Mammoth Mountain already open for skiing
Ready or not, winter has hit eastern California. A weekend storm blanketed the Sierra Nevada with up to 18 inches of snow and inspired staff at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area to open today—10 days ahead of schedule. The resort offers discounted early season lift tickets ($52 for adults, $39 for teens, $26 for kids and seniors) and a First Tracks package with lift tickets and accommodations from $99 per person per night.
Good news for skiers in the L.A. area: Daily hour-long flights on Horizon Air between L.A. and Mammoth Airport begin on December 18 with introductory fares of $79 each way. Airport-hotel transfers are free for those staying at a Mammoth Mountain property.
MORE SKIING COVERAGE
A few good links: Saving some cash in Boston, and more
A few travel stories that caught my eye this past week: Kentucky's Bourbon Trail This 225-mile tour of distilleries makes an "offbeat version of a day out in California's Napa Valley." [Lonely Planet] 50 of the World's Best Budget Hotels Chains from huge to tiny get attention here. [Telegraph, via Happy Hotelier] Historic Boston has great haunts, on the cheap Dedicated last month: a "string of parks and fountains" made possible by the Big Dig. [Boston Globe] Auf Wiedersehen, Tempelhof Berlin's Tempelhof Airport closes, but not without protests. [BBC] Nova Scotia's pre-Jurassic park Fossil-hunting in the Maritime Provinces [Christian Science Monitor] Redeem your Marriott loyalty points now The program will likely get stingier next year [Loyalty Traveler] The airline industry by the numbers The average U.S. low-cost carrier lost about a $1 after expenses every time they flew a passenger this year. Worldwide, the average airline lost $12 loss per passenger. [Foreign Policy]
San Francisco: The Good Hotel introduces the "philanthropy concierge"
What happened to the ordinary hotel concierge? Westin Hotels have "running concierges;" London's Milestone Hotel has a "pet concierge;" and the new 117-room Good Hotel in San Francisco is debuting the "philanthropy concierge." Living up to its name, the completely renovated hotel in the SoMa (South of Market) neighborhood offers guests immediate access to local volunteer opportunities via a dedicated phone in the lobby. On the other end of the line, One Brick, a local non-profit, acts as a personal voluntourism guide, presenting a menu of opportunities for visitors to help the city during their stay. Guests can find a task that suits their interests, with options such as planting grass and flowers around the San Francisco Bay or sorting food with Feeding America. The management company Joie de Vivre also stocked the hotel with furniture constructed from reclaimed materials—including headboards made from 100 percent reclaimed wood, lamps made from recycled water bottles, and a table made from skateboards. Plus, with doubles from $89/night (including Wi-Fi access), it looks like the hotel is shaping up to be a pretty good deal. MORE ON BOUTIQUE HOTELS IN SAN FRANCISCO Fill out an online quiz at Joie de Vivre's website, and it'll suggest which one of its roughly 30 hotels may most closely match your personality. Curious about the neighborhood where any hotel is located? Then watch one of the site's professionally produced videos about local attractions. Want to make a friend of a fellow traveler? Then look through the profiles of other guests who have visited the hotel.
The Great Pumpkin of Halloween roundups
Happy Halloween! Before it's time to start ladling out—or getting sick from—too many Zip Poppers and Head Pops, here are a few seasonally appropriate links: Spooky Walking Tours [Budget Travel] Halloween-themed Hotel Deals [BT] Uncommon Lodging in Transylvania [BT] Frankenstein's castle offers Halloween chills [CNN] "No Trick or Treat" Posters Issued by Police Such as it is, Halloween is rowdy in the UK, and these posters are intended to help the anti-Halloween crowd keep their treats without the danger of tricks, such as having their house egged. [Exmouth Herald] World's Weirdest Hotels [BT] Wacky Festivals [BT] Underground Tours [BT] Theme Parks Celebrate Halloween [MSNBC] Find haunted prisons online for Halloween [Northwest Herald] Sleep with a Ghost This Halloween Haunted inns [Gadling] World's Best Costume Parties [Concierge] A Las Vegas Halloween, with spooks of all kinds "There's even a haunted casino for folks who don't find the real gambling halls scary." [Los Angeles Times] 13 Great Travel Horror Movies Alien (?!) yes, but no love for Hostel… [World Hum]
New York: See the city's beating heart
I'd like to think of myself as a New Yorker. So when I heard about a new interactive public light sculpture in Madison Square Park that gives a visual shout out to the city's vitality, I rushed over to see it—and take part. Pulse Park, an installation by Mexican interactive art practitioner Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, uses the heart rates of two hundred visitors to activate theatrical spotlights across the central Oval Lawn. Every night after dusk until mid-November, Madison Square Park will be embellished with these interwoven rays of pulsing light as an expression of the vital signs of its inhabitants. When you enter the park, you measure your heart rate at the north or south end of the green. You place your hands on metal sensors for 15 seconds, and then let go to see your solitary spotlight pulse to the beat of your body's most vital organ. The remaining 199 are then activated; your beam of light will begin to move across the lawn sequentially as each participant measures his own heart rate. Late last week when I visited, I followed my heart rate while dodging visitors who were posing for pictures haphazardly. While the aerial view of the matrix of light (shown in the simulated image posted above) may be more dramatic, I was more than happy to be on the green, immersed in what was essentially this city's vibrant heart. The display marks the US public art debut of Lozano-Hemmer, who has exhibited his work in more than three dozen countries, including the Venice Biennale. The interactive exhibit will be viewable from dusk until 10 p.m. in the park, which is located between Madison and Fifth Avenues, and 23rd and 26th Streets. Exhibit ends November 17. EARLIER The free Times Square walking tour