NatGeo’s 9 Best Fall Escape Trips in the U.S.

hot-air-balloons-albuquerque-natgeo

 Take to the Skies at the Albuquerque, New Mexico International Balloon Fiesta 

WHY GO: Take in the gorgeous New Mexico landscape and delicious New Mexican cuisine while enjoying the spectacle of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, which takes places every year in October.

WHAT TO EAT: Get the red chile pork ribs at El Pinto. For a classic chile relleno, visit Mary and Tito’s Café.

PRACTICAL TIP: Most New Mexican restaurants will ask whether you want red or green, for which kind of chili you want. To get both, just say Christmas.

FUN FACT: The Albuquerque balloon festival is the largest hot-air balloon festival on Earth.

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read about more places to go, see all 9  fall vacations to experience in 2016 –>  http://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/best-trips/best-fall-trips-united-states/

Dr. Seuss’s Original Lorax Tree in San Diego

Dr Seuss, Lorax Tree, La Jolla, Smithsonian

The lone Lorax tree in Scripps Park, La Jolla. (Courtesy of San Diego Tourism)

In 1937, a long line of publishers rejected a children’s book that would later become a classic. Penned by Theodore Geisel, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street immortalized a street in the author’s hometown, Springfield, Massachusetts. The book was eventually picked up by a publisher, the first in a long line of classics penned by Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss.

His first book may have Massachusetts roots, but after World War II Geisel made his way to San Diego, California and moved into an observation tower in ritzy La Jolla. His newly adopted hometown became part of literary history, too. In this home and his studio on Mt. Soledad, Seuss wrote more than 40 children’s books—including the immortal The Cat in the Hat. And though he died in 1991, his legacy still looms large in both San Diego and the history of literature for kids.

“Seuss is the best selling and most influential children’s author in the United States,” Dr. Philip Nel, director of the children’s literature program at Kansas State University, tells Smithsonian.com. “He teaches children not only how to read but why and how to think. He wants children to take an interest in their world and make a better world.” … read more –>  http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/…

8 Home Inspection Fails That May Require a Specialist

Home inspectors have the expertise and knowledge of home building to make sure that a house is going to be safe, livable, and worth the investment.

But even home inspectors have their limits. Some don’t have the qualifications to inspect certain aspects of the home, like the sewer drains and chimney, which is why homebuyers may want to call in specialists to review trouble zones.

Here are eight instances when Trulia recommends using a specialist if the general inspector indicates there’s a problem:

