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Pennsylvania: Brew fest set for grounds of Gettysburg seminary

A brew fest on the grounds of a seminary? Really? Really. And it’s happening in historic Gettysburg, Pa. The inaugural Gettysburg Brew Fest  will be held 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 23 at the historical Lutheran Theological Seminary. The seminary location might seem odd if you don’t know its history. On July 1, 1863, the grounds of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg became a battlefield. Its dormitory cupola served as a watchtower, and the seminary building became a hospital for the wounded on both sides.  “When doing a festival, I want it to be something you can’t experience anywhere else, so I approached the Lutheran Theological Seminary expecting to be told, ‘Get the heck out of here,’” said Randy Prasse, the festival’s executive director. “But there is a history of Lutherans brewing, and they were actually thinking of producing a brew festival themselves.” Beyond tasting as many as 60 brews, guests can sample a variety of ciders and custom-brewed sodas. Several of the 35...

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Italy: Cruise of Venice and its lagoon starts at $630 per person

If you haven't tried a river boat in Europe, Italy's storied Venice lagoon might be a good place to get your feet wet. CroisiEurope offers two short cruises in October with prices as low as $630 per person. The deal: The trip aboard the MS Michelangelo lasts five days and sails in the Venice lagoon. Meals (wine and beer too) are included with a cabin, or course, and the price is based on double occupancy. Nights are spent in port in Venice, which means you can explore the city on your own or pay for the cruise line's optional tours to Murano and Burano. On the fourth day, the ship sails to nearby Chioggia and offers an excursion (which costs extra) to the town of Padua before returning to Venice for a final gala dinner on board. When: Cruises at the sale price leave Oct. 22 and Oct. 30. Tested: I checked online and  found the same cruise ranging from $832 to $951 per person on dates from September to mid October. Cabins with a double bed or two single beds were available at the $630...

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Jam band Phish set to play dates in California and Nevada

Love 'em or hate 'em (and I'm really not getting into that), jam band Phish will be coming to the West, including the Santa Barbara Bowl on Oct. 21 and 22. It's a homecoming of sorts for the band, which opened at that venue for Carlos Santana in 1992. The band's fall tour will stop at seven cities in the West from Oct. 17 to Nov. 2: Eugene, Ore.; Seattle; the Forum in Inglewood; Chula Vista, Calif.; three nights in San Francisco; and three nights in Las Vegas. Tickets go on sale at 11 a.m. Pacific time on Aug. 7, but Phish Phans may request tickets from now until Aug. 3. There's no guarantee you'll get them, but you can fill your shopping cart at the Phish website and hope for the best. Santa Barbara tickets go for $60 plus a $5.70 service fee. If your request is granted, expect to pay an additional $11.50 per order for shipping. The Vermont band -- Trey Anastasio, Page McConnell, Mike Gordon and Jon Fishman -- recently released "Fuego," its first album in five years, and took off on a...

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FAA lifts ban on flights to, from Tel Aviv

The Federal Aviation Administration has lifted its ban on U.S. airlines flying to and from Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport. “The agency will continue to closely monitor the very fluid situation around Ben Gurion Airport and will take additional actions, as necessary,” the FAA website said. On Tuesday, the FAA banned U.S. airlines from flying into the airport after a rocket landed about a mile from the facility amid ongoing clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants. The notification about cessation of service had disappeared from United Airlines' website today, and Delta Air Lines announced on its website that it has reinstated service. Those wishing to contact airlines about rebooking can go to this list of phone numbers and websites. Some cruise lines, meanwhile, have changed itineraries that would have had them stopping in the Israeli ports of Haifa and Ashdod. Haifa, a city of about 275,000 people, is an important deepwater port on the Mediterranean Sea...

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Europe: Motorcycle tour of the Alps with no engine sound, no emissions

Motorcycle riders who insist on revving their engines won't enjoy a new two-wheel tour of the Alps. Edelweiss Bike Travel based in Austria is offering guided journeys through Europe's most famous mountains from the seat of a zero-emission bike. Rainer Buck, the company's chief executive, personally tested the route on a Zero Motorcycle (made in Northern California) to see what it's like "to sweep through the Alps on silent feet, to enjoy nature with all your senses," he writes on the company's website. Buck liked the high-performance electric motorcycle so much that the company bought a bunch of bikes and designed a 700-to-1,000-mile ride during a seven-day tour. The tour begins in Mieming, Austria, where the company is located, and follows a counterclockwise loop through Switzerland, Italy and the Dolomites before returning to Austria. The route includes the Silvretta High Alpine Road and high passes such as Stelvio, Gavia, Mendel and the Timmelsjoch, at more than 8,000 feet high....

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Yellowstone: Tour brings best photo spots into focus

Brrrriiing! Like a hammer shattering glass, the alarm broke the silence of our West Yellowstone motel room. It was 3 a.m. We needed to get up and out to meet a small group of fellow photographers for our first-ever photo tour. We’re no strangers to sunrises, but June temperatures in the low 30s made it more painful than we expected. We rallied and joined Don Mammoser, who was about to take us on a 90-minute drive to the West Thumb area of Yellowstone National Park to shoot the sunrise — if there was one. Mammoser, a former Kodak photographer in Yellowstone National Park, has been guiding tours for 19 years and had invited us to join this Yellowstone tour just as my partner, Gloria Cortes, and I were thinking about visiting the nation’s first national park. Timing, as always, is everything. Navigating a new place — for anyone but especially for a photographer — can be tough, and Yellowstone, at 3,472 square miles, may add a degree of difficulty. But Mammoser knows the area, which was...

