Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Back From The Holidays!

Hello Everyone! 

We have returned from a much needed "website upkeep" holiday break and are anxious to start the New Year in a NEWER, more streamlined mode. That means an eventual change in this site's overall look and content ... with more focus placed on regularly updating our Whelan Farms Airport Facebook posts and Country Airport tweets. Stay tuned for these impending changes; but, in the meantime we wish you and yours a wonderful and prosperous 2016. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Sega's: Sonic the Hedgehog

In addition to this year's successful XLTA-11 event, our summer months also included the preparation of a famous hot air balloon headed to this year's annual International Balloon Fiesta held in sunny Albuquerque, New Mexico. Sega's: Sonic the Hedgehog, which visited Whelan Farms Airport for a few months, was expertly re-coated by Mick Murphy of Aer Blarney; and, then meticulously inspected by Russ Barber of Hudson Valley Balloon Port. 

Given the enormous size of this hot air balloon, it was a daunting task. But, the tenacity of everyone involved, including a healthy dose of humor along the way, made the effort well worth it. And, the happy, revitalized hedgehog arrived in time for his October launch at the fiesta. Once again ... Thank you to everyone who made these two difficult tasks possible!

Friday, September 25, 2015


Thank you Jack Perry for taking these special photos of September's XLTA-11 event. We hope everyone had a great time ... We sure did! See you next year?

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Bumblebees Can Fly Higher Than Mount Everest, Scientists Find

They defy gravity and spread gold-spun pollen from plant to plant. They may just be the last stand of pollinators left in the world today. Yet ... in recent years they too are falling prey to disease, the destructive forces of urban sprawl and chemical warfare in the form of herbicides and pesticides that have already destroyed millions of Honeybee colonies. Without the continued "Flight of the Bumblebees" both man and his crops might cease to survive as species. Our food sources depend on these fuzzy-winged marvels of aviation.

Please support all conservation efforts, including state or federal legislation to protect ALL of our domestic bees who serve the greater good of our agricultural communities at large. And, thank you once again National Geographic for these beautiful photos and interesting article (see below). Your continued efforts to reveal nature in all its splendor helps raise awareness worldwide.    

Bumblebees Can Fly Higher Than Mount Everest, Scientists Find

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Caribbean Getaway

"Cyril E. King Airport" by Nandhp - Own work. Licensed under GFDL via Wikimedia Commons 

Jutting into the turquoise blue waters of the Caribbean Sea is the island airport of Saint Thomas, Virgin Islands. On final approach its runway hardly seems capable of accommodating a large, commercial aircraft.  And, in fact ... many of our passengers hold their collective breath as wheels touch down ... then erupt into exuberant clapping as the plane roars to a complete stop. Outside the tiny cabin windows we can clearly see that this is no longer the winter-beaten terrain we left behind in Connecticut.  Our own airport in Bethlehem will have to do without us for a spell.

We have landed in a tropical paradise where sailboats of all sizes idly drift by and flowering plants like hibiscus dot the sloping hills. As we de-board American Airlines from a portable stairway, we head inside the quaint terminal for our complimentary tasting of Cruzan rum. Representatives hand us tiny plastic cups filled with this locally made concoction and give us a big welcoming smile. Life is slower and sweeter in the Caribbean isles; and, within moments we are whisking off to Marriott's Frenchman's Cove resort for some long overdue relaxation. We will live here at our island getaway for just one week.  It is set amid sun-drenched beaches and breathtaking views of distant islands.  Yet, however brief our stay will be ... we know it will be a glorious and action-packed one.

Islands with exotic sounding names like Saint Croix, Jost Van Dyke, Tortola and Virgin Gorda will become potential day trips via sea-weathered ferry boats.  

And, as we begin to drift off to sleep on chaise lounges shaded by our favorite Sea Grape tree, old friends from vacations past will slither near, hoping for leftover fruit from the morning's breakfast bar.

These prehistoric looking Iguanas inhabit almost every nook and cranny of  Saint Thomas. Some varieties, like the Green Iguana, are a protected species, while others may find their way into a local cook's stew. We are told by a waitress here that they taste like chicken.  But, we don't intend anytime soon to find out for ourselves. They are just too cute and besides ... If one likes you enough to camp under your chaise ... Rest assured that NO one will venture towards any valuables you may leave behind while you go for a swim!

Our first and last island meals are always much anticipated.  Gone are our New England standards of Boston beans and franks or oatmeal and blueberry breakfasts.  Here we will enjoy fish tacos made from freshly caught Mahi Mahi and coconut rum french toast with caramelized plantains.  And our bananas won't come from the produce section of Stop and Shop ... But, will dangle like emerald necklaces from native trees.

This trip of ours has also coincided with April's month-long celebration of "Carnival." Seen above are some of the local revelers published on MANGO. There are regional food carts, wonderful displays of local arts and crafts, parades for all age groups and fireworks culminating the end of this highly anticipated Saint Thomas tradition.

The possibilities are endless when you travel to the Caribbean. We take a breezy voyage over to the British Virgin isle of Tortola. As with all the Caribbean islands, this one has its own particular vibe. While here we tour schools and centers that cater to "Differently Abled" children and adults.  We do this in conjunction with our daughter Chelsea who specializes in the field of Autism. It is an enlightening day and we are forever indebted to our gracious host, Sara. Amongst the various locations we are met with wide grins and open arms; and, saying goodbye to our new friends is difficult.  

As we head back to the ferry terminal, we stumble upon chickens everywhere.  Free roaming hens and roosters are a common sight in the islands.  As friendly as puppy dogs, they scurry close for a bite of whatever you may be nibbling on.  If you have nothing to offer them they will still plop down at your feet and keep you company for awhile.

Unfortunately,  by the time we actually hit our stride and melt into a tropical routine of slow days and hazy sunsets ... We find ourselves packing for the trip back home.  It is a bittersweet process since we have friends and family awaiting our return; yet, we long to stay well beyond our original itinerary. 


The drive back to Cyril E. King Airport is quite subdued.  Then we pass the vine-covered fence that makes us burst out laughing.  Where else will you see a traffic sign that lets you know that you are "loved?"  It sums up our vacation in a way this blog post cannot. When you visit these parts it quickly becomes apparent that fast-paced living is NOT what island life is all about. Here residents work hard and play hard. But, they do so in a manner that allows for flexibility.  I call it the Tropical Tempo ... A Steel Drum beat reverberating throughout each day ... Reminding locals and visitors alike that life is to be savored ... Like my pint-sized bottle of Cruzan Rum, won poolside on "Rum Bingo" day, now carefully tucked into my checked luggage, patiently waiting to be opened on a cold winter evening.