From the Cockpit: 6 Destinations Recommended by Tradewind Pilots

From the Cockpit: 6 Destinations Recommended by Tradewind Pilots

A breathtaking landing on the edge of the Caribbean may define a place for one pilot, while another could be drawn by unforgettable cuisine with a view of the Rocky Mountains. From seaside escapes to late winter respites, here are six favorites from our pilots at Tradewind, along with tips for how to get there and what to do once you arrive.

Hilton Head, South Carolina

Hilton_Head_South_Carolina.jpg

Abundant in history and natural beauty, Hilton Head is a coastal sanctuary set along 12 miles of scenic beaches. There’s nothing challenging about landing on the island in a Pilatus PC-12 – in fact, it’s the panoramic views that make the destination a favorite among pilots. Landing in a Citation CJ3 requires finesse, but you wouldn’t know it as expertly trained pilots transition effortlessly from sky to runway.

After landing, head to The Westin Resort & Spa. The Atlantic is just steps from your retreat, along with nearby preserves for horseback riding, moss-covered bike paths, and premier golf courses. Dinner takes you to The Jazz Corner for award-winning live music and Southern flavor, Michael Anthony’s Cucina Italiana for truly authentic Italian cuisine, or the pilots’ choice for fresh-off-the-boat fare, Hudson’s Seafood House on the Docks. (Assistant Chief Pilot Stephen Pustola says, “Get the blackened shrimp, hush puppies, and finish it with some key lime pie.”)

How to Get There: Charter a flight with Tradewind to Hilton Head Airport (HXD).

St. Barth

St_Barth_Airport_Landing.jpg

“No two landings are the same on St. Barth,” says Pilot John Hepple.

He’s hardly alone in his perspective, with countless aviation enthusiasts recalling the beauty of that perfect landing on the exclusive Caribbean island. Both challenging and rewarding, St. Barth has a short, 650-meter runway capped at either end by mountains and sea. But with a versatile aircraft like the Pilatus PC-12, the breathtaking touchdown is made incredibly safe.

“Stick and rudder, this is the ultimate experience,” says Pilot Derek Schwalenberg. “2,100 feet on a downslope over an obstacle, and there is beautiful terrain around.”

After making your spectacular arrival on St. Barth, ethereal white-sand beaches and stylish hideaways beckon. Stay in one of the island’s most sought-after villas while you hike to Colombier Beach, shop designer boutiques, and indulge in extraordinary French cuisine from the likes of Le Tamarin or Jean Claude Dufour’s L’Esprit. Make sure to stop into the street-food-inspired 25 Quarter too, a favorite among pilots who are always made to feel at home.

How to Get There: Fly Tradewind’s scheduled shuttle to St. Barth (SBH) from San Juan or Antigua, or private charter from Puerto Rico or the US Virgin Islands.

Aspen, Colorado

 Photo: AspenSkiingCompany

Photo: AspenSkiingCompany

Set some 8,000 feet above sea level in the magnificent Rockies, Aspen is one of the world’s most iconic mountain resort destinations. Whether blanketed in snow or verdant green in summer, the luxury retreat is a top choice for pilots for its stunning landing in bowl-like surroundings and outdoor pursuits from skiing to hiking.

“There is so much to do in the mountains in the winter,” says Assistant Director of Operations and Pilot Nickolaus Ogle, “but I particularly enjoy the summers in Colorado because of all of the great hiking, golfing, and biking.”

Landing at Aspen Airport comes with an array of unique challenges that make it a memorable destination for pilots, from the quick descent to the unpredictable winter weather. Once on the ground, indulge in five-star accommodations at The Little Nell or St. Regis, and visit Ogle’s favorite gourmet sandwich shop, White House Tavern.

How to Get There: Charter a flight with Tradewind to Aspen-Pitkin County Airport (ASE).

Nantucket, Massachusetts

 Photo: Bobak

Photo: Bobak

New England coastal charm abounds in Nantucket, an idyllic island defined by serene beaches and towering lighthouses. In the quaint villages, you will discover exquisite cuisine from standouts like The Pearl and Straight Wharf, as well as spectacular theatrical performances at Dreamland Theater.

