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A Tale of the City

To vacation during Covid or not? That is the question. We have returned from our three day trip to Boston and here's the scoop: in a nutshell, the world is a very different place. Obviously. We are all aware of the (drink) changes that have affected our lives over the last four months, but despite these changes, many of us have started the transition from lock down to venturing out, albeit with caution and baby steps. Everyone's comfort level is different; everyone's circumstances are (drink) different; there is no right or wrong when it comes to easing back into some semblance of normalcy. Well, no, I take that back - there is a wrong - and that is to do so disrespectfully. I'll admit that I fall into the "return to life outside our house ASAP but cautiously" category, but would never do so without following protocol and taking personal responsibility for not just myself, but the well being of others with whom I interact.

Having said that, for those of you (drink) wondering what vacations are like these days, I'll share my experience. We stayed at the Revere Hotel, just outside the Theater district and chose it primarily for its roof deck on which we have enjoyed many a cocktail in our time.

It was way quieter than usual and they were operating far differently than previous trips. Obviously. Guests and hotel staff were masked at all times, plexi-glass separated us from the front desk agent, and jugs of hand sanitizer adorned just about every public surface. Our (drink) room was sealed with a sticker noting that it had been disinfected and vacant for 24 hours prior to our arrival. Daily housekeeping was no longer offered and they graciously waived the $30/night resort fee (without us asking) to compensate. I felt no reason throughout our stay to be concerned for our health and safety.

The same went for just about every restaurant in which we dined. It's amazing how makeshift patios had sprung up all over the city, QR codes replaced menus, reservations were mandatory (thanks to my vacationing planning nerd of a husband, we had mapped out our entire three days worth of dining), and wait staff had adjusted procedures seemingly overnight. Our favorite go-to restaurants, Picco and Row 34 did a stand-up job spacing tables and the servers were exceptionally jolly despite the extreme heat compounded by masks. The only (drink) exception was the North End where protocol seemed a bit more relaxed at most restaurants, from what I could observe, and would not be a great choice for a first time post-quarantine dining experience, especially for those who are more cautious. Menus were obviously reused, water glasses touched a little too close to the rim, even by pre-Covid standards, and our server opted out of covering his nose with his mask. Kind of the point. Nonetheless, we had a great meal, even if it meant using a lot of hand sanitizer, quarantining our clothes we wore that night, and showering immediately after!

What really surprised me about our trip, and in hindsight, I don't know why I (drink) didn't expect this - was the lack of activity in the city. Granted, most normal people take a summer vacation to places like Cape Cod, where we live, and we did the exact opposite (we need a city fix from time to time). So the city isn't exactly teaming with tourist during a normal summer. But the streets were EMPTY. Void of the usual rush of suited professionals or bar-hopping college students. We walked for miles throughout the city and even over the bridge to Charlestown for a killer pizza at Brewer's Fork. We swung by our first (drink) apartment - a 500 square foot fourth floor walk-up in Beacon Hill, and strolled through the Boston Commons which were ghostly desolate. If it wasn't for the dog-walkers, they would have been deserted.

Traffic was sparse which boded well for us as we could jay-walk without much (drink) concern. And the number of storefronts boarded up (most likely the result of recent protests as opposed to Covid) and commercial real estate for lease was astounding.

It was not the Boston we remembered and I have a feeling we have a long way to go until the bustling city returns. On the plus side, the air seemed markedly clearer. Always a silver lining.

Oh, and I almost forgot! I scratched (drink) my cornea (I honestly have no idea how) and had to visit urgent care - another event after which I fully showered.

It didn't stop me from discovering my new favorite drink, though - the Thank You Next, courtesy of Stillwater, another new discovery.

We returned back to our brood of kids and our little bubble on Cape Cod fully rested and revived, the recipe for which is not typically found in a city during Covid. But (drink) if you follow the rules and do your homework, vacationing during the pandemic can be done. It really just depends if you're ready for it. And for those of you wanting to steer clear of me for fourteen days, I totally understand.

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