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Israel: Some cruise ships drop Ashdod and Haifa stops over conflict

First, U.S. airlines were banned from flying to Tel Aviv. Now some cruise lines said Wednesday that they will skip the Israeli port towns of Ashdod and Haifa because of the deadly conflict between Israelis and Hamas rebels. Costa Pacifica canceled stops in Israel for departures from Sept. 15 through Nov. 20 and instead will visit Istanbul in Turkey and Volos, Greece, according to Travel Pulse. Costa Deliziosa also will substitute Istanbul as well as Volos and Heraklion, Greece, on a Sept. 5 cruise. Regent’s Seven Seas Mariner and sister line Oceania replaced port calls in Israel on upcoming itineraries too. Germany-based AIDA Cruises dropped Israeli ports from its itineraries after 2,700 passengers and crew members witnessed explosions in the air while in Ashdod on July 7. "The situation on board was calm," a  July 11 company statement says. "However, small particles that may have come from defense missiles according to first expert assessments were found on the open deck." Holland...

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Las Vegas: Monorail turns 10, and the celebrations begin

The Las Vegas Monorail, which has carried more than 60 million riders in its first decade, will celebrate its 10th birthday at all seven stations on Saturday. Entertainment, prizes, food and beverages are among the offerings from 11 a.m-4 p.m. Here’s a sampling of what's on track: --Bally’s-Paris station will host a caricaturist and a live DJ. Showgirls from Jubilee!, the long-running theatrical production, will greet guests between 1 and 3 p.m. --Harrah’s/The Quad station will serve cupcakes from Sprinkles, which has a location at the Linq, a dining, entertainment and retail district. --Westgate Las Vegas station will feature an airbrush tattoo artist and an ’80s dance party. Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino is the new name of the property previously known as the LVH and, before that, the Las Vegas Hilton. A full list of activities is available online. Until the end of July, riders can also obtain $10 passes good for 24 hours. That’s a $2 savings. The monorail welcomed its first...

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Family forced off Southwest Airlines flight after tweeting a complaint

A Minneapolis family was asked to get off a Southwest Airlines flight in Colorado because of a tweet the father sent out complaining about the airline’s service before the departure from Denver International Airport. Duff Watson told CBS News in Minnesota that he experienced poor customer service Sunday while at his gate from one of the airline staff members, so he tweeted about his displeasure, the station reported. He tweeted "Something to the effect of, 'Wow, rudest agent in Denver. Kimberly S, gate C39, not happy @SWA'," he told CBS. "Unreal exp. Awaiting resp. from airline. Asked for name of rude gate agent. We board. I tweet. Kids & I pulled off unless I delete. AYKM?" Watson tweeted. Watson has since switched his Twitter feed to private.  Southwest Airlines confirmed the family was asked to leave the plane after the confrontation and tweet, but was ultimately allowed to board the flight. But Watson was asked to delete the tweet first, and he complied, he said. Watson told CBS...

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Love locks that won't damage bridges in Paris or anywhere else

The romance of love locks took a tumble in June when fencing on Paris' Pont des Arts crumbled a bit from the weight of all that love. Matt Ryken thinks he has the answer: a $20 virtual padlock that proclaims true love without the downside. Matt and his wife, Trish, of Yankton, S.D., launched The Love Lock website Wednesday to provide a digital alternative to folks cluttering some of the world's most romantic cityscapes with padlocks on bridges. The idea is to affix a lock to a bridge and throw away the key as a symbol of everlasting love. "We believe that love should be celebrated and the symbolism behind love locks provides a great way to do that," the couple says in a company statement. "We also believe that our historic structures should be preserved for both our current and future generations." Here's how it works: You go the website and select a special date, maybe a birthday, anniversary, date you first met, whatever. A page appears with available spaces for you to post your lock...

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Israel: FAA ban silences some traffic to Tel Aviv, and tourism suffers

With a  second day of flight cancellations snarling plans and silencing some air traffic to Tel Aviv, one tour operator reports that life — but not travel-related business — is proceeding as usual. The Federal Aviation Administration extended its ban on flights from the U.S. to Tel Aviv after a rocket on Tuesday landed about a mile from Ben Gurion airport. A listing of flights on the airport’s home page shows numerous flight cancellations, although some carriers continue to fly there. U.S. airlines generally are waiving change fees for passengers, although they vary on the dates by which travel must begin. Under “important notices” on its web page, United listed the FAA ban on Tel Aviv flights second (after the news of implementation of extra security at some airports, which the Transportation Security Administration announced July 6). United’s exception policy covers travel that was to have taken place July 22-Aug. 15. For “rescheduled travel [that] commences by Aug. 31, 2014, change...

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Forbes Travel Guide to bring star ratings to Mexico and Caribbean

Want to know where to find a real five-star hotel in Mexico? Soon you'll be able to. Forbes Travel Guide announced last week that it would add destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean, and expand further into Latin America too. The first list of five-star properties in the regions will be rolled out as early as next year.  "We're taking our integrity and our standards and making it a global standard," says Jerry Inzerillo, the guide's chief executive officer. The guide currently ranks hotels, restaurants and spas in the U.S. and Canada as well as Britain, China, Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau. In case you didn't know, the guide sends trained inspectors out — more than once for four- and five-star hotels — with a big checklist to evaluate service, appearance and lots of other criteria. And they return every year to check up on the property. The guide has been rating places this way since 1958, when it was known as the Mobil Travel Guide. The new ratings could be a boost for Mexico. The...

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