“At Nantucket, you never really know what to expect as far as visibility,” says Hepple, who welcomes the always memorable journey to reach the tranquil island. “The weather literally changes by the minute."

Reserve a waterfront room at White Elephant for your stay, and afterward, consider hopping a quick shuttle to Martha’s Vineyard for equally stunning coastlines.

How to Get There: For trips in March, charter a flight with Tradewind to Nantucket Memorial Airport (ACK). Tradewind’s scheduled shuttles to Nantucket begin in April.

Stowe, Vermont

One of the most famous ski resort towns in the East, Stowe invites long days on the slopes during winter and fly fishing, zip lining, and hiking in summer. “Even if you don’t hit the slopes,” says Schwalenberg, “there are quaint cider mills, the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream factory, [and] local ice sculpting events.”

The landing into the Stowe Airport is smooth on VFR days, in which conditions are clear enough for pilots to visually see the descent, whereas IFR days, where instruments are relied upon, can be more interesting. “Often the weather up in the mountains is much different than it was even before you departed the New York City area,” says Schwalenberg. “It changes that quickly.”

After landing, take up luxury accommodations at Stowe Mountain Lodge no matter the time of year. The only ski-in, ski-out resort in Stowe is also a favorite home base for warm weather adventures.

How to Get There: For trips in March, fly Tradewind’s scheduled shuttle to Morrisville-Stowe State Airport (MVL). Afterward, charter a flight with Tradewind.

Nevis

Nevis_Sea.jpg

One of the most underrated destinations for pilots, Nevis is characterized by serene beaches, verdant rainforest, and an array of historic plantations and sugar mills. The island is much less frequented than adjacent destinations and offers a true escape for both travelers and pilots.

“The view of the stars is incredible at night,” says Schwalenberg, reminiscing on an evening landing – complete with a good crosswind and a shear zone about 50 feet above the runway, although the Pilatus PC-12 handles it beautifully.

While on the island, plan to stay at the intimate Montpelier Plantation, on the beach at Nisbet Plantation Beach Club, or the exquisite Four Seasons Resort Nevis – Schwalenberg’s personal favorite. He also recommends Indian Summer and Sunshine’s Beach Lounge for exceptional Indian and Caribbean cuisine.

How to Get There: For trips through April 9, fly Tradewind’s scheduled shuttle to Vance W. Amory International Airport (NEV). Afterward, charter a flight with Tradewind.

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The Return of St. Barth's Most Coveted Villas

The Return of St. Barth's Most Coveted Villas

Less than six months after Hurricane Irma struck the Leeward Islands, St. Barth’s poshest villa rentals are once again opening their designer doors to guests. Joining them is a number of the island’s restaurants and hotels, including anticipated spring openings of Manapany, Nikki Beach, Hotel Villa Marie Saint-Barth, and its fabulous French-Caribbean restaurant, Francois Plantation.

As St. Barth places the finishing touches on a global re-launch, now is the time to appreciate a quieter side of the typically see-and-be-seen island and appreciate private moments with its natural splendor—and magnificent accommodations.

Together, Tradewind’s luxury villa rental partners WIMCO Villas, Eden Rock Villa Rental, Sibarth, and St. Barth Properties currently have hundreds of villas for rent throughout 2018—some of which are available during peak Easter week (March 31-April 6, 2018), the 2018 Bucket Regatta (March 15-18, 2018) and Les Voiles de Saint-Barth regatta (April 8-14, 2018).

For a little inspiration, below are six of our favorite villas—small and large, and at various price points—and booking links for your next luxuriant Caribbean getaway with Tradewind.

VILLA CASTLE ROCK

 Photo: WIMCO Villas

Photo: WIMCO Villas

This modernist five-bedroom, five-bathroom villa in Camaruche wows with a tri-level, outward facing floor plan, taking advantage of the ocean views from just about everywhere in the house. This grand feat of transitional indoor-outdoor space includes a rooftop, heated 92° infinity-edged pool and connecting Jacuzzi, and exclusive amenities such as a private fitness area, hammam, second Jacuzzi, and wine cellar. From $25,000 per week; book through WIMCO Villas here, Eden Rock Villa Rental here, Sibarth here.

