Hyperlocal is the New Local

Hyperlocal is the New Local

A few years back, Guy Michlin was traveling through Greece when a chance meeting with a local family snagged him an invitation to share a meal in their home. Eating authentic Greek food and getting an up-close look into the culture was an unforgettable experience, the highlight of Michlin’s trip.

A light bulb went off. Why not create a brand-new opportunity for travelers—to eat in people’s homes around the world—thought Michlin. He paired up with his friend Shemer Schwarz, and the duo founded EatWith. Suddenly, culinary entrepreneurs—from home cooks to professional chefs—had a platform to share their passion and monetize their craft. And travelers had a chance to experience how people really live and eat, something you don’t usually get while dining in a restaurant. “Food brings people together,” says Michlin.

EatWith is just one example of hyperlocal travel, a new sector of the vacation industry that is transforming the way people see the world. When flying to the Caribbean, for example, Tradewind travelers can use it to get in touch with locals and experience another culture in a truly profound way.

Photo credit: EatWith

Photo credit: EatWith

This fast-growing category of peer-to-peer travel is taking the sharing economy made famous by brands like Airbnb and Uber to a whole new level. It’s also being fueled by the digital revolution, which has created easy tools to connect people across the globe in ways that were unheard of in the pre-Facebook era.

Vayable is another hyperlocal company that has created a marketplace for all kinds of unique experiences worldwide. Want to see street art and eat well in Los Angeles? Melanie P., a plugged-in local, will guide you around Venice, one of the city’s coolest neighborhoods. Heading to Chicago and interested in the nightlife there? You can hook up with Philip H., a special event producer, and check out the hottest clubs and lounges in the city.

The trailblazing Vayable was founded in 2011 by Jamie Wong, who saw a huge gap in the travel market around easy-to-find and easily bookable experiences. It has grown to include more than 13,000 offerings in 1,000 cities. “Travelers have discovered that the more personal, customized, and connected their travel is, the more meaningful it becomes, and therefore more valuable it becomes,” says Wong.

Ferran Adrià is one of the most innovative chefs on the planet—the man who created Spain’s legendary restaurant-turned-food foundation El Bulli and developed a radical new style of molecular gastronomy. So it says a lot that he is one of the investors behind a Barcelona-based startup called Trip4real, which is focused on European locations but expanding globally. Like Vayable, Trip4real allows locals to become micro-entrepreneurs, sharing their passions, interests, and hobbies with travelers.

Photo credit: EatWith

Photo credit: EatWith

For instance, instead of waiting in line for the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona and seeing what everyone else sees, Trip4real will connect you with a local family that actually lives in a Modernist house nearby. “I believe you only truly know a place when you connect with someone local and that traveling is about people, not just places,” says founder Gloria Molins.

Another contender in the hyperlocal space is the just-launched Gibby Road, which caters to travelers in Los Angeles, New York City, Las Vegas, Detroit, the Hamptons, and select international cities. The owners came up with the idea at Surf Lodge, a popular nightclub-slash-restaurant-slash-hotel on Gibson Street in Montauk. Because one of their friends worked at Surf Lodge, they were able to walk right in, skipping the line of 40 to 50 people waiting for entry. They realized that by knowing the right people, travelers could go to the best events, get into the bars with the most challenging door policies, and enjoy the most local experiences possible.

"The next generation of travel is about experiences,” says cofounder Rachel Harrison. “Instead of bragging about what five-star hotel you stayed at, people are now talking about the unique experiences and the stories of their trips."

The hyperlocal industry is exploding and the possibilities are endless. Want to hang out with chefs? BookaLokal is the source. In Europe, Mexico, or Brazil and need a free ride somewhere? BlaBlaCar will hook you up with a local (it’s a safer version of hitchhiking). Want to make sure the photographs from your vacation are amazing? Hire a company like Flytographer or Localgrapher to send a local photographer to document your trip. “I think that it´s absolutely amazing when you can combine getting to know someone local together with some useful service that is provided to you by the same person,” says Localgrapher founder Matej Slezak.

Photo credit: Vayable

Photo credit: Vayable

There are even hyperlocal apps that will do the connecting for you, like UrbanBuddy or Spotted Places, a startup that is in beta mode in Seattle. “Spotted Places allows users to follow their friends, family, or other individuals they find interesting such as influencers and celebrities. By seeing the spots these individuals recommend on a map, users can always know the top recommendations near them,” says Bryant Hawthorne, founder of Spotted Places. “Think of it as Pokémon GO for experiences.”

And the company ViaHero takes the whole idea of hyperlocal travel one step beyond: It is a platform where you can find a local who will act like a travel agent and actually plan your entire trip. ViaHero launched in Cuba—a destination where the main draw is the vibrant local culture—and is currently expanding into Iceland. On the horizon: Croatia, Japan, and New Zealand.

“Peer-to-peer platforms are often cheaper, you deal with real people instead of corporations, and you can use the opinion of the crowds to determine the quality of what you're getting,” says ViaHero founder Greg Buzulencia. “Five years ago peer-to-peer platforms seemed riskier, but today they are the standard for trustworthiness.”

 

Featured image courtesy of EatWith

Pick Your Island: Watersports in the Caribbean

Pick Your Island: Watersports in the Caribbean

White sands and glistening seas characterize each of the idyllic islands of the Caribbean. But as frequent travelers know, the similarities between the islands essentially stop there. Every destination harbors a unique culture and appeal that you won’t find on a neighboring shore, and some waters are more suited for watersports than others.

From surfing in San Juan to deep-sea fishing in Nevis, here are our favorite destinations for chasing passions on the water. Tradewind can get you there with hubs in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Antigua, and St. Thomas.

Surfing | Puerto Rico

Photo credit: WOW Surfing School

Photo credit: WOW Surfing School

There’s a reason Puerto Rico is so often listed as a top Caribbean surf destination, and it has everything to do with the consistent, year-round waves. Fall and winter may be the best times to visit the island for swell, but surfers will find quality waves during all seasons, even summer, with the best places to paddle out being the north and northwest coasts. If you prefer to stay close to San Juan, head to Playa Aviones—a crowded but reliable surf spot revered by locals and visitors alike. Or for a more far-flung adventure, cruise along the coast to Rincon or Aguadilla to find some of the island’s best breaks.

Our Recommendation: Rent a board at WOW Surfing School in San Juan on your way the beach, or stay for a lesson for beginner and intermediate surfers.

Sailing | Antigua

Photo credit: Horizon Yacht Charters

Boating has always been at the heart of Antigua’s culture, from weekly races on the water to annual regattas that draw seafarers from all over the world. (Devoted sailors should plan to attend Sailing Week in the spring.) And with an estimated 365 beaches and countless places to drop anchor, it’s easy to see why. You could spend an entire year circling the little island and wake up to a different stretch of shoreline each day. Antigua is also known as one of the top sunset spots in the Caribbean, making it a beautiful place for experienced boaters and those simply wishing for an evening sail on the Caribbean.

