Travel Briefs

JetBlue adding Pittsburgh-to-Ft. Lauderdale flight

IMPERIAL (AP) – JetBlue Airways plans to add a daily, nonstop flight from Pittsburgh to Fort Lauderdale, Fla. in the fall.

The flight from Pittsburgh International Airport to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport begins Oct. 29.

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald says the new flight will give western Pennsylvanians another option for business and leisure travel.

JetBlue President Robin Hayes says it also provides more access to connecting flights to the Caribbean and Latin America, and cruises based out of Fort Lauderdale.

State patrol: Wash. mudslide area not for tourists

ARLINGTON, Wash. (AP) – Three weeks after the deadly Oso mudslide, the Washington State Patrol wants drivers to know the slide area is “not a tourist attraction.”

In a statement on April 11, Trooper Keith Leary says only rescuers and emergency vehicles are allowed past the closure points along Washington Highway 530 on the west and east ends of the slide area. Those closure points are staffed by troopers who will turn back any drivers or pedestrians without proper credentials.

Leary says the patrol has gotten numerous inquiries from people outside the area contacting the closure points in quest of a look at the slide or a spot to photograph it.

The slide is not visible from the closure points. And Leary notes the area “remains sensitive for those who have lost loved ones” or have relatives still on the missing list.

As of April 11, 36 victims of the March 22 slide have been recovered and identified while seven people remain on a missing list.

New website promotes Nebraska ecotourism

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – Creators of a new website hope to guide people in discovering ecotourism opportunities in Nebraska.

The site is and is a window to the Visit the Prairie coalition of the Center for Great Plains Studies at the University of Nebraska, Switzer Ranch and Nature Reserve and the Grand Island Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Nebraska has a variety of these ecotourism opportunities, including river tubing and forest hiking, bird watching and horseback riding.

For a rancher like Sarah Sortum of Switzer Ranch, ecotourism helps keep her family employed on the land. She says it also helps wildlife, habitat conservation and local communities.

Va. historic area explores colonial consumerism

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (AP) – A new exhibit at Colonial Williamsburg is showcasing a variety of Chinese porcelain available in colonial America and exploring consumerism during the 18th century.

Officials say the display at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum dispels a popular belief that colonial Virginians had limited access to the trappings of fashionable ceramics.

The exhibit includes 70 objects owned by a broad cross-section of the public, including tradesmen, merchants and wealthy landowners.

It focuses on artifacts recovered during archaeological excavations in the historic area and then moves to include Virginia and the eastern seaboard.

The exhibit also provides an overview of European trade with China, how the porcelain was made and trade routes that were used. It will remain on view through 2015.

Six Flags theme park planned for Dubai

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – Dubai soon could have some new roller coasters to go with its man-made islands and the world’s tallest skyscraper.

Newspapers in the Middle Eastern emirate reported Sunday that local property developer Meraas Holding has reached a deal with Six Flags Entertainment to build a theme park in the city’s largely industrial outskirts.

The park will be in the Jebel Ali area, which is home to the region’s biggest port and aluminum smelter. It is expected to open in 2017. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Dubai previously had a deal with Six Flags and several other companies to build multiple theme parks in a different area known as Dubailand. Plans for that Six Flags park were scrapped in the wake of Dubai’s financial crisis, which came to a head in 2009.

Travel Briefs

Some airlines drop limes from beverage service

NEW YORK (AP) – Airline passengers might notice something missing these days from their vodka tonics or Diet Cokes: the lime.

A recent shortage and spike in price has caused some airlines – for now – to stop offering the fruit in their beverage service.

“We temporarily pulled limes about two weeks ago, due to skyrocketing lime prices,” says Alaska Airlines spokeswoman Halley Knigge. She says the airline normally goes through about 900 limes a day.

Lime growers in the Mexican state of Michoacan have reduced their supply because of unrest caused by drug cartels and flooding from heavy rains. That, combined with drought in California and an overall growing demand for limes for margaritas, tacos and other dishes, has driven up prices to a three-year high.

The average advertised price of a lime in U.S. supermarkets was 56 cents last week, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That’s up from 37 cents the week ending March 28 and 31 cents a year ago.

United Airlines has had to make do with lemons on some flights, saying the California drought has limited its lime supply.

For frequent fliers like Ben Schlappig, author of the travel blog One Mile at a Time, that won’t cut it.

“There are lots of cocktails where lemon simply isn’t a substitute for lime,” he says.

New museum to open celebrating John Paul II

WADOWICE, Poland (AP) – A new museum in Poland is offering viewers a chance to see what it’s like to walk in the shoes of a saint – or at least to have a look at the black socks he wore for the journey.

With the late Pope John Paul II’s elevation to sainthood set for later this month, his hometown of Wadowice is celebrating with the grand opening of an $8.5 million multimedia facility to show the faithful about his steps in life.

The museum is opening Wednesday in the southern city of Wadowice, where Karol Wojtyla was born on May 18, 1920. It documents John Paul’s life from his youth as the son of an army officer, to priesthood and through the 26-year papacy that led to sainthood.

The museum features personal items like the sneakers and socks that the Rev. Wojtyla used in his kayaking and trekking excursions, his sunglasses, a plastic water bottle, family photos and the kneeler on which he prayed as a boy and teenager.

Also included is the Browning HP 9mm handgun which Mehmet Ali Agca used in attempting to assassinate the pope May 13, 1981. Beside the gun is a photo of the pope meeting Agca in prison to bestow forgiveness, and a replica of the bullet that injured the pontiff.

Pope Francis is to canonize John Paul at the Vatican on April 27.

1st new downtown Santa Fe hotel to open

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – Come August, visitors will have another option for staying right in the heart of New Mexico’s tourist capital of Santa Fe.

Drury Hotels announced plans to open the downtown area’s first new hotel in nearly 20 years. The company is renovating two buildings just blocks from the historic plaza.

The Drury Plaza Hotel will have 182 rooms and take up 5 acres. It will include retail and gallery space as well as walkways and gardens. Solar panels will provide hot water for the hotel and the pool.

Before renovation and construction began, an excavation and archaeological team explored the site. The team recovered many artifacts and discovered a Spanish roadbed estimated to date to the 1610s.

Drury officials say they tried to preserve as much history as possible.

O’Hare to overhaul international terminal

CHICAGO (AP) – Chicago unveiled a $26 million overhaul of O’Hare Airport’s international terminal on April 4, showing off two dozen new high-end dining and shopping options.

It’s the first redevelopment since Terminal 5’s construction in 1993 and features sleek interior design upgrades that give parts of the terminal the feel of a comfy lounge or trendy nightclub.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the redesign, which includes local brands, does a better job of representing Chicago to those who pass through the airport, the second busiest in the country.

Among new offerings are a spa, a local gourmet deli called The Goddess & Grocer and a restaurant.