  1. Roofs:  Since roof repairs are costly and can cause major problems if put off, home sellers and homeowners may want to prioritize roof repairs. For homes that have shingle roofs, a roof inspector will look for shingles that are cracked, loose, or curling, according to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, a nonprofit supported by property insurers and reinsurers. Inspectors will also look at off-ridge vents to see if they are loose and for roof leaks, which they can spot if there are water stains around the chimney and pipes. Also they will check for indications inside of leaks (such as ceiling stains or peeling wall paper).
  2. Chimneys:  If the roof inspection reveals signs of damage around the chimney, a chimney specialist should give it a closer examination. This is done with the aid of a chimney inspection camera. Inspectors will also look at the exterior, interior, and accessible parts of the chimney, giving special attention to the strength of the chimney structure and the condition of the flue, according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America.
  3. Geology:  A geological inspection of a property on a hill or in a flood zone will help catch issues like drainage problems or ground shifts. There are often two reports that come from these kinds of inspections: a natural hazard disclosure and a geologic environmental site assessment. The natural hazard disclosure includes a closer look at the maps of the area to hone in on areas that are vulnerable to earthquakes and landslides, according to George Dunfield of the California Board for Geologists and Geophysicists, in a 2005 interview with The Los Angeles Times. A geologic environmental site assessment (which can cost more than $1,000) looks at the soil quality of the property and assesses whether the site is susceptible to contaminants like fuels and solvents.
  4. Sewers:  A sewer line is a heavily used piece of equipment in any home and can go as far down as 16 feet underneath a property to connect to a public sewer system. Home inspectors sometimes call on plumbers and specialty contractors to do a “sewer scoping” with a specialized camera. “A lot of clogging comes from bad installation of sewer pipes, even with brand-new homes,” Bob Ansel, owner of Drain Solvers in Longmont, CO, told The Denver Post. Plumbers can unclog the sewer pipe to get it operational again. But if a sewer pipe needs to be replaced, the price to do so can go upwards of $20,000.
  5. Termite Damage:  Sellers often pay for termite inspection since many lenders require a full report on any termite-related issues before approving a loan.
  6. Moisture, Mold, and Toxins:  Every last inch of a house needs to be checked for these potential deal killers. Inspectors will look for physical signs of mold and moisture and take temperature and moisture readings. Inspectors may also look at the property’s history to see if any previously reported problems may be an indication of mold, according to ABC News.
  7. Asbestos:  If a house dates to 1975 or earlier, there’s a chance asbestos insulation was used around air ducts, water heaters, and pipes. This Old House recommends that homeowners who find asbestos that’s been significantly damaged should avoid touching the material. An industrial hygiene firm and an asbestos abatement contractor may be called in to assess, repair, and clean the property. If this can be easily done, Trulia suggests homebuyers ask the seller to pay for the inspection.
  8. Proper Use:  Homeowners may not need to hire an extra inspector to manage this, but Trulia suggests that they may need to work with the real estate agent. Any major additions or alterations to a home need to have been properly permitted for the sale to be legal. The garage that was converted into a home office might be beautiful, but if the inspector finds out that the proper permits weren’t obtained it could negate the deal.

Home inspectors provide you with important information that can have a major impact on a sale, but they’re not the only ones who may need to get involved in the process.

Often paying the up-front costs for a full inspection today, or before you list your home for sale, can save future expenses and headaches further down the line.

courtesy of:  http://www.thehomestory.com/…

San Diego County Median Home Price Up By 6.4%

Home prices across Southern California continued to increase in May but the pace at which they went up appeared sluggish, said the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices released Tuesday.

San Diego County’s median home price, adjusted for seasonal swings, increased 6.4 percent in the last 12 months, while Los Angeles and Orange Counties increased 5.4 percent …

National home prices increased 5 percent — unchanged from last month …

The rate at which prices in San Diego are increasing has been mostly flat or decreasing since the start of the year. The median price year-over-year was up 6.9 percent in January, 6.4 percent in February, 6.2 percent in March and 6.3 percent in April.

The median home price in San Diego County hit $495,000 in June, CoreLogic reported last week.

David Blitzer, managing chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in May’s report that the housing market was strong, in part because sales of existing homes reached the highest monthly level since 2007.   Read more –>   http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2016/jul/26/home-price-socal-may/

10 Awesome Music Festivals Around The World This Summer

Music, Bestival, UK, NatGeo

It’s getting hot up here in the Northern Hemisphere. With summer fully upon us, people are soaking up the sunshine, showing some skin, and planning adventures near and far, including trips to the sweatiest of summer traditions: music festivals.

Before you bust out your flower headdress and head to Lollapalooza, check out what else the world has to offer. Here are 10 music festivals across the globe that can offer a unique—and potentially more meaningful—travel experience.

Reggae Sumfest in Jamaica
July 17-23, 2016

Billed under the slogan “Our Music, Our Festival,” Jamaica’s biggest festival is held every year in Montego Bay, kicking off with an annual beach party and an all-white dress code party followed by days of music from some of the biggest acts in the homeland of reggae.

Lineup highlights: Stone Love, Beenie Man, Super Cat

Alfa Future People in Russia
July 22-24, 2016

Held in the Russian countryside, six hours east of Moscow by car, Alfa Future People is more than a massive EDM (electronic dance music) festival, with exhibitions on the latest in technology and athletic opportunities like a volleyball tournament and aerial gymnastics classes.

