The People and Planes of Van Sant

Bucks County aviation fans found an ingenious way to preserve their grass-strip airport: They made it a county park

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Coming around to the east, you can just make out in the distance the Manhattan skyline in miniature. Off to the south, there’s high-rise central Philadelphia. Below, George Washington’s Delaware is full of summer boaters. Murphy noses into a thermal and the variometer jumps upward. With no engine but the sun, the glider’s great white wings take you higher and higher. Van Sant Airport waits to take you back.

Sidebar: The Details

VAN SANT AIRPORT (9N1) is at 516 Cafferty Road, Erwinna, PA 18920; (610) 847-8320. By car, it’s about an hour and a quarter from Philadelphia. The airport is closed to transient air traffic from December through April. About 85 aircraft are based on the field—two-thirds single-engine, one-third gliders. About 80 operations occur each day. Glider and powered aircraft rides, lessons, and rentals are available.

Sidebar: Don't Miss...Your Bucks' Worth

Dining: In Frenchtown, NJ, try Cucina del Sol (Mexican) or Race Street Cafe (American). In Doylestown, PA, there’s Madame Butterfly (Japanese) and Paganini (Italian).

Other Attractions: Van Sant is in prime vacation country: Bucks County. Visitors can go tubing, canoeing, and hot-air ballooning; shop for antiques; visit art galleries and artist studios; and tour historic sites. And the region boasts bed-and-breakfasts galore.

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