Pilatus PC-12: Using Turboprop Travel as a Business Tool

Pilatus PC-12: Using Turboprop Travel as a Business Tool

For today’s sophisticated businessperson, accessible air travel is a must. What many don’t realize, however, is that an enticing alternative to private jet transfer exists in the form of smaller turboprop planes, like Tradewind Aviation’s Pilatus PC-12.

Since debuting in the airline market in 1991, the Swiss-made Pilatus PC-12 has gained a reputation for its reliability, performance, and versatility, combining the speed and air-pressurization of a King Air with the cabin space and short-field performance of a Grand Caravan. As travelers discover that the smaller aircraft is just as safe as larger planes (and often comes with a lower price tag), more and more are turning to turboprop charters as a part of their productive business strategy.

“The Pilatus PC-12 offers the comfort and convenience of a private jet for significantly less cost, making it a smart business tool for short- and medium-range trips,” says Tradewind Vice President and Co-Owner David Zipkin. He also adds that the turboprop is ideal for stage lengths of up to 350 miles, such as Teterboro to Boston, Westchester to Toronto, Teterboro to Syracuse, or Westchester to Pittsburgh.

Pilatus_Sunset.jpg

For instance, travelers flying Tradewind’s charter option from Westchester Airport to Boston Logan International and back can expect to pay around $4,700 per day trip. Compare that to using commercial business class, where a similar journey from LaGuardia to Boston and back for eight people costs around $5,200—or to private jet travel—which can run upwards of $10,000 roundtrip.

While Zipkin says that customers are often surprised by the lower costs they experience when choosing charter, they tend to be equally amazed by the amount of time they can save compared to commercial airlines, especially on shorter trips.

Whereas jets are often subject to re-routing due to their higher airspeeds, he explains, turboprops are often able to fly more direct paths, resulting in the same or shorter travel times. Considering the ability to bypass TSA and arrive at the valet-ready tarmac just 10 minutes before a scheduled departure, customers can expect to shave off up to five hours per round trip.

Pilatus_PC_12_interior.jpg

Zipkin adds, “The PC-12 can land at smaller airfields often closer to the intended origin and destination, which can offer additional time savings.”

Keeping in mind that business doesn’t cease during travel, Pilatus PC-12s come equipped with plenty of privacy to conduct meetings in the air. Similar to its leisure flights, Tradewind’s business accommodations include comfortable air-conditioned cabins, leather seating, writing tables, and complimentary drinks and snacks, along with additional catering on request.

“Our clients who have flown the Pilatus on leisure trips have seen the efficiency first-hand, and many have started to apply the same benefits for their business trips,” says Zipkin, who expects Pilatus PC-12 business travel to continue its upward swing.

To learn more about using private charter as a business tool, please visit: https://www.flytradewind.com/private-charter/business/

A Local’s Guide to Skiing Sugarbush

A Local’s Guide to Skiing Sugarbush

Spanning 53 miles of pristine trails in Vermont’s Mad River Valley, Sugarbush is known as one of the top ski resorts in New England with good reason. The alpine retreat in Warren is home to more than 100 trails, a professional-level terrain park, and the spectacular, 2,000-acre backland woods area of Slide Brook Basin.

Among the skiers and snowboarders taking in Vermont’s breathtaking scenery on any given day is Mark Woolley, Seasonal Programs Supervisor and Alpine Training Coordinator. Woolley has been at Sugarbush since 1979 when he moved to the mountain at the age of 21, and today, he still skis as much as possible during his free time. 

“It rivals anything in the East,” he says of the terrain, noting the marked trails as well as the much-acclaimed side-country and backcountry.

At the heart of Sugarbush is the Lincoln Peak area, which includes Lincoln Peak, Castlerock, Gadd Peak, and North Lynx and features a variety of classic New England trails and the Ski & Ride School. Nearby in the Mt. Ellen area, composed of the 4,083-foot Mt. Ellen and Inverness, you can find Vermont’s highest chairlift.

Photo: Audrey Huffman

Photo: Audrey Huffman

The marked trails in Lincoln Peak and Mt. Ellen are among the best in the region, offering incredible beginner and expert terrain — including Woolley’s personal favorite trail, the double-black Lift Line on Castlerock Peak. But it’s between the two areas that you will find Slide Brook Basin, which is where Woolley and many of the resort’s top skiers and riders spend their time.