Lineup highlights: Armin Van Buuren, Axwell and Ingrosso, Martin Garrix

Fuji Rock in Japan
July 22-24, 2016

This event held every year at Japan’s Naeba Ski Resort might be the music festival surrounded by the most stunning natural beauty of any in the world. Hikes between stages will lead you through green cathedral forests and cool mountain streams. Or you can hitch a ride on the Dragondola—the longest gondola on Earth.

Lineup highlights: Beck, Wilco, Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals

Splendour in the Grass in Australia
July 22-24, 2016

It may be winter in Byron Bay, Australia, but it is still summertime in the Northern Hemisphere! Besides, winter in Byron Bay is like winter in Hawaii, so you don’t need to leave behind your flip-flops and board shorts. Splendour in the Grass includes great live music plus additional draws like the Global Village, talks from thought leaders on science, politics, and more, and the Splendour Comedy Club.

Lineup highlights: The Strokes, the Cure, Band of Horses, Sigur Rós

Baleapop in France
August 8-11, 2016

This four-day festival with a focus on art, music, and openheartedness takes place on the stunning beaches of French Basque country in the city of Saint-Jean-de-Luz. Baleapop organizers seek to foster connections between people through musical performances and contemporary art installations, while keeping the event affordable, environmentally friendly, and open to all.

Lineup highlights: Suuns, Shackleton

In the Mix in the Philippines
August 18, 2016

A brand-new festival this year, In the Mix offers the chance to experience one of the most underappreciated cities in Southeast Asia: Manila. The Philippines’ capital is widely, and rightly, known for being crowded, polluted, and hectic but there’s a rich history and culture hiding in plain sight if you know what to look for, plus some one of the warmest, most fun-loving people you’re likely to ever meet.

Lineup highlights: The 1975, Panic! at the Disco, James Bay

Dusk til Dawn Blues Festival in Oklahoma
September 2-4, 2016

If you really want to get off the beaten path, check out this all-night blues festival in tiny Rentiesville, one of Oklahoma’s few surviving historically all-black towns. Night owls dig the blues from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. for three days straight.

Lineup highlights: Joanna Connor, Johnny Rawls

Bestival in England
September 8-11, 2016

Held annually on the beautiful and bucolic Isle of Wight in the south of England, this midsize gathering of around 50,000 is widely considered among the best festivals in Britain. Bestival is known for its eccentric, alternative feel (jump in the world’s biggest bouncy castle!) and commitment to environmental issues.

Lineup highlights: Major Lazer, Wiz Khalifa, Diplo, Animal Collective

K-Pop World Festival in South Korea
September 30, 2016

K-Pop is hardly outside the mainstream but this festival is still unlike any other. After surviving preliminary rounds in countries around the world, finalists and fans gather in Changwon, South Korea, for high-energy, upbeat performances and to select the next K-Pop stars.

Lineup highlights: TBD

Lake of Stars in Malawi
September 30-October 2, 2016

This arts and music festival held annually on the shores of Lake Malawi in southern Africa promises a truly unique experience. Lake of Stars brings together Malawian artists with creatives from around the world for a weekend of music, dancing, and positive vibes that infuses $1.5 million into the local economy.

Lineup highlights: Freshlyground, Faith Mussa, Flo Dee

courtesy of:  http://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/travel-interests/arts-and-culture/…

Milan Creates World’s First Vertical Forest

Vertical Forest, Milan, OffGridQuest_com

In an age where harmonious innovation is becoming more celebrated, sustainable designs to preserve the Earth and contribute to wellbeing are being implemented at a rapid rate. One such innovation to recently be accepted for development is a vertical forest designed by Stefan Boeri Architects.

The first ever vertical forest will soon be the greenest building in Milan. Because the average household in a city produces approximately 25-30 tons of CO2 per year, implementing greener architecture in highly populated areas cannot come soon enough.

“This stunning development is part of a vision presented by BioMilano which promises to incorporate 60 abandoned farms into a greenbelt surrounding the city. Part of the mission is to create a vertical forest building which boasts a stunning green façade planted with dense forest systems to provide microclimate and to filter out polluting dust particles. According to Inhabit, there are two buildings currently under construction.”