Our Recommendation: Horizon Yacht Charters in Jolly Harbour Marina offers sailing charters and week-long classes designed to give you the skills needed to handle a 33 to 40-foot watercraft.

Kitesurfing | St. Barth

Kitesurfing-in-St-Barth-Caribbean

When it comes to kitesurfing in the Caribbean, you’d be hard pressed to find a more beautiful spot than the serene waters of St. Barth. Consistent winds and glassy seas have made it a preferred destination for professional kitesurfers and windsurfers alike, with Grand Cul de Sac considered to be the best location on the island. The tradewinds blowing in from the Atlantic mean the shallow bay is often experiencing 15-20 mile-per-hour conditions—perfect for kitesurfing—while a protective coral reef keeps the waters calm for beginning and experienced athletes to enjoy.

Our Recommendation: Reach new heights with a kitesurfing lesson from Saint Barth Kite. Most sessions take place in Grand Cul de Sac, but experienced kitesurfers can head into the deeper seas of Saline with a southeastern wind.

Diving | Anguilla

Photo credit: Shoal Bay Scuba Shack

Photo credit: Shoal Bay Scuba Shack

The tranquil seas around Anguilla are a snorkeler’s paradise, teeming with vibrant schools of fish and magnificent sea turtles, but some of the most spectacular sights and experiences are found at greater depths accessible only to scuba divers. The island is home to seven marine parks filled with beautiful rock formations, shipwrecks, and an array of sea life that doesn’t venture so close to the surface. First-time divers in the area should make time for Stoney Bay Marine Park, Anguilla’s first underwater heritage sight. Here you can explore an 18th century sunken ship that still has its cannons, anchors, and other fascinating finds.

Our Recommendation: Shoal Bay Scuba Shack, located in The Valley, assists beginning divers with Open Water certification and more experienced divers with obtaining a Master certification.

Kayaking and Paddleboarding | St. Thomas

Photo credit: Jimi Smith

Photo credit: Jimi Smith

You will likely have a wonderful kayaking or paddleboarding experience anywhere in the Caribbean, but there are some places like St. Thomas that are simply unparalleled. Beginners will enjoy exploring the calm Caribbean bays, while more experienced paddlers may wish to travel to protected wildlife preserves like Bird Island and Cas Cay. In any case, you’re sure to see an abundance of vibrant marine life, especially if you opt for a clear bottom kayak. And for those looking for even more, sign up for a night paddling tour in a kayak or on a paddleboard equipped with LED lights. You’ll be able to observe sea creatures that only come out at night—an experience truly unlike any other.

Our Recommendation: Grab your rental or sign up for an island tour with the Adventure Center, located on-site at Marriott Frenchman’s Reef Resort.

Charter Fishing | Nevis

Family-Charter-Fishing-in-Nevis-Caribbean

The little island of Nevis may not seem like the obvious destination for charter fishing, but it’s in these waters that visitors truly experience the abundance of the sea. Cast your line close to shore in hopes of hooking snapper and grouper among the reefs, or opt for a deep sea fishing excursion where you may come across wahoo, mahi-mahi, mackerel, tuna, and marlin. There are many sport fishing boats departing from Nevis—as well as some larger yachts departing from the nearby St. Kitts—that can accommodate you for half or full day charters. Most captains are also willing to customize trips to include snorkeling, visits to nearby islands, and watching the sunset over the Caribbean Sea.

Our Recommendation: Whether you’re an experienced angler or family with young children, Caribbean Catch in Cades Bay will tailor a cruise right for you.

Four Great Rooms on St. Barth

Four Great Rooms on St. Barth

Given that St. Barth, one of Tradewind Aviation's major Caribbean destinations (flights from San Juan or St. Thomas), is an overseas collectivity of France, let's use a French expression for this story about singular hotel rooms: Crème de la Crème.

On an island with a surplus of great hotel rooms, these are the one-percenters (including a one-percenter that, relatively speaking, is inexpensive).

Cheval Blanc St. Barth Isle de France: The Beach Suites

The glamour rooms at this epitome of the sexy French Caribbean hideaway are the four Beach Suites, 1,500-square-foot loft-like spaces that have private pools (twice as big as the usual plunge), dead-on ocean views, and privacy built in (butler service—just dial 444—and a dining room with a table for four). The decor is French-Cal chic: Mostly white (cotton-and-linen slipcovers, white-textured wall treatment), and faux-weathered wood, with dashes and dots of blush pink, the resort's signature color.

The bathroom is large enough to host a cocktail party for 12 (excluding the outdoor shower and terrace), and one gets a good idea of the expected clientele by opening the refrigerator: Three bottles of Dom (1998 Plenitude 2, 2003 Rosé, and 2006) and three bottles of Ruinart (Blanc de Blancs, Rosé, and Brut). Second-floor suites are better because they're at palm-top level. Four more Beach Suites open in 2017. Cheval Blanc is on Flamands Beach, one of the island's best.

Eden Rock: Christopher Columbus Suite

Photo credit: Eden Rock

Photo credit: Eden Rock

The great rooms at this hotel in St. Jean are 'on the Rock,' a round and craggy outcropping just off the beach. This is the hotel Robinson Crusoe might have built had he gotten an architecture and an interior design degree.

Go for the newest suite, Christopher Columbus (2,000 sq. meters/21,528 sq. ft.), which occupies the former reception area. It's a room made for James Bond, or maybe Goldfinger. The Columbus Suite is much longer than it is wide, and it’s traversed by two stone arches and a plexiglass wall that create separate living and sleeping areas. (The sleeping area also has its own living room.) The walk-in shower is of marble, and the second bathroom has a huge round tub.

It's the living room, though, that mesmerizes. The floor-to-ceiling glass walls look east into the Atlantic. There's the cloud-coffered sky, the horizon, the sea, and directly below, the coral reef that surrounds the hotel. All that space is your new-world discovery. Here, you really are Christopher Columbus in a way, because the world has never quite looked like this before.

Le Guanahani: Signature Suites

Photo credit: Le Guanahani

Photo credit: Le Guanahani

Le Guanahani occupies a niche of its own on St. Barth. It’s the island's only bona-fide, full-service resort: A 16-acre enclave with three restaurants (beach to fine dining), two lighted tennis courts, a cool fitness center right on the beach, St. Barth’s largest spa (with two butler-serviced wellness suites for those who want to live the spa life), a Frederic Fekkai hair salon, an 82-foot-long pool with water purified by ions rather than chlorine (swim all morning without rubbing your eyes), a water-sports center, and a complimentary children’s program. No other resort on the island comes even close to offering a menu like this.