Beyond resort boundaries, the basin abounds with challenging expert ski terrain. It’s here that you can find tranquil backcountry solitude as you explore with your group — and perhaps even spot wildlife including moose, black bears, and white-tailed deer.

“Everybody loves this place for skiing in the woods,” says Woolley, who spends a lot of time in Sugarbush’s wooded areas with the children in the seasonal programs. (Many parents from nearby Boston are avid skiers themselves and want their children to feel comfortable skiing in the woods as quickly as possible.)

Photo: Hans Jonathon Von Briesen

Photo: Hans Jonathon Von Briesen

Back in Lincoln Peak and Mt. Ellen, the terrain parks also attract skiers and riders of all skill levels. Families and beginners enjoy small jumps, rails, and boxes in the progression park in Lincoln Peak, while experienced skiers and riders head over to Mt. Ellen’s Riemergasse and Sugar Run via the Sunny Quad chairlift.

“We have one large, professional-level, photography-style terrain park,” says Snowboard Manager Aaron Guilfoyle of the six-acre Riemergasse. “The skate-plaza-style setup at the base of Mt. Ellen is absolutely amazing. It’s set up to really feed into a lot of people’s creativity.”

Sugarbush’s premier park for more than a decade, Riemergasse is packed with more than 50 of the most advanced medium and large features in the industry, with an opportunity to link a single top-to-bottom run 15 features deep. Nearby, Sugar Run is a traditional top-to-bottom run with small and medium features that are great for those in the early stages of freestyle skiing and those who want to warm up before Riemergasse.

Photo: John Atkinson

Photo: John Atkinson

Between hitting the slopes, there is plenty to do in the Mad River Valley, from shopping artisan galleries to grabbing a bite at top après ski bars to relaxing in Sugarbush’s cozy accommodations. For Woolley, some of the many great restaurants in the area include the Hyde Away, where you can find modern farm-to-table cuisine and Vermont microbrews, and The Reks for delicious appetizers and innovative comfort food. He is also known to visit the Mediterranean-inspired Sage on a Thursday night. 

At the resort itself, the retro-themed Wünderbar and Castlerock Pub with its extensive beer selection are both favorites for quick breaks and après ski stops. Woolley recommends eating midmorning and midafternoon when there’s a crowd at Sugarbush so you can have some runs all to yourself midday.

From year to year, Sugarbush tends to see the most snow in March, but this season there has been plenty of snow all season long — including about five feet in January — so the mountain is in perfect condition for a winter or spring getaway. As in years past, the slopes will remain open until the first weekend of May.

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A quick flight from Boston and New York City, Sugarbush is completely accessible for quick getaways or weeklong retreats with Tradewind Aviation’s on-demand private charter flights.

To reserve a charter, call us at 1-800-376-7922 or click here.

Featured Photo: John Atkinson

The Best Caribbean Islands for Shipwrecks and Pirate Tales

The Best Caribbean Islands for Shipwrecks and Pirate Tales

Pirate lore is replete with shipwrecks, buried treasure, and infamous villains who, despite formidable mischief, have been romanticized with the passing of stories and time. Such colorful characters and their accompanying exploits are responsible for writing a significant chapter in Caribbean history, including the golden age of piracy between 1690 and 1730.

Today’s adventurer or history buff will be pleased to discover that some of Tradewind Aviation’s most-visited Caribbean islands once teemed with every iteration of buccaneer, privateer, and swashbuckler. Steeped in legend and beautiful as they are fascinating, here are our favorite Leeward Islands destinations to feed the imagination and invoke your inner pirate.

Puerto Rico

Pirate ship in the Caribbean

Ensconced along Puerto Rico’s northeast coastline is the original heart of San Juan. Practically an island of its own, Old San Juan is connected to the rest of the city and the larger Puerto Rican landmass through bridges on its eastern side. Considering its status as the second oldest city in the Western Hemisphere, as well as one of the key ports to the New World, the storied citadel has experienced its share of seafaring scoundrels throughout history.

