A Saturday or Sunday tradition: just decide to go, take a few friends, enjoy the flight, talk about aviation with some different people, eat a little or a lot, come home. What a plan!
One good way to judge how good an airport restaurant is to see how many locals come there to eat...
Here are places either with a restaurant on the field or within walking distance (ie: less than 20-30 minutes walk from the airport)
COPA also has a list of places to eat in Ontario.
Lachute airport, Quebec
a restaurant on the field with a very hospitable atmosphere. Bicycles are available at no cost. Free taxi service is provided within the region. Open 365 days a week. No landing fees.
nice long runway. Good quality restaurant on the field called the Landing 27 Bistro (their
Les Cèdres, Québec
(You already know their unicom frequency...)
Restaurant upstairs at the airport but also a place across the road if it is closed. Close to Montréal, but outside controlled airspace, convenient for meeting people from the West end of Montréal.
How about Gatineau?
Like Sherbrooke, it serves good quality meals in a very nice restaurant in the terminal building that overlooks the apron. Gatineau may not be a very far away destination but it is different from Rockcliffe and there are occasions when the fleet of aircraft at Vintage Wings is on display, as well. (thanks Alison Hobbs)
Mont Laurier airport is less than an hour's flight north of CYRO. The roadside Restaurant de l'Aeroport, just a few steps from where you park your aircraft, is open 5am to 8pm, 7 days a week under new management (summer 2013). There is also a restaurant across the road, about 75 metres east of the airport restaurant. Quality of the food at that new restaurant is getting mixed reviews so far. If you go there, let us know what you think.
Restaurants a short walk from the airport:
Morrisburg: either at the golf club or at Upper Canada village.
Iroquois: very narrow runway, Prior Permission Required, but given easily. Walk to the beach or to the town. Great place for a family picnic.
St Jean sur le Richelieu
"The Bromont airport has one of the best airport restaurants I have seen. The locals even go there for lunch. (Real chicken in their sandwiches - and their prices are very reasonable.)" (review by Bob Cloutier)
Other places with restaurants on site:
So you have been to the practice area, and sightseeing over Parliament Hill, your friends are tired of just flying up the Gatineau River or going to an airport and coming back; you would like to see some more interesting stuff, do some stuff at the airport. Here are some ideas:
Iroquois, Ontario: CNP7
Nice sandy beach, great for a picnic. Famous for the Iroquois Locks on the seaway: watch Lakers and ocean vessels traverse the locks. Carmen House Museum. Restaurants in the village.
Note: PPR, call ahead. Very narrow runway, can cause illusion of being too high.
Upper Canada village and a golf course within walking distance. No services at all at the airport, not even a telephone... But it is nicely maintained.
Everyone's been there of course, but it is worth visiting the town as well. Take a cab to downtown, see museums, Fort Henry, take a boat tour of the 1000 islands and count them from the air when you return to Ottawa
1.5 to 2 hours to City Center Airport, take the ferry to the mainland and walk to downtown Toronto. All the attraction of Toronto without the hassles of Pearson.
Have you heard of the on site (CNS4) Alexandria Aviation Extreme Golf course ? -------->
For the more serious golfer, we have the Glengarry Gold & Country Club (including driving range) just next door to the airport.
Alexandria Fly-In breakfast is also worth mentioning. Over 100 airplanes this year. Always on the 3rd Sunday in August. It has been hosted for over 30 years (COPA mobile tower 123.2)
Also on site: Camping accommodations, canoeing the Delisle river (depending of availabiliity of our 1 and only canoe). Nearby restaurants and shops, etc. There usually is a vehicle available to go to the village (2 Kil.) in exchange for gas fee...
Skydive aircraft report jump runs on 123.2 and regular circuit entry patterns are generally not in conflict.
All 9 holes are par 5 but the longest is 85 yards. Other than needing balls to play it, a putter and 9 iron will do the trick. No clubs is OK too, we have plenty around to accommodate anyone willing to tackle the challenge. Our season record is 34 (11 under par). Green fees are nominal ($4.)