In keeping with that ethos, the resort has over the years created eight Signature Suites, butler-serviced compounds actually. (All but two are larger than 900 sq. ft.) The property spills down a hillside between Grand Cul de Sac and Marigot Bay, and most of these rooms take complete advantage of the geography. The two-bedroom Admiral’s Suite, down on the water, has a 90-degree wrap-around view of Grand Cul de Sac (park your kite-surfer at the door) while the two-bedroom Marigot Suite occupies a high point between the two bays (bring a bag of books to read on the huge terrace by the plunge pool). As for serenity, at the very top of the resort, here the overused “breathtaking” is the mot juste—the view justly savored from the 538-square-foot deck around the pool.

Hotel LeVillage Saint Barth: Room Nine

This is the newest room at this vintage hotel (founded 1971), nestled in the hillside above St. Jean, and laid out slightly willy-nilly fashion, à la French hill towns. The room, like the hotel, is an example of luxury as simplicity—and part of that is the view over Baie de St. Jean from the bed and terrace.

The former takes up most of the indoor space. To the left is a living room, to the right a spacious bath with a walk-in rain shower, one corner of which consists of a rock that the hotel had the good sense to incorporate into the design. The terrace, roofed and fitted with an awning, is big enough to hold a cocktail party for eight, and that outdoor kitchenette becomes your bar.

You've stepped back into a simpler St. Barth at LeVillage—more timber and stucco than marble and glass and a hotel that has been here since 1969. (It was Craig Claiborne's favorite place on the island; he always stayed in Room 10.)

"I remember when there were no villas up there," says owner Catherine Charneau, daughter of the founder, gesturing toward the slope above the hotel.

One other simple luxury: Walking down to St. Jean (10 minutes), having coffee and croissant, window-shopping for bikinis, and going for a swim in Baie de St. Jean. Just as you'd do in France.

 

Featured image courtesy of Hotel LeVillage Saint Barth

Sizing Up Manhattan’s Largest Single Malt Scotch List

Sizing Up Manhattan’s Largest Single Malt Scotch List

Online, it's Keens Steakhouse, but on the awning it's Keens Chophouse. (No apostrophe, please.)

This is just one of the quirks that make this venerable meat-eater's sanctuary on West 36th Street so endearing, opened independently in 1885, when the area was part of the theatre district, but before that part of The Lambs Club, an actor hangout.

Open the heavy wooden door and you're entering the palpable past: Dining rooms of wood-paneled, perpetual dusk courtesy of the frosted glass windows, and of ceilings decorated with the largest collection of churchwarden pipes in the world. These hard-clay, thin-stemmed, small-bowled implements—you've seen them in Dutch paintings—were allegedly the remedy for driving away “evil homourse of the brain.”  They're a remnant of the days when men would leave their favorite warden pipe at their favorite inn. Keens once had a Pipe Club of more than 90,000 members, among them Teddy Roosevelt, Babe Ruth, Will Rogers, Billy Rose, Grace Moore, Albert Einstein, George M. Cohan, J.P. Morgan, Stanford White, John Barrymore, David Belasco, Adlai Stevenson, General Douglas MacArthur, and “Buffalo Bill” Cody.

Keens-Steakhouse-Scotch-Bar-in-New-York-City

But today we're not here to speak of smoke, but of smoky. Meaning the Keens single malt Scotch list, which at 308 different labels—"plus 10 downstairs that we're holding back," says the suave Brandon Falzone, one of the list's two keepers—is the largest at any restaurant in Manhattan. 

The list requires a triptych menu, and is divided into the traditional single malt genres (Highland, Highland-Speyside, Lowland, Islay, Island, and Campbeltown, plus "Single Malts From Unexpected Places," such as Texas, India, Japan, and Virginia.) The bottles themselves form a grandstand behind the tin-ceilinged bar, with more decks below the sightline. The collection was started in the 1980s by owner George Schwarz as a way of making Keens stand out at a time when the neighborhood was going south. (It's now going north.)

What you get at Keens is access to a single malt museum, with some bottles that are endangered species. "The industry is changing," says James Conley, a 17-year-veteran and the list's senior curator as it were, referring to the fact that distilleries are now increasingly making Scotch ready to drink now—"non-aged and less use of sherry barrels, all geared toward Millennials," he says. He offers the heavily peated Octomore as an example of a single malt that lives up to novice preconceptions. 

Keens-Steakhouse-Bar-in-New-York-City

What you want to go for at Keens are the single malts from distilleries deceased, signified by an asterisk that means "going, going," but that live on here for now (Brora 35-Year-Old, for example).

The fun part of the menu is to pin the tail on the donkey; point to something and ask Brandon or James to explain your shot in the dark. I went for the Ledaig 10-Year-Old from the Isle of Mull, and it lived up to Brandon's précis ("lightly smoked, fleet on the palate"). As for this duo's personal favorites, Conley characterizes the Macallan 25-Year-Old ($174) as "a little piece of Nirvana," but also cites the Highland Park 18-Year-Old ($22, from the Orkneys) and the Caol Ila 15-Year-Old ($22, from Islay) as value standouts. As for Brandon, he's a Springbank man, and suggests the Cask Strength 16-Year Local Barley ($30), an example of the new single malt locavore trend, making the Scotch from barley locally grown.

But then, don't ask for advice. Act the part. Order the Mortlach Rare Old ($24), the Mortlach 18-Year-Old ($46), or the Clynelish James MacArthur ($20, aged 12 years in Bourbon casks and another “going, going” Scotch). Says Conley, "I'd take you for a connoisseur."

Keens-Steakhouse-Bar-Scotch-in-New-York-City

………. 

Fly into New York with Tradewind Aviation, offering scheduled shuttles and private charters from across the Northeast, including Boston, Stowe, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket.

 

All images courtesy of Keens Steakhouse

Boston is More Than its Institutions—Right?

Boston is More Than its Institutions—Right?

One of the highest market-cap companies in the world is depicted in “The Social Network” as the product of a young man’s intense desire to upgrade his standing in the world of Boston institutions—by gaining entrance not to Harvard, where he was already enrolled, but to an exclusive Harvard “final club.” True, Harvard lies across the Charles River in Cambridge, but we won’t split hairs—the movie makes a telling point about the importance of affiliations, in this corner of the world.

Somehow, the two adjacent cities, with their combined population of 750,000, have ended up with a cohort of consequential institutions you might expect to find in a place three or four times larger. One result is a professional class for which direct affiliation with the various monoliths, or a couple of degrees of separation, is common reality.

