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October Getaways

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October is a wonderful month for just about anything, including travel. The temperatures are pleasant, the rates are off-peak, roads are less crowded, and there are lots of special events happening. In addition to the regular harvest festivals, Columbus Day parades, and Halloween events, here are some nice travel ideas for October.

The US Forest Service has a set of links where you can check on the peak fall colors for different parts of the country. Scroll down for your state. The default rule of thumb is to visit New England or the Great Lake states in early October, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and the Mid-Atlantic in mid-October, and Kentucky, Virgina, and Missouri in late October. You can still find great colors in November in the Deep South. Pre-packaged bus tours are offered in all these areas, but if you have more than one driver (and/or children), a private road trip off the main highways can be a getaway you'll always remember.
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The 2007 World Series will start Wednesday, October 24th. If seven games are neccessary, it will end on Thursday, November first. This gives you two locations for a baseball getaway, but we don't know yet where they will be. The first two games will be either in New York, Cleveland, Los Angeles, or Boston, and the games three and four will be in either Denver, San Diego, Philadelphia, Chicago, or Phoenix. All are nice places to visit!
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Oktoberfest in Munich actually takes place more in September than in October! It runs only through this Sunday. But if you are the jet-setter type, you can still catch the last few days. The smaller Oktoberfest celebration in Berlin continues through the 14th. And there are plenty more beer festivals all over.

More October destinations, after the jump.

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Autumn is Aurora Borealis season in areas near the North Pole. The village of Porjus in Swedish Lapland is especially accomodating to tourists who want to see the Northern Lights. The town has a small population, few artificial lights, guides, and activities for visitors. Ursi's Blog has more links on the Aurora.
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The Melbourne International Arts Festival runs October 11th-27th in Australia, featuring theater, dance, painting, photography, sculpture, music, poetry, film, and even circus performance! There will also be seminars, classes, and parties where you can meet the artists. See a schedule of events at the official site.
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The Chicago International Film Festival is October 4th through the 17th. 160 movies are entered representing 44 countries, from Argentina to Vietnam.
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The Karate World Championships take place in Marina di Carrara, Italy, October 17th through the 21st. Over 2500 competitors from 65 nations are expected to compete in several martial arts disciplines. When you're not watching the action, you could be tasting wine and drinking in the atmosphere of autumn in Tuscany.
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The Voodoo Music Experience in New Orleans, October 26th through the 28th features an amazing lineup of concerts. While you're in NOLA, you might check out some Haunted New Orleans events in time for Halloween.
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OK, how about one completely Halloween-related getaway, to Salem, Massachusetts. The many witch-trial related museums, home tours, cemeteries, and haunted attractions are all open in October. You can also take a ride on a sailing ship, visit the pirate museum, and enjoy the fall colors.

Now, if we could only do something about those annoying school and work schedules...

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How Far Out of Town Can You Get in an Hour? This Map Will Tell You
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Sitting through traffic on a Friday is no fun. Depending on where you live, though, it could either be a minor headache, or a traumatic event on par with heading to the airport the day before Thanksgiving. The Washington Post recently mapped out just how far you can get out of town on a Friday afternoon in major American cities in just one hour.

The Post’s Sahil Chinoy used traffic information culled from cell phones and car sensors by the location data company Here Technologies to map out travel times from downtown neighborhoods at 4 p.m., 7 p.m., and 10 p.m., showing how car travel varies by city and time on a Friday night. (They’re all estimates based on July 28 data.)

A U.S. map shows blue radii around cities illustrating a travel time of one hour in a car at 4 p.m. on a Friday.
Sahil Chinoy // The Washington Post

Unsurprisingly, considering geography and city culture, the answer can vary a lot. Compare Southern California and Northern California, for instance. In L.A., well-known for its horrendous traffic, an hour can’t even get you through the county. You’ll be able to travel 25 miles in that time period, at best—probably while suffering through that weird phenomenon where all the cars on the road slow down for seemingly no reason. But in Sacramento, you speed through up to 50 miles at rush hour. (You can get more than 50 miles from Las Vegas, too, but it’ll mostly land you in the middle of the desert.)

Some cities remain active long into the night, too, while others empty out right after the workday ends. In New York City, you can’t even get past the New Jersey suburbs at 4 p.m., and that doesn't change much as the night goes on. In most other cities, though, there's much less traffic by 10 p.m. compared to the late afternoon and evening. In Boston, for instance, you can travel 25 miles farther if you leave at 10 p.m. compared to leaving at 4 p.m.

The map shows what you probably already expected: In cities that were built around the car, it is, for the most part, easier to get out of town. Older cities on the East Coast like Philadelphia or Baltimore have tiny one-hour radiuses, while cities in Texas and the Midwest are easier to navigate behind the wheel.

Geography matters a lot, too. Cities that are built around water tend to be harder to escape from, like San Francisco, Seattle, and New York. If you only have a few bridges that lead out of town, they’re going to get clogged with traffic, while a city with several large highway arteries can move more people. Miami is virtually impossible to travel from because the city is wedged between the ocean and the Everglades.

That traffic time does more than just eat into your weekend plans. It’s really bad for your health. You’re essentially stewing in emissions, and long commutes on a regular basis are associated with stress, high blood pressure, and obesity. That may be fine if you’re trying to get out of the city for a weekend in the country every once in a while, but if you’re just trying to get home on a Friday night, that’s a different story.

For a closer look at the data and how it varies based on the time of day, see Chinoy’s graphics at The Washington Post.

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Take a Tour of Singapore's Incredible Supertree Grove
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There aren't many parks like Supertree Grove. Tucked inside Gardens by the Bay, a nature park in Singapore comprised of 250 acres of reclaimed land, Supertree Grove is a futuristic colony featuring 18 manmade tree-like vertical gardens, which are home to more than 160,000 plants, including more than 200 varieties of bromeliads, orchids, ferns, and tropical flowering climbers.

Visitors to the park are encouraged to walk from one tree to the next along a raised path overlooking the city. At night, the photovoltaic systems built into the supertrees light up with solar power, covering the area in dazzling purple hues.

Supertree Grove was commissioned by the Singapore government as a way to improve the quality of life for its residents, but they seem to have achieved more than that: the park has become a must-see site for horticulture enthusiasts and curious travelers from all over the world.

You can see more of these Supertrees in the video from Great Big Story below:

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