The first day of our journey, and we're supposed to be in Quebec, Canada, enjoying the fancy amenities at the Fairmont Chateau Marmoset (or as it's really known as Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac, but instead of a massage, and those tasty goodies they put out on silver trays in the concierge lounge, here we are, enjoying lovely downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Why Portsmouth? Well, it was a twist of events that brought us here, actually, it was a failed fuel sensor. We left this morning bright and early ready for a nice flight on to our first stop- Albany, New York, to be followed by a quick jaunt up to Quebec. A planned fast pit-stop and refuel in Albany turned into a long delay as we found that the left fuel tank was suddenly no longer registering fuel- a problem to be sure but not as much as trying to locate someone who can fix the problem. Phone calls ensued and we located a certified Pilatus service center in, you guessed it, Portsmouth. It was Atlas Aviation and, as it turns out, this not your ordinary service center. It's one of the largest in the country, its open twenty-four hours, and it's the home of PlaneSense, a fractional ownership company, and the largest Pilatus fleet in the world. If we were to start out this trip with a mechanical problem- this is the place! Neal, the Service Director, and his team got our problem sorted out and had us ready to go by 8:00 am the next morning. Fantastic service! Thanks guys!
There are a lot less nicer places to find yourself than Portsmouth, New Hampshire, a smallish seaside town on the Atlantic coast. Belem, Brazil, comes to mind but that's another story. The kind folks at Plane Sense made sure we had a rental car, hotel- the local Residence Inn, and directions to the best place in town for seafood. So instead of fine dining in Quebec, we had fine dining in Portsmouth, at Jumping Jay's Fish Cafe. I know what your thinking- a classic New England lobster dinner? Not at Jay's! Try Hawaiian Opah pan seared with a Maui Mango chutney. The nice ladies at PlaneSense even took the time to print out a copy of the menu complete with little hand scribed stars next to their favorites. The fresh fish menu was both extensive and really interesting- Art had the Tilefish in lobster sauce, fantastic. The place is not overly fancy- a little dumpy on the outside. Nice wine list, any place that has Sonoma-Cutrer Chardonnay as their house wine gets my vote.
So we're not in Quebec, we're not enjoying the concierge service at Chateau Marmoset, and we had to cancel our massage- Boo Hoo! We had Hawaiian Opah, a fish I had only previously experienced while watching Iron Chef on TV. We had super fresh Connecticut oysters on the half shell, and Tilefish. We saw the hugely colorful spring bloom in New Hampshire, with the snow still in patches on the ski slopes; all in all, a good day. But traveling, and flying private aircraft in particular, always leads to the unexpected. Plans are more like suggestions to the fates, we can write them down, put deposits on them, but that's never a guarantee that they will actually happen.
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