Harvard University

Harvard University

And so you must legitimately own a garment imprinted with MIT, Harvard, Boston University, Massachusetts General Hospital, Tufts University, Boston College, the Kennedy Library, Northeastern University, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Christian Science Church, the Boston Pops, and so many more—or else be closely affiliated with someone who does.

What’s sometimes forgotten is that Boston-area achievers who serve those institutions have commercial and professional connection with, um, the rest of the world—and particularly with the Northeast region. Tradewind, as Boston’s go-to private aviation connection with New York City (with both scheduled shuttles and private charter options), pays close attention to the travel trends that Boston’s innovators and thought leaders tend to generate. It may be, of course, that more than residents of other cities, Bostonians value the flight home most highly—it returns them to the narrow streets and ivy walls that represent uniqueness and greatness to them.

“It’s human nature to want to identify yourself with something of consequence—something that’s widely recognizable,” says Robert Savage, professor of Irish history at Boston College and a product of the Boston suburbs. “The Boston area is just so dense with these things; it can be overwhelming if you haven’t learned to navigate it.”

Boston College

Boston College

Arriving as a Harvard freshman from Southern California 30-odd years ago, John Kelley appreciated the relatively ancient history of Boston and Cambridge because it made his new environs understandable. “When you come from far away, you arrive here with some basic knowledge of the place, given how many old, well-known landmarks there are,” says Kelley, CEO of the sports-performance company CoachUp. “That makes it easier to get acclimated, if you’re not intimidated by it.”

This brings up the issue of how welcoming—or not—Boston can be. New arrivals could stare at vehicles with three or four showoff windshield stickers and a parking decal for some chic neighborhood, plus various other insignia bespeaking insider status, and feel alienated. Mark Twain famously said: “In Boston they ask how much does a man know, and in New York, how much is he worth.” That’s very nice, but in the Information Economy, knowledge and wealth are tending to merge, removing some nobility from the pursuit of higher learning and thus some of the solace a Bostonian might take in Twain’s observation.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library

Savage wonders if a movie set in any other city would feature an exchange like the one in “Gone Baby Gone,” in which the Boston street kid played by Casey Affleck questions Ed Harris’s character, a police detective, about his last name, Bressant. “It’s the kind of name they give you in Louisiana,” comes the answer, to which Affleck replies, “Oh yeah? I thought you were from here.” Those two words, “from here,” have clearly been a point of contention for the transplanted detective.  “You might think that you're more ‘from here’ than me,” he growls back, “but I've been living here longer than you've been alive. So who's right?”

As longtime director of events at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, Amy Macdonald served as a guide to the city for a stream of noted writers, musicians, and thinkers. “There’s a certain type of very famous, very accomplished person who stands in that I.M. Pei-designed building with its amazing Atlantic Ocean view, relives the JFK presidency, and appreciates the high ideals Boston can breed,” says Macdonald. “The U.S. poet laureate, Billy Collins, told me the experience gave him tingles.”

The worldly types she met from New York and Los Angeles were too polite, in her estimation, to dismiss Boston as provincial and parochial, though they commented freely about how early the bars closed and the subways stopped running. “Their attitude,” Macdonald says, “seemed to be: ‘Even though you haven’t got much nightlife you’ve got these famous universities and hospitals, and that seems to make you happy—but I’m going back to my real city.’ ”

General Electric Boston Headquarters Rendering Photo credit: General Electric, © Gensler

General Electric Boston Headquarters Rendering

Photo credit: General Electric, © Gensler

Kelley works in corporate offices down the road from where General Electric is creating, in his words, “their own micro-city” in the revitalized Seaport District. He feels GE’s relocation from Connecticut will do much to answer the question of whether Boston’s old-line institutions will continue to define the town.

“GE seems to have this whole question figured out,” Kelley says. “They’re building their headquarters as a village of knowledge and innovation; it’s not walled off, it won’t have ivy growing on it, so it’s got the feel of a global crossroads.” Sounds from that like the country’s 10th-largest employer will soon be its own institution in Boston—just not the sort of Boston institution people “from here” have long been used to.

The Life of a Pilot: One On One with Tradewind’s Adam Schaefer

The Life of a Pilot: One On One with Tradewind’s Adam Schaefer

"There are two kinds of pilots," says Adam Schaefer, Tradewind Aviation’s Director of Operations. "Those that have a mechanic's license and those that wish they had it."

Schaefer, a graduate of Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, is one of the latter. The license was not required, but he was encouraged by a superior while at Embry to get the mechanic certification (a 15-month post-graduation course at East Coast Aero Tech, with two months spent on electrical problems and six on engine problems).  He can disassemble and reassemble a jet engine, knowledge that he says "helps mostly to communicate with the mechanics if there's a problem in flight," although he has on occasion repaired a Tradewind plane himself. 

Schaefer's passion for flying started at age 12. As he had for several summers, that year he was spending his school vacation on Block Island with an uncle. Another uncle came to visit in his friend's Piper Warrior and offered to fly Schaefer back with him to Hamden, Connecticut.

"The pilot made the mistake of saying, 'Do you have any questions?' he says, and from then on the flight was nothing but question-and-answer. "I was hooked at that point." He got his private pilot's license at 18 upon graduating from high school.

Schaefer primarily flies the Pilatus PC-12, which Tradewind operates on scheduled shuttle and private charter flights throughout the Northeast US and Caribbean, as well as the Citation CJ3 jet, typically used on flights of 500 miles or more. "The beauty of the CJ3 is going from New York to Florida non-stop at 45,000 feet," Schaefer says. That trip (roughly 1,000 miles) takes 2.5 hours, about the same as in a B757.

One of his favorite Tradewind destinations is Fishers Island, off the coast of Rhode Island—"I like it because there's almost never any other traffic there.” It's mostly a golfing destination, which gives Schaefer four or five hours free to spend at the beach located right at the end of the runway. He also likes St. Barths, which sometimes allows a quick swim. (His favorite beach is Colombier, one of the island's most isolated strands.) As for the landing, he says it's challenging, "but once you've trained for it, it's not hard. It's a matter of knowing and sticking to the landing profile." 

tradewind-jet-landing-in-st-barths.jpg

Schaefer has the hours to move up to a larger plane and a larger airline, but two things keep him at Tradewind. One is that the smaller airports Tradewind uses are less of a hassle. "The hardest thing about big airports is taxiing," he says. "At Westchester Airport (White Plains, NY) it takes two minutes to reach our terminal. At JFK it can take 15."

The other—and clearly bigger draw for him—is the personal relationship he develops with customers. "We have regular customers every week," he says. The relationship cuts both ways, however, meaning that Tradewind returns the commitment, something that Schaefer says is perhaps the company's key characteristic.  

"Tradewind stands for safety and service," he says. "We'll move mountains to get a customer another aircraft or get a mechanic there to fix it."

