You are hereNovember/December 2010

November/December 2010

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean to have to tuck your plane away until spring. Our authors and editors have crisscrossed the country to bring you the best wintertime getaways, whether you’re looking for fun in the snow or fun in the sunshine.

New Mexico, Gallup

Gallup is often called the Indian Capital of the World, and if you love Native American arts, you will absolutely love this place. Indian artists from the Navajo, Zuni, Acoma, Laguna, and Santo Domingo Pueblos bring their finest creations to the authentic trading posts here. Step inside one of these trading posts and be blown away by the sheer quantity of turquoise, pottery, and rugs. As Technical Editor Crista V. Worthy explains, the staff will be happy to give you a tour into their vaults where many Indians store their most precious possessions. You can buy with confidence, knowing exactly where and by whom a piece of jewelry was made, and perhaps even learn a bit about the artists themselves. Downtown Gallup bustles with local activity and diversity. Savor authentic Southwestern cuisine at low prices. Visit the historic El Rancho Hotel with its Western and film memorabilia, and then take a few side trips. The countryside is loaded with national monuments, including the fantastic Chaco Culture National Historical Park. Make a visit to the nearby Zuni Pueblo and meet local artists in their studios. December brings the Red Rock Balloon Rally, with upwards of 200 hot air balloons filling the skies, as well as parades, dancing, and other activities. In August, come for the Intertribal Ceremonial, where Indians from tribes all over the U.S. converge to show off their finest clothes, dances, jewelry, and other arts.

Sarasota, Florida

Looking for a place to stay warm this winter? Look no further than Sarasota, Florida. It’s on the Gulf Coast between Tampa and Ft. Myers. Author Heather Sanders Sable reveals that it’s often called “the cultural coast” for its art and educational museums and attractions, but you’ll also find plenty of sophisticated cuisine, excellent shopping, and lots of recreational opportunities. One of Sarasota’s most distinguished early settlers was John Ringling of Ringling Brother Circus fame. He and his wife built a Venetian-style mansion on the waterfront, as well as a museum to house their comprehensive collection of 17th century art, both of which you can visit today. Sarasota is also home to an exquisite tropical botanical garden and aquarium, loaded with fish, animals and plants from the area. If you like wildlife, visit Myakka River State Park, for excellent hiking, fishing, camping, and wildlife viewing. Rent a bike or get out on the water in a canoe or kayak, or even an enormous airboat. When it’s time to retire, you’ll find everything from bayside bungalows to chic boutique hotels and resorts—in town, on an island, or by the waterfront. Watch dolphins, pelicans and eagles from your room. Want something different to eat? Try Yoder’s: an Amish restaurant with American home cooking and an incredible selection of handmade desserts. Of course you can enjoy fine seafood dishes right on the water, but there’s so much more out on the Barrier Islands, from crispy stuffed and roasted duckling to Greek lamb shank, all accompanied by live music and fabulous views. It’s a tropical paradise in mid-winter!

Canaan Valley, West Virginia

Canaan Valley offers four seasons of fun, but with two ski resorts, it’s a great place to visit in winter. Windwood Fly-In Resort offers a private, 3,000-ft. airstrip for pilots, making access easy any time of year. The Canaan Valley Resort and the Timberline Resort are nestled in the Allegheny Mountains, where you can ski (downhill or Nordic), snowshoe, go ice skating or tubing, all with nearby food and accommodations. For something different, try a horseback ride in the snow with beautiful views and plenty of wildlife all around. Stay at the resorts, or try a private cabin just a couple of miles away, stocked with a hot tub, full kitchen, stone fireplace, heated towel racks and floors, and big-screen TVs. Dine in your cabin if you wish, or venture out to a restaurant/pub overlooking a Wilderness Area that specializes in delectable seafood dishes like scallops and crab. Try wonderful Italian cuisine in a 100-year-old steam ship office or enjoy gourmet coffeehouses, weekend buffets, and markets.

Sun Valley, Idaho

Sun Valley, Idaho, is a great recreational destination any time of year, but especially in winter, when it takes center stage as one of the world’s pre-eminent ski resorts. Built in 1936 by railroad baron Averell Harriman, Sun Valley boasted the world’s first chairlifts and fabulous cuisine right on the slopes. It immediately became a favorite winter hangout of Hollywood’s elite, as well as world-famous skiers and the rich and powerful. It still is. Plenty of famous people have homes here and return for the great skiing and great service year after year. Better yet, Sun Valley offers good value for your travel dollar and it’s quite family-friendly. With two separate mountains (one just for beginners) and only 10% of lift capacity utilized on any given day, you won’t wait in lines or feel crowded. The food, both on the slopes and in the resort, is top-quality and reasonably priced, as are the accommodations. This all-inclusive resort has everything you need for a great vacation, whether you want to ski, snowshoe, ice skate, hike, bike, swim, play tennis, golf, fish, and much more—Sun Valley has something for everyone all year, and it’s easy to get around here without a car.

Pennywise Aviation

The recession has been tough on just about everyone, and that includes pilots. Money is tight, but if we fly less our proficiency will suffer. Author Christina Chapman has a remedy—actually 14 of them! She offers great tips to stretch your flying dollar, from fuel costs and insurance to tie-down/hangar fees, annuals, and more.