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San Diego plans to open $3-million public market at Liberty Station

San Diego is out to create a $3-million destination food hall -- like San Francisco's Ferry Building or Napa's Oxbow Public Market -- at Liberty Station in the city's Point Loma neighborhood.

Travelers and locals will be able to sample artisanal breads and homemade tortillas, craft cocktails and fine wines, fresh produce from a daily farmers market and seafood at what will be called Liberty Public Market, an announcement from co-creator Blue Bridge Hospitality of San Diego says.

The market is set to open June 2015 at the former naval base, which is now a commercial and residential development.

Like other big-city markets, the accent is on locally sourced food and goods. More than 30 small businesses will be housed in a 22,000-square-foot warehouse that was once a 1920s-era commissary at the naval training center. It also will include a large outdoor patio and eating area.

"The storied space ... will pay homage to its historic roots by housing a diverse mix of merchants, each...

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Travelers should avoid Lesotho and Eritrea, State Department says

Among the State Department's recent warnings and alerts:

Lesotho: It has advised U.S. citizens to defer all travel to Lesotho because of the "security situation." Last month, an attempted coup in Lesotho, which is enveloped by South Africa and received its independence from Britain in 1966, sparked continued unrest.

Mozambique: It issued an alert for Mozambique to advise travelers about elections scheduled for Oct. 15, adding that "widespread violence is not anticipated."

Eritrea: It issued a warning for Eritrea, warning U.S. citizens "not travel to the country since there is increasing possibility [they] will not receive the requisite exit permit from Eritrean authorities." To see the most current warnings and alerts, go to travel.state.gov


Bad tip for Greek cabbies

If your taxi driver in Greece seems a little cranky, it might be because of a recent scam that flimflammed cabbies out of $141,300. Seven people were arrested on suspicion of taking deposits for lists of potential VIP...

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Web Buzz: Storehouse app helps your photos tell a story

Here's an award-winning visual storytelling app that takes travelers' photo essays to the next level.

Name: Storehouse app and Storehouse.co

Available: For iPhone and iPad

Cost: Free

What it does: Select photos from your iPhone or iPad and turn them into a magazine-like photo essay.

What's hot: It's quick. It's beautiful. And unlike most photo apps, it's not so much a place to store your photos as it is to tell a story. Use the Explore feature and hashtags to discover stories related to #travel or a specific destination, such as #london or #sanfrancisco. Push the "circle" button to import photos from your phone, Instagram, Dropbox, Flickr and a menu of your images categorized by time lapse, panoramas, recently added, videos and more. Once your images are loaded, edit their sizes and add text at will. It levels the field for both professional travel writers and amateurs: Everyone can look their best.

What's not: It's so visually stunning, and there are so many great videos and photo...

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Travel letters: Passports are needed for Canada, Mexico

Regarding the Sept. 21 "On the Spot" column on passports by Catharine Hamm: She neglected to mention that passports are now required for travel to Canada or Mexico. This is undoubtedly a factor in the dramatic increase in the number of passport holders since 1989.

Based on my own experience, timing is everything. I mailed a renewal application in February 2013. I received my new passport 10 days later (this was not expedited service either).

Gene Aker

Los Angeles

::

I always enjoy Hamm's articles, and her article on passports was no exception. However, in the first paragraph, she made what I consider an irresponsible comment: "You may not believe that the words 'customer service' and 'U.S. government' can dwell within the same sentence, but the State Department's handling of passports is giving me cause for hope."

Our government isn't perfect, but I believe it works amazingly well, especially considering the chronic underfunding and the unreasonable demands placed on it by citizens who...

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Travel films and events: Best day hikes in Orange County? Experts offer tips

HIKING

Workshop

Experts will share their best fall day hikes in Orange County and offer tips on trip planning and local resources.

When, where: 7 p.m. Wednesday and 2 p.m. Saturday at the REI store in Tustin, 2962 El Camino Real

Admission, info: Free. (714) 505-0205.

 

OUTDOORS

Movies

Hang on to your seats for jaw-dropping mountain sport films from the 37th annual Banff Mountain Film Festival.

When, where: 7 p.m. Saturday at Lincoln Middle School Auditorium, 1501 California Ave., Santa Monica

Admission, info: $15. (310) 473-4574.

 

JOSHUA TREE

Field class

Learn to track alongside experienced guides in this family-friendly field class.

When, where: 9 a.m. Oct. 5 at Joshua Tree Visitor Center

Admission, info: $35. (760) 367-5535.

 

Please email announcements at least three weeksbefore the event to travel@latimes.com.

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Reinvigorated Knott's Halloween Haunt returns with a vengeance

The once bloated, middle-aged beast known as Knott’s Scary Farm has trimmed down and shaped up into a lean, mean terrorizing machine with the 42nd annual Halloween Haunt.

The increased competition from Universal Studios Hollywood has forced Knott’s Berry Farm to reassess its strengths, reconsider its identity and reconfirm its commitment to Halloween supremacy in Southern California. The result is the best Halloween Haunt in years.

Gone are the 13 cookie-cutter mazes the Buena Park theme park boasted in recent years largely as a marketing gimmick that emphasized quantity over quality and stretched the Haunt creative team too thin.