 

 

St. Barth: A 60-Second Backgrounder

St. Barth: A 60-Second Backgrounder

Official name: Saint Barthélemy, but abbreviated St. Barth (silent 'h').

Discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493 and named for his brother, Bartolomeo. (Barthélemy is the name Gallicized.)

Colony of Sweden from 1784-1878, hence the Swedish street signs in Gustavia, the island’s capital.

Getting There

Tradewind Aviation flies scheduled shuttle and private charter flights from San Juan International (Terminal A) to St. Barth, eliminating the immigration ritual (often lengthy) in St. Maarten, required if you fly one of the U.S. carriers. Tradewind also operates scheduled shuttle flights to St Barth from Antigua, the primary Caribbean gateway from London.

The pressurized and air-conditioned Pilatus PC-12 cabin is equivalent to that of a business jet.

Smart Season and Mad Months

Go May through early December for hotel discounts of up to 50%. Restaurants are easy to book and traffic is non-existent. On Dec. 15th, most hotel prices go to high season rates, and from Dec. 20th through mid-January to peak rates. Mid-January through Easter, back to high season.  

The Luxury Hotel Quintet

Cheval Blanc Saint-Barth Isle de France: Now owned by LVMH, this 39-room hotel still turns its key ingredients—privacy, poolside mingling, cuisine, and beach—into a soufflé. It's the epitome of the sexy French Caribbean hideaway. Main House rooms, Beach Suites, and Villas are on the ocean. Two-bedroom Garden Rooms, some with pool, are perfect for families. Crisp, clean décor (whites, neutrals, blues) throughout.

Eden Rock: The reference to the Riviera classic tells you everything, but it's also a pun on the setting—a craggy rugby-ball of rock just off St. Jean Beach. The best rooms—and they are all one-offs—are here. Newest room: The Christopher Columbus Suite, a lair fit for Bond or Goldfinger, with stunning ocean views. Other greats: The Reef, The Howard Hughes Suite, atop the main building (he was a guest in the early days), and the Garbo Suite (she also stayed), a fun exercise in old Hollywood glamour and with a great view. If Kardashian glam is your suit, though, book the Rock Star Villa, a six-bedroom compound at the end of the property. Comes with two MINI Cooper convertibles.

Photo credit: Le Guanahani

Photo credit: Le Guanahani

Le Guanahani: The island's only full-service resort: Three restaurants, two lighted tennis courts, the largest spa (with two butler-serviced wellness suites if you want to live in the spa), a beachside fitness center, and an 82-foot-long pool cleaned electronically rather than with chlorine. Despite its size (67 rooms; 44 with private pool), Guanahani feels cozy—a bungalow colony spilling down a hillside to the ocean. It offers 11 specialty suites, one-off rooms such as Serenity with a pool and fabulous water views, and Admiral, right down on the edge of Grand Cul de Sac. Both have décor that nicely mates St. Tropez and Malibu. (Insider tip: The pool suites behind the tennis court for privacy and views.)

Le Sereno: St. Barth’s 'downtown' resort, designed by Christian Liagre in his slightly pensive sleek and streamlined style. If you're at home at the Mercer and its brethren, you'll be at home here. The hotel is on a shallow breezy bay made for wind- and kite-surfing. The beach is narrow and short, but the 20-meter-long lap pool surrounded by an expansive lounging deck and ranks of palms—in effect a piazza—compensates. Rooms to get: One of the 15 Grand Suite Plages (numbers 20-35). They're open-plan, with a bedroom (four-poster), a living room down two steps, and a hedged-in outdoor area private enough for anxiety-free topless lounging. There are also three deluxe villas (butler service, private pool, three bedrooms, lots of communal space), in effect your own compound.  

Le Toiny: A love nest perched on a hillside on the island's southwest corner. Fifteen do-not-disturb, 700-plus sq.-ft. rooms with superb ocean vistas, terrace, and a plunge pool—and just redone in white linen with blue accents. Up-for-air option: Free shuttle to beach club 10 minutes away (but this is a beach for strong swimmers). For the fit: Jog to Grand Fond, walk to the end of the beach, climb the rocks, and follow the trail out around the point. In 2017, the hotel opens eight duplex rooms with views that equal or better the current ones. 

The Villa Option

The larger agencies are WIMCO, St Barth Properties, and SiBarth. Websites are teeming with pictures and all are geared up to act as concierges during your stay.

The Luxury Hotel Restaurants

Bartolomeo (Le Guanahani): A very suavely executed French-inflected menu that also brings in influences from around the Mediterranean. Even a straightforward entrée like ravioli is painstakingly done—with roasted tomato water, asparagus, and black truffle. When Chef Nicola di Marchi does a classic like Loup de Mer, he hits it out of the park. Good selection of vegan and gluten-free dishes.

La Case de L'Isle (Cheval Blanc St. Barth Isle de France): At dinner, this open-to-the-breeze space is one of the most romantic spots on the island. At lunch, it feels like St. Tropez. (There's also a feet-in-the-sand sister, La Cabane de L'Isle, down on the beach.) Chef Yann Vinsot can play it straight (grilled wild Turbot filet, filet mignon, and sautéed foie gras); playful (Truff Monsieur, a truffle-layered take on the Croque Monsieur); creative gourmand (Terrine de Foie Gras, but with roasted watermelon and caramelized almonds); or California healthy (tabouleh salad, selection of crudo).

Photo Credit: Eden Rock — St. Barths

On the Rocks (Eden Rock): If you don’t feel the romance here, you are on the rocks. Five or six stories above the water (dramatically lit), the dining room feels like a cruise ship by candlelight, especially the tables for two along the outside. The cuisine is by Jean-George and shows off his talent for orchestration while letting single ingredients have their solo moments. The mahi-mahi in the ceviche? "Caught this morning just around that rock," said my server. Big Champagne list including six large-format labels.

Restaurant Le Sereno (Le Sereno Beach): A slimmed-down, Mediterranean-influenced menu that would be at home in Paris or New York: Salad, carpaccio and tartare, pasta, seafood, and steak. It sounds generic, but the ingredients and execution—the pasta is homemade—are so good that it rises far above that. The kitchen is overseen by Michelin-star chef Alex Simone, who comes in once a month from London to make sure everything is ship-shape (and will move to St. Barth full-time next season).

The New Kid

Le Guérite: St. Barth outpost of the venerable (founded 1935) restaurant on Ile St. Marguerite near Cannes. Open-air dining room on the harbor point. Menu cuts back and forth across the Mediterranean, but with a Greek foundation courtesy of chef Yannis Kioroglou. A simple-grilled octopus, cut into thin slices and floated in lemon-inflected olive oil, was sublime.