In the decades after Columbus’s landing, Puerto Rico began to boom as a vital Spanish colony, and competing European powers soon took notice. After a series of attacks from government-commissioned pirates — otherwise known as privateers — began on the port, the Spanish built a wall around the city complete with a series of cannon-studded forts to protect its harbor from seaborn enemies.

Today, the towering rock walls of Fort San Felipe del Morro still overlook the entrance to San Juan Bay, and visitors can tour the UNESCO World Heritage site’s six levels and tunneling mazes while imagining an onslaught of French, Dutch, and English invaders. Further east down the coast of Old San Juan, the sprawling Fort San Cristóbal also remains open for modern day exploration. Completed in 1783 to protect the city from the other direction, it’s known as the largest Spanish fortification built in the New World.

Fort San Felipe del Morro in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

Take a drive from San Juan to Rincón Beach on the northwest shore of the island to pay a visit to Villa Cofresí Hotel and Restaurant — named after Roberto Cofresí, a legendary local pirate who allegedly split his loot with the island’s poor. Here, guests can sip a Pirate’s Special cocktail from a coconut-shell goblet before inspecting the beach’s cliffside caverns where Cofresí was rumored to have hidden some of his booty.

For a dose of corsair history away from Puerto Rico’s Spanish strongholds, head east to the nearby islands of Vieques and Culebras, which remained lawless outposts for pirates and other pariah for more than three centuries. Naturally abundant in crabs, fish, birds, and timber, these outlying islands provided ideal havens for ships to resupply. In a culmination of rolling hills and verdant forest rising almost 1,000 feet from the sea, the highest point of Vieques is named Monte Pirata, or “Pirate’s Mount,” from which freebooting inhabitants once glassed the surrounding blue vistas.

British Virgin Islands

Tortola

A chain of more than 60 islands thoroughly riddled with cays and hideaways — and once the crossroads of a major sea-trading route — the British Virgin Islands were an attractive locale for pirates and privateers.

Just about every anchorage in this archipelago has a story from the heyday of pirate lore, including the small and desolate island of Dead Chest, where, according to legend, 15 men and at least one bottle of rum were marooned by Captain Blackbeard after his crew attempted a mutiny. As the story goes, most of the men’s bodies washed up in Deadman’s Bay, an eastern cove off nearby Peter Island, after they tried to make the treacherous swim to the larger island.

Tales of buried treasure abound from the adjacent Norman Island, which is perhaps most famous for being the inspiration behind Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel Treasure Island. According to legend, caves lining the island’s western bight served as hiding places for gold and other riches plundered from state coffers, including holdings from the Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, a Spanish galleon whose crew mutinied off the coast of North Carolina in 1750. First a retreat for sea rovers looking to stow their loot, Norman Island soon became a hotspot for other assailants looking to steal the spoils of their competitors.

Photo: Soggy Dollar Bar

Photo: Soggy Dollar Bar

Though today’s Norman Island is privately owned and mostly uninhabited, travelers from near and far can drop an anchor in The Bight Bay and pay a visit to Pirates Bight Bar, Restaurant, and Gift Shop, known for its crispy calamari, fresh lobster, and tuna carpaccio.

Further north sits the BVI capital of Tortola, which preserves the remnants of its pirate-laden past through aptly-themed landmarks and establishments. One such attraction is Soper’s Hole Marina, the deep harbor where Blackbeard once moored and now the home to Pusser’s, a prized watering hole and purveyor of the storied British rum bearing the same title. On the beach adjoining nearby Nanny Cay, Peg Leg Landing specializes in eclectic seafood and sweeping views of the Sir Francis Drake Channel, named after the renowned English privateer who famously plied the region’s waters looking for Spanish ships in the name of the Queen.

While on Tortola, visit Smuggler’s Cove, a secluded bay harboring one of the island’s most pristine beaches. Visible from the tip of the cove, and rising from the sea on the northern horizon, is Jost van Dyke, named after the Dutch privateer and pirate who settled there and allegedly used the island’s natural tide-fed pools for his annual bath. Travelers who take the ferry northward will find plenty of ways to reminisce on the legends of yore while imbibing on Voodoo Juice from Corsairs Beach Bar & Restaurant or the celebrated Painkiller cocktail from the Soggy Dollar Bar.