This year’s Haunt presents a more manageable nine mazes with compelling themes, beautiful sets and well-paced crowds, making for a more enjoyable overall experience.

What Knott’s needs to do next is add two missing ingredients.

The first is simple and visual storytelling. Now that Knott’s has replaced all the woeful paint-and-plywood mazes that came to define...

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Gear: Clever Crates help lighten your load

Clever Crates are collapsible, lightweight stacking plastic shopping baskets that can also hitch a ride in another bag, then pop open for use at your destination.

Or you can keep a stack in your car for a space-saving pop-open organizational system on a road trip.

Head out with a collapsed crate in your shopping bag and you double your storage options The 15-by-10-by-8-inch crates collapse to just 2 inches thick and have double fold-down carry handles, sturdy solid bottoms and open “thatch” plastic walls so you can see the contents.

A layer of wrap-around reinforcement bumpers top and bottom make for extra strength.

The crates come in green, blue, turquoise or black and can be cleaned in a dishwasher.

Info: Clever Crates cost $9.99.
Follow us on Twitter at @latimestravel

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TSA wants private companies to help enroll travelers in PreCheck

Next year private companies may be enrolling fliers into the expedited airport security screening program known as PreCheck.

The Transportation Security Administration said Friday it wants to increase the number of travelers enrolled in the program and cut wait times by enlisting private companies to help.

PreCheck members leave on their shoes and belts, and aren't required to take liquids and laptops out of their carry-on bags while going through security checkpoints.

"By expediting screening for those passengers who are low-risk, TSA PreCheck enables us to focus screening efforts on the passengers who we know present a greater risk to aviation security or individuals who we know less and pose an unknown level of risk to the traveling public," agency head John Pistole said in a statement.

As of December, almost 600,000 travelers had enrolled in PreCheck. A spokesman says the program has improved wait times in regular and PreCheck security lanes by 60%.

The TSA would seek contracts...

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Wisconsin cheeseheads, make way for the upcoming Bacon Queen

When Kim Pfannebecker was crowned 2013 Bacon Queen at the Iowa Bacon Festival, she wore a specially designed dress made from real strips of bacon, and she ruled with a bacon-wrapped scepter. In Wisconsin, which will hold its first bacon event Nov. 1, the queen will reap a different reward.

"She will be adorned with a tiara and sash, and receive a year’s supply of bacon plus two tickets to the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival in Iowa," spokeswoman Erica Rykal said an email.

Iowa pioneered the quirky festival in 2008, and now the college town of Madison, Wis., is going whole hog in what it's calling the largest bacon showcase in the state.

How popular could a bacon festival be? In December 12,500 tickets to Iowa's festival offered online sold out in 43 minutes.

Now Madison has placed 5,000 tickets for its fest on sale.

But back to being Wisconsin's official Bacon Queen. Contestants have to answer bacon-related questions and submit a photo "that best captures their passion for bacon," Rykal...

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Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art impresses inside and out

I cannot say enough good things about the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark., founded and funded by Alice Walton, daughter of the Wal-Mart founder. The buildings alone are worth the drive, designed to showcase this amazing collection of American artists. The museum is free, parking is free, the earpieces to listen (if you so desire) are free and the art collection is unmatched. Plan to spend at least half a day.

Crystal Bridges Museum, 600 Museum Way, Bentonville, Ark.; (479) 418-5700, crystalbridges.org

Kate Reeves

Mountain Center, Calif.

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Airfare: Four carriers offer $823 trips from LAX to Budapest, Hungary

This airfare gives you entree to Europe at a competitive price. From LAX to Budapest, Hungary, Air France, Delta, KLM and United are offering $823 round-trip fares, including all taxes and fees.

The fare, subject to availability, has a 60-day advance purchase requirement. It is for departures through Nov. 30 (which means you must buy your ticket by Wednesday) or from Jan. 10 through March 26.

You must stay a Saturday night, but you may not stay longer than 12 months.

Info: Air France, (800) 237-2747; Delta, (800) 221-1212; KLM, (800) 225-2525; United, (800) 864-8331.

Source: Airfarewatchdog

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You can add happy hour to a spin on Vegas' High Roller Ferris wheel

The world’s tallest Ferris wheel has begun offering a good deal for grown-ups: unlimited alcoholic beverages for just $5 more than the cost of the ride alone.

The High Roller now has two happy hours each day during which guests enjoy an open bar as they ogle the views from 550 feet above the Strip.

“Happy half-hours” is more accurate in this instance: It takes 30 minutes for the wheel to make one rotation. A drinks cart is wheeled aboard the pods in which customers have chosen the open bar.

Unless you’re playing in a casino, cocktails can be pricey in Las Vegas, so this offer – an open bar for $5 – is a good one.

The earlier happy hour is 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and costs $29.95 a person. The ride alone costs $24.95. As of Oct. 6, the hours will shift to 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

After dark, when Vegas comes alive with glittering lights, the later happy hour operates from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. for $39.95. Again, that’s just $5 more than the cost of evening admission.

The High Roller is at the east end of...

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