airBerlin launches business class sale to Europe

airberlin has launched a business class sale for those travelers looking to fly in style and comfort. The sale includes fares starting from as low as $3,649.00 including all taxes and surcharges from New York (JFK) to Germany for example and also covers other premiere destinations such as Copenhagen, Milan, Vienna and Zurich at slightly higher rates.

Germany’s second largest airline recently completed the refurbishment of its Business Class on its long haul fleet which now features FullFlat seats with a massage function, USB port, personal entertainment system featuring a 15-inch monitor and gourmet culinary selections.

And as a member of oneworld®, airberlin guests can take advantage of accruing and redeeming miles on any oneworld partner airline in addition to airberlin. The sale will run through July 8th, 2014 and travel period is valid from July 1st through August 31, 2014.

To book this sale visit, contact the airline’s call center at 1-866-266-5588 or a travel agent.

airberlin is one of the leading airlines in Europe and flies to 171 destinations worldwide each year. The second largest airline in Germany carried more than 31.5 million passengers in 2013. airberlin offers a global route network through its strategic partnership with Etihad Airways, which has a 29.21% share in airberlin, and through membership of the oneworld airline alliance.

The airline with the award-winning service operates codeshare flights worldwide with 17 airlines. The fleet has an average age of five years and is among the most modern and eco-efficient in Europe.

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Castaway Island offers fly-in fly-out package in Fiji

Getting there with the kids is half the fun with Castaway Island’s five-night family Fly-In Fly-Out package that combines helicopter and seaplane transfers with a luxury Fijian escape.

Two adults and two children or four adults can now fly direct from Nadi Airport to Castaway Island, arriving in style by private helicopter and enjoying spectacular aerial views along the way.

As well as five nights accommodation, the package includes a banana boat ride, escorted snorkeling safari, dolphin safari excursion and sunset cruise for four.  The return journey continues the holiday experience with guests flying from Castaway Island to Nadi by seaplane.

Cost is approx., $5,211 for four adults or two adults and two children.

The package is also available for two adults for $4,090 which has helicopter and sea plane transfers and five nights accommodation, includes two half-hour traditional Fiji relaxation massages, a bottle of sparkling wine, a dolphin safari speedboat excursion for two and His and Hers Castaway Island sarongs.


The package is valid to March 31, 2015 and terms and conditions apply.


Castaway Island is a pristine, four-star private island resort located in the heart of Fiji’s Mamanuca Island group. The 70-hectare island is covered in tropical rainforest and fringed by white sand beaches and vibrant coral reefs.


To book, visit or for further information.

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La Quinta Resort offers four great new packages and credits

Four new resort packages keep the heat off the pocketbook including the La Quinta Resort Summer Experience combining accommodations with a zesty $100 resort credit, $40 per person Spa La Quinta credit and waived resort fee ($27) starting at $189/double.

Ideal for couples, the Beat the Traffic Weekend Getaway kicks off at $119/double with a 50 percent savings on the third night and 5 p.m., Sunday check out (three night minimum).

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Pigeon Point: Lighthouse restoration will cost $10 million

By Kevin Smith, Staff Writer

The lighthouse still dominates the landscape at Pigeon Point, but it’s in need of repair. A worker at the hostel said the upper brickwork eventually began bulging under the weight of the heavy Fresnel lens that had long served as its beacon.

So the one-ton lens — standing 16 feet tall and 6 feet in diameter — was carefully disassembled and brought down via a zip line. It’s currently on display in the Fog Signal Building, where it’s been housed since 2011.

Pigeon Point is still an active U.S. Coast Guard aid to navigation, but it now operates with a 24-inch aero beacon.

The restoration project will cost an estimated $10 million, and I’m told they’ve already raised about half of that. So hopefully the lighthouse will be fully operational and open for tours in the not-so-distant future.

So I’ve told you about the accommodations, the grounds and the restoration project.

But I didn’t talk about the intangibles — the feeling you get when you’re out on the point with the waves crashing against the rocks. Or the night stars that are so clear and bright it feels like you could pull them right out of the sky. Or the way all of this makes you feel so small … and yet so connected to everything.

No, I’ll leave that part up to you. And yes, there is something mystical about lighthouses.

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Half Moon Bay celebrates Tour des Fleurs and Farm to Table Dinner

On July 26, The Half Moon Bay Coastside will celebrate its plethora of local farmers, fisherman and ranchers with two events hosted by the Half Moon Bay Coastside Chamber of Commerce & Visitors’ Bureau –The 23rd Annual Tour des Fleurs followed by the First Annual Farm to Table Dinner.

