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Category: Vacations

Carowinds’ Fury 325 joins an elite club of world’s tallest coasters

Posted on October, 29 2014
 Carowinds Fury 325 joins an elite club of worlds tallest coasters

The $ 30-million Fury 325 coming to Carowinds in 2015 will be among the fastest, tallest and longest roller coasters in the world.

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Category: Vacations

Web Buzz: MiFlight app helps air travelers gauge security line waits

Posted on October, 27 2014

Name: MiFlight

Everyone hates standing in the dreaded airport security line, but what if you knew your wait time wouldn’t be as long as you had thought?

Available: iOS

Cost: Free

What it does: Travelers contribute their security-line wait times to the MiFlight app so the next flier can have a better experience. It includes information for 54 airports at the most-traveled hubs around the world.

What’s hot: The app is beautiful and easy to use. Input your airport, terminal and gate to get your estimated wait time in the security line. You can quickly share your info using Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, email, text or Instagram. Ready to help other travelers? Just click on the timer, input your minutes and share with the app. The app lets you know when the wait time was last updated by date and time.

What’s not: After you type in your airport the next step is to pick your terminal. That was easy, but I kept getting stuck on the next step — choosing my gate area. You’ll want to have your gate info handy to use the app. My upcoming flight information, which was mailed to me by a travel agent, didn’t have my gate details nor did my Tripit (basic version), but when I checked in with my WorldMate travel itinerary app it did. Note: The airport maps are fairly standard, but the developer will release significant location-sensitive improvements in the near future.

Worth it: Yes, I’m keeping my eye on this one. It had been a few days since someone submitted a wait time for some airports and terminals, but with a critical mass contributing to it I think this app could be helpful.

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Category: Vacations

California: Plumas County claims fall color crown this weekend

Posted on October, 25 2014

If you haven’t explored California’s Shasta Cascade region, this is a great time to go. Fall colors are reported to be at peak or approaching peak in Plumas, Lassen and Siskiyou counties, areas in the northern part of the state rich in national forests and parklands.

The color show is in full force in places south of Susanville, says the Awesome Autumn report run by Plumas County’s tourism council.

One recommended route starts in the town of Quincy where an English maple whose “orangeish/pinkish leaves were at peak” this week, the report says.

The drive continues along winding back roads to La Porte (population 26) to see the yellow glow of big-leaf maples and the red tones of dogwood along the way. 

The Plumas County Fall Color Tour Map is handy for planning a road trip and identifying leaves and trees. In this area, willows and black cottonwoods also bring out the gold; Indian rhubarb and mountain dogwood add reddish-orange tinges.

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Category: Vacations

California: Century-old castle in Pacifica opens for public tours

Posted on October, 22 2014

For more than a century, a castle designed as a refuge from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake has stood in Pacifica, Calif. The fortress-like building with views of the ocean has turrets, towers and 24 renovated rooms that now are open once a month for tours.

Known informally as Sam’s Castle, it was built by San Francisco attorney Henry Harrison McCloskey (grandfather of former California Rep. Pete McCloskey) who wanted a place that wouldn’t tumble in a quake. The family moved in in 1908.

The castle off Highway 1 changed hands several times before Sam Mazza spotted it in 1959 and bought it for $ 29,000, according to a timeline on the castle’s website. Mazza, who painted and restored San Francisco theaters and other buildings, kept it for 43 years and filled it with kitschy furnishings.

“Sam Mazza’s passion for collecting led him to acquire antique furniture, a jade and black lacquer screen once owned by William Holden, stained glass windows, Tiffany lamps, delicate china and even swords,” Bridget Oates writes in the book “Sam’s Castle.” And yes, there’s a knight of armor too.

Mazza never lived there but he did entertain at the castle. He died in 2002, and the Sam Mazza Foundation took over and keeps the castle as its headquarters. Over the years, it had been many things — a speakeasy called Chateau Lafayette during Prohibition, a U.S. Coast Guard barracks, an artist’s studio — and even claims to have a few ghosts.

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Category: Vacations

Retreat.guru zeros in on spiritual and wellness getaways, info

Posted on October, 20 2014

Forget about your latest overindulgence. There are yoga and wellness retreats all over the world that have better views than your local gym.

Name: Retreat.guru

What it does: This website lists 6,751 spiritual and wellness retreats, centers and teachers in 58 countries and 785 cities, including Bali, British Columbia, California, Colorado, Costa Rica and Peru.

What’s hot: Although the retreat destinations are compelling — a seven-day women’s surf and yoga vacation in Bali or a yoga getaway in the Sacred Valley of Peru — the site also allows you to discover teachers and destinations you might not have heard about. Scroll down to the “Hot Topics” section on the home page and find key categories such as Meditation, Travel Retreat, Yoga Teacher Training, Plant Medicine or Wellness Retreat.

What’s not: There are teacher reviews, but I couldn’t find reviews for retreats or centers. As a newbie to the retreat world, I wanted to read more about travelers’ experiences. When you tap on a destination in the “Top Locations” section, the retreats are numbered, but it’s unclear what the number ranking means. I would prefer user reviews.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times

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Category: Vacations

Reward for braving swells: Glorious snorkeling at Molokini off Maui

Posted on October, 18 2014
 Reward for braving swells: Glorious snorkeling at Molokini off Maui

“When anxious, uneasy and bad thoughts come, I go to the sea,” Rainer Maria Rilke wrote.

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Category: Vacations

Can you get a refund on a plane ticket if you’re worried about Ebola?

Posted on October, 15 2014
 Can you get a refund on a plane ticket if youre worried about Ebola?

Category: Vacations

Utrip.com acts as a day-to-day concierge

Posted on October, 13 2014

It’s OK to ask for a little hand-holding when planning your next trip.

Name: utrip.com

What it does: Acts as a virtual concierge to help you plan a day-to-day itinerary based on your travel style. Available for five cities in the United States and 28 cities across Europe.

What’s hot: There are two ways to dive in. You can begin at its Destinations page, where you can get a great overview of a city, find out what it’s known for and explore 16 ways to see it — through sports, entertainment, food, culture, history, etc. I preferred the other option: You type in your city and the dates, then check the Trip Profile selector to see its suggestions. You can toggle between “The First Timer,” “The Returning Traveler,” “The Luxury Traveler,” “The Backpacker,” use its picks or build your own. It’s easy to refine the picks by using the scroll bar to indicate your activity interest level.

What’s not: More cities, please. I’d love to see cities in Asia, Australasia, South America and Canada as well. Once the suggestions were in the day-to-day planner, I wanted to be able to manipulate their order throughout the day by clicking and dragging them in the itinerary planner.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times

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Category: Vacations

Watch what happens after someone allegedly jokes about Ebola on a plane

Posted on October, 11 2014
 Watch what happens after someone allegedly jokes about Ebola on a plane

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Category: Vacations

California: June Lake beer fest Saturday

Posted on October, 08 2014
 California: June Lake beer fest Saturday

June Lake is holding its second annual beer festival this Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., a short waddle from town. Nearby lodging makes this an attractive event for those seeking to explore the ever-expanding Sierra craft beer scene. Note that fall colors will begin to peak this weekend, making this mini-Switzerland of the Sierra a timely stop.

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Category: Vacations
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