Photo : Nwmangum Wikimedia Commons / CC BY

Photo: Nwmangum Wikimedia Commons / CC BY

On the topside of Beef Island just east of Tortola is Trellis Bay — the reputed lair of the famed and feared Black Sam Bellamy, also known as the Prince of Pirates. From this stronghold, Bellamy resupplied his legendary 300-ton sailing warship, the Whydah, with fresh meat from wild cattle on Beef Island before scouring the region to relieve scores of unfortunate ships from their gold, silver, jewels, and valuable navigational instruments. Bellamy’s short, albeit prolific, career ended abruptly during a northbound expedition, when the Whydah sunk, along with its treasure, in the stormy seas off of Cape Cod. (The ship and its bounty were recovered by treasure hunters in 1985.)

Of all of the BVIs, the north-lying island of Anegada perhaps provided the most opportune site for beachcombers, wreckers, and beached buccaneers of yesteryear. A coral atoll protected by one of the biggest barrier reefs on the planet, it is a graveyard of countless shipwrecks from the past several centuries. Take the ferry from Tortola to visit Pomato Point, a restaurant and museum containing collections of artifacts, including gin bottles, apothecary jars, coins, sword handles, naval buttons, and an old treasure map recovered from the wreckage.

US Virgin Islands

Photo : Mali via Wikimedia Commons / CC BY

Photo: Mali via Wikimedia Commons / CC BY

With little to no threat of being boarded, today’s seafaring travelers enjoy smooth sailing along the Sir Frances Drake Channel, which runs along Tortola’s south belly and separates the BVIs from the US Virgin Islands.

Some of the most infamous figures to establish their pirate bases in the USVIs include Bartholomew Sharp, Captain William Kidd, Anne Bonney, and Captain Edward Teach — better known as Blackbeard — who was said to instill fear in his enemies by intertwining lit candles into his beard.

In the Dutch colonial city of Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas, standing sentinel on the highest point of Government Hill, rises the stone lookout known as Blackbeard’s Tower. Believed to be Blackbeard’s center of operations during his legacy in the early 1700s, the watchtower may have been used to plan assaults and search for passing ships. While the columned fortress is currently undergoing repairs in the wake of Hurricane Irma, visitors can still savor the panoramic views surrounding it while admiring the world’s largest collection of life-sized pirate sculptures.

Photo: Pirates Treasure Museum

Photo: Pirates Treasure Museum

During the peak of Caribbean piracy, Charlotte Amalie remained a haven for an array of questionable characters who bribed the local government in exchange for safe harbor. But to the unexpected chagrin of two legendary pirates, Jean Hamlin and Bartholomew Sharp, an English officer snuck aboard and sank both their ships, complete with a cache of silver, to the bottom of the harbor where the wreckage remains today. This legend, along with other colorful tales of shipwrecks, treasure, and debauchery, can be explored in full detail through the interactive exhibits at the Pirates Treasure Museum.

Elsewhere in the USVIs, there are a number of beaches where travelers can picture pirate life and search for gold doubloons unearthed on sandy shores. Make time for beautiful Trunk Bay on St. John, as well as Rainbow and Buccaneer beaches on St. Croix. You could be walking in the footsteps of history’s most notorious marauders, your skin made swarthy by the Caribbean sun.

Finding Paradise in Antigua

Finding Paradise in Antigua

In the fast-paced world of Instragrammable travel, it’s sometimes difficult to uncover a place where quiet, barefoot luxury reigns.

Enter Antigua, an island which has no qualms about maintaining its off-the-grid appeal and commingling old-school Caribbean finesse with modernity. At Antigua’s top resorts, it’s all about embracing the charm, adopting a slower pace of life, relaxing in high style, and perfecting the art of doing nothing.

Here, two of our favorite iterations of Antiguan paradise: 

Carlisle Bay Resort: A Mainland Getaway

Photo: Carlisle Bay Resort

Photo: Carlisle Bay Resort

On Antigua’s south coast, where the rainforest meets the Caribbean Sea, Carlisle Bay graces its namesake shoreline with 87 ocean-facing suites and an array of amenities exemplifying Caribbean cool. By way of an outward-facing design, each unit of this all-suite resort features a balcony or terrace, all with a partial or full ocean view and a double-sized daybed for lazing the afternoons away (not far from the complimentary, fully stocked minibar).

