Shakespeare Festival lights up Lake Tahoe

Resort at Squaw Creek is pairing a stay with an evening at Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival’s presentation of “Twelfth Night” in a Bard-celebratory package

The package includes one-night guest room accommodations for two, a
reusable picnic cooler bag loaded with gourmet goodies hand-packed by
Resort at Squaw Creek’s culinary team, featuring a variety of meats,
cheeses, breads and a bottle of wine for the show, and two tickets to a
performance of “Twelfth Night.” 

Valid for festival dates through Aug. 21, the package starts at $265 per
room, per night Sunday through Thursday, and $295 per room, per night
Friday and Saturday, plus taxes and daily resort fee.  The offer is
subject to availability and a two-night minimum stay is required.

Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival takes place at a natural amphitheatre
on the shores of Lake Tahoe at Sand Harbor.  With a canopy of stars
above and Lake Tahoe as a backdrop, the venue is one of a kind.  This
year’s production is directed by Charles Fee, Producing Artistic


All shows start at 7:30 p.m., with doors opening at 5:30 p.m.  The show is dark on Mondays.  Call 800.401.9501 and mention the
Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Package, or use promo code FESTRSC at

Navy Week offers ship tours to public


Photos by Brad Graverson, Staff Photographer

If you’re looking for something fun to do with the kids this summer, why not take them down to San Pedro to tour some actual Navy ships during Navy Week. The aircraft carrier the USS Abraham Lincoln sailed into port on Monday and will be joined by the minesweeper USS Champion, cruiser USS Princeton and destroyer USS Chaffee.

I was lucky enough to visit the Abe on Monday and it’s awesome.

“It’s an opportunity to showcase the Navy and show the public how their money is being spent,” said Adm. Troy “Mike” Shoemaker, commander of Carrier Strike Group 9.

“As our sailors get out and visit around town, we have the opportunity to show off the quality people we have in the Navy,” Shoemaker added. “They’re very proud, they love to show off what they’re doing and share their experiences.”

The enthusiastic admiral leads a task force of eight ships centered around the 1,000 foot long Abe. The 97,500 ton ships carries 70 aircraft in its air wing. The Super Hornets deliver the sting of strike group.

The aircrat operate from a flight deck of 4.5 acres. The planes are literally thrown off the carrier’s bow by steam catapults, going from 0 to 180 miles per hours in 2.4 seconds.

“The sights and sounds of a launch are overwhelming,” said a Navy spokeswoman.

While visitors won’t see the carrier in operation,


they can visit the flight deck where they’ll see the different aircraft embarked: F/A 18, E2 Hawkeye radar aircraft and MH-60 Seahawk helicopter.

Be sure to walk to the back of the flightdeck, where aircraft crash onto the deck where they have to catch on one of the arresting wires strung across it.

“The pilots aim for the second wire in a perfect landing, but they have four cables,” explained Lt. Jonathan Halbach, a flight surgeon aboard the Abe.

“We’re excited to be here. This is the first time in 20 years that a carrier has called on Los Angeles,” said Capt. John Alexander, commanding officer of the carrier.

While this weapon of war has served extensively in the Middle East, Capt. Alexander pointed out the carrier has also served humanitarian missions. “We were sent to Malaysia in 2008 to help the victims of the tsunami,” he said. The carrier distills more than 400,000 gallons of fresh water per day.

Visitors will also get to see the large hangar deck used to work on the aircraft when they’re not on the flight deck. Four huge elevators carry aircraft between the two decks in 70 seconds.

But right now, 2,800 members of the crew were anxiously waiting for liberty call. Sailors from Southern California wanted to reunite with family and friends.

Petty Officer Alberto Aguirre grew up in Paramount. The 20-year-old has served a year and a half on the Abe as a radar man.

“When I graduated high school, I wanted to do something with my life, but I didn’t think I was mature enough for college,” Aguirre said. “I wanted to make my family proud and stay off the streets, so I joined the military and I’m really enjoying it.”

Another 1,500 sailors serve in the air wing when it is embarked. Together with the ship’s crew, the 4,400 sailors consume more than 15,000 meals every day, including 600 gallons of milk, 900 pounds of fruit. 180 dozen eggs and 620 pounds of hamburger.