The greener architecture will help absorb CO2, oxygenate the air, moderate extreme temperatures, and lower noise pollution. The bio-canopy is not only aesthetically pleasing to the eye, but it helps lower living costs.

In the vertical forest building, each apartment balcony will feature trees that will provide shade during the summer months and drop their leaves in winter and allow more sunlight. An estimated 900 trees are planned for planting between the two new buildings being constructed.

“A grey-water filtration system (which is used water which has gone down the sink or shower) will ensure the trees are adequately watered. Additionally, photovoltaic power generation will help provide sustainable energy to the building.”

Merging the hottest sustainable technologies with revolutionary design will not only help the environment, but help bring human beings and nature back into harmony.

courtesy of:  http://www.offgridquest.com/homes-dwellings/

San Diego’s Best Restaurants 2016

Best of Restaurants 2016, SanDiegoMag
Specific Cuisines:

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Best Middle Eastern

Readers’ Pick: Meze
Runner-up: The Kebab Shop
Critic’s Pick: Khyber Pass

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Best Italian

Readers’ Pick: Solare Ristorante
Runner-up: Cucina Urbana and Cucina Enoteca
Critic’s Pick: Solare Ristorante

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Best Greek

Readers’ Pick: Meze
Runner-up: Cafe Athena
Critic’s Pick: Cafe Athena

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Best Mexican

Readers’ Pick: Talavera Azul
Runner-up: Puesto
Critic’s Pick: Bracero Cocina

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Best French

Readers’ Pick: Bleu Bohème
Runner-up: Cafe Chloe
Critic’s Pick: The Marine Room

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Best Indian

Readers’ Pick: Bombay
Runner-up: Royal India
Critic’s Pick: Taste of the Himalayas

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Best Chinese

Readers’ Pick: Szechuan Mandarin
Runner-up: Dumpling Inn
Critic’s Pick: Dumpling Inn

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Best Japanese

Readers’ Pick: Sushi Ota
Runner-up: Blue Smoke
Critic’s Pick: Wa Dining Okan

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Best Thai

Readers’ Pick: Supannee
Runner-up: Amarin
Critic’s Pick: Supannee

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Best Vietnamese

Readers’ Pick: Le Bambou
Runner-up: Saigon on Fifth
Critic’s Pick: Saigon on Fifth

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Best Korean

Readers’ Pick: Manna Korean BBQ
Runner-up: Tofu House
Critic’s Pick: Do Re Mi

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Best Filipino

Readers’ Pick: Tita’s Kitchenette
Runner-up: Manila Sunset
Critic’s Pick: Tita’s Kitchenette

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Best Russian

Readers’ Pick: Pomegranate
Runner-up: Pushkin
Critic’s Pick: Pomegranate

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Best Ethiopian

Readers’ Pick: Muzita
Runner-up: Red Sea
Critic’s Pick: Muzita

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Best Vegetarian/Vegan

Readers’ Pick: Café Gratitude
Runner-up: Civico 1845
Critic’s Pick: Café Gratitude

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Best Barbecue

Readers’ Pick: Phil’s BBQ
Runner-up: Coops West Texas BBQ
Critic’s Pick: Coops West Texas BBQ

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Best Steakhouse

Readers’ Pick: Cowboy Star
Runner-up: Donovan’s
Critic’s Pick: Cowboy Star

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Best Seafood

Readers’ Pick: Ironside FIsh & Oyster
Runner-up: Truluck’s
Critic’s Pick: Mitch’s

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Best Breakfast/Brunch

Readers’ Pick: Talavera Azul
Runner-up: Snooze
Critic’s Pick: Café 21

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for other additional individual categories of:   (1) Overall, (2) Atmosphere, (3) Specific Dishes, (4) Drinks, go to –> http://www.sandiegomagazine.com/San-Diego-Magazine/June-2016/…

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