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Visit the crystal clear lake in Oregon

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Hidden inside Willamette National Forest in Oregon, is a crystal clear lake that has its own secrets for everyone to explore and discover.

Clear Lake was formed around 3,000 years ago as a result of the lava flows from Sand Mountain, creating a natural dam at the south end of the lake that slowly filled with water over the years. The lake is primarily fed by snow from the nearby Mount Washington but is filtered through the underground springs that flow all year round.

Part of the surroundings of the lake, which were part forests, are now submerged into the water overtime. With the lakes cold temperatures, it has preserved majority of the trees, revealing what seems like a magical underwater world. Some of the trees submerged extend as far as 120 feet into the lake.

Due to the volcanic activity that has occurred in the past, the ground’s of the lake is also covered in volcanic silt. Which is so thick, it looks very closely like white sand. The lake also hides a collection of shipwrecks of wooden boats, some of which dates back to the 1920’s. These shipwrecks and the volcanic silt is what attracts many for an otherworldly diving experience.

While the lake is perfect for diving expeditions, it does present itself as a challenge. The temperatures of Clear Lake get as cold as 37 degree Fahrenheit (2.8 degree Celsius). For those who aren’t up for the chilly temperature, the lake also provides rowboat rentals and kayaks. The lake is so clear you can just row over the sights and not worry about murky.

Apart from diving and rowing boats in Clear Lake, there are also trails open for you to hike at. Clear Loop Trail and Mackenzie River National Recreational Trail are both nearby the area, the trails would lead you through areas that had lava flows and volcanic glass. From May to June, the forests is filled with wildflowers and throughout October, Vine maples and a wave of other colours blanket the forest.

Netflix Celebrates New Show by Serving Incredible Eats!

Netflix will be making your Thanksgiving travels extra special by giving out snacks from different parts of the world!

An exciting way to advertise its new global cooking show, ‘The Final Table’, Netflix will be serving free snacks to the hungry travellers at JFK Airport in New York and O’Hare Airport in Chicago.

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The snacks isn’t your everyday trail mix and popcorn, the free grub will be snacks that represent global meals from nine countries—United States, Italy, France, United Kingdom, Spain, Mexico, Brazil, India and Japan—all of which will be featured on ‘The Final Table’.

‘The Final Table’ is a global cooking competition that will have 12 pairs of the greatest chefs from all over the world, to celebrate togetherness and inspire through food by serving up iconic dishes and impressing some of the toughest palates in the world.

Snacks to be given out in the two airports will include full English breakfast pork scratchings, nori-crusted nuts, sun dried tomato fusilli, spiced black bean Brazil nuts, paella, and to complete your Thanksgiving travels, Thanksgiving leftover bread pudding.

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Image credit: Netflix

Apart from the free gourmet eats, customized screens will also be around. Travellers can interact with the screens where they can select countries they with to travel to for their food journeys. The screen will show more information about the country, its local dishes and the chefs that will be part of the show with a short teaser clip that features the chef.

After the viewing the contents of the screen, the travellers will receive the box with the international snack with information about the ingredients used to make it from the chosen country.

After passing through the seemingly endless security lines with the other thanksgiving travellers, you most definitely deserve a little treat before your flight. The popup will be available in O’Hare and JFK airport from November 21, Wednesday all through November 25, Sunday.

Hang Out at British Airways’ New Lounge at JFK

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The British Airways First lounge located in Terminal 7 of New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport has recently been remodelled and expanded, and is now opened to welcome eligible fliers.

The First lounge is now 60% larger than before and has well-designed seating zones and separate work spaces, a roving gourmet gin and tonic cart as well as a bar area with both self-serve and tended drink-making.

Wine lovers should get excited because a new highlight of the lounge is a separate wine room which features a glass-fronted enomatic wine preservation unit. They dispense one-ounce tasting pours to the themed wines that have been kept at the perfect sipping temperature. Cabernet Sauvignons have been selected as the feature wines for the month of Novemeber.

As many of the British Airways flights from New York to London travel overnight, a majority of the passengers prefer to have dinner on the ground and catch up on their sleep during the flight. Perfect for evening and late-night fliers, the First lounge will be offering a variety of selection for the preflight buffet dining complete with seasonal menus.

The First lounge at JFK will be opened daily from 5am to 10pm, and welcomes all passengers travelling in the First cabin and to those with BA Gold and oneworld Emerald status.

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Passengers who are flying first class with the airline as well as upper tier British Airways customers holding a Concorde Card should take note that they will be able to access a fancier lounge option at JFK T7: the Concorde Room, located beside Gate 1. The lounge provides table-service dining and has also been refurbished recently.

