Golf Warkworth

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The Gallery Bed and Breakfast sits on the tenth tee of the Warkworth Golf Course, twenty minutes north of Brighton at the 401 in Ontario’s Northumberland County – a few minutes drive from three other courses.

The Gallery Bed and Breakfast
The Gallery Bed and Breakfast

The name “Gallery” refers not only to host Peter Moore’s paintings of golf courses, but also to the guests who watch other players tee off on the 10th as they enjoy their al fresco breakfast of French toast made with croissants, topped with caramelized green apple slices and peameal bacon. Diners can enjoy a second cup of coffee while Peter picks up the cart. Your friendly and helpful host will also arrange other tee times and dinners too.

This beautifully restored farmhouse from 1881 has three good-sized bedrooms, each with a private bath and beds that can be configured to suit golfing groups or couples. In the true spirit of a golf getaway, it’s best to leave the non-golfing kids and pets at home. Depending on local tournament schedules, a sample weekend golf itinerary might look like this: Check in on Friday afternoon or early evening and warm up on the neighbouring Salt Creek Golf Course.

This short, par-65 track, presents some interesting challenges thanks to 45-degree doglegs and hilltop tee boxes. On Saturday, play Warkworth, taking full advantage of the 19th hole with its tasty local beer, since you won’t be driving. For dinner, book the “Steak and Ride” special including 18 holes of golf and motorized cart. This beautiful course demands well-targeted shots to avoid the mature trees lining the fairways.

Dinner and a night out could also include a trip to the 100 Mile Diner in Warkworth, a town quickly becoming a favourite with Toronto artisans. To dine on the water, head to Dougall’s or the Harbourview Café in Brighton.

On Sunday, play either Pine Ridge or Timber Ridge. For excellent greens just five minutes from Warkworth with fees that top out at $35.00 for 18 holes, head to Pine Ridge. To take advantage of “the best bang for your (golfing) buck”, according to Ontario Golf magazine, drive 20 minutes further to the championship course at Timber Ridge. Green fees here range from $50.00 to $60.00 for 18-holes, 80 bunkers and deep fescue.

Hallway Gallery Bed and Breakfast
Hallway Gallery Bed and Breakfast

After your rounds, swap stories or solicit golfing advice as you share a nightcap with Peter and his congenial wife, Janie, around the billiard table.

Golf Mont Tremblant

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Montreal’s playground, Mont Tremblant, is a 1.5-hour drive northwest of Montreal. In winter, it’s a top ski destination. But the rest of the year finds these same mountains and pristine forests transformed into great golf tracks.

Here, golfers can enjoy championship golf experiences, thanks to the topography of the Canadian Shield, which provides dramatic elevation changes in a beautiful setting unlike any other courses in North America.

The wide variation within the landscape ensures that no two holes are ever the same. With the elevation changes and steep climbs, golf carts are mandatory. They allow golfers to store up their energy for the various challenges presented on these tricky courses.

Many of these spectacular holes find golfers teeing off from a plateau sculpted into the mountainside, high above a tiny green that provides the ultimate thrill in golf.

The most impressive of these elevation changes for some heart-stopping tee shots can be found at Le Geant course, designed by Thomas McBroom, a leading Canadian golf architect.

Le Geant fairway and green
Le Geant fairway and green

The real danger playing these beautiful holes is the temptation to play from the very back tees, which will skew your score unfavorably but will add extra thrills. Your biggest challenge is keeping your eye on the ball instead of the spectacular scenery provided by the surrounding Laurentian Mountains.

Golfers can experience similar views on Le Geant’s sister course: Le Diable. In addition to imposing red-sand bunkers and long, narrow fairways, the course includes several holes with fairway waste bunkers that look more intimidating than they actually play.

This 7,056-yard course, designed by Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry in 1998, offers a true test of driving precision. As an added bonus, both Le Diable and Le Geant courses play for as little as $50 after 5 p.m.

Le Maitre 18th green
Le Maitre 18th green

Two other championship courses in the region that deserve a mention include Le Maitre, whose designers include Fred Couples, and La Bete – designed by Graham Cooke. Cooke provided five sets of tees, making the course accessible to both novice and expert golfers.

