You are hereMay/June 2009

May/June 2009

Get ready with summer adventures from all over the country. Visit Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes, where you can get a ride to your restaurant in a float plane. If you favor the backcountry, we’ve got a secret strip next to a trout-laden stream, deep within northern Idaho’s wilderness forests. Soak in mineral-rich hot springs in Colorado’s San Juan River after an exciting mountain bike ride. Or take a stroll on world famous Daytona Beach. Thinking about moving to an airpark? The second installment of our series will give you more tips. We’ve even got helpful hints on how to get the best new paint job for your aircraft.

Tower, Minnesota

The far-northern reaches of the land of 10,000 lakes is a wonderful area for your summer vacation. With a private plane, you can land at Tower Airport, on the shores of Lake Vermilion. Fiery sunsets are the rule here, enjoyed after a peaceful day of fishing, golf, boating, or swimming. Author Patricia Strutz explains where you can rent a fully-equipped powerboat, or sneak into quiet marshes with a canoe to spy on the local wildlife. You could also ride along with the mailboat, listening to tales of years gone by when they also delivered groceries, lumber, and livestock. Bring the kids for a tour of the old iron mine, with its antique works and machinery. For a special treat, book a floatplane for the trip up to Nelson’s Resort near the Canadian border. When it’s time to turn in, you’ll be happy to know you’ve got several resorts to choose from with a range of rooms and amenities from in-room kitchens to resort casinos. Or stay on a houseboat and fall asleep to the gentle rhythm of the lake. You’ll agree that Tower is one of Minnesota’s best-kept secrets!

Daytona Beach, Florida

Daytona Beach is arguably the most famous beach in the world. It is a place nearly synonymous with auto racing: many early land-speed records were set here, and it is the home of NASCAR. But, along with a rich history, this compact community has many more activities to offer. As author Sandra Friend explains, several acclaimed museums offer insight into arts, sciences, and the area’s maritime and auto history. You can hike through the peaceful Ponce Preserve on the banks of the Halifax River, and visit Florida’s tallest lighthouse with its fully restored Fresnel lens. And of course, there is the Daytona International Speedway, home to NASCAR racing as well as an entire entertainment center with IMAX, tours, and simulators. There’s a chocolate factory for those with a sweet tooth, and four-diamond oceanfront dining when you’ve got something special to celebrate. Beachfront hotels range from the historic Plaza Resort & Spa—in operation for over a century and recently renovated—to family-oriented hotels and tiny, exclusive inns.

Pagosa Springs, Colorado

It’s no wonder National Geographic’s “Adventure” magazine named Pagosa Springs one of the 50 Next Great Adventure Towns. As author Tamara Brown points out, it’s a small, still mostly-undiscovered town on the banks of the mighty San Juan River. Here you can shoot whitewater rapids, careen down an aspen-lined mountain biking trail, hike to Indian ruins, or even go treasure hunting. And when you’ve tired of all that, the river is lined with hot mineral pools in which you can soak and watch the river turn golden as the sun sets. You might even spot elk and deer that visit the river each evening. Back in town, you can visit the Fred Harman Western Art Museum or enjoy special events like the Balloon Festival. You’ll be able to choose between luxurious bed-and-breakfast inns, resorts at the springs, a pilot’s motel, or year-round camping. The town has a local brewery with a restaurant, as well as fine dining establishments, breakfast cafés, and even high tea in the afternoon.

Stonington, Maine

If you’ve ever considered visiting Maine, summer is the best time to make the trip. Authors Cal Thomas and Janie Phillips take you to Stonington, at the southern tip of Deer Isle. It is easily accessed by aircraft, and with dozens of other nearby islands, this is a kayaker’s paradise. Nearby Isle du Haut is home to the most pristine portions of Arcadia National Park, with 18 miles of hiking trails through forests, marshes, and shorelines. Other maritime adventures include canoeing, sail boating, charter cruises, and island camping. In the town of Stonington, Main Street is just right for strolling its art galleries, shops, museums, and restaurants, and the ocean is right beside you. You can catch the show at the Stonington Opera House that has a year-round schedule of concerts, films, and other performances. When it’s time to retire for the evening, you’ll have numerous unique bed & breakfast establishments or inns to choose from. In a place like this, you’d guess the seafood would be fabulous, and you’d be right—the freshest Maine lobster, crab, and other delicacies tempt you from restaurants situated right on the water. Pair your meal with a local microbrew, and you’ll understand why the locals love this town!

Shearer, Idaho

Montana bush pilot Mike Sidders relates that every backcountry airstrip offers something to remember; at Shearer, the mornings will draw you back, year after year. Most mornings, a thick fog that penetrates the forest will keep you on the ground for a while, but it lets you muse how lucky you are not to have to deal with the office. You can sit back, relax, enjoy your coffee, and watch the deer nibbling the dew-laden grass. The nearby Selway River calls out to you, because you know it is bursting with hungry trout. Later, you can go for a leisurely hike among the trees. Hike up the ridge if you want a stunning view of the surrounding wilderness. It’s all there waiting for you, if you and your aircraft are up for this beautiful, isolated, and somewhat challenging mountain strip.

Plane Sites Part II – Inside Airpark Life

In this issue, Senior Editor Stephanie Smith brings you the second installment of our series on airpark living. Why live in an airpark? Well, as Pegasus Airpark resident Col R. D. Aut says, “The time from when I decide to go flying to runup is maybe 10 minutes.” Many airpark residents form tight communities, with regular BBQs and other get-togethers. The atmosphere and benefits vary from park to park, and we give you a sampling from across the country. But it’s not always paradise. Read this article to find out how to avoid potential pitfalls of airpark living, so your home can be all blue skies.

Painting Your Airplane – Planning for Success

It’s amazing what a quality paint job can do for aging aircraft, but it’s not a step to be taken without a little research first. Author Michael Coyle shows you all the important points to consider when choosing a paint shop, both for aesthetic and safety reasons. You’ll learn about all the procedures involved, what’s covered and what’s not, and what you can do to assist the shop so your new paint job will last for many years.