First lounge access includes the Elemis Travel spa located in the adjacent Club business lounge. Here, passengers can enjoy a complimentary 15-minute treatment which includes skin-reviving facials and foot, neck, and back massages on a first come first served system. Do remember to schedule an appointment with the spa desk upon arrival so as to avoid disappointment!

California Wildfires Forces Thousands of People to Evacuate

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One of the most destructive and deadly wildfires in decades, firefighters and residents of Northern and Southern California has been battling three wildfires that are raging on in the state of California. The wildfire has already forced thousands of people to evacuate their homes and has destroyed thousands of acres of land.

Two of the fires are rapidly burning in Southern California in a community just north of Los Angeles, Thousand Oaks. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) has already issued a mandatory evacuation for some parts of Malibu as well.

In Northern California, the Camp Fire has destroyed majority of the city of Paradise, 80 miles of Sacramento and has at least forced 40,000 people to evacuate their homes under short notice. Multiple injuries have been reported and the specific number of deaths are yet to be released by the state.

With the fatal combination of low humidity, high winds and dry lands, the wildfires has increased a great deal in size from Thursday through Friday morning. According to Cal Fire, the Camp Fire in Northern California began to grow on Thursday in an estimated rate of 80 football fields per minute.

The fire has devastated the area of more than 100,000 acres, having the department declare a state of emergency for Butte County. As of earlier this morning, only 35 percent of the fire has been contained.

According to CBS News, the Woolsey Fire and Hill Fire in Southern California in Southern California has declared emergency evacuations to more than 70,000 homes in both Los Angeles and Ventura County. With in a short few hours last Thursday, the Woolsey Fire has spread from 2,000 acres to an estimate of 8,000 acres. As of Friday morning, more than 10,000 acres has been covered by the Woolsey Fire.

The Hill Fire has spread to at least 6,000 acres of land, according to Cal Fire. The fire is taking place just down the street where a mass shooting in a bar took place on Wednesday evening, killing 12 people. Ventura County Fire Department has urged those who lived in evacuation zones to leave as soon as possible.

You Can Now Explore the Great Smoky Mountains On a Brand New Route

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The Great Smoky Mountains are a mountain range rising along the Tennessee–North Carolina border in southeastern United States and the final section of the Foothills Parkway is now opened.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park plays host to approximately ten million visitors each year and this would be great news for them as they will be able to experience the entire 16-mile roadway for the first time since construction began in 1966.

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The long-awaited final section of the Foothills Parkway that connects Walland and Wears Valley was opened on Saturday 10th November. The section includes a 1.65-mile section known as the ‘Missing Link’ and is now connected by a series of nine bridges. For travellers who are planning to make a trip there, you’d be glad to know that the park is free to enter and you can explore the atmospheric remains of Cades Cove or enjoy the view from Clingmans Dome, the highest peak with an observation tower on top without any additional costs.

The national park is home to breathtaking landscapes, lush forests, an abundance of wildflowers that bloom all year round as well as some of the best hiking routes east of the Mississippi has to offer. Plus, you should also note that the park has already recovered from the 2016 wildfires and access to the iconic Chimney Tops Trail is almost fully restored.

The Foothills Parkway now consists of two finished sections at each end of the 72-mile corridor. The western section extends continuously for 33 miles from Chilhowee to Wears Valley, cyclists and motorists can expect a brand new recreational experience. As for the eastern section, it was completed in 1968 and extends six miles from Cosby to Interstate 40 and visitors can take in the breathtaking views of Mt. Cammerer along the way.

For more information on the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, visit their website here.

San Francisco Neighbourhoods That Remain Timeless

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Previously dubbed as the ‘Paris of the West’, San Francisco is rapidly evolving into a tech industry. Beatniks, artists and hippies have been replaced by groups of young tech developers. While many of the central neighbourhoods have transformed themselves into trend-setting districts, the vintage charm of old San Francisco is still bustling in the surrounding districts.

North

A place that seems to be immune to change, North Beach is one of San Francisco’s greatest hidden gems. Despite it being crowded with tourists, locals embrace the neighbourhood to escape the tech crowds.

North Beach is a buzzy neighbourhood steeped in Italian heritage. One of the best ways to enjoy the neighbourhood is by night. Neon signs light up the streets of Broadway, radiating an odd and nostalgic allure, and the Italian-American cafes on Columbus give of an authentic charm.

You can also get a taste of San Fran’s Beatnik culture at Vesuvio. The spot has a narrow balcony in the second-floor that overlooks the bar. Since the noise-level tends to be manageable, many come here to write their spoken word poetry or even hold deep conversations. Not only is Vesuvio a great place to get your mind going, it’s also one of the few places you can get a good martini for $8.