“The Half Moon Bay Coastside is an oasis for farm fresh ingredients and we are so excited to showcase all that our region has to offer with the combination of Tour des Fleurs and our first Farm to Table Dinner,” says President of the Half Moon Bay Coastside Chamber of Commerce & Visitors’ Bureau, Charise McHugh.

The 23rd Annual Tour des Fleurs
Tour des Fleurs offers the public a once-a-year opportunity to tour the area’s nurseries/greenhouses, farms, and one of California’s last working harbors. Many of these businesses are not ordinarily open to the public, however during

Tour des Fleurs visitors will enjoy a “behind the scenes” tour of their facilities and operations. Some will discuss helpful tips to pruning and caring for flowers, others will explain their key to an efficient operation whether it’s a nursery or farm, while others will share their colorful and fascinating family history and how it shaped their businesses today.

Attendees will experience special flower gardens, calla lilies, oceans of roses and hydrangeas, organic herbs and field greens, California native plants, a working dairy farm, grass fed livestock, tours of the Coastside Farmers’ Market and Pillar Point Harbor, an abundance of potted plants of every variety, as well as an aquaponics farm.

Participants can choose from six tour packages, each consisting of three different nurseries. They will drive themselves to the three nurseries to enjoy one-hour guided tours at each. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.; price per person: $20. For a description of tour packages and to purchase tickets, visit or call (650) 726-8380. Tickets are limited.

First Annual Farm to Table Dinner
Following Tour des Fleurs will be the First Annual Farm to Table Dinner, a celebration of the Half Moon Bay Coastside’s bounty of farm fresh ingredients and the Coastside’s farmers, fishermen and ranchers.

More than 100 people will gather for a seasonal feast at one long outdoor table stretching across the starlit fields of Farmer John’s Home Farm. Guests will be transported to the farm via a hayride wagon.* Presented and served by Harley Farms Goat Dairy, this 100% gluten-free five-course dinner will feature organic fruits and vegetables, grass-fed meats, virgin olive oil, honey, herbs, breads and artisanal cheeses provided by local farms and Duarte’s.

The meal will begin with delicious appetizers from area restaurants Pasta MoonSam’s Chowder House and It’s Italia. Wines will be provided by winery Trojak-Knier, located in Princeton-by-the-Sea. 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. Price per person: $250; includes a special commemorative basket filled with local produce.

*Guests must arrive at the farm via the hayride; parking at Farmer John’s Home Farm is not permitted. Board the hay wagon at the intersection of Miramontes & San Benito streets in Downtown Half Moon Bay; rides run from 6 – 6:30 p.m. For reservations, call (650) 726-8380 or visit Tickets are extremely limited.

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Seattle Mural Project happening this summer

Seattle has been the home of amazing artists for some time, but the skyline has lacked the type of large scale murals that landmark other cities of culture around the world.

This summer, that will all change as the Seattle Mural Project (SMP) will be “making blank walls go extinct” at various locations in Capitol Hill and around the city. Large, building sized paintings will be created with a cast of international and local world class talent.

“This is a really exciting and unique opportunity for Seattle,” said Justin Hart, Seattle Mural Project Director and Co-Founder. “Seattle has some really great local talent that needs to be recognized on a national stage. Our goal is to bring in those national level names to work alongside our local talent. We’re excited that Seattle Mural Project will create new opportunities and shine a spotlight on Seattle’s truly excellent artists.”

Philadelphia based artist ‘NoseGo’ is looking forward to contributing to this upcoming scene: “I’m super stoked to come out to Seattle! I would like to paint in Seattle and meet the locals.”

The SMP has won a Seattle arts funding grant for the event, but there is a catch- it’s a reimbursement grant which means they must front all expenses.

“We’re thinking big because we have to- we have access to amazing locations and artists,” Hart says. “But we don’t have the mega capital to make this work on a marquee level by ourselves.”

So they’ve started an Indiegogo fundraising campaign and are working with many local supporters who recognize the importance of bringing large scale visual art to Seattle.

“We’re so happy that local businesses understand what this means to communities. This city is changing in so many ways and the SMP is an event that’s hopefully going to continue to contribute culture to Seattle.” – Said Hart.

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Pigeon Point: Rooms are simple but affordable and clean

By Kevin Smith, Staff Writer

The rooms at Pigeon Point hostel are simply furnished but clean and affordable starting at around $76 a night for a private room with a double bed and single bunk above.

That was perfect for the three of us. Each of the four buildings also has a full kitchen and a common room stocked with an assortment of books, games and sometimes even a piano. Ours had an aquarium and a miniature pool table.

