Skiers heading for Durango this winter can...

Skiers heading for Durango this winter can save the high cost of resort living at Dianna and Jorge Olmedo’s Victorian Inn (a B&B; with great warmth). Jorge, a Cuban, is a dead ringer for a youthful Desi Arnaz. The inn is within strolling distance of downtown Durango. Filled with antiques, collectibles. One bathroom features a claw-footed tub. Big, home-cooked breakfasts, complimentary refreshments. Sharing the inn are the Olmedos’ youngsters, Andrew and Mikaela, and a mutt named Katie. Rates, $35 single, $45 double. Address: 2117 West 2nd Ave., Durango, Colo. 81301. Telephone (303) 247-2223.

Swiss Bargain

Here’s something to yodel about: The Swiss are giving away a guide that tells all about budget accommodations at one-star hotels, mountain lodges, dormitories. Rates for bed and breakfast figures out to about $16 a day for a room with hot/cold running water, $20 for accommodations with shower/bath. Illustrations, plenty of details. Could be useful to skiers looking for budget hideaways. Copies available from the Swiss National Tourist Office, 250 Stockton St., San Francisco 94108.

Germany on the Cheap

Another bargain: Germany is thumping the drum over a three-day package featuring accommodations, breakfast, a gas balloon ride and a bus tour for $210. Takes place southwest of the Teutoburg Forest, about 75 miles north of Duesseldorf. Moated castles, old manor homes, gabled farmhouses. Straight out of a Grimms’ fairy tale. Write to Verkehrsverein Munster-Munsterland, Berliner Platz 22, 4400 Munster, Federal Republic of Germany, or contact the German National Tourist Office, 444 S. Flower St., Suite 2230, Los Angeles 90071. Telephone (213) 688-7332.

Britain Quickie

If you’re in London and short on time, the Brits have come up with several inexpensive one-day rail-bus tours to Stratford-on-Avon, Oxford, the Cotswolds, Bath, Windsor Castle, Canterbury. Others to South Wales, the Lake District, North Yorkshire. In most cases you’re back in London by late afternoon. Travelers with extra time can do a two-day tour to Scotland.

On the one-day trip to the Lake District, passengers join a cruise on Lake Windermere (package sells for $65). All day tours include lunch in a country pub. See your travel agent or call Salt & Pepper Tours toll-free at (800) 223-7733.


For general information on Britain, check with the British Tourist Authority, 612 S. Flower St., Los Angeles 90014, or telephone (213) 623-8196.

San Luis Obispo

Vacationers going camping at Lopez Lake Recreation Area in San Luis Obispo County can now make reservations by calling toll-free (800) 822-CAMP. Rates $7 to $10 plus a $3.50 service charge by Leisuretime Recreation Services for the phoned-in reservations. Calls taken up to six months in advance. Southern Californians are heavy users of the park. Fishing, boating, hiking, 359 campsites, a marina, boat launching ramp, a general store, picnic areas, evening campfire programs. The lake is 11 miles southwest of San Luis Obispo, seven miles north of Arroyo Grande. For general information call (805) 489-2095.

Free Catalogue

If you’re wondering where to spend your next holiday, get a copy of “Successful Vacations.” It’s free, tells all about 850 packages developed by dozens of tour operators. Ideas for everyone. Teens to seniors. The publisher is giving away 250,000 copies. Write to Target Tourism, P.O. Box 6583, FDR Station, New York 10022.

B&B; Beat

Another freebie: A new brochure names bed-and-breakfast inns from San Diego to Central California. Each is independently owned. For a brochure describing all 23 inns write to Bed & Breakfast Innkeepers of Southern California, P.O. Box 15385, Los Angeles 90015-0385. Include a No. 10 self-addressed, stamped envelope.

Reader Recommendations

France--Paul Dean, Sherman Oaks: “Hotel Saint-Louis, long a favorite of visiting Californians, remains a large bargain among the small hotels of Paris. Owners Guy and Andree Record recently completed another renovation phase and all rooms now offer a WC and most have bath and/or shower. Better yet, new windows completely soundproof rooms against the early morning bustle of butcher, baker and patisserie maker on streets outside. The rate remains $45 a night, per couple, breakfast included, and at 75 Rue Saint-Louis-en-l’Ile, Paris 4, a gentle stroll from Notre Dame, Rive Gauche, the Louvre and the Roman-Greco area, the location is unbeatable.”

England--Gary Bowen, Oceanside: “In the Peak District and Derbyshire Dales, try the Cobbler’s Cottage in the town of Matlock. Congenial Sheila Pickering and her husband have restored this mid-17th Century cobbler’s house and decorated it with antiques. The elegant bath by itself warrants a stay. B&B; 7.50 to 8.50. Evening meal provided on request. Contact Sheila Pickering, The Cobbler’s Cottage, 7 Sycamore Road, Matlock, Derby, England DE4 3GN. Phone (0629) 3148.”

England--Katherine C. Hutton, Redondo Beach: “Gracious, old antique-filled farmhouse near Oxford. Superb food and hospitality. Delightful, knowledgable hostess will chauffeur/guide in the area. B&B; $20 per night. Contact Aileen and Paul Buff, Kings Farm House, Townsend, Harwell, Oxon 0X11 ODX, England. Phone Abingdon 832-833.”

England--Charles and Rene Drouet, Mountain Center: Recommend Ye Olde Gate House, Highgate Village, North Road, London N6, England. “A 19th-Century inn with food served the way one expects in a pub. Extensive menu, excellent cheesecake. Host Liam Murphy originally from County Tipperary, Eire. Full range of beers and spirits. Dinner $4 to $10.”

Scotland--Terry Trujillo, Los Angeles: “Enjoyed Vito’s Italian Restaurant, 55A Fredrick St., Edinburgh. Centrally located, varied, authentic menu, nice atmosphere, attentive waiters. Complete dinner for about 9.”

San Francisco--Edna Epstein, New York City: “I appreciate the best, which is what I found the Andrews Hotel to be. Well-furnished rooms, soft towels, etc. Complimentary fresh fruit, baked goods, hot coffee and teas. Rates $65 to $110 double. Attached Post Street Bar & Cafe has two young women chefs who serve superb meals; 624 Post St., San Francisco 94109. Phone (415) 563-6877 or (800) 622-0557 in California, (800) 227-4742 outside California.”

Long Beach--Mr. and Mrs. Barnsworth, Fallbrook: Bumped into Ma ‘n’ Pa Grocery, 346 Roycroft Ave., an old-fashioned family-run store smack-dab in the middle of an old neighborhood. They specialize in the finest meats and produce and also serve tasty lunches, fresh-baked fruit pies and have an excellent wine selection. They also make the best real beef and buffalo jerky right there.”

Cambria, Calif.--Nancy Arnebold, Glendora: “Highly recommend Rigdon Hall, 4022 Burton Drive, phone (805) 927-5125. Open since June, this newly refurbished home of an important historical figure in Cambria history serves delicious dinners ranging from $11.95 to $15.95.”

Seal Beach, Calif.--Anne Morris Stratford, San Francisco: “The elegant Seal Beach Inn and Gardens is now serving a lavish poolside breakfast and equally lavish classic country inn tea in the afternoon. Chef Kay Trepp is raising B&B; cuisine to the 10th power. Rates $45 to $120. Teas are $6.75 for guests, $9 for non-guests.” Seal Beach Inn and Gardens, 212 5th St., Seal Beach 90740. Phone (213) 493-2416.

Readers: Contributions to this column MUST contain prices and addresses.