The par-72 course plays from 5,150 to 6,825 yards. If you choose to play from the tips, you’ll see why they named the course La Bete (“The Beast”).

Both these tracks feature the variety of holes and elevation changes enjoyed at Le Geant and Le Diable, along with excellent dining and drinking facilities often found in Quebec. Head to the patio at Le Maitre for lunch and dinner, best savored on a large patio overlooking the wide expanse of golf course down below.

La Bete, situated along the Diable River, runs nearly 7,000 yards. For lighter fare and good micro-brews at excellent prices,summer check out La Bete’s quiet back patio overlooking the 9th hole viewed through a crop of tall alders.

La Bete Golf Course
La Bete Golf Course

Keep in mind this 19th hole closes fairly early in the afternoon.

A 10-minute drive away, Le Grand Lodge offers golf packages for these four courses.

Le Grand Lodge Mont Tremblant
Le Grand Lodge Mont Tremblant

Their bountiful breakfast buffet ensures golfers are properly fueled for a challenging day on the course. A rich, multi-course dinner offers good value gourmet dining.

The dining room and patio overlook pretty Lac Ouimet, perfect for a post-round dip. In the evening, you can enjoy a complimentary campfire on the beach – complete with marshmallows and roasting sticks.

A free shuttle service running every half hour will take you to nearby Mont Tremblant Village for dinner, drinks or evening entertainment, including a 10-day annual summer blues festival. Plentiful dining options range from a good brew pub – Microbrasserie La Diable – to Asian cuisine at O-Wok.

Chateau Beauvallon Mont Tremblant
Chateau Beauvallon Mont Tremblant

Nearby, Chateau Beauvallon offers similar accommodations, though more upgraded. The lake, however, is replaced by a busy outdoor pool.

It also features premium dining in the form of Prime Steak Sushi Bar for fans of sushi fusion and beef dishes, along with other choices. Free shuttle service to Mont Tremblant Village is also included, as is a substantial buffet breakfast.

Previously published on USA Today 10 Best

Golfing around Lake Michigan

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Harbor Shores Golf Club

Sitting directly on Lake Michigan, roughly halfway between Chicago and Detroit, Harbor Shores Golf Club once again hosts The Senior PGA Championship, presented by KitchenAid, which returns on May 24-29, 2016 for the third time.

When the course first opened in 2010, Harbor Shores was ranked No. 3 in GOLF Magazine’s Best New Courses You Can Play list.

“One of the year’s feel-good stories is this short but stern Jack Nicklaus Signature design that weaves through hardwoods, marshland and the massive white sand dunes that edge Lake Michigan on holes 7, 8 and 9.”

Hole Seven at Harbor Shores Golf Club
Hole Seven at Harbor Shores Golf Club

Course designer, Jack Nicklaus said, “This wasn’t just about a golf course. With Harbor Shores, we set out really to change a community. When we started, we had a factory where the first tee is. We had to remove toxic waste and buildings. This was a non-profit project. But in the end, the whole course looks beautiful and we hope is enjoyable to play.”

Best options for a stay over include The Inn at Harbor Shores, which feature well-designed, comfortable condos overlooking Lake Michigan, the St. Joseph River and Harbor Shores Golf Club.

The Inn at Harbor Shores Lobby
The Inn at Harbor Shores Lobby

Willow Crest Golf Course

Are you a golfer who enjoys cycling or is just looking for another way to get around the course? Guests of the Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills Resort just outside of Chicago offer a unique opportunity to experience a healthy alternative to traditional motorized carts – the Golf Bike.

The Golf Bike
The Golf Bike

The Golf Bike is a custom-made bicycle with saddle bags attached to carry your clubs. The rubber tires are wider than a standard bike to decrease impact on the course.  Guests can sign out these golf bikes out from the pro shop at no extra charge. Along with providing an additional workout, riding a bicycle on a golf course is a real conversation starter.

Willow Crest Golf Club
Willow Crest Golf Club

Walk from your room onto the first tee of Willow Crest Golf Course at The Hilton Oak Brook Hills Resort. Designed by Dick Nugent, Willow Crest is a classic parkland style golf course with water hazards on 13 holes.

