B&Bs; in England
Have read Jerry Hulse's Sunday column for years and followed his tips and suggestions. Have made some great friends along the way. I am now the California representative for some friends in Maidenhead, England, who do B&Bs; called Town & Country Houseguests throughout England, Wales and Scotland. They have just put together a bargain called the Golden Heritage Tour. It includes an automatic car, breakfasts and two-night stops in the best inns, hotels, manor houses of great historic interest from London to Windsor, Cotswolds, Dartmoor, Bath, Chester, Lake Country, Edinburgh, York, Stratford, Maidenhead. Price, $1,350, air fare additional. Guided but unescorted, with additional goodies included. For more information and a detailed description, write to me at 2674 E. Main St., Suite C-145, Ventura, Calif. 93003.
Pacific Grove B&B;
As a longtime resident of Pacific Grove, I want to thank Jerry Hulse for his wonderful article (Feb. 24) about our town. It is all, and more, of what he wrote. Living here makes one feel a part of life that has escaped most urban dwellers--a sense of belonging--of hometown and peace.
I own a bed and breakfast here in which I want my guests to feel that same thing, being pampered in an environment that is home away from home. It's the Old St. Angela Inn, 321 Central Ave., Pacific Grove, Calif. 93950.
Just loved the piece by Helen Keleman (Feb. 17). All of your Memorable Vacation sketches have been exceptional, but this is the tenderest one so far. Horrible examples seem to have made many of us paranoid about chance encounters, lest they lead to disaster, or at least some kind of inconvenience. Such conditioning found me apprehensive about Ms. Keleman's fate as her narrative unfolded. Even after a couple of perfectly jolly and respectable episodes with her new-found friends, I still expected the other shoe to drop.
Gradually, I realized I was reading a charming little love missive, in which only good things kept happening. What a pleasure, a warm glow to last for days. Please find other anecdotes in the same vein for your series, so that all of the prospective travelers who regard your travel pages as their bible will know that despite the presence of considerable brigandage along the tourist trail, there are countless rewarding experiences to cherish.
A nit to pick: In the Memorable Vacation piece of Feb. 24 Patricia Rogart-Roth describes being required to point out her luggage on a trolley at planeside in Belgrade. The Yugoslavs try to thwart terrorists by matching each piece of baggage to a person boarding the aircraft. None of this checking a lethal parcel or bag on a passenger ticket and then walking away from the terminal to wait for the timed explosive to do its dirty work in the sky. If a bag is not pointed out by a boarding passenger, it is returned to the stoprage room, and probably carefully examined. Even at the new airport in Belgrade, there is no jetway boarding; it is done far out on the apron.
JACK W. WATSON
X-ray Machine Damage
Readers of Peter Greenberg's article March 10 may be interested to know that the machines used by some airport security installations can also damage or make inoperable the electromagnetic shutters of certain modern cameras. I speak from sad experience, as this happened to me both in the U.S.A. with an Olympus XA and in Paris with a Minox GT. I tried to avoid the problem on the second occasion by requesting that airport security at Charles de Gaulle Airport hand-check my empty camera, but they adamantly refused to do so, even after I had obtained an audience to plead my case before a boorish official.
The Greenberg X-ray article contains serious inaccuracies which it is important to correct to protect the interests of the traveling public in general and the traveling photographer in particular. While there are substantial differences in the degree of damage that machines will inflict on film, they all, without any exception, will damage film even with a single pass. And fogging is not the only kind of damage. Long before the film is visibly affected, it will have undergone subtle changes which can be the despair of professional and scientific photographers.
Technology exists to screen passengers which does not affect photographic and magnetic materials, and the replacement of X-ray screening at airports with alternative methods should be encouraged.
Contrary to Greenberg's statement, the X-ray Damage Awareness Committee is not made up solely of members of the photographic industry. I am a member of that committee and a representative of the scientific community whose photographic requirements are often critically affected by X-ray screening at airports.
I speak from personal and devastating experience in which several months of costly biomedical research was destroyed by a so-called "absolutely safe" machine in one pass at a Swiss airport. I am also the author of published reports documenting X-ray damage to photographic films, and the scientific basis for stating that there is as yet no safe X-ray screening of these materials.
ELIE A. SHNEOUR, Ph.D.
Delight in New York
I would like to share with you my delight in a recent weekend stay at the St. Moritz Hotel in New York City. My reservation and request for a Central Park view resulted in an upgrade from a double to a small suite at the same rate. Upon making a call through the hotel operator mere minutes after arrival, I was addressed by name when she came on the line.
From the people handling room service so cheerfully to the maids who were efficient and invisible (never saw one, yet the room was done twice a day), the staff was fantastic. But the real topper was the doorman whom I'd asked about a probable cab rate for my son, who'd be returning to his Coast Guard base after our day's visit, refusing a tip after securing the cab.
Ripped off in New York? No way!
ELINOR D. ACKERMAN
San Francisco B&B;
We had the good fortune of reading an article by Jerry Hulse not too long ago on a wonderful bed-and-breakfast inn within the heart of San Francisco, Petite Auberge. My husband and I have just spent three days there, and I truly did not wish to come back to Woodland Hills, as nice as it may be. I could have stayed at Petite Auberge with its wonderful, warm and charming decor for at least a month or two.
The people associated with this establishment are all so warm and friendly, from the management through the bellman, maids and cook. Everyone there makes you feel as if they are thrilled with your visit. The breakfasts are wonderfully prepared, warm, fragrant, and certainly more than adequate for a morning start.
If I were to run away from home some day, a good bet would be to check one of their rooms for me. I would probably be hiding with a stuffed teddy bear or duck, or if lucky, with both.