You are hereMarch/April 2015

March/April 2015

Spring is here and we are ready with ideas for spring exploration across the country. Visit the incredible Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark. Follow in the footsteps of many of Hollywood’s legendary actors and come to the historic La Posada Hotel in Winslow, Ariz., where you might find yourself “standin’ on the corner” like in the famous Eagles song. California’s state capitol, Sacramento, is wonderful in spring, and this city by the river makes a great weekend getaway. Charleston, S.C., is one of America’s most charming walking cities, with some of the most exciting cuisine anywhere. Add in a great golf resort, historic plantations in full spring bloom, and a location on the coast and you have all the ingredients for the perfect spring fling.

Bentonville, Arkansas

Bentonville is the headquarters of the world’s largest employer, Walmart. So for years this small town in northwest Arkansas was primarily a business destination for Walmart vendors. But Walmart heiress Alice Walton decided to build an art museum to house her incredible collection of American art in the middle of America to help make artwork accessible to all. About $800 million of Walton Family Foundation funding later, the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art opened and ushered in a new era of travel to Bentonville. Author MeLinda Schnyder takes you to this incredible museum, so close to downtown yet surrounded by a 120-acre wooded forest with walking art trails and sculptures. At the museum, you’ll walk across the water inside bridges with floor-to-ceiling glass walls. Light comes through glass ceilings that are accented by great rows of curved wooden beams. Its permanent collection showcases both the art and the history of America, with five centuries of painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, and installation art in chronological order. With Crystal Bridges as the catalyst, fine hotels and restaurants are streaming in to the area. Parks, hiking and mountain biking trails, boutiques, art galleries, and cultural events provide plenty more to do after visiting the museum. One of these is a visit to the Walmart Museum, where you can see how Sam Walton got his start, including how he would fly his Ercoupe over competitors to count the cars in their parking lots. For lodging, you can choose from a modern luxury boutique hotel or budget alternatives. When it’s time to dine, you can try old Southern favorites or explore what’s called High South Cuisine, the edible culture of the Ozark region of Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri. The freshest local ingredients are prepared in such manner as to emphasize their earthy, rustic flavors and textures. Food trucks have made their way into Bentonville, too, and you can always find a selection of unique food truck around the downtown square.

Winslow, Arizona

As the transcontinental railroad pushed across the American frontier, towns sprang up at locations along the way. Often these towns grew around water sources, because steam engines needed water. Managing Editor Crista V. Worthy takes you to Winslow, founded as a steam train water stop. It was a man named Fred Harvey who, together with his architect Mary Colter, transformed Winslow into a tourist destination. La Posada, the last Fred Harvey hotel built, lured well-heeled travelers from back East. The beautiful Southwestern hotel, stocked with Indian jewelry and staffed by Harvey Girls, supplied the finest in cuisine, service, and luxury souvenirs while it satisfied tourists’ imaginations about the West. After World War II, when the nation turned from rail to the automobile for its transportation needs, Route 66 was built through Winslow and the tourists kept coming. But when the new interstate bypassed the town, Winslow began to fade like an abandoned adobe house. That is, until four young entrepreneurs found a way to buy the old derelict hotel and restore it to its former glory, and then some. Now, Winslow is developing its own edgy art scene. A number of fun events are scheduled each year, from fly-ins to car shows to an all-out Day of the Dead celebration. But La Posada’s elegance, and the cuisine in its Turquoise Room restaurant, draw visitors year-round. In addition, you can fly in to Winslow, stay at La Posada, and visit the natural marvels nearby. Petrified Forest National Park is uniquely beautiful and easy to see in a day visit. Meteor Crater, the world’s best-preserved, lies only a dozen miles west of Winslow. While you’re in town, you can make like the Eagles and go “standin’ on a corner”—the corner, in Winslow, Arizona, where a statue now stands in honor of that timeless song penned by Jackson Browne and Glenn Frey, back in the 1970s.

