We spent last weekend at the family cabin and it was a glorious time, plenty of relaxing and eating and swimming. I spent a perfect morning paddling much further upriver than I have before, taking in new sights and marveling at how during specific conditions the river becomes a smooth reflective surface and it feels like you can’t tell if you are gently bobbing along in water or sky.

This Sunday we are all flying from Portland to Boston, renting a vehicle and travelling to Ashland, New Hampshire, where we’ll stay in an Airbnb with John’s brother’s family and his parents for the week. The plan is to visit John’s father’s family, many who live in the same nearby area, and show the grandkids where Grandpa grew up.

Ummm, this doesn’t really seem like the wisest time for a family reunion that involves flying across the country, you might be thinking, and if so I am right there with you. I have pretty much progressed through every emotional stage of reacting to this long-planned trip, including being sad because I was certain it wouldn’t happen. But here we are, and it is, in fact, happening.

I believe I have done what I can in terms of voicing my concerns and considering the environments we’re likely to find ourselves in. I have talked with a doctor (our pediatrician, specifically), and I’ve thought about risk factors.

If it were up to me and me alone, we wouldn’t be going, but that is not the situation. I definitely have some anxiety about the trip but not so much that I feel compelled to stay home or refuse to let the kids go. I understand that while the timing is less than ideal we don’t know if we have time on our side, and that this feels important to many family members, and I am focusing on the things we’ll see and the memories that will be made.

Which is all to say I’m approaching our departure with some real worries but also a lot of anticipation. I’m looking forward to seeing the coast of Maine again and wondering if I’ll remember it from my own childhood, I’m excited for my kids to take in new sights and experiences and meet new people.

I’m nervous, but hopeful.


19 Responses to “Going back east”

  1. JennB33 on July 9th, 2020 6:11 pm

    If not for Covid i would say let’s meet; I’m in Vermont and would love to say hello in person!! Safe miles.

  2. Maggie on July 9th, 2020 7:10 pm

    I’m here to tell you that you will be fine and will have a wonderful time. My family and I recently visited my folks. I haven’t seen them in a year and the trip was planned. We were not too sure if we’d go but my parents urged us to come and reassured us that all would be well. And it was. I’m so happy we went. Flying now is weird, for sure. But oddly calming. No crowds. Wear the mask and pack your sanitizer! Have a safe trip and enjoy it!!

  3. Mary on July 9th, 2020 7:16 pm

    This is such a hard decision to make. I am in my late 50s, and I figure I’ve got a long time to live yet, so I can survive staying home for the duration. But my mom is 87, and she’s dying without her people. She’s in good health but I can’t criticize her for wanting to make the most of the time she has left, even if it cuts her time short.

  4. Alice Leiter on July 9th, 2020 8:31 pm

    Come visit us on Squam! I’m happy for you guys. 💙

  5. Kay on July 9th, 2020 9:26 pm

    I’m not going to tell people what they can or can’t do – this pandemic has highlighted that we all have different levels of risk and consequences – I went to a Sephora in person today because it was going to take 2.5 weeks to get what I needed through ordering on-line. some people would say that was completely stupid – and it probably was.

    BUT, if you could slip in this reminder to the people in your life who aren’t taking Covid seriously – that lots of people had long-planned trips with grandparents and loved ones in their lives with whom time is precious this summer- but our loved ones live in Canada and Europe and NZ and Australia and Japan and thanks to our countries willful non-response to Covid, we don’t know when we will see them again. I would do anything to get on a plane and see my mom and siblings right now – in 2 different countries – but our country is toxic and frightening to them and I legally cannot. Not a rebuke to you personally at all – but when I’ve been home in Portland for 4 months and can’t see my family because people in Arizona or Texas feel like a mask is a political tool – it’s frustrating.
    Sincerely, have a good trip, I truly wish I could see my family :(

  6. Nine on July 9th, 2020 11:19 pm

    Resident Masshole reporting live from the east coast. Are you going to the Polar Caves?

    I’m lucky to be working from home since March 12th, with once every 10-14 days trips to the outside world to forage for supplies. It blows my mind how different things are in different places, not only by state but even company/neighborhood level. I work in medical devices so most of my co-workers have been locked down for months; some get everything delivered and only go outside to exercise. Then there are my friends in manufacturing who have been going in to work all along like nothing is different (except the traffic) because they are essential.

