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.
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.
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.
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!