Orlando – An Extraordinary Culinary Destination 

By Stuart J. Faber

During my freshman year at the University of Wisconsin, I met a student from Orlando, Fla. Her name was Nina.  My attention was drawn to her because I had never met anyone named Nina.  Wisconsin, a melting pot for immigrants from Scandinavia and Germany was populated with girls named Mary, Nancy, Susan, or Joyce.  I do recall one girl named Nora but not a single Nina.

Nina hailed from a town with which neither my fellow students nor I were familiar.  Actually, none of us in the early 1950s had ever heard of Orlando, Fla. Nina soon became a target of warm and friendly teasing-“Nina from Orlando.”  

Once populated by Creek and other Native American tribes, this city of modest origin is now one of the largest growing metrotrapolitan areas in America. It boasts more than 62 million visitors each year – the country’s record. The two million square foot convention center is the country’s second largest – exceeded only by Chicago. Disney World, of course, is a world-renowned destination. Orlando International Airport, once a grass strip, then an Army Air Force base, now receives daily flights from as far away as Dubai.

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Flying With Faber: New (and Some Old) Discoveries

By Stuart J. Faber

The more I travel, the more travel I crave. The more I fly, the more flying I crave. If this is an addiction, I plead guilty. Rehab is not an option. I recall a trip from the East Coast back to my home base in Burbank, California. I flew my Centurion from Greensboro, North Carolina against some persistent headwinds and touched down at home about a half day after I started. In retrospect, I could have exercised better judgment. Exhausted, I stepped out of my airplane and headed for the couch in the FBOs office. I thought I’d take a nap before driving home. I should have tied down way back at Tucumcari, New Mexico. As I headed toward the office, a friend approached me with his recently acquired Stearman.

“Want to go for a ride,” he asked? A few feet from the FBO, I executed a 180 and climbed into his plane. Only another pilot would understand my decision.

Today, many years later, still an inveterate traveler, I exercise better judgment and hopefully, possess greater wisdom. I won’t get into my airplane unless I’m fully rested and free of recent consumption of geezer-like aches and pains. I avoid countries and neighborhoods where I might end up as a hostage or a crime victim. I’m careful that the food I consume does not contain organisms not listed on the menu.

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Flying With Faber: Georgetown, Texas

A City with a Beautiful Past and a Simple Vibrant Present

By Stuart J. Faber

Lake Georgetown (Courtesy Georgetown CVB)Up until a month ago, I had never heard of Georgetown, Texas. I’ve been to Texas a few times.  I’ve explored Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Galveston, San Antonio, and Austin. Recently, a business obligation brought me to Georgetown. The business trip evolved into a love affair with a city.

Georgetown, a city with a population of approximately 50,000, lies just about due north of Austin. On the northeastern edge of Texas Hill Country, portions of the city are located on a fault line of the Balcones Escarpment, which is characterized by black fertile soils and glistening rivers.

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Flying With Faber: My Annual Visit to San Francisco 

By Stuart J. Faber

Each annual trip to San Francisco reveals new, dramatic changes – some are impressive, others give me concern. Of course, I endorse city growth. I want every citizen to flourish. But why not develop growth within the bounds of the historical and architectural integrity that originally made San Francisco one of the world’s greatest cities? Why install modern arms on the Venus de Milo?

Some developers, those with conscience, passion and integrity, are erecting structures that enhance the fabric of the city. Others are building people warehouses – just four dreary cement walls to house the droves of pilgrims who want to live in town.

As we do every year, we roamed around the town – paid visits to where I lived as a kid during WWII and visited several restaurants, some old and some new. Here is a list of what I consider some of the city’s hotel and restaurant treasures.

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Flying with Faber: A Drive Along the California Coast

By Stuart  J. Faber

Hidden Beach at Pescadero. (Stuart J. Faber)Whenever I travel, especially in California, my conveyance of choice is my airplane. For example, I can fly from Los Angeles to the Bay Area in just one-and-a-half hours.  On a good day, the same trip by car takes around seven hours.  A few friends of mine have bragged that they have whizzed along Interstate 5 and made it in five-and-a-half to six hours.  To those who have never driven along the dreary I-5, I certainly don’t recommend it.  Along that route to San Francisco, there is little scenery other than miles of arid flatland with hardly a tree or body of water along the way.  Several gas stations, along with a Denny’s here or there, look no different than similar car-stops on any Interstate in the country. Perhaps the mile-high advertising signs are substitutes for trees.  One exception:  Harris Ranch with its great restaurant and hotel (not to mention, its own landing strip), about halfway up the road is one of my favorite places.

There are times when Cheryl, or others whose enthusiasm for flying, especially in heavy IFR conditions, is somewhat less than mine, will conspire to conduct an aviation intervention. Screaming, kicking and scratching, I will be forcibly removed from my airplane, strapped  in a car seat and pointed in the direction of our destination. Even under those circumstances, there is one thing upon which I will insist – we must avoid the Interstates.

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