Lockdowns are good for keeping the general population safe during a pandemic. Millions of people have experienced them. While those early lockdowns have been lifted, things are a long way from normal. There are still not very many places to go that are safe for large numbers of people. Even with the restrictions largely rescinded, it still feels like lockdown.

Photo by Izzy Park on Unsplash

Worse yet, infection numbers in the US keep hitting new highs seemingly every other day. Things are not getting better. Experts believe infections will get much worse with the cold weather. Thanksgiving celebrations are not on the list of Covid-safe activities.

Dining out is a bit dicey. Outdoor dining will last only as long as the weather permits. Once-busy shopping malls are practically ghost towns. Forget about going to the movies. Broadway is still on hiatus. And that crowd noise you hear when you watch football games is fake, only there to distract you from the fact that the stands are mostly empty. So what are we supposed to do in the eye of the Covid storm? Here are a few suggestions?

Wine Country Is Still Beautiful

There are still a few good reasons to take your car to one of those auto body shops in Illinois and make your ride like new again. Wine Country is still beautiful. Any adventure you go on these days marks a special occasion. So treat your car to a spa day and go, first class.

Do not expect all of the usual winter Wine Country activities to be available this year. After all, we are still in a Pandemic. But there might be opportunities for private tasting sessions. Even if all you get out of the deal is a breathtakingly scenic drive and a picnic for two on a mild, California winter day, that is more than enough to create a lasting memory that is positive in this time when few are available.


This is not the time to take a boat tour. If you wouldn’t want to be on a cruise ship with a bunch of strangers, you wouldn’t want to be on a small craft with strangers, either. That said, boating with your family is a safe and fun activity. You are out on the open water, easily more than 6’ away from the nearest person who you don’t currently live with. You are safer from coronavirus than you are walking your dog in your neighborhood.

While you are out on the water, you might as well go fishing. There is no evidence that fish carry the virus. And it is a lot safer getting your fish from the source than going to a busy market. If you have a nice catch, why not find a campground and cook the fish. Nothing beats a day on the ocean finished off by dining on the fruits of your labor. In case you don’t catch anything, bring a few sandwiches and have the picnic anyway.

Take a Hike

You don’t need to weigh a backpack down with 70 lb worth of gear to enjoy the day on a well-traveled hiking trail. A nature hike does not need to be an extreme sport. It can also be done in a covid-safe manner. There is no need to wear a mask most of the time. If you are on a popular trail, you will want to have a mask ready for deployment. You can treat it like a chinstrap until it is needed. On the trail, you will see fellow travelers long before you come into the sneezing range.

Even if you decide to take the road less traveled, you will still want to have a mask at the ready. If you know about the path, there is a good chance ten thousand other people know about it as well. Of all these activities, hiking is probably the most preferable since it involves more physical exercise. That is something none of us are getting enough of these days.

If you have been effectively locked in since March, it is time for a jailbreak. That is still no excuse for taking unnecessary risks. Instead, take a drive through Wine Country. Rent a boat for a few hours. Or take a hike on a nature-rich trail. Better yet, do all three.