunch I needed to find something to do to entertain myself. The hotel normally has a full selection of services for the guests. They have a spa in the tower room which looked beautiful in the photos. They also have an in ground pool and a huge golf course. The spa and the pool were both victims of the COVID-19 closing and were not open for guests. There was a large golf course which surrounded the hotel. It was open I was told. But I am not a golfer so I did not really care one way or the other about the golf course I did look at it though and the grounds were beautiful.

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But like everything else at the hotel, there was no one there to play golf. So I could not even go outside and watch a brisk game of golf being played. They did have two services available for guests. And they were not exactly what I was expecting. There is a large llama farm attached to the hotel where you can visit the llamas.

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There were quite a few llamas to go look at. I had seen llamas in the wild when I was hiking in Peru once. But I had not been to an actual llama farm. So I took a walk to the back part of the property to go visit the llamas. They mostly ignored me. I did whistle and got the attention of the one pictured above. He looked at me. I snapped the photo. And that was the end of our interaction.

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I tried to get a selfie with llama looking over my shoulder but he chose to ignore me and went back to grazing. I think he was as bored as I was at this point. The hotel did have one other service available at this time. COVID-19 was not interfering with everything. Every morning between 9:45 and 11:00 am the hotel offered axe throwing. Yes, you read that correct. There was no pool open, no spa to use, and no bar for a drink. But you could go throw axes.

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I took a photo of the TV screen where it explained about the axe throwing This was advertised as Adult Axe Throwing. I was glad to hear this. I certainly would not want to see child or family axe.throwing. I was a bit confused by the image on the TV screen though. It appears the two ladies are getting ready to battle with axes much to the amusement of the man standing behind them. My only thought was if there were people here I could go watch this and maybe start looking for Jessica Fletcher from Murder She Wrote in the episode The Missing Axe.

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I did do some hiking on the back roads while I was here. The scnery was beautiful. My only concern was all of the signs warning me to wear repellent and to be check for ticks after hiking. I had not prepared for this and doubted they had tick repellent at the hotel. So I mainly walked down old roads and took photos. I did not really adventure out into the wooded areas. There were also warning signs about moose and I had no idea how to deal with a wild moose. The only moose I was ever familiar with was Bullwinkle J. Moose.

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It was fun though. I've never had a huge resort all to myself before. The room was beautiful. I really had nothing to complain about with the hotel or the staff. They could not have been nicer. And they seemed really happy to be back at work and having a guest again, even if it was only me.

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I will admit thought that the empty hallways did get a little creepy in such a big hotel. At times I did think of Jack Nicholson in the movie The Shining. If I had seen two little creepy twin girls in the hallway I would have run as fast as I could out of there. Of course a lone old man in an empty hallway wearing a mask is kind of creepy in itself.

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Posted by littlesam1 14:50 Tagged hotel moose new_hampshire alone pandemic mountain_view_grand_resort_and_ jessica_fletcher axe_throwing Comments (10)

The Mountains Are Calling Traveling During The Pandemic 2020


View Weekend In New England - Pandemic traveling on littlesam1's travel map.

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I did not think I would be traveling this year. We have been under quarantine for three months. We had cancelled a planned trip to Sweden for June. We had grown content staying at home. No complaints. We had our masks for when we ventured out locally. All was good even in trying times like these. Then fate stepped in. My younger daughter had gone through a period of unemployment. She lived in Atlanta and had been offered a job in Boston. So she ended up moving in April from Atlanta to Boston and was driving all that distance in the midst of the quarantine. My older daughter ended up in the hospital in May for a week. And when she returned home to recuperate she was informed her company was going through a COVID caused reduction in force and she no longer had a job. So I had a lot more on my mind than just a pandemic and no masks could cover my anxiety. I was escaping a lot of this by looking at my photos and at Facebook pages related to Switzerland. Switzerland is one of my favorite travel destinations. The mountains calm me and bring me peace.

The first week in June my oldest daughter Katie received an offer for a contracting job in New Hampshire. She had only been unemployed for two weeks so this was a God send. The company interviewed her over the internet. They liked her and thought she would be a good match for their company but they wanted to meet her in person first. This was completely understandable. So she planned her drive from Baltimore to Lancaster, New Hampshire.

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Lancaster was not only in New Hampshire. But it was high north New Hampshire. This would mean at least an eight or nine hour drive from Baltimore. Not wanting to see her drive all that distance alone I offered to go with her. She happily agreed this would be best. So it wasn't Switzerland, but the mountains were calling and I must go. During our quarantine Katie sent me a few surprise gifts from Amazon to lift my spirits. The cup in the photo at the beginning of this blog was one of those gifts. The cup was imprinted with the words The Mountains Are Calling and I Must Go. So it does seem like fate was playing a game with us all and all things were working for the best.

