5 islands worth visiting during the off-season
These summer-season islands are delightfully laid back in fall, winter and spring.
Summer-season islands are typically overrun with tourists for three or four months a year — as anyone who's strolled around Nantucket in July can attest — but they can be delightfully laid back in fall, winter and spring. Here are five islands that welcome visitors in the off-season, so there's no need to wait until Memorial Day to enjoy them.
Vancouver Island – Canada
There's so much natural beauty — soaring pine forests, rocky coastlines, picturesque bays — on this rugged island located to the west of Vancouver, British Columbia, that it's season-less. While summer draws active travelers looking to hike, surf, fly fish and whale watch, winter also lures romantics seeking to snuggle, sip wine by a roaring fireplace and gaze out at dramatic waves rolling in from the Pacific (some 15-20 feet in height). Yes, storm watching is a thing, and it peaks from December to February. And it's hard to beat the view from the Wickaninnish Inn in Tofino. Vancouver Island is also home to the charming capital city of Victoria, and a world-class dining scene (fresh oysters, local salmon and BC wine) that makes it perfect for a Canadian version of hygge, the popular Danish notion of cozy camaraderie.
Nantucket's Brant Point Lighthouse decorated for the holidays \Courtesty Nantucket Island Resorts
Looking to step back in time on a pre-Christmas getaway that's fun, festive and full of charm? This Massachusetts island may be more famous for its sand dunes and July 4th clambakes, but come December the streets of its historic downtown are lined with hundreds of decorated fir trees, setting the scene for the Nantucket Christmas Stroll, a four-decade-long tradition that resembles a jolly block party of holiday cheer. Shop, sip hot chocolate and mulled cider, join local carolers and welcome Santa and Mrs. Claus who arrive via Coast Guard cutter. Even after the Stroll weekend is over, you can peruse local shops and galleries (most stay open through Christmas), take a beach walk and visit Cisco Brewers to sip a Winter Shredder. Two top properties remain open for most of the winter: The Nantucket Hotel and The Jared Coffin House.
A harbor in Hamilton, Bermuda \Shutterstock
This 21-square-mile island is located 570 miles off the coast of North Carolina in the Atlantic, so it's high season is generally during the summer months. But if golf's your game, six world-famous courses and mild winter temperatures (60 to 70 degrees) make Bermuda perfect for an off-season getaway. Even non-golfers can enjoy the island's scenic beauty — pink-sand beaches, picturesque coves and charming cottage-style architecture — and relax during a spa treatment, traditional afternoon tea or a tasting of Gosling's famous dark rum. History buffs can explore the island's maritime legends, shoppers can buy Bermuda-style decor or beachwear and foodies can enjoy the island's seafood specialties (it's spiny lobster season from September to March). Plus, there's a resort to suit any style — including the Hamilton Princess for traditionalists, Rosewood Tucker's Point for luxury-seekers and The Reefs for cliffside romance — all are open year-round.
A mansion along the Cliff Walk in Newport, Rhode IslandShutterstock
Aquidneck Island, Rhode Island
Never heard of it? This 44-square-mile island in Rhode Island's Narragansett Bay is home to the state's most famous city: Newport. And the off-season here has plenty to offer, beginning with the annual Christmas at the Newport Mansions extravaganza. From Nov. 18, 2017, to Jan. 1, 2018, three of the destination's most famous historic mansions — The Breakers, The Elms and Marble House — will be decorated to the hilt with Christmas gilt. Newport also has a Holiday Stroll (the first two weekends of December) featuring shopping, live entertainment, hot cider and warm-you-up New England clam chowder. Newport puts on the glitz into the New Year with the annual Winter Festival (Feb. 16-25, 2018) featuring daily events that include ice sculpting, warm drink contests and the Illuminated Garden in Ballard Park. The perfect spot to warm up: a lavish suite at The Chanler at Cliff Walk, where the cozy bar beckons you to sip a hot toddy beside the antique fireplace.
A winery on Long Island's North Fork \Shutterstock
Long Island, New York
Planning a winter escape to New York City? Add to your enjoyment by pairing one of the world's most famous islands, Manhattan, with the charming, farmhouse-lined landscapes of the North Fork on this fish-shaped island to the east. While Long Island's South Fork is synonymous with summer (it's home to the Hamptons), its North Fork has a wine trail featuring more than 35 vineyards, many with tasting rooms that are open year-round. Check out Raphael in Peconic, Lieb Cellars in Cutchogue and Sherwood House Vineyards in Jamesport. Check in at the Jedediah Hawkins Inn in Jamesport, offering easy access to several tasting rooms.
