August 3, 2020

Our Attempt at a Pandemic Getaway

Last week, The Pilot and I made our way to Ocean City, Maryland for what we hoped would be a safe way to go somewhere new, get some much-needed time outside our house, and have a little bit of fun.

Early in June, when our numbers started to really slow down and things started to reopen, I started looking at rental properties in any of the 'local' beach towns in Delaware and Maryland. I knew that I wanted to stay local and I knew I wanted to go to the beach because, while I'd never been to any of the beaches I was looking at, in my experience, it's pretty easy to socially distance on a beach. We chose Ocean City because it was where I found the best place for the best price that suited our needs as a family.

We haven't felt safe dining out yet so our plan was to bring enough food to last us through the week and, if we felt comfortable, maybe dine out one night. Earlier this summer, we started a subscription to Hello Fresh (click for $40 off your first order!) which made packing so much easier! I brought our Hello Fresh box, plus a giant pasta salad I made with some sandwich bread and fillings for lunches, some yogurt and zucchini muffins for breakfast, a few snacks and that was it!

We arrived on Monday, leaving just in time for Aurora to nap so that she would sleep for most of the 2.5 hour drive. Before we brought anything out of the car, I went into the rental property with gloves and a stock of disinfecting wipes and wiped down everything - from door knobs and faucets, to light switches, remote controls, counter tops, etc. We brought our own sheets and towels and I replaced all of the bedding with what we brought.

Once we unpacked, we took the short walk across the street to take a walk on the beach. Right away, I noticed that we were the only ones wearing masks and most people were traveling in large groups. The beach was crowded but most people were pretty spread apart. It was late afternoon so I think most people had already packed up for the day.

The next morning, we headed back to the beach around 8am. The beach was quiet and we almost had the place to ourselves. As the morning progressed, it got more crowded. No one was wearing masks but most people made an effort to socially distance. To get Aurora fed and down for a nap, we were off the beach by 11:30, right around the time the beach started to fill up. The beach was beautiful but we did have a run in with a family that tried to set up their chairs and umbrellas practically on top of us - despite their being plenty of space on the beach.

After Aurora woke up, we decided to try to go get some ice cream but the ice cream shop was very crowded and no one was wearing masks. So we tried to take a trip to the Boardwalk but again, no one was wearing masks or making an effort to socially distance so we quickly left.

Assateague Island has been on my DC area bucket list for years but I never knew it was only a few minutes from Ocean City so on Tuesday morning, we headed straight there. There were only two other cars in the parking lot when we pulled up and as soon as we got on the beach, we saw some wild horses! They were too far away to get an up close peak but it was still really cool to see what the beach is famous for!

I loved Assateague. Despite only being a few minutes from Ocean City, it was a very different crowd - mostly older couples and a few young families who may have been locals. Everyone wore masks onto the beach and kept them on until they got to their chosen beach areas and everyone maintained their respective distance in the water and on the beach.

Around 11am, the beach started to fill up, just as we started packing up to go. When we got to the parking lot, it was almost full - a big difference from when we arrived - but I didn't notice that volume on the beach. We headed back for Aurora's nap and then spent the afternoon in the pool, which we didn't do the day before because it had been crowded.

We were planning on staying for two more days but unfortunately, The Pilot got called into work and we ended up leaving Wednesday night. I could have stayed behind with Aurora but I really didn't want to - she was getting pretty fearless when it came to the ocean and I was nervous being on the beach with myself with her. Plus, with no one really wearing masks or socially distancing, I didn't feel like we had any other options, so we packed up and headed back home.

I'm glad we took the time to get away. Honestly, the time away from home and out of the 'office' were just so helpful. I wish we had been able to enjoy more of Ocean City but it didn't seem like anyone there was following any public health recommendations - a discouraging sign for what's to come as we head into fall.

I wanted to write this because I know a lot of people are contemplating getting away and I thought it might be helpful to share our experience. Everywhere is different but I think being prepared is helpful, especially when it comes to meals. Funny enough, on Friday, Maryland announced that masks would be required on the boardwalk in Ocean City so I hope it gets better and other people can enjoy it!

Have you taken a vacation this summer?
What was your experience?

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