Picture: The Moors Resort and Marina beach located on Kentucky Lake in Gilbertsville, KY. Photography by Lauren Emery
Summer 2020 isn’t what we expected. As late as January/February 2020, summer vacations were booked by local travel agents. Destinations included tropical islands, trips to ‘the happiest place on earth’ and international adventures. However, in four short months, everything changed. The coronavirus sabotaged our best-laid plans and the world as we knew it disappeared.
One of the hardest hit industries since the pandemic began has been travel. Half of all Americans say they’ll postpone their travel plans until 2021. According to AAA, 98% of those that are taking a vacation, will travel by car. What that means for the travel industry is shorter trips and staying closer to home.
Each mode of travel within the industry has its own set of unique challenges. The airlines have been making accommodations since the pandemic shuttered America. In many cases, people have been afraid to fly.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other medical experts have advised against extended exposure in small, enclosed spaces without proper ventilation. The idea of flying in an overstuffed tin box without the ability to retreat may cause the imagination to spiral out of control and view this type of travel as a coronavirus 'hotspot'.
Because of these fears, the airlines have been blocking-off seats to accommodate social distancing and in return, selling fewer tickets. It makes one wonder as airline travel begins to pick-up, will the airlines turn away business or will ticket prices go up.
According to Destination Analysts, the ‘frequent flyers’ will continue to travel. The demographic for this typical traveler is young, male, urban, and affluent. Analysts predict this will remain the trend throughout the pandemic. It's a trend worth watching. (Destination Analysts is an independent company that surveyed 1,200 plus travelers about their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors since the coronavirus outbreak).
The cruise industry could be a sinking ship for a while. There will be a number of changes made in order to set sail once again. The Norwegian Cruise line is the largest in the industry and they just released new protocols for future voyages. The first is the installation of medical grade air filters that remove 99.95% of airborne pathogens. Also, guests will undergo pre-embarkation health screenings, constant monitoring throughout the trip, and temperature checks.
The beneficiaries of this travel trend will be the destinations that are within a day’s drive. Western Kentucky residents and surrounding state neighbors hit the jackpot. In our little corner of the world, there are two beautiful lakes with plenty of activities for the family.
Both Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley are close enough to most within the four state areas to enjoy a three-day weekend or longer. Residents in Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, and Tennessee can pack-up the car with the kids, grandparents, and even the family pet, to enjoy all the activities the lakes have to offer.
In a recent Harris Poll survey, the most missed activities by Americans was dining out, family and friend gatherings, and shopping in stores. Since the family gatherings have been addressed in this article, it’s time to think about dinner plans.
Most resorts have great places to eat. Green Turtle Bay has Docker’s Breakfast on the Bay, Moors Resorts and Marina has Ralph’s Harborview Bar and Grill, Buzzard Rock Restaurant is located at Buzzard Rock Marina Resort, and that’s just to name a few.
Each town in the lakes area has great dining too. Grand Rivers, KY. is situated in the middle of the lake experience. The famous Patti’s 1880s Settlement Restaurant is located in this quaint little town. Other popular restaurants are Harbor Lights Restaurant at Kentucky Dam, T. Lawsons, Echo Charlies, Cypress Springs Restaurant and more.
Antique shopping is a favorite pastime around the lakes. The community of Hazel, Ky boasts 12 antique shops with collectibles. Cadiz, KY. has antique malls with quilts, antique toys, pottery and more. Other towns to shop include, Aurora, Paris, Tn., Grand Rivers and Benton, KY.
When looking for beauty, often one only has to look to either side. Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley are wonderful places to spend a holiday. COVID has taught us to appreciate the small things and to look from within. After all, life’s what we make it.