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October Getaways

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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11-Headed Buddha Statue to Be Revealed in Japan for First Time in 33 Years
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Buddha statues come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. The various poses and hand gestures of the Buddha represent different virtues, and any items he happens to be holding—say, a lotus flower or a bowl—have some religious significance.

But not all Buddha relics are created equal, as evidenced by the reverence paid to one particularly holy statue in Japan. The 11-headed figure is so sacred that it has been hidden away for 33 years—until now. Lonely Planet reports that the Buddha statue will be revealed on April 23 during the Onsen Festival in Kinosaki Onsen, a coastal town along the Sea of Japan that’s famous for its hot springs. The statue is kept inside Onsen-ji Temple, a religious site which dates back to 738 CE.

Al altar inside Onsen-ji temple

Patrick Vierthaler, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

The big Buddha reveal, however, will be held elsewhere. For that, festivalgoers will need to ride a cable car to the top of Mount Taishi, where they’ll catch a glimpse of Juichimen Kanzeon Bosatsu, a name which means “11-faced goddess of compassion and mercy.” It will be hard to miss—at 7 feet tall, the statue would tower over most NBA players. Considered a natural treasure, it’s displayed in three-year blocks once every 33 years. So if you miss the initial reveal, you have until 2021 to catch a glimpse.

“The people of Kinosaki are very excited about this event, especially the younger generation," Jade Nunez, an international relations coordinator for the neighboring city of Toyooka, told Lonely Planet Travel News. "Those who are under 30 years old have never seen the statue in its entirety, so the event is especially important to them."

After paying their respects to the Buddha, festival attendees can take a dip in one of three hot spring bathhouses that will be free to use during the Onsen Festival.

[h/t Lonely Planet]

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All National Parks Are Offering Free Admission on April 21
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Looking for something to do this weekend that's both outdoorsy and free? To kick off National Park Week, you can visit any one of the National Park Service's more than 400 parks on April 21, 2018 for free.

While the majority of the NPS's parks are free year-round, they'll be waiving admission fees to the more than 100 parks that normally require an entrance fee. Which means that you can pay a visit to the Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Yosemite, or Yellowstone National Parks without reaching for your wallet. The timing couldn't be better, as many of the country's most popular parks will be increasing their entrance fees beginning in June.

The National Park Service, which celebrated its 100th birthday in 2016, maintains 417 designated NPS areas that span more than 84 million acres across every state, plus Washington, D.C., American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

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