As a member in the tourism, travel and transportation industries, United offers a unique perspective into the economic and operational effects rippling across the U.S. To advocate United's efforts, and in anticipation of a bright future, New York/New Jersey President Jill Kaplan and California President Janet Lamkin have both been named to their states' respective governor's COVID-19 response task force committees.
Appointed by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, Jill joins the New Jersey Restart and Recovery Advisory Council — a group of business and municipal leaders tasked with planning to restart the state's economy.
"Serving on Governor Murphy's Restart & Advisory Council uniquely positions us in the epicenter of helping to restart state's economy by providing innovative ideas, sharing best practices and creative thinking to help ensure the rebuilding of New Jersey's economic vitality alongside notable business leaders," said Jill. "I'm honored to represent United Airlines and the transportation industry as a core building block to expediting the state's recovery."
United is the sixth largest company in the state and one of the largest essential businesses continuing to operate through this crisis, and as or advocate, Jill will share some of our best practices and lessons we're learning with the nine different committees through the customer and employee lens.
On the opposite coast, California Governor Gavin Newsom last month appointed Janet to his Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery. Joining Janet at the table are former California governors, legislative leaders and CEOs and executives from numerous businesses with large stakes in the state, such as Apple and Disney. In addition to Janet's position on the task force, Janet is also serving on the Long-Term Jobs Recovery sub-committee and will advocate for industries suffering long-term ramifications of COVID-19 such as tourism, travel and entertainment.
"Being appointed to Governor Newsom's Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery ensures that United is part of the important conversation and part of the plan to help California pave the way toward a fast, safe recovery of jobs," said Janet. "It is an honor to represent the only transportation business on the task force, and I look forward to working alongside a group of very distinguished leaders and focusing on innovative ways to rebuild the economy for our 40 million residents. This work will build on our partnership with the Governor to provide free flights for medical volunteers and having our employees call to check in on isolated older adults as part of the Social Bridging Project."
Pre-COVID, we transported 38 million passengers to, from and within California each year, and directly and indirectly supported tens of thousands of jobs, so the health and well-being of the industry is vital to the prosperity of the state.
As the only airline represented among each of these groups, Jill and Janet are working hard to ensure that our voices, as a company and industry, are heard, valued and utilized as a new chapter dawns on the horizon.
At the airport
1Implementing temperature checks for employees and flight attendants working at hub airports
2Installing sneeze guards at check-in and gate podiums
3Encouraging use of the United app for contactless travel assistance and more
4Promoting social distancing with floor decals to help customers stand 6 feet apart
5Introducing touchless check-in for customers with bags
At the gate:
6Disinfecting high-touch areas such as door handles, handrails, elevator buttons, telephones and computers
7Providing hand sanitizer and
8Allowing customers to self-scan boarding passes
9Boarding fewer customers at a time and, after pre-boarding, boarding from the back of the plane to the front to promote social distancing
On our aircraft
1Providing individual hand sanitizer wipes for customers
2Requiring all customers and employees to wear a face covering and providing disposable face coverings for customers who need them
3Temporarily removing onboard items like pillows, blankets and inflight magazines
4Disinfecting high-touch areas, like tray tables and armrests, before boarding
5Reducing contact between flight attendants and customers during snack and beverage service
6Ensuring aircraft cleaning standards meet or exceed CDC guidelines
7Applying social distancing to seating procedures when possible, including:
- Limiting middle seat selection
- Moving customers seated closely together
- De-planing in groups of five rows at a time to reduce crowding
8Using electrostatic spraying to disinfect aircraft, to be completed on all flights by mid-June
9Using state-of-the-art, hospital-grade, high-efficiency (HEPA) filters to circulate air and remove up to 99.7% of airborne particles
We're working closely with the experts at Cleveland Clinic to advise us on enhancing our cleaning and disinfection protocols for the safety of our employees and customers. Visit Cleveland Clinic's website to learn more about COVID-19.
Hello. I'm Scott Kirby, the new CEO of United Airlines. I'm a proud Air Force Academy graduate and have spent my entire career in and around aviation, including the last four years as President of United.
