Forget coronavirus: 3 places to go, right now

Summer travel is here.

Yes, your vacation or annual family getaway is going to look and feel different this year, thanks to lasting effects of the coronavirus pandemic. One of the biggest changes will be flying, which I covered in last week’s column.

With an increasing number of destinations and things to do and see open or about to reopen, here are three places you can go in June.

Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming.
Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming. | Dennis Lennox

Cody, Wyoming

Wyoming has been open for a few weeks now after ending a mandatory quarantine for visitors from out-of-state.

One of the best places to visit is Cody, which is a popular gateway to Yellowstone National Park. Traffic has picked up, especially since access to the spectacular park through bordering Montana has been restricted.

While Yellowstone is the big draw, all things Old West can be discovered at the Buffalo Bill Museum.

The museum, which is named after Old West legend and showman William Cody, punches well above its weight. The exhibits and wide-ranging collection are very informative for anyone. Somewhat bizarrely, four other museums are housed in other wings of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.

Consider staying at either the upscale Chamberlin Inn or the family-friendly Holiday Inn at Buffalo Bill Village.

Mackinac Island, Michigan.
Mackinac Island, Michigan. | Dennis Lennox

Mackinac Island, Michigan

Mackinac Island is truly a special place.

Known for its horses — no cars are allowed — and late Victorian-era cityscape, the island had a soft reopening this weekend.

Plan on spending the night, as most visitors only come from the mainland for a few hours during the day. That’s partly because hotels are limited, and none are inexpensive — there is a reason the iconic Grand Hotel is called the Grand Hotel. Overnighting is a totally different experience that’s worth the added expense.

Hotel Iroquois is my favorite. The 45-room hotel combines elegance with the charm and hospitability of a small family-owned inn. Hotels like this just don’t exist anymore.

Mackinac Island is also home to several historic churches. The oldest is the former Mission Church, a circa 1830 edifice built by Congregationalists. If you didn’t know better, you would think this meeting house-style church was in small-town New England.

Christiansted on the island of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Christiansted on the island of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. | Dennis Lennox

U.S. Virgin Islands

The islands of St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas have all the advantages of other Caribbean islands — think great weather and amazing beaches — without requiring would-be visitors to have a passport. That’s because this is a U.S. territory.

The Virgin Islands reopen to visitors Monday, albeit with social distancing measures. This all but guarantees a peaceful and relaxing tropical getaway.

St. Croix is, by far, the least touristy of the islands. Stay at The Buccaneer Beach & Golf Resort and explore historic Christiansted with its extensive Danish colonial-era architecture from before the United States acquired the islands in 1917. For dinner, try family-owned Duggan’s Reef.

Spires and Crosses is a weekly travel column. Follow @dennislennox on Twitter and Instagram.

Dennis Lennox writes about travel, politics and religious affairs. He has been published in the Financial Times, Independent, The Detroit News, Toronto Sun and other publications. Follow @dennislennox on Twitter.

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