    My mom has a vacation booked in Maine up near the Canadian border next week. I’ve given up trying to corral her as I’ve realized I’m not the boss of her, but I’m still worried about her going; she has asthma and has had way too many near death experiences. I told her not to lick any doorknobs, which is my way of saying I love you, please be careful and don’t get the rona.

  7. Nicole MacPherson on July 10th, 2020 4:52 am

    Wow, what gorgeous photos. Yeah, I’d be nervous too – mask up and take lots of sanitizer. Good luck!

  8. Nikki on July 10th, 2020 5:56 am

    We are leaving on a road trip tomorrow to spend a few days in a remote cabin with my partner’s parents, siblings, their significant others and kids. I have had the same range of emotions and it is helpful to know I’m not alone (or ridiculous for being concerned). I hope you have a wonderful trip!

  9. Jill on July 10th, 2020 9:46 am

    I just got back from a vacation in SC to see my mom. I am SO glad we went to see her. My Dad passed away suddenly last August and she has not seen any family members since Christmas. We wore our masks, she took our temperatures daily (per her doctor’s request) and we washed our hands often. Totally worth it. That being said, we did not fly anywhere. I hope you have a wonderful time. Enjoy the time with family while you can!

  10. Jill on July 10th, 2020 9:47 am

    Forgot to mention that I am super jealous that you are going to Maine. Going to the Maine coast is on my bucket list.

  11. annie on July 10th, 2020 11:37 am

    Such a beautiful part of the country. Be prepared for the triple H-hazy, hot and humid!! If you get to Lake Winnipesaukee, tell her I miss her. Be safe, have fun.

  12. k on July 10th, 2020 1:11 pm

    I’m so happy for the memories you’ll get to make! It’ll be a wonderful time. Sorry it’s at such a crappy time, but what can ya do. Sounds like you’re doing all you can, so enjoy the rest. It’ll be a magical time in the middle of the weird. Can’t wait for an update!

  13. Melissa on July 11th, 2020 1:31 am

    I grew up in part, in New Hampshire and went to 4th grade in Ashland ( or was it 5th…? Maybe both). It felt so strange to hear that name. I haven’t been back in a long long time.

    Safe travels!

  14. Carla Hinkle on July 11th, 2020 5:23 pm

    It’s a pretty safe time to visit the northeast. They have very few cases right now. Might be considerate for you all to get tested before you go.

  15. Kate on July 15th, 2020 6:35 pm

    Long lurking New Englander here… just an FYI that both Maine & NH ask for a 14 day quarantine for out of state visitors- and if you don’t plan to respect that, please at least mask up if you venture out. We’ve worked really hard in the region to flatten the curve and your help would be appreciated! Also for Maine that they won’t let you stay in lodging without a negative test… unless you want to lie on the compliance form…. so plan accordingly. Apologies if I sound like a jerk here, but … but… I really don’t want to go back to what it was like in spring.

  16. Jules on July 16th, 2020 7:30 pm

    It’s such a crapshoot at the moment. I’m in Ontario Canada where our conditions and restrictions are being pretty strictly enforced. I saw my grandchildren in person for the first time since Feb last weekend. I vacillate between resentment and grudging acceptance of the “rules” as they appear to be working thus far. I’m also dreading the return to “normal” I truly hope common sense prevails over selfish self serving rhetoric .

  17. Caitlin on July 19th, 2020 5:13 am

    I should just click away, I should. But I am so steeped in grief and anger over what this disease took from me, I cannot imagine how anyone justifies cross country travel during a global pandemic. I guess it will take everyone watching their loved ones waste away on a ventilator via Facetime to understand that this is real. I pray you don’t know my family’s pain.

  18. Erin in CA on July 27th, 2020 7:38 am

    Caitlin, I am so sorry to hear about your loss.

    Linda, I’ve followed and admired you for years. I can’t truly understand the family dynamics at play in this decision to travel during a pandemic, but I was really disappointed to see you continuing to post photos of your travel on social media. For those of us who ARE making equal or greater sacrifices to flatten the curve, it feels like a tone deaf move to post your vacation photos.

  19. Linda on July 27th, 2020 10:13 am

    Caitlin, I’m so sorry. I understand where you’re coming from. Erin, I also understand the reaction to seeing the photos, and I did consider that. It felt ridiculously dishonest just to NOT post them, though. I primarily share photos for family and friends who care about keeping up with our lives, and that’s what we were doing. I know it’s not the choice others would have made, but we are all living with different ways of dealing with this crisis. I don’t view my social media life as a promotion reel, simply one reflection of our reality.

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