Baby Steps

Like most of you, I’m tired of sitting at home waiting for the world to open back up again. I’m well aware that it’s going to be a very long time before things feel “normal” again, but I need to start taking some baby steps back towards my pre-COVID-19 life. And for me, that includes travel.

I haven’t been on a plane since November, which is definitely setting records. Until a few days ago, I had not spent a night away from home since February. And I hadn’t eaten in a restaurant since the first week in March.  Now that we are safely entering “Phase 3” of Rhode Island’s post-pandemic re-opening plan, I figured it was time to test the waters with a quick overnight getaway.

a view of rock island RI from the ferry

Block Island, RI seemed like the natural choice, with its fresh air, open spaces, and easy commute from my home in Wakefield (a one-hour scenic ferry ride). My husband and I booked a night at the Spring House Hotel, packed our masks, hand sanitizer and sunscreen, and took the plunge.

After so many months at home, heading out on a mini-vacation felt decadent, a little scary, and LONG overdue. And you know what? It was great!

Ann with a class of wine on a white deck chair on the lawn in Block Island Rhode Island

We felt very safe because everywhere we went the proper protocols were being followed. People wore masks and observed social distancing.

king corner hotel room in Block Island Rhode Island set in blue tones with two windows

The hotel room was spotlessly clean, and crowds were light.

two cushioned lounge chairs on a deck overlooking the bay in Rock Island Rhode Island

We read books on our sunny deck, enjoyed cocktails and live music on the hotel lawn, dined al fresco on the back patio of their restaurant, and strolled through the shops and galleries in town.

In total, we spent less than 24 hours on the island, but it was just enough for a complete re-set.  I came home feeling happier, more relaxed, more hopeful about the future, and only a little bit sunburned 😊

enjoy an ice cream on Block Island, Rhode Island

All in all, I would consider it a very successful experiment. What about you?  Are you ready to venture out?  If so, I’ve been gathering first-hand intel from colleagues (and their clients) who have already ventured further afield. Let me know if you want to hear about logistics/precautions for visiting Mexico, Jamaica, or any of the other destinations that have started to open up their doors to Americans.

And if you’d prefer to start with baby steps like I did, that’s cool too. I know some great spots close to home 😊

a line of white deck chairs on the lawn overlooking the ocean in Rhode Island

Off-Season Bargain

I just spent the weekend in Newport, Rhode Island — not your usual January destination, especially in the middle of a snowstorm — but it was fantastic!

Hotel Viking entrance

Hotel Viking entrance

The Hotel Viking, a 1926 gem and a member of the Historic Hotels of America, was offering an amazing $89 midwinter rate, so we snapped it up. We stayed in a luxurious (recently renovated) “Manor Room” with a partial water view, king bed, and spa quality bathroom (LOVED the rain shower head!) The best part, though, was the service. From the second we walked in the door and were greeted by the bell captain, to the moment we walked back out to find that the valet had cleared the snow off the car, we felt special. As my husband pointed out, we were very fortunate to get to experience five-star service at a roadside motel price.

So what’s my point (besides making you jealous about my weekend in Newport)? It’s to remind you that even the most popular destinations and resorts have off-seasons, during which it’s possible to experience a vacation you normally might not be able to afford.  I checked, and the room we stayed in would have cost upwards of $400/night for a Saturday in June.  I didn’t mind giving up the summer crowds and saving that much money!

You provided excellent guidance for us. I appreciated that you really had us think about what was most important to us when we were selecting the right cruise – and not to totally focus on what other people had to say. THANK YOU for helping to make this a memorable trip for our family! It really was a trip of a lifetime!

Clare and Mark (family cruise to Alaska)

The level of service we experienced was out of this world (and we did NOT make it easy on Ann). We weren’t quite sure where we wanted to go, when we would be able to go, or what “vibe” we were going for. After asking us some key questions (what we liked, didn’t like, why, etc.) Ann helped us narrow down our trip details and planned the honeymoon of our dreams. She helped book some of our excursions, answered some emergency questions while abroad and was always available/willing to help. I think it’s safe to say we won’t be using anyone else for future travel planning – Ann is a rockstar!

Carli (Italy and Spain)