The aircraft carrier will be open for public tours on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Tours begin at 10 a.m. and close at 4 p.m., except on Saturday when it closes at 5 p.m. The other ships are open at other time, check the schedule at

A word of caution, expect long lines on the weekends. Thousands can show up to see the naval vessels.

The Port of Los Angeles offers these details for the ship tours:

Free Public Parking & Shuttle to the Aircraft Carrier at Los Angeles World Cruise Center (Harbor Blvd. and 1st Street in San Pedro). The other ships will be docked at the cruise center.
No auto or foot traffic will be allowed for viewing the Aircraft Carrier  – the public shuttle is mandatory.
All persons will be subject to strict security procedures before accessing the vessels.
No handicap access although an equivalency experience will be offered if desired.
Tours are limited to those 8 yrs of age and older and physically able to walk through tight spaces and up/down steep ladders. Close-toed shoes only.
Visitors are required to have a government issued photo ID and are requested to leave behind any objects such as pocketknives, tools, and drinks – other than water, to facilitate security screenings.
No bags larger than a lady’s hand-purse will be allowed. Backpacks and other large carrying devices are prohibited. Please pack light.Cameras are allowed and encouraged.
For more information, see or






Mammoth Festival set for Aug. 19 to 21

Celebrate the Mammoth Festival on Aug. 19-21. The festival will feature wine and live music by the Goo Goo Dolls,
Michelle Branch, Parachute and more

…all in
a beautiful mountain setting. 

Thursday on Mammoth Mountain (gondola opens at 6 p.m.) 

Due to popular demand, they’ve added another seating for
the Winemaker Dinner at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 18.
  This new seating will take
place at Parallax mid-mountain in McCoy Station. This
event will feature a gourmet five course dinner featuring wine by
Justin Winery. 

Friday at The Village (ticket booth opens at 5 p.m.)

Enjoy live music and sip samples from various vintners during
the Wine Walk in The Village presented by the Mammoth
Mountain Community Foundation
from 6 to 9 p.m.

Saturday at Sam’s Wood Site (ticket booth opens at 10 a.m.)

Live music featuring Goo Goo Dolls,
Michelle Branch, Parachute and more from noon to 9 p.m.

Enjoy wine tasting in the mountain air,
surrounded by towering Jeffery pines. More than 40 vintners will be
pouring from 1 to 5 p.m.

Picnic in the Pines at the outdoor food
court featuring a sampling from Mammoth’s best restaurants from noon to 6 p.m.

Check out the Art Expo featuring crafts and fine art by
Sierra artisans from noon to 6 p.m.

Sunday at Hyde Lounge in The Village

Champagne Brunch and live music. (2
seatings available at  9 a.m. and 11 a.m.)


Buy tickets online or call

Viking Prestige launched, 2 for 1 fares offered

Viking River Cruises of Los Angeles, the world’s leading river cruise line, recently held a christening ceremony for Viking Prestige
in Amsterdam. Janice Farrar-Titus, wife of the late renowned cruise
industry innovator Warren Titus and the ship’s godmother, officially
named the 443-foot vessel with a traditional breaking of a bottle of
champagne while blessing it on all future voyages.

The 188-passenger Viking Prestige embarked on its inaugural voyage, the 15-day Grand European Tour, on July 2. It will then will begin its regular service on the popular 8-day Romantic Danube itinerary which travels Budapest to Nuremberg (or reverse), visiting ports in Hungary, Austria and Germany.

The launch of the Viking Prestige
represents the first phase of Viking’s $250 million dollar fleet
development program and will be the first European ship in a series of 10 new builds to follow for the 2012, 2013 and 2014 seasons.

of the design philosophy of the storied Royal Viking Line, the concepts
have been realized by renowned Norwegian maritime architects Yran &
Storbraaten, designers of The Yachts of Seabourn, Oceania and Disney
vessels, among others. Viking Prestige is the first ship in the
fleet to feature the new open-air Aquavit Lounge at the bow, where
passengers can enjoy a drink or meal al fresco.