Non-Hotel Dining: The Top Trio

Photo credit: Romeo Balancourt

Photo credit: Romeo Balancourt

Bonito: A modest cottage exterior conceals a svelte lounge of white couches and a curved, open-air dining room looking down on Gustavia. Ceviche and tiradito are the forte of Chef Laurent Cantineaux. The scallop dishes have been superb—the scallops meaty and done to a turn—and a wahoo with bok choy and shitake main course is simply sublime.

L’Isola: Sophisticated Italian flawlessly served in a gorgeous high-ceilinged room illuminated by pools of golden candlelight at dinner. Feels like Capri or Amalfi. At a recent dinner, the risotto with asparagus and shrimp tasted like yours and mine never will, and the pasta with sea urchin was an unctuous indulgence.

Maya’s: A super charming open-air pavilion to the west of Gustavia.  An insider and celebrity favorite for the superb fish. The tuna sashimi was tissue-paper-thin and the grilled salmon done perfectly rare.

St. Barth Canapés

Sunblock and Skin Care Product Bonanza: Apothecaire de Aeroport, in a charming clapboard building across from the terminal. Your first stop after deplaning.

Bet the French Horse Races: At Bar Le Glacier in St. Jean.

Dare-Devil Bikinis: Pain de Sucre in St. Jean.

Present for Your Teenager: Recording session in the studio of Eden Rock’s Rock Star Villa. John Lennon used the mixing console to record Imagine. Half-day session included in the rate.

Seller's Remorse: In 1950 Rémy de Haenen, the first pilot to land on St. Barth, bought the rock on which the Eden Rock now stands for $200. The next day the seller called, said she overcharged him, and refunded $100.

Flight-Home Provisions: Maya's to Go, across from the airport.

At the Heart of the Sea: Exploring Nantucket by Yacht

At the Heart of the Sea: Exploring Nantucket by Yacht

Boating is at the heart of Nantucket, an island with a past and a present that is intrinsically tied to the sea. From the late 18th to early 19th centuries, this crescent-shaped piece of land, located some 30 miles off the coast of Massachusetts, was the whaling capital of the world.

Today, those whaling ships are long gone, and in their place you’ll find megayachts and sailboats floating offshore. And just like the sea captains of yesteryear, modern-day sailors know that some of Nantucket’s most amazing treasures are discovered via the water.

For visitors who fly into ACK with Tradewind Aviation, a number of companies make it possible to get out on the ocean—including ACK Sunset Sail, which runs sunset sailing trips, or Captain James Genthner, who offers daily cruises and private charters on the Endeavor, a reproduction of an early 1900’s single-masted sloop. Island Boat Rental has powerboats ranging from 15 to 20 feet that you can take out for the day and captain yourself. There’s even a vintage 1953 Hinckley that you can rent by the night through AirBnb. And if you really want to get serious about yachting, you can apply to be a member of the prestigious Nantucket Yacht Club or Barton & Gray, which gives members access to gorgeous wooden Hinckleys.

When you’re ready to set sail, chart your course to the best boating destinations around the island. Here are our 10 favorites.

Jetties Beach

Photo credit: Jetties Beach Restaurant

Jetties is one of the more popular beaches on Nantucket — and it’s no wonder, with its placid waters that are ideal for kids. If you want to grab a bite, head to the small beach restaurant on the boardwalk, which serves up killer lobster rolls. Every summer, the Boston Pops performs here and boaters get a front-row view.

Coatue

Photo credit: Flickr via Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

Photo credit: Flickr via Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

Set right beyond the main harbor, this barrier beach on a narrow strip of land feels worlds away. Anchor here overnight and watch the twinkling lights of Nantucket Town in the distance. The shell hunting can’t be beat.

Great Point

This remote spit of sand at the extreme northeastern coast of the Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge has miles of sand for exploring and an iconic lighthouse. This is where serious anglers come to fish for striped bass and bluefish.

Dionis Beach

Photo credit: Yelp

Photo credit: Yelp

Lined with high dunes and wildflower-dotted sea grass, Dionis is the kind of picture-perfect white-sand beach that makes its way onto postcards. Anchor offshore and dive into the warm waters of Nantucket Sound.

CRU Oyster Bar

Photo credit CRU Oyster Bar

Photo credit CRU Oyster Bar

This dockside restaurant in Nantucket’s main harbor is a hit with landlubbers and boaters alike. Tie up your yacht on a slip right out front and stop in for a glass of Rosé and a plate of fresh-shucked oysters that are infused with New England’s briny terroir.

Polpis Harbor

This tranquil harbor is a protected spot where you can anchor for the day and spy on the multimillion-dollar mansions that overlook the water. This is the place for some of the best sunsets on the island.

Madaket

Photo credit: Flickr via James Behnke

Photo credit: Flickr via James Behnke

On the westernmost tip of Nantucket, Madaket is where Fred Rogers (a.k.a. Mr. Rogers) used to spend the summer. There’s a tiny village and great crabbing in the surrounding creeks. Boaters also come here to spend time on the breathtaking beach, wade in the tidal flats, and kayak along the shore.

Tuckernuck Island

Just off the west coast of Nantucket, Tuckernuck is a place that people rarely see. Most of the island is privately owned by a handful of summer residents, and it doesn’t even have paved roads. But for experienced boaters who are able to navigate its ever-changing shoals, Tuckernuck is nirvana, with its empty beaches and rare birds and animals that call the island home.

Muskeget Island

Beyond Tuckernuck is Muskeget Island, an uninhabited dot of land with marshes and windswept dunes. It’s inaccessible to most boaters because of its dangerous shoals and sandbars, but it’s a great place to bob offshore and watch the gray seals that breed here or fish for yellowfin tuna.

Cuttyhunk Island

This island is a quite a bit further afield, but worth the journey from Nantucket. Back in the day, Teddy Roosevelt used to fish here for striped bass, and it hasn’t changed much. With its old fishing village, two-room schoolhouse, and general store, Cuttyhunk feels like a place from another era.

*Featured image courtesy of Flickr via Bob P. B.

St. Barth Gourmet Festival: An Appetizer

St. Barth Gourmet Festival: An Appetizer

Culinary festivals are a dime-a-dozen today, but there are three key reasons why the third edition of the St. Barth Gourmet Festival (Nov. 3-6) should be on your list.

First of all, it’s still under-the-radar—despite the top culinary talent participating—according to the hotel general managers I recently interviewed. It hasn’t been heavily promoted, so you’re getting in on the ground floor of an event that looks like a thoroughbred.   

Second, it's not exactly a taste of St. Barth. It's a taste of France and St. Barth (a French overseas collectivity), as most of the participating restaurants invite a French chef to come as a headliner. In some restaurants, the chef takes over the kitchen; in others there's a collaboration. But the bottom line is this: during the festival, you have a chance to taste very sophisticated cooking from France without having to cross the pond.

