You are hereMarch/April 2017

March/April 2017

Right on the cusp of another flying season, this issue has articles that span coast to coast: The Pacific Northwest, Florida’s Atlantic Coast, and the mountains and plains in between. Make a plan, get out there, and go flying! In addition, our Flying Tips article should inspire you to try something new and take advantage of the incredible opportunities for fun and exploration that your airplane offers you.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

The Western town of Jackson Hole has everything going for it, as Heather Sanders Sable discovered on a recent trip to this hideaway of movie stars, politicians, and lovers of the outdoors. A beautiful airport sits square in the middle of the long valley, providing easy access for pilots. Arguably the most spectacular yet compact mountain range in North America rises directly above the town. No matter what time of year: whether you are skiing in winter, or hiking, climbing, or white-water rafting in summer, your eyes will be drawn every few minutes to the Tetons that tower above. Multiple resorts cater to your every whim and offer haute cuisine with spectacular views of the mountains and valley, full spa treatments, and adventure outings. Grand Teton National Park is just outside town, and offers some of the best wildlife viewing in America. Moose and elk abound, and in winter you can get up close to hundreds of elk wintering in the valley bottom You’ll probably run across a moose if you take a little hike on the trails around the lakes. There’s so much incredible wildlife here that our National Wildlife Museum is located in Jackson Hole. During your stay, don’t miss the opportunity to visit this museum, which houses every type of wildlife art, including huge paintings so realistic you’d swear they were photos. Back in town, browse swanky shops, pick up some top-brand cowboy duds, and dig into some of the West’s best steaks. Pull on those new cowboy boots and pay homage to the Wild West at the infamous Million Dollar Cowboy Bar. Jackson Hole: it’s outdoorsy, it’s cowboy, it’s sophisticated, and you’ll see it’s great any time of year.

Astoria, Oregon

The mighty Columbia River divides Washington from Oregon as it flows through the Columbia Gorge, Portland, Ore., and on to where it empties into the Pacific Ocean. Just upstream from its mouth, the river is over six miles wide and on the south, or Oregon, side of the river, you’ll find Astoria. For as long as this river system has existed, millions of salmon have traveled upstream each summer across the Northwest and into the high central Idaho mountains. Astoria was perfectly positioned to capitalize on this bounty and thrived as a great fishing town, with canneries to rival those in Monterey, California. Even though multiple dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers have since decimated the salmon runs and the canneries have shut down, you’ll sense the fishing heritage when you visit this beautiful and historic town on the sparkling river. Astoria has diversified and beckons visitors with a wharfside luxury boutique hotel and multiple high-end restaurants… without the high-end prices or attitude. As Managing Editor Crista Videriksen Worthy discovered, more and more Portland-area “foodies” are making the trip to Astoria for relaxing strolls along the wharf and a taste of Astoria’s fishing heritage. Hop onto the rebuilt 1913 trolley, walk along the beach and photograph the famous wreck of the Peter Iredale, and stop in to the nationally acclaimed Columbia River Maritime Museum. A film depicts expert bar pilots working the dangerous Columbia River Bar as well as harrowing Coast Guard video of winter storms and 40-foot seas. When you get hungry, you can stop in at a popular wharfside brewpub with fabulous local fish and plenty of craft beers on tap. Part of the dining room floor is glass, and you can look through at the huge sea lions that often bask below. Other eateries offer exceptional oysters, fish & chips, and frozen custard. Astoria is a jewel of the Pacific Northwest, just waiting for you to discover it.

Fort Pierce, Florida

Fly to the Treasure Coast International Airport in Fort Pierce, on Florida’s Atlantic coast, to frolic on the beaches and barrier islands and get a taste of Naval history at the same time. As author Patricia Strutz explains, no visit to Fort Pierce is complete without a stop at the National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum. You’ll gain a new respect for historical and contemporary “Frogmen,” those specially trained in scuba diving in a tactical capacity, many of whom trained in the waters nearby. Today, those same beaches beckon sun and surf worshippers. You may not be a Navy SEAL but you can scuba dive or snorkel here too and look for colorful tropical fish and wary lobsters. Meanwhile, the city’s historical downtown features art galleries, restaurants, a farmer’s market, and a botanical garden which boasts the largest public collection of tropical bonsai trees on permanent display. Bring your binoculars since the inlets provide haven for gorgeous birds like roseate spoonbill and ibis! Pack you fishing rod too, so you can hook a tasty snook, speckled trout, or redfish. After your busy day, you’ll have a selection of tropical-themed inns and bungalows to choose from, as well as tiki bars and restaurants serving treats like freshly-shucked oysters, conch chowder, Cuban sandwiches, coconut shrimp, or jerked tenderloin kebobs.

Kearney, Nebraska

Each spring, one of the world’s greatest avian spectacles takes place in central Nebraska, on the vast mudflats along the “Big Bend” portion of the Platte River. Some 80% of the world’s sandhill cranes arrive every March from wintering grounds in Mexico, Texas, and New Mexico. And every year, “craniacs” from around the world also converge on this site, to watch the cranes feed, rest, and dance on the sandbars in the river and in the adjacent fields. But as Managing Editor Crista Videriksen Worthy explains, there’s much more to this area than the crane migration. The Platte River corridor also hosted one of America’s biggest human migrations—the western expansion that took place during the mid-1800s. While in the area, you can visit a number of unique museums and other destinations that convey the importance of this region to our shared history. Kearney is home to the Museum of Nebraska Art, which showcases over 5,000 works, including paintings by John James Audubon, Albert Bierstadt, Robert Henri, George Catlin, and Thomas Hart Benton, in addition to many contemporary artists. The Classic Car Collection displays over 200 cars from the early 1900s to the modern era. At the Great Platte River Road Archway, you’ll experience the westward expansion of America during a self-guided sight-and-sound tour. Drive or fly (they have their own airport) to Pioneer Village and its huge collection of unique Americana. The privately-owned museum includes 28 buildings on 20 acres and displays over 50,000 objects, including antique aircraft. In the nearby town of Grand Island, you can shop downtown’s “Antique Avenue,” catch a big-screen movie, or enjoy outdoor summer concerts and dining. Unique cafés and restaurants in both towns, along with the crane migration, will keep you coming back to this part of America again and again.

Opportunity: It’s Waiting in Your Hangar

Since its inception in 1998, Pilot Getaways has published hundreds of articles, introducing our readers to aviation adventures far and wide. Over the years, through economic growth, the Great Recession, and the long, slow recovery, we’ve noticed a number of trends that traveling pilots might encounter. In this article, Managing Editor Crista Videriksen Worthy discusses the trends she’s noticed and offers a few tips on how you can help remind those in the tourism industry of the special needs of general aviation travelers, so you can continue to enjoy the kinds of services you depend on when you travel. And we’ll remind you of that phrase: “When You Travel.” Here we are, at the beginning of another beautiful flying season. Where will you fly this year? Read this article for inspiration and tips on how to find fun new places to fly. Happy flying!