With all-outside
staterooms and French balconies on both the Upper and Middle decks, the
ship will feature sophisticated, understated

Built at the Neptun Shipyard in Rostock, Germany, Viking Prestige is
the company’s second “green” river cruise vessel powered by an
efficient, hybrid propulsion system. Using significantly less fuel and
producing less vibration, this cutting-edge technology offers a
smoother, quieter ride than other ships and represents the
environmentally responsible future of Viking’s European vessels.

To celebrate the launch of Viking Prestige,
Viking is currently offering 2-FOR-1 cruise fares with complimentary
wine, plus savings on all-inclusive roundtrip international airfare.
These special offers for both the 2011 and 2012 sailing seasons are
valid through July 31, 2011.

Dates and pricing as well as ship and itinerary information are available on the company’s website at
Viking’s all-inclusive pricing features accommodations, all onboard
meals, daily guided shore excursions and more.

Also, Viking is the only
river cruise line to include port charges in the cruise fare. For
additional details, contact your travel agent or Viking River Cruises
toll-free at 1-877-66VIKING (1-877-668-4546).

U.S. Open Sand Castle competition at Imperial Beach

If you love sand castles as much as we do, this is a great event for the family to enjoy this weekend at Imperial Beach in San Diego. Check out all the different activities.

The Sandcastle Dance kicks off the
weekend on Friday at the Imperial Beach Boys and Girls Club. This 21 and up event
is filled with live music and great company. It’s a great way to
start off a fun filled weekend.

The street festival
begins In
Imperial Beach on Saturday, July 23. Vendors will offer entertainment, food, arts and crafts.

Visitors can stroll down Seacoast Drive, which will be closed to traffic for the event. Musical entertainment has been selected from a wide variety of family friendly local acts. The Kids-N-Kastles Competition is held on Saturday

On Sunday July 24, the
official U.S. Open Sandcastle Competition will be held. This is the
championship of sandcastle building where the professional sand carvers
vie for the title of Master’s Champion.

Professional and amateur sand
carving teams throughout the U.S. will compete in the sandcastle
building competition with more than $21,000 in cash prizes.

building begins at 9 a.m. and concludes at 2 p.m. Sculptures are
only available for viewing until 4 p.m. because to the tides.

Island Hotel offers ‘Escape the Gridlock’ package in Newport Beach

Island Hotel in Newport Beach is offering an “Escape the L.A. Gridlock” package this weekend. The package will provide a reprieve for anyone who wants to keep off the roads during this stress-provoking time.

The special rates start at $199 on Friday and Sunday nights, and at $225 on Saturday night. This includes valet parking and daily breakfast for two.  That’s a savings of 35 percent off the regular rates.

Island Hotel is located at 690 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach. For more information, call 949-760-4920. The website is

Sizzling packages offered in downtown LA

Los Angeles boasts some of the world’s finest museums and performance venues, is
home to legendary sports arenas. It also has a variety of
interesting neighborhoods to explore.

It comes alive after sundown- with the hottest bar scene,
live music and restaurants that can make a meal an event
in itself.

summer, vacationers should take advantage of all that Downtown L.A.
has to offer – day and night – with
Summer Nights: Discover Downtown L.A.

 Downtown L.A. hotels and the Downtown Center Business
Improvement District
have once again come together to offer interesting hotel
vacation packages at prices that won’t take the sizzle out of your su

Highlights include the
opportunity to “Dine & Discover Downtown L.A.” with a stay at the JW
Marriott at L.A. LIVE, which includes a Downtown L.A. food tour and a
multi-course dinner personally cooked by Chef Nona Sivley, winner of Hell’s
Kitchen Season 8.

Adventurous couples can “Wheel & Deal,” with the Los
Angeles Athletic Club package, which includes 2 Dahon Speed Uno Folding Bikes.
And the O Hotel is offering a “Bed & Booze” package, which offers
vacationers complimentary drinks at several of best bars. Or stay
at the Standard starting on Thursday night for Downtown L.A.’s famous Art Walk.

 For more details and how to take advantage
of the warm summer nights in Downtown L.A., please visit