The Inn at Aberdeen

The Inn at Aberdeen
The Inn at Aberdeen

Just down the road from Indiana Dunes State Park, take advantage of the Dream Golf Getaway package offered by The Inn at Aberdeen in Valparaiso, Indiana –  about an hour from Chicago. This golf getaway package includes lodging at a historic inn, part of The Underground Railway dating from Civil War days and decorated with golf memorabilia, a full home-cooked breakfast,  a voucher for the nearby Course at Aberdeen and a dinner voucher good for several excellent restaurants in Valparaiso.

Should you arrive on a Sunday and encounter the state law prohibition of alcohol sales in grocery stores, the 19th hole of the golf course restaurant can provide you with beer to take away or to enjoy overlooking the scenic signature 10th hole of this beautiful and challenging course.

The Course at Aberdeen
The Course at Aberdeen

Michael Hurdzan designed The Course at Aberdeen, an eighteen hole, championship golf course.

Senior PGA Tour Championship returns to Harbor Shores

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Even with 375 golf courses in play, course designer Jack Nicklaus holds special memories of Harbor Shores Golf Club in Benton Harbor, Michigan.

“This wasn’t just about a golf course. With Harbor Shores, we set out really to change a community. When we started, we had a factory where the first tee is. We had to remove toxic waste and buildings. This was a non-profit project. But in the end, the whole course looks beautiful and we hope is enjoyable to play.”

When the course first opened in 2010, Harbor Shores ranked No. 3 in GOLF Magazine’s Best New Courses You Can Play list. GOLF Magazine said,

“One of the year’s feel-good stories is this short but stern Jack Nicklaus Signature design that weaves through hardwoods, marshland and the massive white sand dunes that edge Lake Michigan on holes 7, 8 and 9.

Hole Seven at Harbor Shores Golf Club
Hole Seven at Harbor Shores Golf Club

The Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid returns to Harbor Shores May 24-29, 2016 for the third time.  Fan favorite and newly minted member of the senior tour, John Daly plays Harbor Shores for the first time. Juniors 17 years of age and younger will be admitted into the Championship free when accompanied by a ticketed adult. In conjunction with the Championship on May 26 , the community is hosting a free concert in downtown Benton Harbor featuring R&B legends The O’Jays.

 

 

Florida’s Sunpass

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A SunPass is part of the electronic toll collections system The Sunshine State has enacted to enable drivers to pay for the roads they use. The tolls collected support the maintenance and improvement of Florida’s toll roads.

Without a SunPass transponder, a camera takes a picture of your license plate and mails you a bill. The bill consists of the toll and an administrative fee. For example: a $1.50 toll charge is assessed a $2.50 service charge, bringing the total to $4.00.

If you’re only visiting Florida for a week, it’s easier to let the rental car agency pay the tolls and add it to your bill.

If you’re a regular snowbird and spend several months in Florida, you will save about 25 percent on tolls. And you won’t have to stop at cash lanes and search for the right amount if you buy a transponder and set up your own SunPass account. For snowbirds, use the address associated with your credit card, most likely your home in Canada.

Some sections of Florida’s freeways such as The Miami section of the Turnpike, no longer accept cash. With a SunPass, you can also drive the less congested HOV lanes in Miami’s rush hour, which is a real plus.

CVS Pharmacy is one of the stores that carry the SunPass transponders. The stick and peel SunPass Mini is around 5 bucks and the re-useable one with suction cups is around 20 bucks.

The SunPass Mini goes on the inside of the windshield and cannot be removed without destroying it. If you plan on returning to Florida or think you might change rental cars, buy the re-usable transponder, which can be transferred between vehicles without damage. However, you will have to go to your SunPass account online and change your license plate information if you change rental cars. Make sure to take your transponder when returning your rental car and cancel your account. Request that any unused money be transferred back to your credit card.

SunPass is compatible with all other Florida state toll collections such as E-pass. SunPass now has interoperability agreements with North Carolina Quick Pass and Georgia’s Peach Pass.

As a side note, if you are using your own car insurance plan to cover the liability for the rental, check with your provider before renting longer than 30 days. Most insurance companies have a one month limit on the coverage of rental cars. A workaround is to book one car for 29 days and then take out a new contract for the next rental period.

