Dreaming of the warmth and colorful splendor of springtime
For vacation areas, such as the ocean, mountains, or lakes, the tourist season is filled with a happy energy, and a lot of people. The off-season is a different experience: solitary instead of social; calm instead of excited. The sounds of families or boat engines are replaced by seagulls or snowshoes.
These vacation areas are easy to overlook when out of season. But, to me, this is the time to enjoy these areas in a whole new way: you can travel further without hitting traffic and find new restaurants; you can shop in stores that are open without needing to move sideways down crowded aisles; you can stroll along the water without meandering around beach chairs. You have much more of the place to enjoy as you choose.
Off-season trips are a great way to see a favorite area in a new light. This not only can keep it fresh, but can also deepen your appreciation of it.
Recently, I stood on a bridge, overlooking a river flowing out to the ocean and butting up against an incoming tide. The sun hadn't yet cleared the horizon. The trees were bare and the summer homes were shuttered. No cars drove by. The only sounds were the water, the sea gulls, and the breeze. It was the first morning of Daylight Savings and the first with a warm and gentle wind that felt as if spring's arrival could be counted in days or, at worst, weeks. But not months. In an oceanfront community, this first day that feels like spring only happens once each year - and only in the off-season .