For a resort of its size, Carlisle Bay houses a massive spa — the 17,000-square-foot Blue Spa to be exact — which is comprised of a relaxation lounge, sauna, plunge pool, six garden-view treatment rooms, and a state-of-the-art fitness center and yoga pavilion, where complimentary group yoga and pilates sessions are held.

Photo: Carlisle Bay Resort

Photo: Carlisle Bay Resort

The resort’s restaurant personalities are equally large. In fact, Carlisle Bay houses five restaurants and four bars/lounges under the direction of Lisa Sellers, a British-born chef whose reputation precedes her throughout the Caribbean. Highlights include beachfront, adults-only The Jetty Grill, which specializes in local Antiguan fare (think: jerk chicken and day-caught fish with coconut rice) and the connecting, feet-in-the-sand Jetty Bar, where freshly cracked coconut and house-made rum punch headline the drink menu.

Once luxuriating in-room, poolside, or beachside reaches its intended relaxation effect, consider engaging in one — or several — of Carlisle Bay’s prolific adventure activities and nature excursions. Summit the proximate rainforest to get a bird’s eye view of Antigua’s southern coastline (this guided excursion is provided exclusively to Carlisle Bay guests). Take full advantage of the complimentary watersports offerings like sailing, kayaking, snorkeling, windsurfing, and paddleboarding. Or discover the Holy Grail of Caribbean sailing with a Royal Yachting Association course. After all, Antigua is home to the longest-running regatta in the Caribbean, and learning here merits major bragging rights.

Jumby Bay Island: An Offshore Escape

Photo: Jumby Bay Island

Photo: Jumby Bay Island

On a private island off mainland Antigua’s northeast reaches, accessed exclusively by boat, Jumby Bay Island merges natural beauty, timeless Caribbean elegance, and the latest trends in modern luxury thanks to a 2018 renovation by noted Brazilian interior designer Patricia Anastassiadis.

Two swoon-worthy beaches fringe the verdant 300-acre island: the more rugged Pasture Bay to the north, which serves as a sanctuary for nesting sea turtles, and sparkling Jumby Bay Beach to the south, which is the island nexus for all things luxe and leisure. In between and along the beaches lie 40 guestrooms and suites plus private villas, estate homes, and several miles of palm-tree-laced walking paths that connect the island (read: no roads or cars here). Add the likes of a sumptuous spa, a trio of swimming pools, a number of distinctive restaurants and bars, and a sleek watersports center, and you’ll want for nothing during your time on Jumby Bay Island.

Photo: Jumby Bay Island

Photo: Jumby Bay Island

Accommodations range from the island’s original Rondavel octagonal-shaped cottages to multi-story estate homes in Jumby’s rental program. However, most guests opt for our top picks, the pool or beachfront suites – both of which take shape as private residences, each with a separate entrance, a superbly appointed living area and master bedroom, an expansive terrace, and a lovely bathroom that transitions between the indoors and outdoors.

For the best island views, head to Jumby Bay Beach and settle under a full-service palapa, on a hammock, or on a teak deck chair at the oceanfront infinity pool. As staff help you settle, prepare for the ultimate “treat yourself” kind of day. Jumby Bay is all-inclusive, so there’s no excuse to pass on another glass of wine with lunch.

If you happen to be a repeat Jumby visitor and notice the stone-tiled, infinity pool area looks remarkably different, you’re right. As part of the transition from a Rosewood resort to a property of Oetker Collection caliber, Jumby Bay commissioned Anastassiadis to reimagine the Jumby Bay Pool, as well as the spa, the watersports center, and the principal Verandah building – now home to a new Italian trattoria, a refreshed Jumby Bay Bar & Lounge, and a new arrival area.

Photo: Jumby Bay Island

Photo: Jumby Bay Island

If it’s action you seek more than R & R, Jumby’s also got you covered. Hit the water on a guided snorkeling tour, go sailboarding, or take a sunset cocktail cruise. Visit the new watersports center, 22 Knots, and try your hand at paddleboarding, windsurfing, and kayaking. Nature lovers should also consider partaking in a hands-on island conservation initiative, the Hawksbill Turtle Project – most exciting during nesting season from June to November, when naturalists lead nighttime Turtle Watches. 