Travel during a pandemic is different. I expected it to be different. I wasn't packing passports, power adapters, or language guides. I was packing masks, rubber gloves and hand sanitizer. Food was also an issue. It was a double problem. Katie was on a restricted diet from her hospital stay. And there was no place open for food other than fast food drive throughs and order in advance carry out. Luckily we were able to stop in Boston to visit my younger daughter Danielle and she prepared lunch for us. She was trying to prepare something for us that would be ready when we arrived so we could eat, visit and then hit the road again. But this was not easy. We had a major hiccup on the road. We were dependent on a maps app that streamed from the phone into the car through blu ray. We stopped at a rest stop where we gloved and masked up for a break. When we restarted the car the phone app for the map started an automatic update and we had no map for a few miles. When we finally had map service again we had missed a major exit making us arrive in Boston two hours later than planned. We had to text Danielle updates on our location so she could make sure not to cook too early or too late. It all worked out. We arrived two hours late and stayed longer than we had planned but it was all good. We would just arrive a little later in New Hampshire.

We also luckily had Mark at home giving us guidance. Mark is a map guru. I hate maps. Mark loves maps and studies them. When he and I travel he will have the trip all worked out in his head from the maps he studies at home. He then hands me the atlas, points me to the page, and asks me to watch for exits. I then get confused, read the map wrong, and end up having no idea where we are located. Mark was texting us helpful directions while we had the phone app updating. He mentioned to watch for the Tappan Zee Bridge near Tarrytown, New York several times. Once again I am useless with directions and maps and now apparently useless looking for bridges also. I never saw the Tappan Zee bridge.

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A while later Mark calls me on the phone and asks if we ever crossed the bridge. I said no. I never saw the bridge. But we were now past Tarrytown, New York and back on our way. He said then you had to have crossed the Tappan Zee River. I said no. There was no sign for the Tappan Zee River or Bridge. But we did cross a beautiful bridge about twenty minutes ago. It was the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge. It appears the Cuomo Bridge is the name for the newTappan Zee Bridge. The original bridge has been demolished. Yes once again the map guru was right and I was not. Even when we aren't traveling together we still get into arguments over maps it seems.

Driving through New York State we saw signs of locations that immediately hit me with nostalgic memories. We passed New Rochelle which immediately reminded me of the home of Rob and Laura Petry on the old Dick Van Dyke Show. Then we passed Brewester, New York which gave me my best memory. I said to Katie we should stop in Brewester to dine at Lou Marie's French Restaurant. Katie glanced over at me kind of puzzled wondering where that came from. I told her he was Ann Marie's father. She was still a bit confused. Then I explained it was a reference to That Girl which she knows is one of my favorite 1960's TV shows.

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It was on to Massachusettes to see Danielle and Andrea. We had not been to see them in Atlanta for at least a year so we were excited to see them now in Boston and to have a quick visit.

After spending an extra hour with Danielle we finally left to continue on to Lancaster, New Hampshire. We had originally planned to arrive around eight o"clock but by now we were three hours behind schedule. We arrived at the Mountain View Grand Resort and Spa at eleven o'clock that evening. It was very dark on the back roads in New Hampshire with no kind of street lights. Katie mentioned she was glad I was with her on these dark roads. It would not have been fun navigating them alone. We finally found the hotel on a very deserted dark road. The hotel was immense. It is a 300 room resort. The hotel had been closed for eleven weeks due to COVID quarantine rules in New Hampshire. The had just reopened two days before our arrival. There were only two or three other cars in the parking lot when we arrived. We found they belonged to the staff and that we were the two of very few guests actually at the hotel. We had to wear our masks in the hotel lobby while checking in. The lady at the front desk said she thought we might have cancelled due to our late arrival. But she was very pleasant and told us she was glad to be back at work again.

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Mountain View Grand Resort and Spa

While in New Hampshire I spent my time walking and hiking the small roads and trails near the hotel while Katie was interviewing for the job opportunity. I saw signs warning of moose crossing. Although it would have been exciting I did not see any moose. I did see some deer along the road. And some wild turkeys on the farm at the hotel. We were told to watch for moose on the roads at night. It was difficult to see them in the dark. The same for deer. And to our surprise we were told to watch for wild turkeys also. We were told hitting a turkey could total you car as well as a moose or deer. Who knew?

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Masked and ready to travel back home

Our return trip home was not very different from our drive up. We missed one of our exits on the interstate and decided to back track to find the exit rather than continue to drive out of our way. Food was still an issue for us. With Katie's restricted diet and a lack of open restaurants we had to resort to fast food drive throughs again. We drove back through Vermont and stopped at a small gas station with a small store attached. The area reminded us very much of some old country stores we had seen in the southern part of the US. We noted the only difference was the accent. We were tired. It had been a whirlwind road trip. Leaving Baltimore early on Sunday and back home late Tuesday night. But it was a nice break from being house bound in quarantine. As always the mountains spoke spoke to me. I was refreshed but tired. And Katie returned home with a new job which is the best part.

It wasn't Switzerland but the mountains in New Hampshire were beautiful. They called me and I answered. Even if only for a day.

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Posted by littlesam1 14:44 Archived in USA Tagged mountains road_trip new_hampshire massachusetts boston maryland mountain_view_grand_resort_and_ Comments (14)

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