Star Island reopening

Visitors to Star Island will be able to relax and enjoy the views once more this summer, after the island was closed last year due to COVID-19.

Star Island will reopen this summer after being closed last year because of the pandemic.

“We’re all thrilled. It’s a big deal because we were closed last year, which hasn’t happened since World War II,” Star Island Corporation CEO Joe Watts said last week.

Star Island’s Oceanic Hotel, about 10 miles off the coast of New Hampshire and Maine, is one of New England’s original grand hotels and has welcomed guests since the 1870s.

Visitors take a boat to the island — the second-largest of the nine Isles of Shoals — about 10 miles off the coast of New Hampshire and Maine.

Conferences for this summer are being planned and will range from a few days to a week. Topics include arts, history, international affairs, yoga, spirituality, music, writing workshops, birding and ecology.

Watts said the hotel hosted some virtual events last year, but it was not the same as being together in person.

Watts said the health and safety of everyone who comes to Star Island is the top priority, and that they will limit the number of conference attendees and instituting new safety protocols.

All overnight visitors must provide a negative COVID-19 test and Watts recommends they are fully vaccinated prior to arrival if possible. Day visitors who travel to Star Island by boat to visit the historic site will be allowed to explore the island. They will need to stay within spaces designated for their use.

Watts said Star Island is preparing for day visitors by adding more spaces with picnic tables and providing nooks for people to relax in a socially distanced manner. There will be trails open, and hopefully the grill will be going.

Watts looks forward to seeing people having fun with their families again.

“What a great place to be, outside, on the island, in the summer,” Watts said.

The 46-acre island has attracted families for generations. Star Island Corporation typically welcomes more than 18,000 people from all over the world each year.

Star Island Development Director Peter Squires said the nonprofit corporation was able to weather the financial challenge of being closed for the entire 2020 operating season due to the support of thousands of individuals, several grant funders and public disaster relief.

“Continued support from our community will help mitigate the challenges posed by opening at reduced capacity this summer,” Squires said in a statement.

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