Intoxicated by simplicity and relaxation, most guests never leave the island during their stay and keep the activities to a minimum. But whether seeking adrenaline-filled adventure or languid days, this private island is an idyllic setting to soak up everything Antigua.

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Tradewind Aviation offers convenient connection to Antigua, with scheduled flights operating from San Juan (with one stop) and St. Barth! Private charters are available anytime from Puerto Rico, the USVI, Anguilla, and the US mainland. Scheduled flights operate six days per week from December 14 through May 15 and three days per week from May 16 through September 3.

Featured Photo: Carlisle Bay Resort

8 Gifts to Bring Back from the Caribbean this Season

8 Gifts to Bring Back from the Caribbean this Season

Though the Leeward Islands all share crystal-blue waters and an unmistakably laidback lifestyle, each one bears its own proud version of the Caribbean tale – often told through the singular wares sold on the island.

Scattered throughout Tradewind Aviation’s shuttle and private charter routes, there are plenty of places from which to bring home a genuine piece of the islands as you travel this season. Sourced from independent artists selling their creations and stylish boutiques, here are eight gift ideas that are uniquely Caribbean:

A Tahitian Pearl Bracelet

Tresors de St. Barth, St. Barth

Photo: Tresors de St. Barth

Photo: Tresors de St. Barth

Tucked into downtown Gustavia, Tresors de St. Barth has offered handmade jewelry crafted from precious materials like rough gemstones, emerald, topaz, fossils, Himalayan turquoise, and meteorites for the last 15 years. The specialty of French-born owner and artisan Ted Deltour, however, is his work with cultured pearls, which are crafted by nature and considered the oldest-known gems in existence.

For those looking for a wearable piece of the island, Deltour recommends his bohemian-chic bracelets that pair Tahitian pearls with quality leather. Custom-made and gender-neutral, these beautiful wrist ornaments are braided in St. Barth’s tradition of nautical knot-tying and feature clasps made from beautiful pebbles that have been rolled smooth over centuries by the Caribbean Sea.

$500

Fine Chocolate

St. Kitts Chocolate Factory, St. Kitts

Photo: St. Kitts Chocolate Factory

Photo: St. Kitts Chocolate Factory

Due to the umpteen sugar plantation factories that once dotted St. Kitts’ verdant landscape, the island is fondly referred to as Sugar City. Fitting, then, that it’s home to St. Kitts Chocolate Factory — the destination’s first and only producers of luxury chocolates.

For discerning cocoa connoisseurs, this state-of-the-art factory and storefront is not to be missed. Using the world’s finest Belgium chocolate, butter, purées, spices, and nuts, internationally-trained chocolatiers create an array of truffles and chocolate à la milk, dark, and white. Stop in to take a tour while sampling exquisite confections, then try your hand at crafting your own. The helpful staff will even flash freeze your treats to allay their melting.

Prices vary

An Exclusive Mille Miglia Watch

Chopard, St. Barth

Photo:  Michael Gramm

Though shoppers may recognize Chopard from their sleek boutiques found worldwide, those who step into the St. Barth location will experience a starkly different version of the jewelry store. Done up in bright, nautical colors and featuring linen upholstery and bleached wood floors, the shop represents the casual-chic island in both its décor and wares.

For a gift bespoke to enthusiasts of this French-Caribbean paradise, the St. Barth Mille Miglia chronograph is an exclusive watch that pays homage to the island — as well as the legendary race which annually took place in Italy between 1927 and 1957. While the front features a classic and elegant timepiece design, the back includes a bright green and blue depiction of the island’s iconic airport.

$5,569

Perfume and Cologne

Tijon Perfume, St. Martin

Photo: Tijon Perfume

Photo: Tijon Perfume

Capture the essence of the Caribbean with custom fragrances from Tijon Perfume, a boutique perfumery on St. Martin that blends time-honored practices from Grasse, France with a decidedly tropical slant.