 

 

 

Burning Rubber in Mid-Ohio

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On the Race Track

“Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear”. Tommy, the professional race car driver seems indifferent to the warning on his side mirror as he takes corners at 160 m.p.h. trying to overtake his racing buddies while another is closing in on him.

“It’s fantasy fulfillment”, he says of the race training component of the Mid Ohio Sports Car Course, an hour south of Cleveland in the scenic Appalachian foothills.

Perhaps. If your fantasy is to be hosed out of the front of an Acura Integra RSX in bloody pieces or at least come dangerously close to losing your lunch.

Decapitation, however is not normally a consideration as racing laws require a 3 point harness strapped between participants’ legs to prevent slipping to the floor and leaving heads on the dashboard, in the very real event of a collision with the other maniacs on the elevated course.

Back at the starting position, Tommy abruptly pulls in ahead of the other cars that have stopped to change passengers.

“Fantastic”, squeals a grandmother from Bowling Green , Ohio hopping out of the vehicle. “ I wanna go again. ” Tommy laughs and roars off, gleeful granny at his side.

Defensive Driving

The warm summer day had started peacefully enough with an early morning defensive driving session. First off was an emergency lane changing exercise that began with Tommy flooring the gas pedal sending the Acura hurtling down a three lane stretch of asphalt. Veering a hard left in response to the light change on the driver training course, he brakes sharply and announces:

“Now it’s your turn. Give it all you’ve got. Stick to the middle lane until you see one of the three lights turn green then get into that lane as quickly as possible and come to a complete stop. And don’t hit the pylons.”

Everyone fails on the first try, sending orange cones flying and coming to messy stops that straddle two lanes. After a couple of times though, most of the eight defensive driver trainees feel confident enough to try it out on a major highway-provided there are no other cars around.

Next, it’s hard braking on wet pavement – an exercise in proper use of Advanced Braking System or ABS that proves easier. According to Tony, lead instructor, almost no one uses their ABS correctly. And in terms of reaction times, teenagers usually score better than their parents.

Across the parking lot the skid control car mounted on a hydraulic wheel system is getting a lot of attention. In fluid motion, it swings effortlessly into a full circle, perfect for practicing total loss of control situations on extreme road conditions. Just looking at it makes one queasy, setting the stage for the afternoon race training session.

Daytona Beach: Florida’s Car Connection

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Daytona Beach is one of the few cities in the world to have a car named in its honor.

Not just one, but three famous and very collectible cars are named after this popular Florida city. When manufacturers were naming their new cars, the racing heritage of Daytona Beach provided inspiration.

World's Most Famous Beach, Daytona Beach
World’s Most Famous Beach – photo John Cameron

The iconic 1965 Shelby Daytona and the Dodge Daytona, a well-known marque on racing’s Nascar circuit from the late 60’s, are both named for Daytona Beach. As well the 1968 Ferrari 365 GTB4 almost immediately became known as the “Daytona”, after the Ferrari 1-2-3 victory in the Daytona 24-Hour Race in 1967.

Racing cars and Daytona Beach go back to 1936 when they created a race track from the wide, hard packed sand of Daytona Beach.  The beach course, located in the present-day Town of Ponce Inlet, was replaced in 1958 when William France Sr. and NASCAR created Daytona International Speedway.

Cars are still permitted on areas of Daytona Beach, but keep your speed to 10 mph (16 km/h). Enter the beach on E. International Speedway Blvd. below A1A.

Driving on Daytona Beach
Driving on Daytona Beach – photo Sherel Purcell

Where to Stay

Roomba Inn

A budget friendly motel with a seaside vibe. Daytona Beach is literally steps away from your front door. The pier and boardwalk are also within easy walking distance too.

Roomba Inn, Daytona Beach, Florida
Roomba Inn, Daytona Beach – photo John Cameron

Hilton Homewood Suites

The Hilton is perfect for race fans – it’s a short walk across International Speedway Blvd. to the track. They also have a great complimentary breakfast buffet.

