From the Editor: The Big Thaw

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There is a moment in the Arctic each year when rivers frozen into ice sculptures by months of subzero temperatures first start to show signs of life. Behind the scenes, pressure is building up and suddenly torrents burst through. It seems that we have arrived at just such a moment with travel. During the pandemic, the Andrew Harper Travel Office continued to make reservations, chiefly to properties in the great outdoors such as The Resort at Paws Up in Montana and Blackberry Mountain in Tennessee. But requests for international travel almost dried up, as they did for hotel reservations in all major U.S. cities. Alas, as a result, it became necessary to furlough staff. When vaccinations first became widely available, I speculated that there would be pent-up demand. And, hallelujah, so it has proved! The phones are ringing again, and 80 percent of our furloughed travel advisors have now been reinstated. I’m told that summer reservations in national parks are already virtually impossible to find and that it is necessary to be flexible with dates in classic seasonal destinations like Maine and Nantucket. Better still, our staff have made bookings in Italy for fall, London and Paris for the holidays and even reserved a cruise aboard the Aqua Blu in Indonesia’s Coral Triangle for January 2022. And in Napa, our wine concierge, Hal Oates of Porthos, tells me that requests for private winery tours this fall have returned to their pre-COVID levels. It seems that the big thaw has begun and, metaphorically at least, spring is on its way.

By Andrew Harper The editor-in-chief of Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report has spent his life traveling, visiting more than 100 countries on every continent. If pressed, he cites Italy as his favorite place in the world, but he is also strongly drawn to wilderness areas, especially in the Himalayas and southern Africa. He has lost track of the number of safaris he has taken, but the total is probably close to 50. In addition to wildlife, his passions include fly-fishing and hiking. After working with the founder of the company for five years, he took over as his chosen successor in 2007.
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