VILLA DZIR

 Photo: Eden Rock Villa Rentals

Photo: Eden Rock Villa Rentals

There’s no fighting over the master bedroom at this newly constructed three-bedroom, three-bathroom villa high in the hills of Colombier; all three flaunt coveted ‘master’ status, equally large with private balcony and 180° ocean views. Keep fit by swimming laps in the rectangular infinity pool, pumping iron in the private fitness room, or stretching on the water view yoga deck. From $15,000 per week; book through Eden Rock Villa Rental here.

VILLA TI AGAVE

 Photo: WIMCO Villas

Photo: WIMCO Villas

This one-bedroom, one-bathroom mountaintop villa in Vitet is ideal for couples with a penchant for contemporary design (expect a picture-perfect, red-and-white pool area) and dreamy, panoramic island views (see as far as St Martin and Anguilla on a clear day). From $2,800 per week; book through WIMCO Villas here.

VILLA ROXANNE

Tucked into Gustavia’s exclusive residential hillside (within walking distance of the capital’s shops, restaurants, and vibrant nightlife), this snazzy six-bedroom villa doles out unobstructed vistas of the Caribbean Sea—even from the en-suite bathrooms—and impresses with a minimalist black and white aesthetic. A double-story door opens to an aqua reflection pool, a turquoise infinity pool, cacti gardens, and a palm-laced courtyard that splits the villa into one unit with five bedrooms and the other with the master bedroom and indoor common areas. From $30,000 per week; book through WIMCO Villas here; Eden Rock Villa Rental here; Sibarth here.

VILLA JAVACANOU

 Photo: WIMCO Villas

Photo: WIMCO Villas

You can quickly walk to the private beach below this contemporary three-bedroom, three-bathroom villa in Marigot Bay, but you may never want to leave the outdoor swing bed or the gazebo-capped daybed, adjacent the infinity pool. After a bit of sun worshipping, explore the protected bay by the canoe, kayak, and paddleboard, all of which come with the villa. From $13,500 per week; book through WIMCO Villas here, Eden Rock Villa Rental here, Sibarth here, St. Barth Properties here.

VILLA BLUE SWAN

 Photo: WIMCO Villas

Photo: WIMCO Villas

This sleek four-bedroom, four-and-one-half-bathroom villa in Lurin is anchored by a massive outdoor deck and an eye-catching, T-shaped infinity pool with sweeping views of the yacht-speckled bays below (and its own swim-up bar, no less).  The villa is centrally located from the islands’ major hotspots, a mere few minutes drive from Gustavia’s “downtown” and the beaches of Gouverneur, Saline, and St Jean. From $14,000 per week; book through WIMCO Villas here.

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Access St. Barth with Tradewind’s regularly scheduled shuttle flights from San Juan, Puerto Rico, Antigua, Nevis, and St. Thomas. To reserve your seat, visit flytradewind.com or call 1-800-376-7922.

 

Featured Photo: WIMCO Villas

18 Things to Do with Tradewind in 2018

18 Things to Do with Tradewind in 2018

From soaring above the green mountains of Vermont in a hot air balloon to indulging in unrivaled, Michelin-starred cuisine on the glamorous island of St. Barth, a new year brings new opportunities for unique travel experiences and must-see events.

Below are 18 of our top activities and festivals to add to your list in 2018 – all easily accessible when you fly Tradewind with private charters or regularly scheduled shuttle flights in the Northeast and Caribbean.

Conquer the Infamous Front Four at Stowe Mountain Resort

 Photo: Stowe Mountain Resort

Photo: Stowe Mountain Resort

A staple of east coast skiing, Stowe Mountain Resort is renowned for its sustained vertical and 40 miles of exceptional trails. Head to the Front Four, an acclaimed group of double-black diamonds, to really feel gravity on the slopes.

Getting there: Scheduled shuttle to Stowe

Discover the Rich Flavors of Charleston

 Photo: Minette Hand courtesy of Charleston Wine + Food

Photo: Minette Hand courtesy of Charleston Wine + Food

A world-class culinary experience inspired by the region, the Charleston Wine + Food festival takes place from February 28 – March 4 with more than 100 premier events on schedule. Indulge in signature dinners, mixology classes, and oyster shucking, as well as kayak eco-tours and yoga classes paired with bubbly.