Hilton Homewood Suites, Daytona Beach
Hilton Homewood Suites – photo John Cameron

Where to Eat

Joe’s Crab Shack

Joe’s Crab Shack is perched on the only pier in Daytona Beach. This two storey restaurant over the Atlantic has great seafood specials and one of the best happy hours in town. Try the Sam Adams Steampot – snow crab, a pound of clams, lobster claws and smoked sausage all boiled in Samuel Adams Lager. This can easily feed two with an added side.

Joe's Crab Shack, Daytona Beach
Joe’s Crab Shack – photo Sherel Purcell

Aunt Catfish

With great seafood prepared southern style, and a patio on the Halifax River, it’s no wonder Aunt Catfish is both a USA Today 10 Best pick and The Daytona Beach News Journal Reader’s Choice Awards Best All around Seafood Restaurant.

JB’s Fish Camp

A fish camp is a little pocket of individuality in the dominant sea of restaurant chains. Take a short drive south of Daytona Beach to JB’s Fish Camp in New Smyrna Beach for a great taste of Old Florida right on the river.

JB's Fish Camp, New Smyrna Beach
JB’s Fish Camp – photo Sherel Purcell

Things to do

Golf where the pros do at LPGA International. Here you have a choice of two championship 18-hole courses – one designed by Rees Jones and the other by Arthur Hills.

The City of Daytona Beach built these new golf courses for the Ladies Professional Golf Association when the LPGA chose Daytona Beach as the site of their new headquarters. Daytona Beach also renamed Eleventh Street to LPGA Boulevard.

The Hills at LPGA International
The Hills at LPGA International – photo Sherel Purcell

Stop by the Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory in historic downtown Daytona Beach for a free tour, concluding with free samples. Angell & Phelps has been creating delicious chocolates treats on Beach Street since 1925.

Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory
Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory – photo Sherel Purcell

Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1998, the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse in Florida. For spectacular views of Daytona Beach, Ponce Inlet, and surrounding inland waterways, climb the 203 steps to the lighthouse deck. Make sure your camera strap is attached firmly to your wrist – at 175 ft. from the ground, it can get breezy.

Ponce Inlet Lighthouse
Ponce Inlet Lighthouse – photo Sherel Purcell

Boca Raton: A City for All Seasons

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With miles of public beaches and a year round temperate climate, Boca Raton (locals says Boca Ratone) epitomizes the outdoor southern Florida lifestyle. While just 40 miles north of Miami, Boca Raton has none of the traffic headaches associated with a major metropolis.

As a rule of thumb for getting around Florida, take the I-95 (with a Sunpass) if you’re in a hurry, but drive the meandering A1A with beautiful views of the Atlantic if you have time. The drive south on the A1A into Boca from Palm Beach is especially scenic.

Many buildings in Boca Raton have a Mediterranean Revival or Spanish Mission architectural theme. In the winter of 1918, architect Addison Mizner brought the Mediterranean style to his first Florida commission, the Everglades Club in Palm Beach, for his friend, sewing machine heir, Paris Singer. Addison Mizner was also the visionary behind the planned development of Boca Raton.

Mizner’s Mediterranean style, which utilized stone, tile and stucco, was a better match for Florida’s semi-tropical climate (and threat of hurricanes) than the wooden shingle-style resort architecture imported from the Northeast.

The Boca Raton Resort & Spa
The Boca Raton Resort & Spa

Don’t miss seeing the jewel in Mizner’s crown, The Boca Raton Resort & Club or as locals know it, The Pink Hotel. It first opened in February 1926, as The Ritz Cloister Inn. The beautiful, one of a kind interiors offer a glimpse into the hotel’s storied past.

Things to do

The Wick Theater & Costume Museum

The Wick Theater and Costume Museum
The Wick Theater and Costume Museum

Fans will enjoy seeing movie and stage costumes up close and personal, from productions as diverse as Titanic, Dick Tracy and Les Liasons Dangereux. Marilynn Wick, CEO of Costume World, a national retailer and renter of theatrical costumes, bought The Caldwell Theatre in Boca Raton to house her enormous collection of original Broadway costumes. She also gained a 333-seat auditorium in the deal and produces popular Broadway musicals like South Pacific.

