With our anniversary approaching and our travel plans abandoned, our thoughts turned to how we could recognize this milestone in a safe, special and smart way. Our experiment with a reduced travel budget and my years in grad school provided helpful prior experience with this. There’s not much Mr. Vine and I haven’t been through before. Sometimes logistical constraints lead to the most creativity.
We anticipated that our state would remain subject to some form of stay home order through our anniversary. Due to the order, we did not want to leave our state. We also wanted to limit our exposure to others if we left our county. Our plans involved avoiding places like gas stations and grocery stores outside of our home county. Pet sitting is not essential and we are also reluctant to ask our pet sitters to leave their homes, or to have them in ours. All of this means we could consider a short overnight getaway to a place within a couple hours’ drive, but not much beyond that radius.
My first suggestion was a picnic in the park where Mr. Vine and I had our first date. It is a relatively quiet place in a small town that we’ve returned to several times over the years. We could bring a bottle of wine (from our anniversary year!), some nice cheese and other picnic goodies. Mr. Vine thought it was a good idea, but wasn’t totally sold.
He then came up with the idea of a beachfront town a couple of hours away from us. We also have friends who live there. Finding a very low price for a nice hotel, we booked it. The quick getaway was also intended to be a gut check for how comfortable Mr. Vine and I were feeling with travel. This trip turned out to be perfect for that.
We packed food along with us so that we wouldn’t have to go out to restaurants or grocery stores. Restaurants had recently reopened in this area, so we considered whether we might be willing to venture out. The hotel’s rooftop bar was open and we went up to check it out, but ultimately couldn’t bring ourselves to sit down and order anything.
Our friends hosted an appropriately distanced outdoor lunch and it was nice to see them and chat for a few hours upon our arrival. That turned out to be a highlight of the weekend. The weather was unseasonably cool, so that encouraged us to stay inside as well. We were disappointed that almost no one in the hotel or about town had masks on, even at the rooftop bar. We weren’t quite ready to be fully back to normal yet.
We enjoyed a nice in room picnic, opened our bottle of wine and relaxed. The next morning we took a short walk in the harbor to look at some boats. Then we decided to head towards home and to return to our kitties. They seemed to barely notice our absence!
The weekend in many ways felt more sober than celebratory. Notwithstanding a pandemic and civil unrest, we are glad we took a pause to appreciate our marriage. We are wonderful travel partners and inspire each other to new financial heights. We are looking forward to seeing what the next year of our union brings–hopefully more safe travel!