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Traveling to this remote location may cost you $58 million

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company's Crew Dragon capsule attached sits on the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company’s Crew Dragon capsule attached sits on the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla.
(Joel Kowsky / NASA via AP; photo illustration by Jade Cuevas / Los Angeles Times)

By Rachel Schnalzer
Design and illustrations by Jade Cuevas

Good morning, fellow adventurers. As we gear up for the holiday season, travel is weighing on our minds. Is there a safe way to navigate LAX? How dangerous is staying at a hotel? The Times’ travel writers have put together a guide to holiday travel that will answer many of your questions. And in the meantime, here are a few close-to-home destinations you can visit to satiate the wanderlust you may be feeling.

Let me know if you’ve discovered a new travel tip or location over the last few months. I’d love to feature it in an edition of Escapes.

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🍎 Embrace #cottagecore at an apple butter festival in Oak Glen

Fall in Southern California is coming to an end. And what better way to toast the season’s culmination than by making a trip to Stone Soup Farm’s Apple Butter Festival. The celebration includes a presentation about pickling and drying regional foods, a bread recipe demonstration, and plenty of other autumnal activities such as cider pressing and corn milling.

As Times contributor Elisa Parhad explains, the Oak Glen festival takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends through Nov. 29. You’ll want to visit on Nov. 28, when visitors can watch the final steps of the apple butter production process — and have a chance to stir a gigantic pot of caramelizing cider. Admission is $5 per person.

Apple pictured along with a spread of butter.
Stone Soup Farm’s Apple Butter Festival will offer cider pressing and, of course, apple butter making.
(Jade Cuevas / Los Angeles Times)

🎭 Watch a COVID-themed opera in Camarillo


The Pacific Opera Project is dedicated to making opera more affordable and accessible — it’s carrying on this mission even during the pandemic. As Times entertainment writer Jessica Gelt reports, artistic director Josh Shaw reimagined Mozart’s “Così fan Tutte” for the contemporary pandemic age. The result: “Covid fan Tutte,” a drive-in opera performed in the parking lot of the Camarillo United Methodist Church, with actors performing on top of a shipping container so everyone can see. The final show takes place Sunday at 5:30 p.m. Tickets cost $65 to $175 per car.

Jamie Chamberlin as "Fiordiligi" rehearses her scene during Pacific Opera Project's "COVID fan tutte" at Ebell Club.
Jamie Chamberlin as Fiordiligi rehearses a scene during Pacific Opera Project’s “COVID fan Tutte.”
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times; photo illustration by Jade Cuevas / Los Angeles Times)

🚀 Take a ride to the International Space Station (someday!)

I usually try to highlight accessible, down-to-earth travel destinations in Escapes. But this week, I’m making a major exception.

Last weekend, SpaceX launched another crewed flight to the International Space Station, intended to start “a new era in spaceflight,” Times business reporter Samantha Masunaga reports. She explains that the commercial opportunities for space are extensive: Movies and ads can be shot in low-Earth orbit, and there’s potential for tourism.

Wondering how much a trip to the International Space Station might set you back? Last year, NASA estimated that private astronauts would pay about $58 million for the trip, plus $35,000 each day they spend at the station. At this price point I’m not sure if a trip to the stars is in the cards for me, but it’s nice to dream.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts gesture during crew equipment interface testing at SpaceX headquarters.
NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts gather during crew equipment interface testing at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne.
(Associated Press)

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💐 A new way to explore Los Angeles


In search of a low-key way to explore a new neighborhood in L.A. this weekend? Take a look at this flower truck’s Instagram account to discover where it will parked and treat yourself to a colorful bouquet.

Times design writer Lisa Boone recently profiled Lenita by Grita, a traveling flower shop owned by Nemuel DePaula, who modeled his business after L.A.'s popular food trucks. This weekend, he’ll be posted at Tartine’s Sycamore Avenue location in Los Angeles.

Nemuel DePaula purchased a truck on Craigslist, painted it pink, and sells flowers at weekend pop-ups.
Nemuel DePaula, a graphic designer originally from Brazil, purchased a truck on Craigslist, painted it pink, and now sells flowers at weekend pop-ups.
(Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times)

📰 What I’m reading


  • Outdoor Afro started as a blog. Now it’s a movement to raise the profile of Black people in the outdoors, Times contributor Brian E. Clark writes. Clark interviewed Outdoor Afro founder Rue Mapp to learn more about the organization’s work.
  • Scarred by fire, California’s first state park remains closed. Can Big Basin Redwoods State Park recover? Times investigative reporter Susanne Rust explains what the future looks like for the beloved park.
    Ranger Gabe McKenna looks at a redwood tree hit by a wildfire in Big Basin Redwoods State Park.
    Gabe McKenna, a state park safety officer and ranger, looks at remnants of a redwood tree hit by a wildfire in Big Basin Redwoods State Park.

    (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

💻 Can’t adventure IRL? Here’s one way to expand your horizons

If holiday displays across L.A. are any indication, people are spreading Christmas cheer early this year. For those of you who can’t wait for December to arrive, here’s a livestream of Santa Claus Village, the “official hometown of Santa Claus,” in Lapland, Finland.

One quick suggestion: Because of the time difference, those in L.A. may tune into the Village during the middle of the night in Finland. For more action-packed Santa Claus content, you can visit Santa Claus Village’s YouTube channel.

(Hat tip to Jessica Poitevien, writing for Travel + Leisure, where I first read about Santa Claus Village.)

An illustration of an arrow with a Santa hat
Calling all Santa fans, you too can visit Santa Claus Village in Lapland, Finland.
(Jade Cuevas / Los Angeles Times)

📸 Travel photo

🎸 Road song


This week I’ll leave you with one of my favorite road trip singalongs: “The Lonesome Friends of Science” by the late John Prine.

My fiancé and I listened to the track on our way to hike Mt. Whitney for the first time this summer. The cheerful melody managed to take away (some) of our pre-trek nerves. Safe and happy holiday travels, everyone.

Illustration of earth surrounded by streams of colors.
Whether taking a trip to a state park or to the grocery store, John Prine’s “The Lonesome Friends of Science” will get you in a good, head-bopping mood on your next car ride.
(Jade Cuevas / Los Angeles Times)


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