West

Many forget, some don’t even know it, that San Francisco has a pristine beach and that it has a bustling surf culture. Thanks to the fog that blankets the city for most of the year, Ocean Beach is often looked past by locals and tourists.

As beautiful as Ocean Beach seems, it is one of the most challenging and dangerous surf spots in the world. Although Ocean Beach is less than 10 miles from the central, it feels completely different from the rest of San Francisco.

Giving a nod to the 80’s and 90’s, Trouble Coffee is a small and no-frills neighbourhood institution that serves the community with coffee, toast and coconut. Once you get near the opening of the coffee shop, their in-house music collective of heavy metal music should be a good indication that it is not a gimmicky health-conscious artisan café.

If you continue to the end of Judah Street, you will come across the beach where you can catch surfers get a good wave or you can also head to Hook Fish Company, a surfer-run sustainable fish market and restaurant, where you can get fresh seafood or even classic fish tacos.

Northwest

Ocean Beach may be great for surfers but not so much for those who just want to enjoy the beach and swim. If you want to go for a dip, you can head to Marshall’s Beach in the north-western tip of the the city, into presidio. Getting there involve a bit of hiking but the cold waters will cool you right up.

Nearby the beach is Clement Street, best known for their selection of ethnic food in the city. 11thAvenue to Arguello Boulevard is the main point of the Inner Richmond neighbourhood, the stretch is an enclave of Chinese immigrants and has amazing Chinese restaurants. Not only do they have Chinese cuisines but as well as Vietnamese, Thai, Indian and even Turkish.

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Rare Whale Shark Spotted off the Coast of South Carolina

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You would expect to see whale sharks in the oceans around countries like the Philippines, Mexico and Australia. What you wouldn’t expect is spotting a whale shark off the coast of South Carolina.

Local 21-year-old, Michael Krivohavek, was lucky enough to be out at sea the same time a whale shark was swimming by. Krivohlavek was on a charter fishing boat when he captured a footage of a gentle giant swimming near his boat just about 36 miles off Charleston back in 14th October.

Krivohlavek told Myrtle Beach Online that the whale shark was “very interested in the boat” and that the gentle giant “did a couple circles around the boat”. Krivohlavek estimated the shark to be between 20 to 25 feet long.

These plankton-loving sharks are known to be the largest fish in the sea and can grow up to 40 feet long and can weigh up to 20 tons. Whale sharks are also docile creatures, allowing humans to swim to them as close as possible and swim with the giant fish.

Whale sharks prefer warm waters, calling many of the tropical sea’s from around the world their home. Hence it is pretty rare to find these docile sea creatures in cooler oceans, such as the waters off the coast of South Carolina, making Krivohlavek very lucky to experience such a rare occurrence.

If you want to experience swimming with these gentle giants, the Philippines and Mexico are where whale sharks are commonly seen.

This New Hotel Room Aims to Build Human Connections

Room 301
Image credit: Kimpton

There’s an innovative social experiment hotel room in Los Angeles aiming to build human connections and a greater sense of community. From now till end of November, the social experiment which is named “Room 301” is happening at the Kimpton Everly Hotel. At the same time, you can also keep a lookout for various facets happening at other Kimpton hotels stretched across the US.

Guests who choose to reserve themselves a Room 301 experience will be able to explore a variety of activities and prompts that are unique to the room. These have been meticulously designed to spark creativity and encourage self-reflection, and also inspire guests to both relate to others and leave their own mark behind — all of which is done without revealing the identities of any of the guests.

In the room, you’ll be able to find a pinboard to write an affirmation for the next guest, a confession board, a Spotify playlist containing your personal track and lastly the opportunity to record a video testimonial which will only be seen by the hotel. With Room 301 in place, the hotel will be able to know the various individuals who stay in the room, from their experiences and aspirations to values. According to Kathleen Reidenbach, chief commercial officer at Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, the hotel group aims to gather some interesting insights to further inspire the way they build community at their hotels and restaurants.

The hotel is keen on finding out whether or not complete strangers have the capacity to share meaningful connections, even when they over cross paths in the sense of having a shared experience of being in the same space at different times. When the experiment comes to an end in November, Kimpton will consolidate the results of the experiment to share it with the public, in hopes of eliciting more conversations about the importance of heartfelt human connections in today’s fast-paced and diversive world.

From now till 30th November, you’ll be able to book Room 301 at 15% off the best flexible rate. For more information, visit the hotel’s website here.

Have a Haunting Halloween in These Hotels

The haunting holiday, Halloween, is creeping right around the corner. While some may spend it by dressing up as their favourite ghoul or by going door to door for trick-or-treating, some brave souls work up the courage to fulfil the ultimate freaky experience—spending the night in a haunted room.