The Cheval Blanc St. Barth Isle de France, for instance, will have Arnaud Donckele—the youngest chef ever to get three Michelin stars—in the kitchen. He comes from the restaurant La Vague d'Or at Isle de France's sister property in St. Tropez, La Résidence de la Pinède. At Le Sereno, Alex Simone—who oversees two Michelin-star restaurants in London and created the Sereno menu—will be cooking alongside Jérôme Banctel, chef at the two-Michelin-star La Réserve.  At the Hotel Christopher, in a dining room with a fabulous sunset view, Sylvestre Wahid—the toque at the two-star Sylvestre at the Hotel Thoumieux in Paris—will be setting the menu. The various restaurants also offer ancillary events such as wine tastings and cooking classes.

Finally—and this is not a small consideration—the Festival takes place during the shoulder season, so hotel rates are much lower (sometimes by 50%) than they are after December 15.

Here is a list of the participating restaurants and the guest chef at each one:

On the Rocks, Eden Rock Hotel: Chef Virginie Basselot
La Plage, Tom Beach Hotel: Chef Gilles Marchal
Case de l'Isle, Cheval Blanc St Barth Isle de France: Chef Arnaud Donckele
Aux Amis, Le Barthélemy: Chef Guy Martin
Taïno, the Hotel Christopher: Chef Sylvestre Wahid
Bartolomeo, Le Guanahani: Chef Fabien Lefebvre
Restaurant Le Sereno, Le Sereno: Chef Jérôme Banctel
Taïwana: Chef Christophe Saintagne

To reserve your seat at the table, we recommend booking through one of the participating hotels or restaurants. All additional events are open to the public (though reservations are still recommended), except for the invite-only opening night.  

Caribbean Events: A Guide to Fall and Winter 2016

Caribbean Events: A Guide to Fall and Winter 2016

As the cooler days of fall approach, we look to the Caribbean for an inspired getaway. The islands come alive with a myriad of vibrant cultural festivals, offering the perfect excuse to extend your summer while experiencing the region from an entirely new perspective. 

Here are a few of the upcoming regattas, festivals, and must-see events we’re most excited about this season.

Columbus Day Regatta

October 10 – 11 | St. Thomas

The atmosphere at the start of a boat race in the Caribbean is unlike any other. Locals and visitors come out to support their favorite crafts, either standing on shore or celebrating on their own boats, and there is a noticeable energy in the air. A favorite race weekend in St. Thomas is the Columbus Day Regatta, a gathering in Cowpet Bay that draws competitors from around the world. There are all types of races from dinghy to big boat racing each day, and throughout the weekend, the island is alive with related celebrations.

Latin Festival

October 17 – 23 | Nevis

A week-long festival of fiery dance competitions, live music, Latin and Caribbean flavors, and cultural expression is coming to Nevis this October. The Latin Festival first began in an effort to create an interchange of cultures between people of different nationalities, and today it stays true to that mission with festivities inspired by and performed by people from Caribbean and Latin American countries. Visitors can expect dance and art workshops, a Latin Caribbean movie presentation, fireworks show, and more. 

Antigua & Barbuda Independence Week

October 23 – November 1 | Antigua

Independence celebrations in the Caribbean always present a wonderful opportunity to experience the culture of the islands through community parades, local food fairs, and music. During the 35th annual Antigua & Barbuda Independence Week, the celebration will see the island decked in yellow and red—the national colors—with everything from car racing to fashion shows happening throughout the week. Be sure to observe some of the historic events such as National Dress Day amidst the lively festivities.

St. Barth Gourmet Festival 

November 3 – 6 | St. Barth

Held each fall on the food-centric island of St. Barth, the St. Barth Gourmet Festival is an international food festival that attracts world-renowned chefs, including patron chef Christian Le Squer of the Four Seasons Georges V Hotel in Paris, for four days of professional competitions and dining events. Some of the island’s best chefs join the guest chefs in a celebration of gourmet French cuisine. There will be special menus with wine pairings, a mixology competition for barmen, and local restaurants offering delectable French dishes. The event is one of the Caribbean’s most popular annual showcases, so make your reservations now.

Livin in the Sun Music Festival

November 11 – 13 | Anguilla

Photo: Sandy Island

Visitors who enjoy the eclectic, lively music of the Caribbean will want to attend the Livin In the Sun Music Festival in Anguilla this fall. The three-day fest invites DJs from all over the world along with local talent for a celebration of island life and living carefree in the sun. There’s just enough time to rest in between the full lineup of events, with daytime happenings taking place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sandy Island and after dark events taking place from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. in various local hotspots.

Jolly Harbor Yacht Club Annual Regatta

November 20 – 22 (2015 dates) | Antigua

Beginners and experienced boaters alike will enjoy the Jolly Harbor Yacht Club Annual Regatta, a fast-paced weekend of racing and local entertainment that draws hundreds of visitors to the island of Antigua each year. Take to the seas, even if you are a novice racer, or choose to spectate from shore. There will be an array of live music performances and celebrations across the island following the races on Saturday and Sunday as well as an awards ceremony at the end of the regatta.

St. Kitts and Nevis National Carnival

End of December | St. Kitts and Nevis

The majority of Carnival celebrations take place during spring, but fall visitors to the Caribbean will want to attend the St. Kitts and Nevis National Carnival, which blends the spirit of Christmas with the vibrant display of Caribbean culture and African heritage. Soca music plays throughout the cities, the J’ouvert parade draws musicians and revelers to dance in the streets, and traditional folklore groups like the Clowns and Masquerades perform as they have for generations. It’s a rich celebration of history, the arts, food, and recreational pursuits that culminates on New Year’s Day.

New Year’s Eve in St. Barth

December 31 | St. Barth

Photo: La Plage

Photo: La Plage

Perhaps the most glamorous destination in the Caribbean, St. Barth is the place for celebrities, fashion icons, and spirited revelers to enjoy New Year’s Eve. Some of the most expensive yachts in the world gather near Gustavia Harbor in the week preceding the holiday, and many host exclusive New Year’s Eve parties on the water. St. Barth hotspots like La Plage and Le Ti St Barth are the clubs to be at on the island, and sometimes there are even pop-up clubs just for the dazzling affair. A spectacular fireworks display over Gustavia Harbor will bring in the new year.

New Year’s Eve in San Juan

December 31 | Puerto Rico

Another Caribbean destination for New Year’s Eve is the vivacious city of San Juan. Here the most magnificent parties take place in luxury hotels such as the Caribe Hilton Hotel and The Sheraton Hotel and Casino, as well as in chic beach bars with oceanfront rooftops. The hotels hold annual events such as The Sheraton’s Illusions that bring the region’s most talented DJs to the stage and special appearances by internationally known artists. Locals and visitors alike attend the spirited festivities that go well into New Year’s Day.

