You are hereSeptember/October 2008

September/October 2008

Fall Is Here!

Fall is here and it’s high time to plan a fun getaway before winter sets in. As always, Pilot Getaways is ready with fun trips for pilots in every corner of the country from New England to the San Francisco Bay. As a salute to our Ten-Year Anniversary, we look back at our favorite Camping and best City Getaways.

Lexington, Kentucky

Mention Kentucky and two things quickly spring to mind: horse racing and fine bourbon. And there’s no better place than Lexington to experience both. As author Fran Severn-Levy explains, after you land at Lexington’s Blue Grass Airport, it’s just a short hop to Keeneland Race Course, among our most revered and traditional horse racing tracks. You’re just in time for one of its two yearly race meetings that is held in October. Get up early to take in the horses’ early morning workouts, and then have breakfast with some of the regulars, before the bugle announces it’s race time. Right at the airport, the Aviation Museum of Kentucky features vintage aircraft and honors aviation pioneers. Don’t miss the Buffalo Trace Distillery, operating since 1770, and one of only four allowed to remain open during Prohibition. Tours and tasting are “on the house.” Historic sites, an eclectic arts scene, and great shopping complete the itinerary. You won’t go hungry, either, not with such delights as real Southern BBQ, traditional Kentucky “hot brown,” or smoky Bourbon and Tabasco pork chops. Hotels abound: everything from a B&B right in the middle of a working thoroughbred farm to a luxury resort and spa and even boutique inns. You’ll depart for home in a Blue Grass state of mind, relaxed and ready for reality.

Luray, Virginia

After landing in Luray, you can immerse yourself in the fall foliage at Shenandoah National Park and meander over the 105-mile Skyline Drive on the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains with 75 overlooks and numerous trail heads, lodges, and waysides. Author Heather Sable describes the serenity of paddling a canoe on the Shenandoah River, and a fascinating visit to Luray Caverns, home to giant stalactites and stalagmites. For hikers, the world-famous Appalachian Trail passes through here. Hungry? You’ll find everything from good ol’ fashioned country cookin’ to fine Prime Rib and Blackberry Ice Cream Pie. When it’s time to retire for the night, the Luray Country Cabins are just across from the airport. Or you can stay at the Skyline Lodge at the top of the Skyline Drive for the expected great views. Downtown features a luxury inn, several B&Bs and an assortment of motels. You’ll love Luray!

Langley, Washington

Langley is a small town on the southern tip of beautiful Whidbey Island, northwest of Seattle. The Olympic Mountains to the west mean that this area gets only half the rain of nearby Seattle, and the waters of Puget Sound beckon kayakers. Author Erin Bosnjak points out that while you admire the island from your watery viewpoint, you’ll probably also spot herons, seals, porpoises, and even a gray whale. Nearby beaches are havens for beachcombers, and the marina provides a unique habitat for numerous underwater species that you can visit by scuba diving. The historic downtown, with many buildings dating to the town’s founding in the late 1800s, has an ample supply of quaint shops, and there’s a nearby spa to soothe your aching muscles after a full day. You can savor an elegant six-course meal prepared with locally harvested ingredients and paired with fine wines. Other restaurants offer panoramic views of the Sound and its sailboats. And where would a community in this part of the world be without a fabulous coffee house? You’ll find the finest here, freshly roasted on-site, right next to the airport, with delicious breakfast or lunch accompaniments. As for hotels, if you want the best, go with The Inn at Langley, voted one of the top 500 hotels of the world three years running by Travel & Leisure magazine. The Boatyard Inn, right on the water, is another excellent choice, with fireplaces and private balconies. With beauty and friendliness everywhere you turn, you’ll be glad you came.

Oakland, California

Oakland is often overlooked by tourists, who instead flock to nearby San Francisco. But as author Michael Coyle points out, the other city by the bay has so much to offer, you don’t want to miss it. At the airport, you can start with the Oakland Aviation Museum that is home to classic and military aircraft. At a pier in Alameda, you can tour the USS Hornet and view Navy jets and an Apollo test capsule. There’s an excellent science center and a pleasant waterfront pedestrian mall with author Jack London’s original cabin. You can also tour Franklin Roosevelt’s presidential yacht, a floating lighthouse, or paddle a kayak. If that’s not classy enough, you can ride in an authentic Venetian gondola! Such a diverse city also serves up an array of diverse restaurants, so there’s something to please every palate. Just don’t miss the handmade ice creams at Fenton Creamery!

Apalachicola, Florida

You can find warmth and adventure on the forgotten coast of Florida’s panhandle. Author Sandra Friend notes that Apalachicola has been named one of America’s Dozen Distinct Destinations for 2008 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and you’ll understand why when you stroll past the gingerbread Victorians and 1920s cottages lining the quaint streets. Downtown is filled with historic buildings, such as the 1836 Greek sponge exchange, which sells real sponges harvested in the Gulf of Mexico. Other sites give tours, and you’ll find art galleries, nautical antiques, and other shops. Despite being nearly two hours from any kind of big city life, Apalachicola is becoming a destination for foodies as well, because this town is a working port for watermen who line their boats up daily, brimming with freshly-caught fish, shrimp, and oysters, which are then served in the highly-rated local restaurants along with produce from nearby farms. You can also head out for some ocean fishing yourself. The nearby estuary is home to numerous creatures including bald eagles and osprey. Learn more about this critical habitat at the Apalachicola Nature Center. Elegant historic inns, B&Bs, and guesthouses offer a variety of accommodations for the discerning traveler. You’re going to love discovering this treasure!

Franconia, New Hampshire

New Hampshire’s White Mountains in full fall foliage are a special treat for “leaf peepers.” Lucky for you, you can fly right in to the Franconia Inn Restaurant and Lodge. You’ll feast on award-winning, gourmet American cuisine while enjoying views of autumn-flecked mountains at this historic inn that has been open since before the Civil War. Two dining rooms have seasonal menus that change every few days and feature locally-grown foods. Author Heather Sable offers examples from the menu including Lobster Ravioli, Rack of Lamb, and New England Jonah Rock Crab Cakes, and Chocolate Raviolis for dessert. Stay at the tastefully decorated inn, and you’ll be greeted in the morning by the aroma of fresh pastry, maple syrup, bacon, and hot coffee. Ready for the day, you can choose horseback riding or bicycling in the foothills, or soar over them in a glider and land back at the grass runway near your plane.

Lake Wenatchee, Washington

Author Linda Rowe Fore takes us deep into the Cascade Mountains to a challenging backcountry airstrip that is surrounded by 100-ft. pine trees. This summertime destination offers the quiet solitude of a remote campsite with nearby access to many outdoor activities. Enjoy a hike through towering pine trees or a refreshing dip in a mountain lake. Anglers can battle feisty lake trout while friends and family enjoy guided horseback rides through the state park. There are nearby convenient stores and restaurants or you can bring your own supplies and never leave the spot you carve out and call home in the Cascades. With the appropriate airplane and mountain flying skills, you can enjoy this bush strip that has it all.

VFR Charts for Mexico – A Comparative Analysis

Until recently, the only VFR charts that covered all of Mexico were Operational Navigation Charts (ONCs) and Tactical Pilotage Charts (TPCs) from the Department of Defense. However, this year, Mexican WAC charts were released to cover information like their U.S. counterparts. As owner of Caribbean Sky Tours, a trip planning company that assists Mexico-bound pilots and conducts escorted flying tours, Rick Gardner is well suited to share his knowledge of the variety of different VFR charts for Mexico.