Getting there: Private charter to Charleston

Hike an Active Volcano on Nevis

 Photo: David Broad

Photo: David Broad

Climbing the 3,200-foot volcano at the heart of the island is an all-day undertaking and difficult even for experienced climbers, but the views from the summit are unparalleled. Make sure to hire a local guide for your excursion. (You can also opt for an easier hike on Upper Round Road.)

Getting there: Scheduled shuttle to Nevis

Explore New England by Dog Sled

 Photo: Natalie Siebers

Photo: Natalie Siebers

Learn to handle, harness, and hitch a team of Siberian Huskies while taking in the spectacular ambiance of New England in winter. When you stay in Stowe, Vermont, Peace Pups Dogsledding can get you out onto the snow.

Getting there: Scheduled shuttle to Stowe

Join the St. Barth Sailing Glitterati

 Photo: Courtesy M Kurtz, Pantaenius, and the St. Barths Bucket Regatta

Photo: Courtesy M Kurtz, Pantaenius, and the St. Barths Bucket Regatta

There’s nothing like sailing in St. Barth, a sentiment perhaps best illustrated by the St. Barths Bucket Regatta (March 15 – 18) and Les Voiles de Saint Barth (April 8 – 14). Bringing together some of the world’s most accomplished sailors, both races pair spirited competition on the water with all-day celebration on shore—including decadent events, exclusive parties, and live music.

Getting there: Scheduled shuttle to St. Barth

To learn more about both events, read our feature in the February issue of Goodspeed magazine.

Experience Quintessential Boston During Marathon Weekend

 Photo: FayFoto / Boston Athletic Association, 2017

Photo: FayFoto / Boston Athletic Association, 2017

You can feel the excitement in the air each spring as the world’s oldest annual marathon draws thousands of participants and spectators to Boston. Spend the weekend before the race catching a Red Sox game at Fenway Park and visiting iconic sights like the Freedom Trail, then watch the Boston Marathon from the finish line or Kenmore Square.

Getting there: Scheduled shuttle to Boston

Step Back in Time at the Antigua Regatta

 Photo: Tobias Stoerkle - Photography

Photo: Tobias Stoerkle - Photography

World-class racing and laidback Antiguan hospitality come together at the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta, held this year from April 18 – 24. From swift Carriacou sloops to multi-million-dollar vintage watercraft, watch the boats race and then discover the island’s vibrant local culture.

Getting there: Scheduled shuttle to Antigua

To learn more about the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta, read our feature in the February issue of Goodspeed magazine.

Indulge Your Inner Epicure at the Nantucket Wine & Food Festival

 Photo: Melissa Ostrow

Photo: Melissa Ostrow

For 21 years, the Nantucket Wine & Food Festival has drawn acclaimed winemakers and award-winning chefs to Nantucket while remaining intimate in nature. This year’s festival (May 16 – 20) highlights more than 50 prestigious events including an array of wine tastings, seminars, and galas.

Getting there: Scheduled shuttle to Nantucket

To learn more about the Nantucket Wine & Food Festival, read our upcoming feature in the May issue of Goodspeed magazine.

Hang Glide in the Birthplace of Flight

 Photo: Daniel Pullen

Photo: Daniel Pullen

For more than 40 years, the Hang Gliding Spectacular has drawn flight enthusiasts to the Outer Banks of North Carolina where the Wright Brothers first flew. Watch four days of competition above the sand dunes of Jockey’s Ridge (May 17 – 20), then learn to fly the dunes yourself with a hang gliding lesson from Kitty Hawk Kites.

Getting there: Private charter to Manteo

Make an Impact at the Greenwich International Film Festival

A celebration of compelling, provocative, thrilling, and empowering films, this year’s Greenwich International Film Festival (May 31 – June 3) features more than 70 film premieres and screenings, parties, and panels discussing important issues from the films that we all face.