Runway Ready

Runway Ready

With New York Fashion Week on the horizon—set for September 8 – 15 in exclusive locations throughout the city—fashion is on the mind of every traveler flying Tradewind into New York from Boston, Stowe, Nantucket, or Martha’s Vineyard.

We’ve gone runway to runway to bring you a jetsetter’s seasonal style guide for fall 2016, including unprecedented styles and refreshed classics from top-tier designers like Vera Wang and Marchesa.  

Statement Furs 

As the centerpiece of an ensemble or as an elegant accent, fur is a focal point of designer collections this season. The luxe favorite is appearing in statement jackets and semi-structured stoles like this lovely piece from Prabal Gurung, and it’s the perfect adornment for cooler temperatures.

Pantsuits

Women’s pantsuits have never truly gone out of style, but this season’s inspiring designs breathe new life into the smart set. Designers like Altuzarra are pairing the suits with more casual footwear for a tailored but dressed down day look, and the pinstripe trend is taking over the runway. 

Bohemian Chic

Printed maxis continue to be a highlight in womenswear, but this year’s collections are more elegant than ever before with versatile looks that can be worn in the evening or with booties during the day. Consider pieces like this Altuzarra gown the luxury equivalent of laidback Coachella style.

Jumpers

Cut slim or layered with chunky fall knits, today’s jumpers are not the childlike garments you might be imagining. Designers like Jason Wu are embracing jumpers over dresses this season, and the tailored pieces are appearing in a variety of styles from classic plaid to elegant cut-outs.

Leather Coats

For several years, short leather jackets have been making their way into every urban chic closet, but this season the trend is leather trench coats from skilled designers like Chloé. Leather outerwear can be found in an array of street-ready styles, including the glossy coats that were a favorite at New York Fashion Week in February.

Chokers

Chokers are no longer reserved for ‘90s grunge style. Fall’s statement neckpieces come in elegant designs from the likes of talented designers like Jonathan Simkhai and can be worn with any attire from pantsuits to blouses and full skirts. And when it comes to choker style, wider is better this season.

Rosy Pink 

The classic fall palette has an unexpected addition this fall. From delicate pinks to deeper shades of blush, designers like Tibi are incorporating rose into their designs. Don a rose cocktail dress, jacket, or pantsuit to combat the season’s standard earthy tones.

Velvet

Luxe fabrics are elevating every outfit this fall with velvet blazers, cocktail dresses, and slacks transitioning from the runway to the streets. Many designers have adopted the Renaissance style with bell sleeves and corset-inspired gowns, while others like Vanessa Seward have created velvet sets fit for any occasion.

Anatomy of a Plane: The Citation CJ3

Anatomy of a Plane: The Citation CJ3

Eric Zipkin, President of Tradewind Aviation, has previously described the company's Pilatus PC-12 as "the Swiss Army Knife of airplanes." It’s a nod to the plane’s versatility: high climb and cruise speed, slow approach speed, short-field landing capability, and sheer durability. The plane was designed to operate in very hostile environments (Alaska's North Slope and Southern Africa's desert landing strips).

Adam Schaefer, Tradewind's Director of Operations, has just as pithy a description of Tradewind's other mainstay plane, the jet-engine, 7-passenger Citation CJ3: "Small jet package, big jet capability."

"The big thing for people to understand," he adds, "is that this plane has the same capabilities as a big airliner."

Tradewind uses the CJ3 on trips longer than 500 miles because at that distance, the plane's higher cruising speed (470 mph) allows for a faster flight and more passenger comfort. "The beauty of the CJ3 is going from New York to Florida non-stop at 45,000 feet," Schaefer says. That trip (roughly 1,000 miles) takes 2.5 hours, about the same as a B757 and 2 hours faster than the PC-12.

"The cabin is also very comfortable," says Schaefer. "All of our planes have leather executive seats, but the CJ3’s are a little bigger and a little comfier. They lay a little flatter, and the plane’s a little quieter.” 

The biggest anxiety people usually have about small aircraft is how they handle in less than ideal weather. Here the CJ3's top cruising altitude—45,000 feet—comes into play, allowing it to fly above the weather. "We often look down on a line of thunderstorms," says Schaefer. The plane is also equipped with a satellite weather system (just like a B757), so the pilots can react to weather systems miles ahead, as well as onboard weather radar so they can respond to weather dead ahead.  

"For us to go 25 miles out of our way to avoid weather only adds 4 minutes to the flight time," says Schaefer.

That other bête noire of passengers—turbulence—can be handled in a variety of ways. Schaefer says the first option is just slowing down, which is easy given the CJ3's range of cruising speeds. If the turbulence is going to persist, the pilots can look for smoother air above or below. On takeoff, the CJ3's fast climb-rate means that turbulence encountered is quickly left behind.

The CJ3 was also designed with safety uppermost. The plane can fly on one engine. In fact, if an engine fails on takeoff, says Schaefer, the CJ3 can climb faster than it does on two, allowing the pilots to position it quickly for a return to the airport. 

Furthermore, the CJ3's collision-avoidance system is nearly identical to those on large commercial jets. It doesn't just register dangerous proximity of another aircraft, but instructs the pilot to climb or descend to avoid collision.

The CJ3 cockpit is "dark"—pilot parlance for a flight-display system that doesn't require constant monitoring. "A flashing light means that's something you have to pay attention to," says Schaefer. This design minimizes distraction, giving pilots what's known as "more eyes-up time at the controls." Translation: Looking out the cockpit window and paying attention to the yoke.  

Each pilot also has his own primary flight display. These flank a center display that contains other pertinent information (fuel flow, engine performance). Should one of the primary flight displays fail, the information there can be moved to the central display, a safety feature known as redundancy.

Although Tradewind uses the CJ3 for longer-distance trips such as New York to the Caribbean, the plane also has excellent short-field performance, meaning it can land on runways as short as 4,000 feet (such as South Carolina’s Hilton Head airport) whereas most aircraft this size require at least 5,000 feet. The short-field capability is due to the CJ3 wingspan—almost as long as the fuselage—which produces lots of lift and glide and allows the plane to land at a relatively low speed (120 knots). “This gives the CJ3 an additional measure of safety,” says Schaefer, "because the slower you’re going on landing, the less chance there is for an issue.” 

And unless the fog is down to the ground or the clouds at rooftop level, you are going to land. On final approach, says Schaefer, sounding like a proud father, "The CJ3 is equipped to bring you down to 200 feet one-quarter mile from the runway and then we take it from there."