As a result of Covid-19, “shelter in place,” forced many people to stay at home. However, it gave birth to a lot of trends that I am hoping will remain staples even after the pandemic dissipates. It seems like now more than ever many Young Black Travelers have started to embrace what nature offers us as a way of having a good time and bonding with loved ones.
Trend 1: Hiking
At the height of lockdown, we started to hear more and more that we should go hiking. Now, of course, hiking isn’t a new phenomenon, as I’m sure many ventured to hike before. But it wasn’t until COVID struck that I started to see more blacks take to the trails. I took the opportunity to go on my first hike at Bull Hill right in New York State. It’s about 1.5 hours out of the city. It certainly was a relaxing contrast to the hustle and bustle of Brooklyn and the city. There were many trails that I could choose from all over the state and each would allow me to see various scenes such as waterfalls, etc, but I chose Bull Hill because it was the first highly rated one that I saw.
I was able to find info about the trail by using the app, All Trails. It provided the terrain information, altitude, etc. One of the biggest lessons that I have learned after taking that hike is the time they quote you to complete the trail is exactly that- a quote. You determine how long it’ll take to complete the trail- just pace yourself. The trail was supposed to last 2 hours, however, after 2 hours, my sisters and I had only gotten through 1/4th of it. And by this time, though in my head I wanted to finish, I was so grateful that we decided to turn back… I didn’t have any more hike in me. Lol.
Trend 2: Rafting
In addition to hiking, there are other outdoor activities such as camping and even rafting. Interestingly, I had been thinking of going white water rafting for years. This year seemed like the perfect time to do it. The week that I decided to book to take the trip, however, seemed like everywhere was booked out along the Northeast.
I finally settled on a spot upstate that said rafting. Rafting is really nice to get in the raft and journey down the river at your own pace or the pace your team decides to go. There were options to rent a canoe as well. I think this would be the perfect getaway for groups to team build or couples who wanted an opportunity to bond. The only recommendations I have would be to pack a cooler and snacks and head on to the river. This will definitely be another summer activity for me.
Trend 3: The Beach
Many of us have seen the news reports about the beach overcrowding in Florida when COVID was at its peak. However, after going to the beach, I think I realize why this was an escape for so many. It was relaxing. If you picked a beach that wasn’t overcrowded, it could be a really good opportunity to flee from the stresses of life. My beach day served as much needed R&R after a long-imprisoned spring.
It is important to mention though, that I would never go to a beach here in Brooklyn or queens. There are many beaches on Long Island that I am more open to visiting. So when I planned my beach day, I went online and found out that Robert Moses State Park was a good option. It is one of many beaches to choose from on Long Island. It was not crowded which was ideal, because many people from the city go to beaches that are closer to the city. I used the fact that this beach isn’t as accessible by public transportation to my advantage. Many New Yorkers do not travel far out of the 5 boroughs because the subway system does not reach these areas.
Trend 4: Vineyards
I saw many of my friends post pictures on Instagram in Vineyards and thus the idea for my 31st birthday celebration was born. These posts inspired my idea to plan a local, socially distanced outing to celebrate my big day. So my crew and I drove two hours away from Brooklyn and headed to Pindar Vineyard on Western Long Island.
Long Island has an abundance of Vineyards and this was the perfect way to celebrate a September birthday. It was cool, you could sit at a table (though the Vineyard was packed), or spread a blanket on the grass and have a picnic with friends. Oh, thank God for home-cooked picnic food! We had fried chicken, sandwiches, bakes and saltfish, you name it! We just had to pay $15 to sample five wines. As a result of COVID, there was no curated experience. So this was the perfect opportunity for us to discuss amongst ourselves what we liked and disliked about the wines we picked in the tasting, ultimately leading to us making our final purchase of the wines we would either drink for the remainder of the day or take home.
The rise in popularity of these activities show how COVID pushed us to look at our local offerings in a different light. If it weren’t for COVID, I probably would have never hiked that New York trail. Actually, I probably have Governor Cuomo to thank for consistently advocating hiking. And because the vineyards only welcomed up to 7 persons per group, it was the perfect socially distanced activity; it was outdoor, and there was space. None the less, I think it’s safe to say when this “it’s a pandemic” is a distant memory, what will remain are the unexpected trends that have become “new normals.” One thing’s for certain, life will never be the same again.