Getting there: Scheduled shuttle to White Plains

Celebrate the Fourth of July at Boston Harborfest

The country’s largest Fourth of July festival is Boston Harborfest, a 36-year tradition featuring hundreds of activities in the days leading up to July 4. Check out the opening ceremony at Faneuil Hall, an eclectic art market on the harbor, boat tours of the city, live music, and more.

Getting there: Scheduled shuttle to Boston

Soar Above Vermont in a Hot Air Balloon

 Photo: Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa

Photo: Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa

Each July, more than 25 hot air balloons take to the sky for the Stoweflake Hot Air Balloon Festival (2018 dates TBD). Climb aboard one of the balloons for 360-degree views of Stowe, or watch the launches from the beer and wine garden at Stoweflake Mountain Resort.

Getting there: Scheduled shuttle to Stowe

Enjoy a Brewery Tour of Vermont

 Photo: Danielle Visco/LuvLens Photography

Photo: Danielle Visco/LuvLens Photography

Recognized as one of the top craft brewing destinations in the world, Vermont has given rise to iconic breweries like The Alchemist and Magic Hat. Take your own brewery tour around the state, or head to the Vermont Brewers Festival at Burlington Waterfront Park from July 20 – 21. (The fest also has a new sister event this year at Killington Resort on March 24.)

Getting there: Scheduled shuttle to Stowe

Taste Fresh-Off-the-Boat Lobster

 Photo: Tim Sullivan Photography

Photo: Tim Sullivan Photography

A highlight of summer in New England, the Maine Lobster Festival (August 1 – 5) celebrates everything lobster with an array of seafood vendors and cooking competitions, local arts and crafts, and live entertainment in a carnival setting.

Getting there: Private charter to Owls Head

Dance on the Beach at the Anguilla Summer Festival

A time-honored celebration, the Anguilla Summer Festival combines expressions of traditional art with a playful atmosphere featuring live soca and reggae music and boat racing at both Sandy Ground and Meads Bay. The dates for the early August event are TBD.

Getting there: Scheduled shuttle to Anguilla

Dine with French Culinary Masters at the St. Barth Gourmet Festival

 Photo: St. Barth Gourmet Festival

Photo: St. Barth Gourmet Festival

Among the best culinary events in the world, the St. Barth Gourmet Festival brings legendary figures in the world of French gastronomy to the luxury hotels of St. Barth. Indulge in multi-course dinners each day of the festival, which takes place in November (2018 dates TBD).

Getting there: Scheduled shuttle to St. Barth

Celebrate Diversity at Art Basel

 Photo: David Kordansky Gallery, Courtesy Art Basel

Photo: David Kordansky Gallery, Courtesy Art Basel

At the crossroads of North American and Latin American culture, Art Basel Miami Beach (December 6 – 9) showcases the masters of modern art, as well as emerging talent, in a grand exhibition setting and throughout the city’s outdoor landscape.

Getting there: Private charter to Miami

Get into the Holiday Spirit on Martha’s Vineyard

Well-known as a summer destination, the island of Martha’s Vineyard can be equally charming during the month of December. Experience the holidays with horse-drawn carriage rides, seasonal shopping, caroling, and Christmas in Edgartown (December 6 – 9).

Getting there: Scheduled shuttle to Martha’s Vineyard

 

*Featured Photo: Natalie Siebers, Courtesy of Peace Pups Dogsledding

Nevis: Keeping History in Style

Nevis: Keeping History in Style

On Nevis, the past very much lives in the present, thanks to a colorful history and some highly clever adaptive reuse projects. From a 200-year-old sugar mill converted into a romantic private cottage, to the Caribbean’s oldest wooden home (c. 1670) transitioned into a boutique hotel and restaurant, here are five places where Nevis keeps history in style.

Alexander Hamilton Birthplace

 Photo:  Daniel Farrell

American history doesn’t get much cooler than Alexander Hamilton. The Founding Father’s life story inspired Broadway’s biggest hit show of 2016 (garnering a record-setting 16 Tony nominations), and, believe it or not, this icon’s story begins on the small island of Nevis. Hamilton was born in Charleston, Nevis in 1755, where he lived with his mother until the age of nine, when they packed up for St. Croix. Today, it’s possible to walk in the footsteps of a young Alexander by visiting a rebuilt version of the c. 1680 two-story, lava-stone Georgian-style home where he lived (and perusing bona fide Hamilton memorabilia). Outside the Hamilton hoopla, the building is officially maintained as the Museum of Nevis History on the first floor and the Nevis House of Assembly on the second.