Lachute airport, Quebec
And you have seen only the airport? Remember these bicycles we mentioned were available at no cost? Free taxi service is provided within the region. The town of Lachute is only 1 nm NE of the airport and it boasts a very walkable main street.
3/4 hour flight from Rockcliffe along the Ottawa river. Beautiful vistas all the way.
Camping on the grounds, close to Haliburton,
How about the Mont Tremblant area?
There are two airports: La Macaza, an old military airport and St Jovite has an aerodrome with a nice turf runway. Landing fees.
Stanhope/Haliburton hosts a Fall Colours Fly-In every year. They also have an ultra-light fly-in in the spring.
The Smiths Falls Fly-In Breakfast is always a popular destination for Rockcliffe pilots.
Les Faucheurs de Marguerites in Sherbrooke is a fly-in where you can buy 2nd hand avionics, etc. on a certain weekend in June.
Other than a restaurant on the field, Peterborough has a canoe museum and a boat ride on the Trent river is another possibility from there.
Westport and Deep River(and Chris Hobbs says Morrisburg as well, if the wind's from the west) give you good opportunities to practise your SHORT FIELD TAKE-OFF techniques as they have tall trees at the end of the runways there. Not suitable for retractable gear aircraft for this reason.
Places a little further away, where you could spend the night and make a weekend trip of it. (Thanks Alison Hobbs for the reviews). Most are less than 3 hours away from Rockcliffe by 172.
All of these locations have been tested by our roving aviators. --> None of these destinations is more than two or three hours away:
- Quebec City, there is always an interesting show at the museum of civilization if you don't have any other reason to go.
- Trois Rivieres
- Montreal Dorval or St Hubert.
- Ile-aux-Coudres-- landing on a island is so romantic!
- Sherbrooke (to explore L'Estrie, the Eastern Townships area)
- La Macaza North of Mont-Tremblant (stay at one of the "auberges" nearby)
- St Victor de Beauce, south of Quebec City
- Bromont, another destination in the Eastern Townships
- Toronto land at Buttonville or City Center: not as scary as you would think
- Stratford: for the Festival, stay overnight or for several days.
- St Catherines: for Niagara Falls and/or Niagara-on-the-Lake, Shaw Festival anyone?
- Kitchener: overnight stay in Guelph, if you land there
- Brampton: Not much farther than Toronto, visit the Visit The Great War Flying Museum
- Manitoulin Island: (there are two airports on the island
- Killarney: stay at Killarney Lodge with the jet-set, if you can afford it! but reserve way ahead...
- Muskoka: there's a motel on the main road within walking distance of the airfield, or you could go into Gravenhurst
- North Bay
- Georgian Bay: (near Parry Sound) restaurant within walking distance, on the main road north (the Trans-Canada Highway). Flying along southern Georgian Bay is beautiful.
- Oshawa: just before you get to Toronto.
and, across the U.S. border,
The following airports are also within easy flying distance from Rockcliffe airport and are recommended by Alison Hobbs as attractive stopping places, especially if you're prepared to pay for a short taxi ride into the towns they serve. Sometimes, if you're lucky, local hotels will send free shuttle busses to the airport to pick you up:
- Watertown, NY (we stayed overnight at nearby Sackets Harbor the lakeside historic town to the west of Watertown)
- Ithaca, NY
- Saranac Lake, NY
- Lake Placid, NY: the circuit goes around the ski jump tower - impressive.