Apart from specializing in small-batch perfumes and colognes formulated from the finest ingredients in the Caribbean and beyond, Tijon is the only known place in the world to invite guests to handcraft three or more of their very own from over 300 unique oils. After donning a lab coat, visitors can mix their favorite fragrances to formulate a signature scent.

Workshops starting at $93

A Crucian Love Knot Bracelet

Crucian Gold, St. Croix

Photo: Crucian Gold

Photo: Crucian Gold

Since 1972, Crucian Gold has produced original handcrafted jewelry imbued with materials and designs representing the splendor of St. Croix. Using shards of porcelain which have been historically scattered throughout the island, the Chaney Collection features remnants skillfully incorporated into one-of-a-kind bracelets, earrings, pendants, money clips, and cufflinks.

Look for their signature Crucian love knot bracelet, created by second-generation jeweler Nathan Bishop and bearing a design that’s rooted in the sailing culture of the Caribbean.

From $150

Clifton Estate Rum

L & L Rumshop, Nevis

Photo: Mark Theron

Photo: Mark Theron

In Charlestown, just a short walk from the Nevis ferry terminal at Upper Prince William Street, you’ll find the small but well-stocked L & L Rumshop. Though the shop carries myriad options in liquor and tobacco (including Cuban cigars), owner and Caribbean rum expert Mark Theron focuses on one type in particular.

Beside selections of great bottles like Rhum HSE, Rhum Neisson, and Diplomatico, L & L offers Theron’s very own handmade Clifton Estate Rum, an award-winning spiced variety he blends locally in Nevis. A true rum aficionado with an extensive knowledge of his products, Theron lets customers “try before they buy” to discover the perfect rum to suit their palate.

From $25

A Cascading Necklace

Mignot St. Barth, St. Barth

Photo: Mignot St. Barth

Photo: Mignot St. Barth

Another renowned designer in Gustavia honoring the imperial beauty of the Tahitian pearl is Mignot St. Barth. After falling in love with the island more than a decade ago, owner Yvan Mignot moved his family to St. Barth before creating a jewelry line of bohemian-style bracelets, necklaces, and earrings influenced by the region’s natural splendor.

Making an annual trip to Tahiti’s remote Tuamotu Islands to hand-select a fresh crop of black pearls, Mignot brings back organic treasures to blend into individually crafted pieces that exude luxury without being too flashy. Along with the precious pearls, his creations are often married with leather and infused with components originating from the island, like clay beads, beach pebbles, and sea glass.

From $795

Island Spices

St. John Spice, St. John

Photo: St. John Spice

Photo: St. John Spice

Give the gift of authentic island flavor with the craft spices from St. John Spice, which features a massive selection of seasonings, mixes, and rubs, as well as a variety of local hot sauces and coffee beans. In addition to their award-winning Cruz Bay Grill Rub — which is made in-house — the iconic spice shop offers a series of signature blends like their proprietary versions of curry powder, ground cumin, and garlic mixed with herbs.

Prices vary

Celebrating New Year’s Eve in the Caribbean

Celebrating New Year’s Eve in the Caribbean

If you consider New Year’s a momentous event, you could hardly do better than to spend it in the Caribbean, dressed in your summer clothes, wandering the beaches and vibrant village streets while experiencing the island atmosphere — at once laidback and high-energy — building to a crescendo come December 31.

As you get busy planning your trip there, take note of some alternate phrasing: Caribbean locals refer to the occasion as “Old Year’s Night.” It's a twist on what Dick Clark and the throng of frigid folk in Times Square would say.

Suggesting a Caribbean getaway for New Year’s would be incomplete advice if it failed to include special guidance as to getting there. Certainly, you can rely on commercial airlines for transport into the general region of places like St. Barth, Anguilla, Nevis, and Antigua — all luxury landmarks within the Leeward Islands chain — but in this part of the world the last travel legs are the trickiest. Thus, the indispensable value of private air service via Tradewind Aviation, with its scheduled flights to the most desirable destinations within the storied archipelago.