Mill Privée

 Photo: Montpelier Plantation & Beach

Photo: Montpelier Plantation & Beach

Cast over 64 acres high in the hills of Nevis, Montpelier Plantation & Beach is a Relais & Chateaux-pedigree hotel built within the relics of a 300-year old sugar plantation. Plantation cottages have been reinvented as guest suites while ancient sugar-mill machinery, such as the iron wheels, now serve as garden decor. Undoubtedly the most spectacular element of this adaptive reuse is the original sugar mill itself, which has been transformed into a private restaurant, Mill Privée (translating to “Private Mill.”) With advance reservations, diners can delight in a five course-tasting menu designed by Montpelier Plantation’s Executive Chef Dimitris A. Zouka. A recent dinner included the likes of fresh salmon tartar with shallots and pine nuts as well as bison wellington with garlicky smashed potatoes.

Sugar Mill Cottage

 Photo: Golden Rock Inn

Photo: Golden Rock Inn

Artists Helen and Brice Marden have adapted a 19th-century estate plantation property into a lovely 11-room hotel, Golden Rock Inn, leaving no stone unturned—literally. The main house has been painstakingly restored to its original stone-hewn grandeur with the addition of colorful wooden panels and contemporary art pieces. Housed within the walls of the estate’s original sugar mill is the highly requested Sugar Mill suite, a one-of-a-kind, artsy and edgy, bi-level cottage linked by a winding staircase.

The Hermitage Verandah

 Photo: The Hermitage, A Plantation

Photo: The Hermitage, A Plantation

The oldest wooden house in the Caribbean (which dates to 1670) is nowadays the top spot for experiencing Nevisian cuisine. The historic home’s verandah is the restaurant arm of The Hermitage, A Plantation Inn and a place where even locals head for a breakfast of pumpkin pancakes and coconut crispy French toast. For dinner, anticipate an ever-changing selection of just-caught fish—perfectly spiced—and prepare to wash it down with the sinfully delicious house-made rum punch (a potent mix of local dark rum, brown sugar, and island citrus fruits.)

The Bath Hotel

Bath-Hotel-Nevis.jpg

Few realize luxury tourism in the Caribbean can be traced to Nevis, specifically to The Bath Hotel, the region’s first luxury hotel c. 1778. Word of the hotel’s therapeutic hot-spring-fed pools quickly spread back to Britain, prompting countless British elite to sail for months to reach Nevis to experience The Bath’s famed pools and tour the island’s capital, Charlestown, by horse and carriage. Though what remains of The Bath today is a dilapidated building in need of major TLC, the actual pools have now been reopened for public use, allowing visitors to thoroughly soak in the historic scene.

*Featured photo courtesy of Photo: Montpelier Plantation & Beach.

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Access Nevis with Tradewind’s regularly scheduled shuttle flights from San Juan, Puerto Rico and Antigua. To reserve your seat, visit flytradewind.com or call 1-800-376-7922.

After the Storm: St. Barth’s Inspiring Recovery

After the Storm: St. Barth’s Inspiring Recovery

Exquisite beaches, verdant hillsides, and the inviting streets of small-town Gustavia – you will find St. Barth today to be much the same as in years past, especially if you remember the tranquil romance of the island some 15 or 20 years ago.

After Hurricanes Irma and Maria struck the Caribbean in September, St. Barth and many of its neighboring islands were decimated by heavy winds and rain. Roofs were ripped from buildings, the roadways of Gustavia became waterways, and lush landscapes were almost completely stripped of greenery. But within days, the people were beginning to rebuild.

Where oceanfront villas and local businesses had been damaged, communities came together to repair them. Debris was cleared from roads and beloved beaches like Colombier, and within a matter of weeks, palm trees and native plants were rejuvenated across the island.

