WPC: The Off-Season Blues

It sounds idyllic.  Never leaving your favorite vacation spot.  Living near the beach all year round, long after the tourists leave.   Being the first in line at the local lobster roll and ice cream spot the day it opens because you live in paradise all year around.

But then, one day in November, the wind shifts direction and an icy nor’easter blows into your little corner of heaven, bringing snow and more snow, totaling over a 140 inches one year.  For up to a week at a time, the temperature hovers at 30 degrees below zero.  And the lake that you sped across in a jet ski in August turns so thick with ice that small planes land on it throughout the winter and SUV drivers create a mini two-lane snow highway across its surface.  And, by the way, the ice doesn’t melt until mid-April.

After that first winter on Lake Winnepesaukee in New Hampshire, I used to dread the end of summer and the off-season.  Even before Labor Day, the first cool breezes started to blow in from the lake.  And before we knew it,  our wonderful neighbors stowed away their boats, grills and jet skis, and drove away with their children and grandchildren, turning our condo community into a ghost town.  Between Labor Day and Memorial Day, forty of the forty-four condos were empty, and a just a handful of us were left behind to weather the snow and ice.

This first photo, taken at the end of August, seems to hint at the shift from in-season to off-season.

The End of Summer.  Lake Winnepesaukee, NH.  Shot with a Canon Rebel XT.

The End of Summer. Lake Winnepesaukee, NH. Shot with a Canon Rebel XT.

In the next photo, a woman walks her dog on the beach at Elacoya State Park, past deserted picnic tables and trees that are just starting to turn shades of red and gold.

Beach Walk with the Dog

Here’s a view of the lake at the fiery peak of autumn.  On a clear fall day, we could see snow on the slopes of Mount Washington in the distance, signalling the approach of winter.

Three Trees, Lake Winnepesaukee, NH.  Shot with a Canon Rebel XT

Three Trees, Lake Winnepesaukee, NH. Shot with a Canon Rebel XT

Have you ever lived in a vacation spot?  Do you like the off-season?  Do you celebrate when the tourists leave?  Do you love the peace and quiet of the off-season?  Or, are you like me–impatient for Memorial Day when everyone comes back?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.  And have a good weekend, everyone!


31 replies »

  1. Such a gorgeous place you live, Patti. Autumn brings a faint sadness, but the colours are so beautiful.

    I grew up in the coastal South African town of Durban, and we were always relieved when the tourists from inland went home, and we could find a spot on the beach, as well as not get clobbered in the water by out-of-control people who didn’t know how to swim and body-surf. A bit localist, I know. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi BB. We don’t live in NH anymore, but it is a gorgeous spot. The summers are great. I’ve heard of Durban, of course, but I’ve got to look up so photos of it too. Have a great weekend–:)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Fabulous photos, Patti. When we lived in Spain, I loved it when the tourists went home and we could walk along the vast empty beaches and the queues were not so long at the supermarkets. I never got used to the heat of Summer, so off-season suited me very well.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh how we loved our annual 4th of July spent with The Moed’s every year on the most gorgeous lake! Our hearts still pine for our annual trip up North to be with our dear friends, and to surround ourselves in one of Mother Natures most exquisite sites!


  4. Gorgeous. I used to live in a tourist town by the beach in Australia. I used to dread “silly season” – Christmas time when everyone comes to the beach for holidays – and if I could, I’d try to get out of town while the tourists where there.
    Now I’ve turned into a tourist myself and go back there for holidays when I am home. 🙂


    • Yes, it’s funny when we become tourists in our home town or other places where we’ve lived. Although we always call ourselves New Yorkers and feel very much at home there we have these jarring experiences when we realize that the New Yorkers don’t really consider us home town folks anymore. Thanks for your thoughts! BTW–we’ve been to Oz several times and love it there. I loved Bondi Beach.


  5. When I visited Martha’s Vineyard last fall, I wondered what it would be like to live there year-round. The small island is inundated in the summer. I bet the locals love the off-season — they can get seats in their favorite restaurants and don’t have to wait in the summer traffic jams.
    How long did you live in NH? I bet that was a beautiful location.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Looks like we share a lifestyle Patti! Personally I prefer the off season, but then we don’t get ice and snow so I can understand your choice completely! Lovely photos.


    • Hi Tina. How lucky that you don’t have the ice and snow! We left NH a few years ago and now live in a place where there is no off-season. I suppose every location has its advantages and disadvantages. The beauty in NH was spectacular. Your part of the country is gorgeous as well.


  7. West Michigan beaches are a pretty big tourist attraction. Sometimes the crowds can be so overwhelming there are towns I really enjoy that we refuse to visit during the season.
    I live for the few short, delicious weeks that come after the tourists have gone and the first nasty November day of sleet/snow. Thank goodness for fall color or I’d be a depressed mess. It is hard to loose all that sweet, warm sailing/beaching/kayaking.


  8. Hi Dunelight. I understand wanting those beautiful towns for yourself! We were just in Saugatuck a few weekends ago and were surprised that it was crowded already. It’s still so lovely though with and without the crowds.


  9. I love this area, Patti having spent some time at Newfound Lake. Love your off-season shots and fall in this area is incredible. Thanks for bringing back some nice memories spent with family there.


  10. Hi Jane. It is a gorgeous area! So glad you have wonderful memories of Newfound Lake. The autumn there is spectacular. 🙂 Thanks for your thoughts….


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