But you wouldn’t want to hang out there too long because there’s plenty of other stuff to do outside, like that great hiking path that circles the grounds and eventually drops you down on the beach.

They also have an oceanfront boardwalk and a private Jacuzzi. Their website says you can rent the Jacuzzi for $8 a half hour, but our host let us use it for free.

Perched on the coast above soaring brown pelicans, Pacific harbor seals and migrating gray whales, it offers a soothing escape from your troubles. And if you’re heading south toward those gas prices, you’ll meet trouble soon enough.

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Pigeon Point: Staying at the tallest lighthouse on West Coast

By Kevin Smith, Staff Writer

There’s something mystical about lighthouses — something otherworldly in the way they rise up from the ground and cast off their surroundings.

That’s the feeling I got when I stayed at Pigeon Point Lighthouse, the tallest lighthouse on the West Coast. Perched on a cliff 50 miles south of San Francisco, the 115-foot-tall structure has been guiding mariners since 1872.

Now I need to clarify something up front. I didn’t actually stay in the lighthouse. But my wife and daughter and I did stay in the hostel that’s part of Pigeon Point.

And before you run screaming from the room, I want to add yet another clarification: Pigeon Point Lighthouse Hostel bears no resemblance whatsoever to the bleak and blood-soaked torture chamber depicted in the horror movie “Hostel.”

I saw nary a torture session during our stay at Pigeon Point. But abuse of a different kind was underway a little farther south where travelers were forking over nearly $6 a gallon for gas in Big Sur. Ouch!

Pigeon Point has four cheery dorm rooms, four family rooms and four private rooms, with a total of 60 beds.

We had stayed at a couple of other hostels before and we’ll only do it if we can get a private room. I mean, who wants to bunk with Walt, the chatty used car salesman from Cleveland, or Felicia, the overzealous life coach who wants to sell you healing vitamin waters?

Not me, and probably not you, either.

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German traditions and customs are theme for 2015

Many regional traditions and customs are still alive and well in Germany today. Having long been a manufacturing nation, Germany places special emphasis on handcrafted products, and its volkfest festivals are unlike anything else in the world.

At funfairs, festivals and Christmas markets, visitors can experience a wealth of traditions that are deeply rooted in society. These include regional dishes and traditional dress as well as art, music and culture.

According to the latest Quality Monitor survey of the German tourism industry, the traditions and history of a region are among the top ten reasons cited by international visitors for choosing their holiday destination.

That is why the German National Tourist Board (GNTB) has decided to put the Traditions and Customs theme at the center of its global sales and marketing activities in 2015.

“Traditions and customs are an integral part of Germany’s appeal as a cultural destination, while also being key facets of the core Destination Germany brand,” says Petra Hedorfer, Chief Executive Officer of the GNTB. “The idea of our themed campaign for 2015 is to make travelers more aware of this.”

The campaign promoting traditions and customs will highlight three aspects in 2015. One of these is culinary Germany with regional cuisine.

The second comprises the living traditions in Destination Germany, which are reflected in its huge number of festivals – from carnivals and cultural events to marksmen’s parades and theatre extravaganzas. Traditional costume and dance play an important part in this.

The third key theme of the campaign is arts and crafts, and this will give international travelers a deeper insight into music, handicrafts and craft villages in Germany.

The campaign will be promoted internationally, both online and offline. The main focus will be the GNTB’s website

An events database is also being created, which will include dates and events related to the 2015 theme of Traditions and Customs.

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Grand block party set for Fourth of July in downtown Los Angeles

The Music Center will triple the size of Grand Park’s Fourth of July Block Party and launch Downtown Los Angeles’ biggest-ever rooftop fireworks display atop the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion to commemorate the holiday from 4 to 9:30 p.m.

The free event expands to include the entire 12-acre Grand Park as well as Temple to 2nd Street and Grand Avenue to Main Street.  This is the first time in 10 years that Downtown Los Angeles has seen a rooftop fireworks display of this size.

Fireworks can be seen from anywhere at the event.  Grand Park’s Fourth of July Block Party is presented with generous support from Accenture as well as both the County of Los Angeles and Los Angeles City Councilmember José Huizar, who represents Downtown.

This year’s block party features two entertainment stages – the SOULNIC Stage, on Grand Park’s Performance Lawn between Grand Avenue and Hill Street, presenting the Soul, Funk and Disco dance sounds of SOULNIC, a beloved LA family music event that has grown over the last few years; and the ALTimate Main Stage featuring emerging indie rock bands on Grand Park’s Event Lawn between North Broadway and Spring Street, curated by alternative rock station, ALT 98.7.  Guests can bring picnics or enjoy fare provided by onsite food vendors.

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