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HONEYMOONS Attacks take their toll on venues



Published: Sun, November 18, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Mount Airy first opened in 1898.

By RHODA AMON

NEWSDAY

Two of the nation's historic honeymoon venues are the latest casualties in the post-terrorist travel shakeout.

Mount Airy Resort, known as Mount Airy Lodge for most of a century, closed its doors recently, citing the sharp drop in bookings after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, a final blow following gradual decline.

In its heyday, the 1,174-acre Pocono resort filled 550 hotel rooms, two skating rinks, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a shooting range, stable, three miniature golf courses and heart-shaped bathtubs in the honeymoon suites. The Supremes, Tony Bennett and Bob Hope were among the big-name entertainers there.

Opened as a bed-and-breakfast in 1898, Mount Airy became one of America's most popular year-round destinations. But time and changing vacation tastes took its toll. The advent of jet travel brought a slow decline to the Pocono resorts. Now leisure air travel is itself in trouble.

Also affected: The other historic casualty is the SS Independence, the setting for many a Hawaiian honeymoon during its 50-year life. American Classic Voyages, which operated the Independence and the newer MS Patriot in Hawaiian waters under two subsidiary companies, filed for Chapter 11 reorganization and ceased operations in Hawaii. Reaction to the terrorist attacks cut bookings in half, "a devastating blow," said CEO Phil Calian.

The company also ran four riverboats under its Delta Queen Steamboat Co. and one ship, the Cape May Light, under its Delta Queen Coastal Voyages. Only the landmark Delta Queen steamboat will continue to ply the Mississippi.




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