Sacramento, California

Sacramento makes a great weekend getaway and spring is a great time to visit. Roses explode into fragrant bloom in Capitol Park. Bird migration is at its height, and high summer temperatures have yet to kick in. Walk, bike, or jog along 20 miles of the Sacramento River Trail and admire the wildflowers as you go. Managing Editor Crista V. Worthy recently visited the capital of her native state and found its downtown and waterfront areas revitalized and full of interesting diversions. Across the beautiful Sacramento River, you can catch a baseball game with the wildly popular Sacramento River Cats. The Riverfront Promenade is loaded with inviting shops and restaurants. The California State Railroad Museum boasts a collection of ultra-rare locomotives—you can even take a train ride along the river. Make the short drive south to visit the 50,000-acre Cosumnes River Preserve. Its namesake waterway is the last unregulated river to flow freely from the Sierra Nevada to the Central Valley. You’ll stroll on walkways through a marsh that supports an array of wildlife including butterflies, beavers, and birds, including Sandhill Cranes, many duck species, and other water birds that patrol the marshes by the thousands. But the stars here are the huge oak trees. California’s oak landscapes once covered a third of the state. Many of them were cut down, but here you can walk among truly giant valley oak trees in a scene that seems nearly primeval, and certainly peaceful. Back in town, you can choose from a B&B next to the Capitol, a luxury boutique hotel, or sleep on the historic Delta King stern wheel paddleboat, moored on the Sacramento River. Sacramento bills itself as “America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital,” and indeed the country’s most productive farmlands lie nearby. Elegant downtown restaurants make the most of this bounty and you’ll have many to choose from.

Charleston, South Carolina

Tourists flock to Charleston for many reasons. It’s one of America’s most charming walking cities. It’s where the Civil War began, and is thus surrounded by Civil War history. Its Lowcountry cuisine, always important to its residents, jumped several levels after a culinary and hospitality school opened to great success. An influx of great chefs, a flurry of new construction, and a world-class golf resort lure many visitors. But Managing Editor Crista V. Worthy found that to truly understand this great city, you need to dig a little deeper when you visit, to see where slavery and its legacy fit in. Visit a couple of antebellum plantation homes, where knowledgeable tour guides can fill you in on the lives of the slaves as well as the plantation owners, even as you tour ancient gardens and quiet Gullah cemeteries. In downtown Charleston, you’ll want to walk along the water, pick up an iconic sweetgrass basket, look at the fabled Rainbow Row homes, and try to decide where to savor your next delightful meal. Fresh local shellfish, gumbo, traditional shrimp and grits, or ultra-contemporary interpretations of regional favorites all await. But don’t begin until you have your bartender create his favorite specialty cocktail for you. When it’s time to retire, you can stay at an elegant downtown hotel that offers nightly jazz entertainment. Or depart downtown for Kiawah Island, just 15 minutes away. Co-author Kim Pomremski reports on the world-class Kiawah Island Golf Resort, where you can enjoy a romantic escape for two complete with golf, tennis, and a luxurious spa. Bring the family and spend your days swimming, kayaking, taking nature tours, or let the kids have fun in their own special camp. Restaurants here run the gamut from family casual to fine dining worthy of dressing up.

Fly Idaho! Third Edition – The Backcountry “Bible”—Even Better

Nearly every pilot in Idaho who flies the backcountry carries a copy of Hanselman’s book, Fly Idaho!, in the cockpit, to the point where most simply refer to it as “the backcountry pilot’s bible.” The big news is that, after five years of painstaking labor, the all-new Third Edition of this indispensible guide is now being printed and is ready for pre-orders. Hanselman followed up his first successful Idaho book with similar volumes on airstrips in Baja California, Montana, and Utah. Together, these books have made thousands of pilots aware of backcountry flying and provided them with the tools to operate safely in and out of these airstrips. The First Edition of Fly Idaho! was published in 1994; a second issue followed in 1998. By 2010 however, some of the information presented in Fly Idaho! had become outdated. Hanselman decided it was time for a completely new, updated version of Fly Idaho!, his biggest project by far. The all-new Third Edition of Fly Idaho! is a whopping 946 pages in two volumes and covers 83 airstrips, compared with 456 pages and 71 airstrips in the previous edition. The author visited every airstrip and painstakingly measured each airstrip’s length, width, condition, elevation, and slope as well as taking photographs. Pilot Getaways Managing Editor Crista V. Worthy, who assisted Hanselman with data collection at several of the airstrips, describes how the new data has been incorporated into additional runway slope and terrain illustrations that are new to the Idaho book. Recreational information, history, and numerous humorous anecdotes make the book a pleasure to read. You’ll also find out about a special add-on that is free with a pre-order of the book. Hanselman has created user waypoints for these airstrips not shown on aeronautical charts and put them into a file that can be imported into ForeFlight, making it easier than ever to navigate to remote backcountry airstrips. Pre-order your copy!