Tradewind_Aviation_St_Barth.jpg

From a trio of hubs in Puerto Rico, Antigua, and the US Virgin Island of St. Thomas, Tradewind whisks its passengers on Swiss-built Pilatus PC-12 jet-prop aircraft, crewed by two pilots each and ultra-comfortable. The cabins are pressurized and air-conditioned, there’s plenty of luggage space, and the in-flight refreshments are complimentary, including wine and beer. If you’ve got a US passport and your itinerary pivots on San Juan, you’ll breeze through the customs and immigration process. Tradewind has a private airport lounge in San Juan, plus a VIP meet-greet option that ensures smooth transfers between flights. Luggage is also complimentary, and likewise your beloved pets are welcome at no charge.

The damage caused in 2017 by Hurricanes Irma and Maria has mostly been repaired, meanwhile this past storm season came and went without incident. Interestingly, the island of Nevis wasn’t affected at all by the twin tempests, nonetheless it’s the site of a major rebuilding and renovation project. Guests at the famed Four Seasons Resort Nevis, which always pulls out the stops to celebrate New Year’s, will arrive to find completely redesigned guestrooms, an updated Great House lobby, and two brand new restaurants.

Mixologists at the Four Seasons are known for selecting a special rum cocktail from their immense menu of them, as an official toast to the sun’s dip below the horizon on the big night. Caribbean vacationers have always been fixated on sunsets, no matter the season, but the last one of the year inspires particular devotion. Once that ceremony concludes, a Grand Tasting buffet rolls out, featuring every variety of gourmet fare, including caviar, king crab legs, lobster, and fine cuts of meat.

Photo: Christian Horan, courtesy Four Seasons

Photo: Christian Horan, courtesy Four Seasons

On the famed French isle of St. Barth, New Year’s is synonymous with film stars, rock stars, and billionaire yachtsmen. Accommodations on a charter yacht are highly favored here, as well as rooms in the island’s many fine hotels — including Le Toiny, Le SerenoCheval Blanc, Hotel Christopher, and Le Barthélemy — all recently reopened or opening in December. Two of the newer luxury resorts, Villa Marie and Hotel Manapany, barely missed a beat after the hurricanes (having reopened in early 2018) and are all the more in demand.

One snug harbor on St. Barth, Port de Plaisance, becomes a New Year’s epicenter. The entire basin — dockside berths and anchor moorings alike — sparkles with seafaring works of art. Coming ashore, yacht guests prowl the nearby promenade with its designer boutiques and jewelry shops. When the night of champagne toasts and fireworks finally arrives, they parade along in a New Year’s Eve Regatta that your cellphone photos won’t do justice to.

While fireworks on New Year’s Eve may seem the sole reason to look upward, another Caribbean pleasure shouldn’t be forgotten — island stargazing, either on beachfronts or the open water. Short charter excursions on boats that make a specialty of leaving the ambient light behind and acting as docents for the starry dome are common in these islands. You should consider getting aboard one of them, binoculars in hand. For most US residents, the arrangement of stars and constellations across the winter sky may prove disorienting at first, with Polaris appearing much lower than one is used to and the three points of Orion’s belt poised considerably higher.

Photo: Curtain Bluff

Photo: Curtain Bluff

Along with St. Barth and Nevis, the Tradewind route map also includes Anguilla, a British territory 16 miles long, and further down the chain to the southeast, Antigua with its rainforests, reef-lined beaches, and posh resorts.

One holiday enclave on Antigua that’s worth booking is Curtain Bluff, which drew raves for its $13-million renovation in 2017 and has continued making guest-pleasing improvements since. These include beautification of its one-bedroom Bluff Suites and redesign of its beachfront Seagrape restaurant. Service on the sand is available from an expanded Beach Concierge service. You’re stretched out on lounge chair, surrounded by turquoise waters, and staff members are bringing you a light lunch… yes, all that.

Of course, world-class relaxation can prompt an urge to get up and get moving. If you’re visiting Anguilla and you brought sturdy footwear, the famed hiking trails offer rugged beauty and fascinating bird life, including the magnificent frigatebird, with its sculpted wing profile against blue skies over famed Windward Point. New lodging options on Anguilla include the 65-room boutique hotel Zemi Beach House and the nine-room Quintessence Hotel, ultra-luxurious and exclusive.

A full-scale travel guide to New Year’s in the Caribbean would surely be book-length — these quick highlights are simply meant to inspire. No matter where your journey takes you, the islands present an unforgettable way to ring in 2019.

Featured Photo: Curtain Bluff