- Burlington, Vermont: (in this case there are hotels very close to the FBO and a restaurant at the passenger terminal)
- Alexandria Bay, NY: for a view of the 1000 Islands from the other side of the St Laurence
- Portland, Maine
- Montpelier, Vermont
- Rutland State, Vermont: hike some of the Apallachian Trail
- Sandusky, Ohio: They have a shuttle that will take you to Cedar Point Amusement Park
Northern Ontario: (Peter Mucklow)
Why not venture North and enjoy the vast beauty of Northern Ontario? Think you don't see many planes in the skies around this area? You OWN the skies up there!! You can't beat the Fall colours in the Quebec hills around Mattawa following the Ottawa River to its head at Lake Temiskaming in the Tri-town area (New Liskeard, Haileybury, Cobalt). North Bay is a good rest stop for trips into Sudbury (Big Nickel), Earlton, Kirkland Lake, St Bruno de Gigue (Que), Timmins, Cochrane (Polar Bear Express to Moosenee), Iroquois Falls, Hearst, Kap, etc. if you want to break things up a little.
From experience I know that Kirkland Lake and Earlton have long/wide runways (4500'-6000') in excellent condition and well maintained. Most traffic there is GA, Air Ambulance, and Business jets (mining/waferboard companies got lotsa money!). Other than fuel (cheap) and tiedown, not alot of services on the fields. But all are close to their respective quaint towns. And folks are extremely nice up North.
Lots of farming in and around the Tri-town area on both the Ontario and Quebec sides, so plenty of places to put down if the need arises. No worries there.
Timmins (Shania Twain, mine tours) is Class E dual r/w, but is relatively quiet. Some scheduled Dash-8 service offered by Air Ontario, but mostly GA traffic. So go North, get away from the rat-race, and enjoy Class G to the max!!
Airports classified by time to get there
Here is a compendium of places to go from Rockcliffe organized by how long it would take to get there in a 172. Keep in mind that winds can add or substract 1/2 hour or more. Thanks a whole lot to Alison Hobbs for compiling this information.
* indicates food served at the airport, though of course the quality varies!
# indicates meals available a short walk away. Otherwise you'll have to take a taxi to the nearby town.)
Airports 45 minutes or closer in a C-172 are:
Smiths Falls* (is the on-site restaurant is not always open)
Pendleton (for the gliding)
Alexandria (turf runway, music festival on Sundays in summer)
Massena (U.S. customs clearance)
Westport # N.B. turf runway, high trees around)
Airports approximately 1 hour away:
Les Cèdres (Cedars) * (that's the airport where we hear people talking on the same frequency as us)
Pembroke Mt. Laurier *
Tomvale (Land o' Lakes) -- (NOTE: PNR $10 landing fee if you call ahead, $50 landing fee if you don't) find it under Plevna in the CFS - no services
Alexandria Bay (U.S. customs clearance)
Airports less than 90 minutes away:
St Hubert * (park here for a visit to Montreal)
St. Jean-sur-Richelieu #
Deep River (watch out for high trees)
Burlington* # (A good place for U.S. customs clearance)
Saranac Lake* (U.S.A. Add time for customs clearance at Massena)
Approx. an hour-and-a-half away:
Watertown (U.S. customs)
Stanhope (Haliburton Highlands)
Trois-Rivières * (slightly more than 90 mins distant)
Approx. two hours away:
Syracuse (U.S. customs)
North Bay *
Barrie (2 different airports)
Rutland State (U.S.A. Allow time for customs clearance at Massena)
Just over 2 hours away:
Toronto City* # (landing fee)
Approx two-and-a-half hours away:
Georgian Bay #
Hamilton * (Visit the War Planes Museum on the field)
Approx 3 hours flying time away (you might want to break the journey half way):
Ithaca (U.S.A. Allow time for customs clearance en route. Hotel shuttle will pick you up at the airport)
Goderich * # (the restaurant at the eastern end of the runway is particularly recommended but the one across the apron is also good. There's an excellent museum at this airport that used to be a Royal Air Force flight-training camp.)
Portland # (U.S.A. Allow for a stop at Burlington for customs clearance.)
Just over 3 hours flying time away (rest stop en route recommended):
Airports on the periphery of Boston, Mass. (Allow time for en route customs clearance.)
Île aux Coudres (N.B. gravel runway. Hotel shuttle will pick you up)