Boca Raton Museum of Art

Boca Raton Museum of Art
Boca Raton Museum of Art

Art lovers will be thrilled to find The Boca Raton Museum of Art at the north end of Mizner Park. The Museum features travelling exhibitions as well as an extensive permanent collection, from The Old Masters to contemporary artists. Don’t miss the sculpture gardens.

Where to eat

Max’s Grille

Max's Grille
Max’s Grille

Dine al fresco from a fresh contemporary bistro menu at Max’s Grille on Mizner Park. Perfect for people watching.

Where to stay

The Waterstone Resort and Marina

You’re a short walk to the beach at The Waterstone Resort and Marina. The newly renovated hotel has 139 guest rooms, all with private balconies overlooking either the Atlantic Ocean, Intracoastal Waterway or Lake Boca.

The Waterstone Resort & Marina Bar area
The Waterstone Resort & Marina Bar area

The contemporary polished chrome against whitewashed teak millwork both indoors and out creates a seamless transition between the main floor and waterfront promenade. Easy access to water activities that include paddleboards, reef snorkeling trips, fishing charters, boat rentals, surfing lessons, jet skis, and ocean kayaks.

Boca Beach Club

Located on the Atlantic Ocean with a mile of private beach, Boca Beach Club is the sister property of The Boca Raton Resort and Spa, just a short shuttle ride away.

Boca Beach Club
Boca Beach Club

Popular with young families for a wealth of water activities, guests of Boca Beach Club are also entitled to use the facilities at The Boca Raton Resort and Spa, including an outdoor Flow Rider surf machine.

Frank Stella at The New Whitney

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Just 26 at the time of his second Castelli show in 1962, Frank Stella’s striped and shaped paintings were a revelation in the transition from Abstract Expressionism to Minimalism. Eight years later, The Museum of Modern Art in New York presented a retrospective of Stella’s work, making him the youngest artist ever to receive this honor.

Now 79, Frank Stella’s current retrospective at The Whitney is the most comprehensive presentation of his career to date, showcasing his prolific output. From the irreverent Benjamin Moore series of the late fifties to the Protractor series, painted in the palette of the sixties, to recent sculpture from 2014,  this show lives up to the hype. Jointly curated by the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and the Whitney, with input from Frank Stella, the show moves to Texas after its Whitney debut.

Harran ii Frank Stella 1967
Harran ii Frank Stella 1967

The exhibition fills the entire fifth floor, an 18,000-square-foot gallery that is the Whitney’s largest space for temporary exhibitions. The exhibition is not hung in a simple chronology.  Artwork created 20 years apart are shown in close proximity, creating juxtapositions of color, form and process, revealing Stella’s creative evolution as an artist.

Frank Stella on making art:

The one thing I learned is not to say anything about my own paintings. You just have to make your own art, and whatever categories it falls into will come later.

Black Star Frank Stella 2014
Black Star Frank Stella 2014

Designed by Renzo Piano, the impressive nine-storey Whitney at 99 Gansevoort Street in the Chelsea Meatpacking district, opened in May 2015. Walk the High Line towards Chelsea and exit at the southern tip.  The Whitney’s former New York home, the Marcel Breuer designed building on Madison, will be leased by The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

  • Don’t miss Frank Stella: A Retrospective, on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, now in its final month until 7 February 2016

Martinique: Your budget French Connection via Norwegian Air

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Looking for a low-cost warm weather getaway?  European carrier Norwegian Air launched its first-ever flights to Martinique in the French Caribbean.

Currently, 93% of visitors to Martinique come from France. The award-winning European budget airline hopes to change that with three direct flights a week to Martinique from New York’s JFK, departing on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, at 1:20 pm and returning at 8:05 am. This five-hour flight starts at $49.00 US one way to a current high of $129.00 throughout the winter.

If you’re looking for ideas on where to eat on Martinique, check out this blog post by A Taste for Travel: A Culinary Adventure in Martinique.  

 

Other direct flights to Martinique originate in Baltimore/Washington and Boston. Long haul direct service from Los Angeles to Europe is also available.  Martinique is also connected to St.  Lucia, Dominica and Guadalupe islands by ferry.

Your Guide to an Active Vacation