Archive for Sunday, June 20, 2004

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June 20, 2004

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Sunshine causes ice hotel to close

Fairbanks, Alaska -- The frozen martini glasses are disappearing, ice chandeliers are falling from the ceiling and the walls of the Aurora Ice Hotel are shrinking.

Sunshine and high temperatures have assaulted the ice hotel at Chena Hot Springs Resort, and the owners have abandoned plans to keep it open.

The structure was completed in late December, but its creators underestimated the power of Fairbanks' spring sunshine, said spokeswoman Brenda Hewitt.

"With any luck, we'll be able to start over again next year," she said. "We learned a lot."

The resort stopped accepting guests for ice hotel rooms at the end of March.

Dogpaddling allowed on some beaches

New York -- Looking to spend the dog days of summer with your dog? Most beaches ban dogs, or permit them only in the early morning or evening, but some municipalities have strips of sand set aside as dog runs.

At www.hikewithyourdog.com/ParksoftheMonth/BeachArticle.html, you'll find information on dog beaches for nearly every state bordering the Atlantic, Gulf Coast, Pacific and Great Lakes. Among the East Coast dog-friendly beaches recommended by the Web site: Island Beach State Park at the Jersey Shore; Gin Beach on the Block Island Sound of Montauk, Long Island, in New York; Hunting Island State Park in South Carolina; and the Bonita Beach Dog Park north of Naples, Fla.

Underwater music attracts snorkelers

Key West, Fla. -- Summer in the Florida Keys means snorkeling and Hemingway.

The Lower Keys Underwater Music Festival, scheduled for July 10 in Big Pine Key, attracts 600 divers and snorkelers to the Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary. A local radio station broadcasts everything from Jimmy Buffett to the theme from "Jaws" on special speakers that are suspended underwater from dive boats.

Interspersed between the music are public-service announcements about reef conservation; you can hear the broadcast whether you're on land or beneath the waves.

From July 20 to July 25, the annual Hemingway Days festival pays tribute to Ernest Hemingway's days on Key West.

For more information, contact www.fla-keys.com or (800) FLA-KEYS.

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