5 Min READ – In the time of COVID, one of the best fall getaways is a trip to the beach. Both Coasts & the Gulf offer southerly beaches that have much to offer. Smaller crowds, beautiful weather & lots of socially distant outdoor activity typify the Fall beach scene.
For us, a getaway opportunity came up a few weeks ago, to celebrate a friend’s BIG 6-0!
Turning 60 is kind of a big deal. Several of our friends (myself included) celebrate this milestone in the coming months. To me, it’s equal parts gratifying & terrifying; yet always better than the alternative.
A friend for 40+ years, Cameron was the inspiration for the Fall getaway. He’d reached out to let us know he would be in town & just 90 miles away, to visit his son. This was a great opportunity to get together & mark the occasion. A micro-celebration, with a few old friends was in order.
Similar to our story on a getaway to the mountains, La Jolla, CA was an easy drive, at just 90 miles from home. From the comfort & relative safety of our vehicle, we could control the commuting portion of our trip. We always keep masks, hand sanitizer and wipes in the car for unexpected stops, charging the car, etc….
While we’re always delighted to get away from home for a couple of days, we have yet to fly since COVID got under way, choosing instead to focus on regional road excursions for now.
As we have a son in Chicago, the topic of air travel will most certainly come up in the coming months. I look forward to the days ahead, when Covid doesn’t weigh so heavily on our travel decisions.
The Beach Town
Our Fall getaway took us to the beach city of La Jolla, Ca. La Jolla, situated on a rugged coastline is equal parts natural beauty & posh beach city. Sporting an artist enclave, 1200+ merchants & over 100 restaurants La Jolla is far from a sleepy beach town. The multi-tiered city is also a great walking town, allowing you to cover most of it on foot.
Socially Distant by Design
La Jolla offers up 266 sunny days a year. With temps that range from 60 to 75 degrees, year round, it’s effortless to socialize outside. Gentle sea breezes constantly move the air.
Site seeing, lounging on the beach or poolside makes maintaining social distance with friends just a little easier. The temperate weather also makes outdoor dining options plentiful. Even as La Jolla (or most southern beach towns) move into the cooler weather, throwing on a sweatshirt & shorts is enough to still enjoy the outdoor experience. I worry how my favorite mountain towns will fair come Winter. Much tougher to dine “al fresco” in February. 🙁
Plenty of Activities
While our getaway was more about catching up with old friends & relaxing, you could certainly turn up the dial on activities. Swimming, surfing, stand up paddle, snorkeling, diving, outdoor yoga, hiking the beaches are all at your disposal. Did I mention Torrey Pines offers two famous cliff top golf courses nearby?
Seal the Deal
La Jolla is also home to colonies of seals & sea lions. You can catch them most mornings, basking in the sun with their pups.
The Hotel & Safety
Cameron & his wife Fiona have been vacationing in La Jolla for years & their hotel recommendation was spot on. Overlooking miles of beautiful coastline, The La Valencia Hotel, located downtown, is proximate to everything. Operating since 1926, the classic Spanish architecture is an historic fixture. Updated several times over the it’s 90 years, La Valencia is a great combination of old world kitchyness & modern amenities.
La Valencia has also instituted numerous procedures for Covid, including:
- Plexiglass check-in desks
- Self parking (no more valets)
- Physical distancing demarcations in the lobby & check in
- Mandatory masks in public spaces inside the hotel
- Enhanced hotel & room cleaning
- Hand sanitizing stations across the hotel
- Open air dining
- Pool open, jacuzzi closed
- Daily screening of staff
- Increased frequency of cleaning/replacing AC air filters
- Limiting elevator capacity to two people at a time
A Few Extra Steps?
While it felt as though the hotel went to great lengths to assure everyone’s safety:
Re-sanitize -Bring some disinfectant wipes with you. Even though enhanced precautions have been taken, it only takes about 10 minutes to wipe down door handles, drawers handles, toilet handles, night stands etc…. Perhaps it’s overkill, but it does offer some peace of mind.
Steamer Power – The Rowenta Garment steamer does more than remove wrinkles from clothes. It also can kill 99.9% of germs around your hotel room, using water!
Fresh Air – Open the windows when you get to your room to let fresh air circulate. You can always close them and turn on the AC before bed.
Avoid the elevator – If you can book a room on the hotel’s lower floors, it allows you to skip the elevator & take the stairs. First, with a restricted, two person capacity, it takes a while for your turn to come up. Second, skipping the ride in the small metal box seems like a good way to avoid air borne germs.
Bag that Clicker – Perhaps the most handled item in your hotel room. Try a clicker cover bag.
Larq Stainless UV self cleaning water bottle – Perfect for hiking around town or heading to the beach/Pool. Bacteria free water in seconds.
Time Well Spent
Travel during COVID is a personal decision & each of us has to weigh the risks and our level of comfort in situations that we wouldn’t have given a second thought, 8 months ago.
What the winter will bring is anyone’s guess, so keeping a wary eye on covid’s progress protects our loved ones, neighbors & community. We felt comfortable with our hotel stay & recognized the great lengths La Valencia is taking to create a safe environment. I’m also thankful to have spent a couple of days with old friends. For us, that made staying sequestered at home for 10 days after, a fair trade off.