Tradewind Aviation’s David and Eric Zipkin were in the Caribbean the day after Hurricane Irma to coordinate relief flights filled with water, generators, and other much-needed resources and to evacuate those that needed to get off of St. Barth. And two weeks later, when Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, the focus shifted to bringing aid to San Juan.

St-Barth-Tradewind.jpg

Fly to St. Barth with Tradewind today, and your flight will operate out of San Juan as usual.

Despite the widespread devastation across the island – and extensive recovery efforts still underway – Puerto Rico’s airport reopened less than a week after the storm, and airlines were soon flying at full strength. The natural landscape has returned to normal, and many of the hotels, restaurants, and shops in the metropolitan area have resumed business too.

A flyover of St. Barth reveals an island restored. Miles of secluded beaches and the same glamorous exclusivity set the stage for a captivating getaway, albeit with the quieter ambiance that many longtime visitors yearn to experience again.

Although luxury hotels like Eden Rock, Le Guanahani, Cheval Blanc, Le Toiny, and Le Barthélemy will not reopen until summer, most of the island’s elegant villas are welcoming guests for winter. About 60 percent are open, from expansive oceanfront retreats to intimate escapes tucked among tropical gardens, and that number expected to rise to 80 percent by February and March.

Check into your private sanctuary, then travel to your favorite beach by boat. (Jicky Marine is open for rentals.) You will find Gouverneur, Saline, and St. Jean to be as beautiful as ever, and with fewer visitors on the island, you will likely have them much to yourself as you sunbathe, snorkel, and comb through diverse seashells left behind by the storm.

In Gustavia and beyond, more than 45 restaurants are open—from L’Isola, Bagatelle, 25 Quarter, and La Guérite on the harbor to Shell Beach’s Shellona, the gardens of Tamarin, and Jean Claude Dufour’s L’Esprit.

Bakeries like La Petite Colombe and Boulangerie Choisy beckon with freshly baked pastries and confections to enjoy as you watch the yachts drop anchor. And with many high-profile visitors and villa owners contributing to relief efforts, you may even catch a performance from the likes of Jimmy Buffet in the harbor. (He performed a free concert on December 27.)

Among the boutiques that are open for winter, you can shop at your leisure for luxury clothing at Hermes, natural bath and beauty products at Ligne St. Barth, and premier wines at Le Cellier du Gouverneur. Like the beaches, Gustavia has much to offer in terms of seclusion with fewer crowds this winter.

When planning your visit, keep in mind that some of the Caribbean’s most sought-after annual events will go on as planned in 2018, including St. Barts Music Festival in January, St. Barths Bucket Regatta in March, and Les Voiles de Saint-Barth in April. And no matter when you choose to spend time on the island, remember that the best thing that you can do to help the Caribbean is to visit. Tourism is essential to recovery, and Tradewind can get you there with regularly scheduled shuttle flights and private charters to St. Barth and beyond.

Boston Searches for a Seaport Neighborhood

Boston Searches for a Seaport Neighborhood

The architect of New York’s sublime Whitney Museum and the Pompidou Centre in Paris, Renzo Piano, once said of his major design projects that, “Each time, it is like life starting all over again.”

An inspiring notion, and yet cities with limited space for large-scale development don’t often get that fresh start. In Boston—the daily destination of Tradewind’s NY-BOS shuttle—urban planners and elected officials are studying their nearly completed Seaport mega-project and asking what contribution it will make to the city’s identity.

In particular is the question of whether this 1,000-acre micro-metropolis within the South Boston Waterfront fulfills the mandate expressed by another celebrated architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, who once said: “All fine architectural values are human values—otherwise not valuable.”

Not long ago the company that owns one of the project’s final puzzle pieces, a 23-acre parcel called Seaport Square, began publicly discussing design and development plans. An industry journal made note that the company, WS Development, was best known for building successful outdoor malls in the Boston suburbs—perhaps a dubious qualification in this instance. Seaport Square, the publication wrote with a note of urgency, “represents the last chance for the district to save itself from becoming a sea of generic office and condo buildings, and a playground only for those who can afford it.”