While I had planned for my first communication with you to be about the meaningful investments we were making to the travel experience and our continued growth across the U.S. and expansion to exciting new destinations around the world, today, the situation rendered to us by the COVID-19 pandemic leads me to a different type of message.
First, I graciously and humbly thank you for your business. Now, more than ever, our customers' loyalty is so deeply appreciated by every member of the United family.
As essential workers, the men and women of our airline have been hard at work over the past two months to transport vital medical supplies and critical goods to places that need them most, to provide free travel to healthcare professionals and to help thousands of individuals repatriate to their home countries.
Safety has always been our top priority, and right now in the midst of an unprecedented crisis, it's our singular customer focus. We recognize that COVID-19 has brought cleanliness and hygiene standards to the front of your mind when making travel decisions. We're not leaving a single stone unturned in our pursuit to protect our customers and employees.
We are installing plexiglass in lobby and gate areas, we're using the same equipment used to clean hospitals to disinfect the interiors of our aircraft, all crew and customers on board are required to wear face mask coverings and we're taking the temperature of our employees before they start work.
But at United, we're not stopping there. We're teaming up with experts from Clorox and the Cleveland Clinic to set a new standard for cleanliness and healthy flying that we are calling United CleanPlus℠.
Clorox is working closely with us to improve how we disinfect common surfaces and provide our customers with amenities that support a healthy and safe environment.
Physicians and scientists at the Cleveland Clinic, will advise us on new technologies and approaches, assist in training development and create a rigorous quality assurance program. And, as scientists learn more about how to fight COVID-19, Cleveland Clinic experts will help us use those discoveries to quickly implement new ways to keep our customers safe.
While we may not know when this pandemic will subside, what we do know is that travel is so deeply woven into the fabric of our global culture. We all desire to visit family, dance at a friend's wedding, hug parents…and see the wonders of this beautiful world. No matter how sharp the picture quality – or how strong the WiFi signal – there's simply no substitute for being there – in person – to collaborate, celebrate, explore. We are confident that travel will return. And when it does, United Airlines will be ready to serve you again in the friendly skies.
Thank you. Be well. And I look forward to seeing you on board.
Together, we are facing an unprecedented challenge. United Together, we rise to meet that challenge.
Calling all AvGeeks and travelers! Here's a fun way to take your next video call….from a United Polaris® seat, the cockpit or cruising altitude. We're introducing United-themed backgrounds for use on Zoom and Microsoft Teams, video conferencing tools that many people are using to stay connected.
So for your next meeting or catch up with friends and family, download the app to either your computer or mobile device to get started. If you've already downloaded Zoom you can skip ahead to updating your background image (see instructions below).
To use on Zoom:
- Start here by downloading your favorite United image to your computer or mobile device. Just click "download" in the bottom left corner of the image.
- Next go to your Zoom app (you'll need to download the app to access backgrounds) and click on the arrow to the right of your video camera icon in the bottom of the screen.
- From here select, "choose virtual background" to upload your uniquely United photo.
- Start by downloading your favorite United image to your computer. Just click "download" in the bottom left corner of the image.
- If you're using a PC, copy the image you want to use into this folder:
- C:\[insert your device user name here]\AppData\Microsoft\Teams\Backgrounds\Uploads
- If you're using a Mac copy the images to this folder on your computer:
- /users/<username>/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Teams/Backgrounds/Uploads
- If you're using a PC, copy the image you want to use into this folder:
- Once you start a Teams meeting, click the "…" in the menu bar and select "Show background effects" and your image should be there
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This is why we fly.
20 UCSF Health workers, who voluntarily set aside their own lives to help save lives, are on their way to New York City.
We are humbled by your selfless sacrifice.
In celebration and appreciation of all first responders and essential workers. 👏🏻👏🏼👏🏽👏🏾👏🏿
This is the story of Jason and Shantel. You see, Jason and Shantel love each other very much. They also love traveling and they love the classic Adam Sandler film, The Wedding Singer.
It all began when Jason reached out to United's social media team, hoping for assistance with his upcoming plan to propose. Some phone calls and one borrowed guitar later, the stage was set for Jason. Put all that together, mix in some helpful United employees and, voila, you have a truly memorable marriage proposal. Congratulations to this fun-loving and happy couple, and here's to many more years of making beautiful music together.
A big thank you to Chicago-based flight attendants Donna W., Marie M., Karen J. and Mark K. for making this proposal come to life.