If ghost hunting and getting a good fright is what you crave for, here is a list of hotels you can stay in to get you a good scare!

The Stanley

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Probably the most famous hotel on the list, The Stanley was the hotel that inspired Stephen King’s novel, The Shining. But apart from that, the hotel has inspired and spooked many through its haunting history.

The Stanley, located in Estes Park, Colorado, is a hot bed for paranormal activity. It is said that the original owner of the hotel, F.O. Stanley and his wife, still wanders around the hotel. Majority of the rooms in the hotel has experienced a spook or two over the years, from items moving on their own to lights being turned on and off.

You can book a room in The Stanley and marvel at its iconic architecture or, if you’re up for the scare, roam around the hotel hoping to spot an apparition or two.

The Hollywood Roosevelt

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Hollywood Roosevelt, also known as Hotel Roosevelt, is famed for housing several celebrities under its roof. So it would be no surprise that the hauntings in the hotel would be equally star studded.

The 12-story hotel in Hollywood is said to haunted by multiple ghosts. Montgomery Cliff, who stayed in Room 928 while he filmed From Here to Eternity, is said to still be ‘occupying’ Room 928. Having guests complain about him moving around the room and shifting their luggage’s. Perhaps the most famous haunting is the ghost of Marilyn Monroe, the bombshell was known to appear in the full-length mirror that was once in her suite.

Omni Mount Washington Resort

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Built in 1902 by Caroline Foster and her husband, railroad tycoon Joseph Stickney, the Omni Mount Washington hosted many celebrities and high society with its modern and luxurious amenities of the time.

Despite the resort now being part of the 21stcentury, the ghosts that roam its halls are pretty much still stuck in time. In Room 314, formerly Caroline’s private suite, have had guests awoken to her sitting on the foot of the bed and have light taps on the door when no one was outside. She is also said to roam the hall wearing her elegant Victorian dress.

Hotel Monteleone

Just like any haunted hotel, Hotel Monteleone has a stash of ghost sightings within its halls. Operated by the same family for four generations of the Monteleone family, the hotel still keeps majority of the old decors. Such as the grandfather clock in the lobby, polished marble floors, glittering chandeliers and roaming spirits.

A few sightings in the hotel are a boy and another young spirit who loves playing hide-and-seek, an engineer and star-crossed lovers. The grandfather clock in the lobby is said to be a hot bed for paranormal activity. Guests and hotel staff have encountered a lost child that would hold their hand and then disappear after looking at their eyes and Jazz singers wailing in the lobby for nights.

If you aren’t up for the paranormal, fret not, the hotel is also home to one of the best and historical bars in New Orleans.

The Pfister Hotel

Located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, The Pfister Hotel is only a couple of blocks away from Lake Michigan and has a stunning collection of Victorian art that could easily rival collections from around the world. Apart from being home to priceless art, Pfister Hotel is also home to some ghostly residents.

This historical landmark in Milwaukee is one of America’s most haunted hotels and some may argue, in the world. The hotel hosts major league baseball and basketball players when they come to town. Over the years, the players have reported paranormal activities such as knocking on their doors when no one is out in the corridors and having their electronics go haywire. An elderly gentleman’s apparition—presumably the hotels founder, Charles Pfister—is also seen walking the halls.

 

 

High-Fiving Each Other on a Roller Coaster Ride?

West Coast Racers
Image credit: Six Flags

Adrenaline junkies, this one’s for you! Six Flags Magic Mountain in Los Angeles have big plans for you — a new slate of rides and roller coasters are coming  your way very soon.

Six Flags Magic Mountain has recently announced their new rides for 2019, including the West Coast Racers — the world’s first racing launch coaster. This new ride is different from traditional roller coasters that utilise chains and pulleys to lift the coaster up a hill and subsequently using gravity to pull it down. The West Coast Racers will be using a propulsion system to push it forward.

You’ll be going on two complete laps during your ride, covering several airtime hills, extreme banking turns and experiencing four total inversions which include three zero-G rolls and a zero-G stall. As there are two cars racing during the ride, the trains interact more than 30 times at it gets so close a point in time that you could “high-five” someone on the opposing trains. At the coaster’s fastest point, you will be experiencing it at a speed of 55 mph.

The West Coast Racers is not the only ride to look out for as there are still plenty of roller coasters for you to choose from and enjoy. Did you know that Magic Mountain is the world record holder for the most number of coasters in one park? West Coast Racers will become the park’s 20th roller coaster upon completion.

Although there is not precise date for the launch of the roller coaster, stay tuned and be prepared to book your tickets for Summer 2019 for an awesome vacation at Six Flags Magic Mountain.