Caribbean islands reopen
The COVID-19 pandemic struck the Caribbean at the height of high season, when snowbirds pack the beaches and provide the revenue to see resorts and sometimes entire countries through the lull of summer and fall. In recent years, places like Puerto Rico and the Bahamas have developed a strong summer business, fueled by bargain seekers, adventure travelers and families. As the region begins to reopen, most countries are mandating face masks indoors and social distancing. Some are requiring COVID-19 tests and not yet welcoming Americans. Other restrictions vary widely. Aruba reopened to Canadians, Europeans and most Caribbean nationals on July 1, and to visitors from the United States on July 10, with testing requirements depending upon your state of residence. Jamaica reopened June 15.
NEW YORK TIMES
Tiana goes big at Disney
Walt Disney World's theme parks remain closed, but there's a fresh development at Magic Kingdom. The theme of the Splash Mountain ride will go from "Song of the South" to "The Princess and the Frog." For Disney, it introduces a new attraction without starting from scratch, gives Tiana — the first Black American Disney princess — an increased presence, and distances itself from the 1946 film "Song of the South," which has a tainted reputation for stereotypical representations.
Up North and out of control
Campers wanted a better view of the lake from their public campground in Superior National Forest, so they cut down trees. Near Grand Marais, local residents discovered that an RV septic tank had been emptied off the side of the road rather than disposed of properly less than 3 miles away. Many travelers are forgetting to pack their wilderness etiquette. Tourism-dependent communities like Grand Marais were already torn between encouraging visitors or keeping them — and COVID-19 — at bay. In the height of the pandemic, the tourist town and others like it have been busier than ever. In Ely, outfitter Steve Piragis said in this busy summer, some visitors are showing "a lack of regard for authority and for regulation." Trent Wickman of the U.S. Forest Service said, "Ultimately, we need to manage use so we have a sustainable situation here."
Grand View gains accolades
Grand View Lodge in Nisswa, Minn., was given the sixth spot in the Top 10 Resort Hotels in the Midwest listing in Travel + Leisure magazine's annual World's Best Awards. Relatively nearby Sundara Inn & Spa in Wisconsin Dells, Wis., also made the list. Michigan's Mackinac Island holds two of the top resorts: Grand Hotel and Hotel Iroquois. Deer Path Inn in Lake Forest, Ill., was top in the Midwest category and also made the list of the top 15 resort hotels in the country.