It inspires compassion—and perhaps mirth—when a major city undergoes its most traumatic growing pains 400 or so years after its founding. But Boston always resisted the notion of growth based on packing the skyline with steel-and-glass towers. For the old town to tear itself apart and basically grind to a halt during the 20-year ordeal of the Big Dig took fortitude and even fearlessness, but that project was all about roads, tunnels, and bridges. The infamous Dig was really a grid rebuild, centered on removal of a brutal, dysfunctional elevated highway inflicted upon us during the Eisenhower Interstate era—and blessedly gone from the streetscape as of 2004.

 Courtesy of the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

Courtesy of the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

Once that urban engineering miracle was pulled off, America’s most venerable city started to feel its oats and get more global in its ambitions—eyeing Southie’s vast parking lots and crumbling railroad piers and sketching out a vision of tech-meets-commerce at what would become the Seaport—along the way even luring General Electric to become a prime tenant.

In point of fact, the Seaport has been a global proposition in more than ways than one. Russell Preston, a Boston-based architect and urban-planning specialist, says the $12 billion in Big Dig investment that miraculously connected South Boston to Logan Airport via underwater tunnel, plus several billion more in public infrastructure, attracted the attention of investor groups worldwide. These institutions and syndicates, seeing opportunity on the horizon, brought necessary private capital. However, their geographic dispersion and fixation on financial return would unintentionally subvert neighborhood-building as an element of the project.

“From the beginning there has been intense focus on turning those old South Boston parking lots and abandoned wharfs into buildings, such that people failed to recognize the potential of the spaces in between,” says Preston. “There’s a shift now, late in the game, toward finding design elements that might be able to tie the various parts together, in hopes of creating a place people will come to love—a neighborhood with a true soul.”

During the world’s long, slow economic recovery post-2008, vast pools of financial capital gradually formed, and they’ve been competing for a limited array of high-return super-projects to fund, especially in the U.S. and Europe. As Preston explains, this has caused large-scale commercial real estate “to become commoditized and reduced to numbers on spreadsheets for pensions funds and other global capital sources to review, as investment instruments.”

In the locality where a mega-project’s towers will eventually rise, planners and officials can of course task themselves with injecting a sense of community and human connection into the finished product, he hastens to add. But that’s often easier said than done.

Preston helped establish the New England chapter of the Congress for the New Urbanism, an architectural discipline committed to forging a beautiful balance between the built environment and human sensibilities. The woman credited with co-founding New Urbanism in the 1970s, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberg, was one of Preston’s grad school professors at the University of Miami. The concept’s core tenets included reversing the sprawl-producing, automobile-centric approach that had overtaken planning, zoning, and construction in the U.S. The idea was to pivot toward walkable, human-scale, mixed-use projects and thereby create neighborhood-style patterns of life featuring chance encounters between people as they go about everyday life. The list of New Urbanist projects and districts is long and impressive, but as the years went by it hardly came to represent a revolution.

 Courtesy of the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

Courtesy of the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

“Why the New Urbanist view did not become the normal course of business for how we build our country is something that a lot of us would ask ourselves, on almost a weekly basis,” recalls Preston. But the CNU folks now pick their spots. Lately a sub-category called Tactical Urbanism has gained prominence, valued for how straightforward its executions can be.

“The term Tactical Urbanism refers to short, very quick interventions,” says Preston, “and it’s happening everywhere.”

An example can be found across the Charles River in Cambridge, where historic Brattle Street outside Harvard Square has a new bike lane created by moving curbside parking spaces several paces into the roadway and letting bikes have the newly created inner lane—when you park, you walk a few yards across it to put quarters in your meter.

Interestingly, while New Urbanism hasn’t become the rallying cry for municipalities and developers nationwide in the generation that it’s been around, enthusiasm for urban living has nonetheless mushroomed.

“Someone with my background and point of view is always going to want any new built environment like the Seaport to be the most vibrant neighborhood possible, and the place Bostonians most love to spend time,” says Preston. “But even if that doesn’t happen, the Seaport will still be a testament to the value of building new urban districts, even new cities altogether.” 

Spoken like someone who sees the next big urban development project as a thrilling example of life starting all over again.

*Featured image: John Hoey