Harbor Hotels: First Trip of 2020

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Seneca Lake sunset
Seneca Lake, just in front of the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel.

It’s Been So Long Since We Stayed in Hotels!

Masked up in the lobby of the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel, per NY State law in 2020.
Masked up in the lobby of the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel, per NY State law in 2020.

We’re about to depart our second stay in one of the Harbor Hotels in New York State, on this, our first trip anywhere in 2020.  This has been a COVID test all the way, from how far we distance to how many times we had to put on our masks.

Everyone here at this hotel on the edge of Seneca Lake has been considerate and polite, and we dutifully donned our masks in the lobby, on the way to the pool, and while boarding the Seneca Legacy cruise ship on the lake.

We began our trip four days ago on Chautauqua Lake, where another Harbor Hotel sits, gracing the far end of this 27-mile lake.  The name Chautauqua is synonymous with the Institution, the home of ‘brainy vacations’ where lectures, films, music and theater mark the summer.  This year, of course, nothing was happening there.

The pool at the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel, plenty of room for social distancing.
The pool at the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel, plenty of room for social distancing.
Panama Rocks
Panama Rocks

But we did have a lot of fun sitting by the pool, and hiking in the remarkable Panama Rocks.

Courtyard at the huge National Comedy Center in Jamestown. What a fun place to experience!
Courtyard at the huge National Comedy Center in Jamestown. What a fun place to experience!

 

This prehistoric set of rock formations has been owned by the same family for two generations, today you can take the circular hike through the cool woods and see all sorts of crevices and openings to hike in and around.

We also got a chance to visit the National Comedy Center in Jamestown, which is a real treat. This gigantic museum traces the entire world of what makes people laugh. From a farting bench to a diagram of how Rodney Dangerfield broke down his routines, to a million other familiar funny elements, this museum is certainly worth its $30 admission price.

Watkins Glen State Park has one of the most beautiful hiking paths that cross by waterfalls almost the whole way.
Watkins Glen State Park has one of the most beautiful hiking paths that cross by waterfalls almost the whole way.

On our way to the village of Panama, we were planning to stop at the Panama Diner. But when we walked in and saw the cook and a few customers not wearing masks, we opted to pass.

No worries. We drove a few blocks to find the Lakeview Grocery, a store full of discounted food items that filled the bill quite nicely, despite our check-out girl being maskless. Oh well.

This trip has tested us all, from the hotel staff who have to keep their masks on all day, to the fellow journalists who like us, had to take them off while we were seated.

We resigned ourselves to accept that we’d have to share some air with our tablemates, two fun young men from New York City, David and Ken.  You can’t really eat dinner with the mask on, so we just moved back a little bit and carried on.   The eight other journalists on the trip also hadn’t taken any trips for three months, so we all appreciated this so much.

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