Coronavirus tourism: where to go to the US for residents of the northeastern part of the country
In the United States, the end of summer is not officially considered August 31, but September 20th, the autumn equinox. However, the results of summer 2020 can be summed up right now: for obvious reasons, it passed under the banner of “developing domestic tourism”.
The list of countries where American tourists are expected this summer: Mexico, Turkey, a few more countries and that's it. Such a map, consisting of almost entirely red "stop countries" that prohibit entry for Americans due to the coronavirus, was shared by several of my friends on social networks.
Therefore, the Americans unwittingly participated in the "Travel America" project this holiday season.
It would seem, choose - I don't want to: here you have the sequoias of California, and the beaches of Miami, and the canyons of Arizona, and the deserts of Texas, and the mountains of West Virginia, and the lakes of the state of New York. But there is a paradox: this country is so large that the options where you can get by car, without an airplane, are limited by the place of residence.
If all of Ukraine can be traveled in 11 (from north to south), well, a maximum of 16 hours (from west to east), then from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific Ocean, a trip by expressways shines an exciting 39 hours in a car - and this is without stopping.
Moreover, these highways have mostly a very monotonous landscape: asphalt, cars, trees, road signs - no romance of a “road trip”. And to really see cities, parks, magnificent forests and fields, you have to choose picturesque local roads, and this will take even longer.
Of course, among my friends there are daredevils who proudly covered the distance "from coast to coast", even with children, but this is either long or tiring. Therefore, in conditions when I am still wary of getting on a plane, I, like many, have only local tourism, within 3-8 hours by car.
For residents of the District of Columbia and several adjacent states, there are, in fact, two main options: some "Carpathians" - the Appalachian mountains, or something similar to "Odessa" - the coast of Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, North and South Carolina (comparisons - conditional). Taking the unique opportunity of not being able to travel abroad, this summer I tried both options.
The Appalachian mountains are really similar to the Carpathians: in height, landscape and local people. Probably for the first time in four years of my life in the United States, having driven only 3 hours from Washington, I got a good look at how the provincial part of the country lives. Incredible landscapes - and a bunch of abandoned houses; good tourist infrastructure - and people who are not used to outsiders; chic mountain roads - and the lack of places where you can walk or ride a bike, and not just go by car.
The food there is delicious and simple: for the first time in years I ate a chop with mashed potatoes, which tasted like in the Mohilyanka dining room, only served in a small mountain tavern, where we were the only non-local visitors. The entertainment is just as simple there: walks, excursions to caves, camping. But most of all I liked the fact that there you can really take a break from the people who rushed en masse to occupy the beaches.
I rejected the first idea to do the same on July 4th, US Independence Day. As in Ukraine, holidays are sacred for Americans, and the beginning and end of the “long weekend” is marked by traditional traffic jams: first, the “liberation” of Washington, followed by its “capture” two days later.
A few weeks before July 4, it is simply impossible to book any accommodation near the beach in the United States, besides, I was just doing a story about the situation with the coronavirus and saw a video from beaches where there were a lot of people.
Therefore, the second "call" to storm the beaches of "American Odessa" we made in August. What can you say: there are really a lot of people, both on the beach and on the embankments and streets of seaside, or rather ocean-side cities. However, the local food left a good impression: fresh seafood, Creole cuisine, good barbecue.
If, on the whole, we compare it with the Black Sea resorts, then in the USA we are very pleased with the cleanliness of the sand, the availability of toilets, showers, umbrellas and beach chairs for rent.
It is interesting that the Atlantic coast itself is much longer than the Odessa, Kherson and Nikolaev regions combined, but, in fact, the beaches in Delaware and Georgia are very similar and differ in that the water is much warmer to the south. And starting in South Carolina, palm trees begin to peek out in the landscapes, reaching their apogee in Florida.
The third vacation option, if we talk about Washington, was available to those lucky ones who live in houses with swimming pools. Although there are limitations.
For example, our pool was opened a month later (no one is going to return the payment for it, which is included in the rent), the opening hours were reduced, the number of sun loungers and tables was reduced by two-thirds, and obligatory half-hour breaks were introduced for their disinfection (for this time, all people are expelled not only from the water, but also from the pool area). They also limited the number of visitors, introduced an online record for a specific hour (with checking the “coupon” and a special bracelet at the entrance). Plus it was forbidden to bring guests.
Compared to previous years, there are really fewer tourists at the pool. It seems to me because most people have become too lazy to fulfill all these requirements. But those who went can be divided into several categories. The classification is my own, based on what I saw myself while relaxing by the pool.
1. "Pro". Not a single muscle on their face betrays joy about the "summer-sun and water" disposition. In any weather and water temperature, the main thing for them is the result. They gracefully dive with a "pike" and at cruising speed fulfill their norm of 20-40-80 crossings of the pool.
2. “Prepared”. To avoid burning, they first lubricate every part of their skin with a thick layer of sunscreen. Even if +25. Even if it's cloudy. In order not to stretch the muscle, before swimming, they thoroughly warm up for 15 minutes, squat and wave their arms. They know all the rules of careful behavior on the water and will not deviate from them even a step. Even if the pool is 1,5 meters deep. Savvy and knowledgeable, such people will not let themselves be caught by surprise and are ready to share wisdom with others.
3. “Restless”. Adult children, bombs jump, splash, dive, leaving their feet in the air, spit water like camels. In their eyes it reads: unlike the rest, I really know how to have fun in the pool.
4. "Party". They can't just pick up and come to the pool without the company, food, drinks and a column from which the performers fashionable this summer squeal. They don't swim in the pool, but they sit in the water and chat, trying to shout down their own music. To compensate for the lack of clubs and parties this summer, they go to great lengths to bring more friends to the pool and have a good rest.
5. “Mom / Dad”. If it was their will, they would spend this time more useful, but the pool gives them precious moments when the child does not need to be entertained. Therefore, “moms / dads” can take a break from household chores, occasionally casting a tired glance in the direction of the baby, who is arranging a sea battle with a peer, and hoping that if something happens, the lifeguard will insure.
6. “Fried”. Even a grilled chicken would envy their skin color. To achieve an optimally even tan, they choose a bikini or micro-swimsuit (they are considered indecent in the US) and spend long days in the scorching sun. Most often these are older people, and therefore they have time and inspiration for sunbathing.
7. "Flowers". They come to the pool only when the sun is shining, swim only in warm water, lie lazily on a sun lounger or read. They do not interfere with anyone and do not express irritation themselves, even if a neighbor's child screams and activates near them, after which their splashed book will be ashamed to return to the library.
The original column is published on the website. Ukrainian service "Voices of America".
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