What to do with a pet while...

What to do with a pet while vacationing? It’s a sticky question, one that Dorothy McCorkle of La Crescenta referred to in a letter last Sunday. We’ve come up with some additional details. The group of sitters she mentioned will volunteer to look after your dog/cat while you’re away. Or any other animal, bird or fish that shares your roof. These are sitters who care for pets at the owner’s home. Besides the pets, the sitters pick up mail, water plants and even house-sit. Fees and services vary. This is an association with dozens of sitter groups, from Ventura south to San Diego: Page’s Pet Patrol, Animalovers, Connie’s Pet Sitting, Pets Luv Us, Pampered Pets & Plants, Cat Home Companion, Creature Comforts, Allie Cat & Home Care, etc.

For a free brochure, send a self-addressed envelope to the Pet Sitters Assn. of Southern California, P.O. Box 5432, Whittier, Calif. 90607-5432, or call (714) 670-2878.


“Discover the Californias” is the title of a slick 190-page magazine that’s packed with vacation ideas. Features a dozen regions: Orange County, San Diego, the Inland Empire, Los Angeles, the desert areas, North Coast, Central Coast, Central Valley, San Francisco, the Gold Country, the High Sierra. A series of maps pinpoint popular attractions. Capsule summaries make for easy reading. Destinations range from Angel Island in San Francisco Bay to Balboa Park in San Diego. Addresses/telephone numbers of chambers of commerce are listed in the back of the magazine along with a lodging directory.


For a free copy, write to the California Office of Tourism, P.O. Box (189) 9278, Department T-72, (Sacramento 95812-1089) Van Nuys 91409, or telephone toll-free (800) 862-2543. The office will also mail you a 34-page calendar of events.

Top Properties

Forty-three independent lodgings in Britain, Europe and the Caribbean are described in a 380-page booklet published by Prestige Hotels. These are classic properties catering to the discerning vacationer. Former country houses, stately homes, town houses. The majority are in Britain. Others in France, West Germany, Austria, Italy, Sweden, Barbados, Jamaica, the French West Indies. The booklet contains photos of the various properties along with rates, maps. Prestige Hotels was founded in London in 1967. This is a select group. High standards is the hallmark, guest comfort a must.

Copies of the booklet from Prestige Hotels, 152 Madison Ave., New York 10016.


Ranch/Farm Guide U.S.A.

This is the 40th anniversary year of Pat Dickerman’s popular “Farm, Ranch & Country Vacations” guide. Dickerman’s 224-page book provides descriptions, addresses, telephone numbers, rates, dates for more than 200 farms/ranches coast to coast. Everything from working farms to luxurious dude ranch resorts/lodges. Rates start as low as $200 a week at some ranches. Activities: riding, fishing, cow milking, hayrides, cattle roundups, rodeos. Dickerman covers the United States--from a wilderness lodge in Alaska to a farm in rural Pennsylvania and a hideaway in Hawaii.

Canadian Guest Ranch

Judith Tompkins of Visalia requests the name of a guest ranch in British Columbia. Contact Sundance Ranch at Ashcroft. Popular with guests from as far away as Switzerland. Twenty-eight rooms plus a three-bedroom guest house. Rates: $65 to $80 per person a day. Includes accommodations, meals, riding, tennis. Special prices for youngsters. A Swiss chef reigns in the kitchen. Turns out traditional ranch-style meals, along with French, Greek, Chinese selections. Following a three-hour ride to Twin Pines Hill (a stunning view of the Thompson River Valley), wranglers serve a barbecue lunch. Sundance features more than 20,000 acres of riding paths.

Sundance Ranch, P.O. Box 489, Ashcroft, B.C. VOK 1A. Telephone (604) 453-2422/453-2554. Other details from Tourism British Columbia, 2600 Michaelson Drive, Suite 1050, Irvine, Calif. 92715. Call (714) 852-1054.

Car Rental

Travelers renting an Avis car in Britain this summer will be given access to an international message center that operates like an ordinary answering service, allowing vacationers to dial for calls from home or leave messages for friends/relatives calling from the United States. The service will be free to anyone reserving a car before leaving home. (For vacationers with car phones, the center will relay messages while the vacationer is on the road.) Operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Details from your travel agent or by calling Avis Europe Reservations at (800) 331-1084.


Families in Britain

A vintage steam locomotive will carry you on a four-mile train trip through Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales. Or you can check out the London Toy & Model Museum in old London Town. These are only a couple of the 60 attractions featured in a new 46-page booklet published by the British Tourist Authority. Titled “Family Fun in Britain,” it locks in on medieval castles, theme parks, a Scottish deer center, the Edinburgh Zoo, a teddy bear museum, butterfly farm, safari park, “gnome reserve.” Ideas for parents traveling with children. Attractions in England, Scotland, Wales.

For a free copy, write to the British Tourist Authority, 350 S. Figueroa St., Suite 450, Los Angeles 90071, or telephone (213) 628-3525.

Custom Tours of France

Two ladies in love with France are steering Americans to chateau hotels, country inns, museums, cultural/artistic events in their adopted country. Dorothy Dudnik and Sophie Green book restaurant reservations, arrange for walking/biking/barging tours. These and other services for Americans on the go. The ladies specialize in customized vacations in the French countryside, taking on any assignment, large or small. A reservation for lunch or a week at a small family-run inn. Makes no difference. (Train/plane reservations are left to your travel agent.) Both women speak French. Their hourly charge ($40) covers a long list of services.

Contact Escapade en France, 7817 Mulholland Drive, Los Angeles 90046. Call (213) 874-6340 or (213) 454-2109.

Reader Recommendations

Colorado--Doris Stoughton, Corona Del Mar: “Heatherbed Ski Lodge & Guest Ranch, P.O. Box 530, Maroon Creek Road, Aspen, Colo. 81612. A piece of paradise! So peaceful. Directly across from Aspen Highlands ski area. Free shuttle bus service into downtown Aspen every 30 minutes. Right on Maroon Creek. Delightful rooms with down comforters. Some with full kitchens. Breakfast before a roaring fire. Apres-ski hot cider, soup, fruit. Rates: $70/$120 (winter), $50/$75 (summer).”


New Mexico--Michael Sublett, Venice: Highest recommendation for Casa de las Chimeneas. Had an $85 single which included a hearty, hot breakfast with a stack of pancakes, muffins, juice and coffee. Hot tub, fireplace in my room, sparkling innkeeper, Susan Vernon. Five stars! Rates to $140. No smoking in main house or guest rooms. Box 5303, Taos, N.M. 87571, (505) 758-4777.

France--John McNew and Fred Bleyer, Los Angeles: “On a recent vacation in the South of France, we chanced upon a splendid small restaurant, Le Bougainvillier, within the walls of St. Paul de Vence. Space restrictions necessitate reservations. Prices were about $80 U.S. for two, including wine.”

Greece--Mavis and Charles Pasternack, Los Angeles: Enjoyed Princessa Hotel, Pythagorion-Samos, Greece. “Fabulous food, great beach. Easy day-trips to Turkey. Rates: $75 U.S. a night double with two meals. Excellent hosts.”