Susanne Lakin and her musician husband Lee Miller are opening a Cape Cod-style B&B; on the ocean at Trinidad (about 50 miles below the Oregon border). This is noteworthy for a couple of reasons. First, because this is a newly built B&B.; Second, the couple will be catering particularly to families with rates that'll be hard to beat: $75/$90 double, $5 extra for children up to age 16. Singles: $65/$80. The 5,000-square-foot home features ocean-view rooms, lofts for youngsters, a Jacuzzi. There's a children's play area with farm animals. Child care will be provided in the evening while parents dine out. Susanne and Lee came up with the idea for their B&B; "out of frustration with not being able to enjoy a B&B; while traveling with our own children." To get a fix on Trinidad, it's 22 miles north of Eureka, a short drive from the Arcata-Eureka Airport and only minutes from the redwoods. Guests will awaken to the barking of sea lions, home-baked breads, muffins, smoked salmon and quiches made with farm-fresh eggs and vegetables. At the sunset hour the hosts will serve cappuccino, wine, home-baked pastries.
Susanne Lakin and Lee Miller, The Lost Whale, 3452 Patrick's Point Drive, Trinidad, Calif. 95570. Telephone (707) 677-3425. Note: The inn opens May 1. Current number: (707) 677-3827.
Sonoma Valley Inns
Ira and Irene Greenspan of San Bernardino ask for recommendations for inns in Northern California's Sonoma Valley. We like Madrona Manor, a Victorian mansion (circa 1881) that rises on eight wooded acres outside Healdsburg. Twenty rooms, some with fireplaces. A swimming pool and an award-winning restaurant. Rates: $92.50/$135 double, including a full breakfast. In town try the Healdsburg Inn On The Plaza. Rooms with private baths, loads of antiques. Overlooks the town square. Rates: $65/$85 midweek, $85/$115 weekends (full breakfast).
Madrona Manor, 1001 Westside Road, Healdsburg, Calif. 95448. Telephone (707) 433-4231.
Healdsburg Inn On The Plaza, 116 Matheson St., Healdsburg, Calif. 95448. Telephone (707) 433-6991.
We continue to receive inquiries from readers about home exchanges. Lori Horne of San Francisco is a member of the world's biggest home exchange association. Listings in all 50 states, 30 countries. Home exchanges work particularly well for families with children. Enables exchangers to vacation at destinations they might otherwise be unable to afford. Exchange for a week or a month or even a weekend. Horne caters to singles, couples as well as families. She'll mail you a brochure: Lori Horne, International Home Exchange Service/INTERVAC, P.O. Box 3975, San Francisco 94119, or call (415) 435-3497.
Lake Como Villas
Tre Laghi Travel of Newport Beach will put you up in a villa on Italy's Lake Como for $500/$675 a week. July/August are nearly fully booked. Plenty of space still available for spring/fall months. Villas face the lake from the north shore village of Gera (about an hour by car from Lugano, St. Moritz). The same company books walking tours of the Italian Lake District (designed for "travelers who don't want to rough it"). Accommodations in luxury hotels. Time out for tennis, golf, riding, water skiing. Seven- and 10-night tours from $1,578. Twice-monthly departures from Lugano, May through September. Rates include accommodations, breakfast/dinner, taxes, gratuities.
Tre Laghi Travel, P.O. Box 9725, Newport Beach, Calif. 92658. Telephone (714) 723-4340.
England's Prettiest Village
Castle Combe has been described as England's prettiest village. Only 10 miles from Bath. It's the perfect spot for touring the Cotswolds, Stonehenge, Oxford, Winchester. (Hollywood chose Castle Combe for the home of "Dr. Doolittle".) Now you can vacation in the village's oldest home, the Old Courthouse, built in the early 1400s. Timbered, exposed oak beams, a winding staircase that leads to three upstairs bedrooms (one with an open fireplace, a four-poster bed). Ideal for three couples. Rents for $2,000 a week. Reduced rates between October/March. The Old Courthouse is one of the most photographed homes in Britain. Other cottages with gabled roofs line Water Lane.
Brochures from Jim Farmer, 120 Duane St., New York 10007.
London's Academy Hotel is offering price reductions for weekend guests. Regular rates: 58.50 single, 74.50 double. Stay a third day for 17.76. Originally the hotel consisted of two Georgian houses dating from 1770. A couple of years ago the owners refurbished everything, top to bottom. Central heating, color TV. Most rooms with showers. The bar remains open till 2 a.m. Only a short stroll to the British Museum, Russell Square. Buses, underground stations nearby.
Academy Hotel, 17-21 Gower St., London WC1E 6HG.
Soughton Hall in Northern Wales (built as a bishop's palace in 1714) has been given the highest rating of any hotel in Wales by Egon Ronay, Britain's persnickety guidester. A dozen luxuriously appointed guest rooms, antique furniture, baroque marble fireplaces, French tapestries, Persian carpets. Overlooks 150 acres of park land near the historic city of Chester. Candlelight dining to the melodies of a Welch harpist. Lunch and dinner served daily. From Soughton Hall guests explore stately homes, castles, gardens in North Wales. Golf, riding, fishing nearby. Forty minutes by car to Manchester Airport (the hotel will arrange for guests to be picked up by a chauffeured car).
Soughton Hall Country House Hotel, Northrop, Near Mold, Clwyd C117 6AB, North Wales, U.K. Rates: 45/60 per person with full English breakfast, VAT.
B.L. of Van Nuys is going to New Orleans, wants the name of an "old inn in a quiet neighborhood." My bid goes to Lamothe House, an 18th-Century mansion immersed in early New Orleans atmosphere. Crowded with antiques. Gilt-edged mirrors, candelabra, one-time gas-burning chandeliers. Coffee served from a 200-year-old Sheffield urn. A Victorian clock ticks away the hours. This three-story mansion is in a peaceful neighborhood at the far end of the French Quarter. None of the hassle of noisy Bourbon Street.
Lamothe House, 621 Esplanade Ave., New Orleans, La. 70116. Call (800) 367-5858. Rates: $75/$195.
Wales--R.L. Davis, Irvine: "Downs farmhouse, Wick Road, Llantwit Major, Vale of Glamorgan CF6 9YU. Every convenience provided in a beautifully restored 1700s stone farmhouse. Rates: $32 U.S. single, $43 double. Includes a full Welsh breakfast."
California--Russell Newcomb, San Francisco: High praise for El Rancho Lodge, 1330 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs 92264. "Rates are $40/$85 in summer, $56/$121 in winter. The look and charm of a European country inn. Units have full kitchens. Continental breakfasts served poolside each morning."
France--Julius Jacyna, Salamanca, Spain: "In Chamonix, discovered a breakfast bargain. For 30 francs, a buffet with at least 12 items. Hotel Alpina, Chamonix, France."
Austria--Jack and Zeryne Pratt, Pasadena: "Had a happy visit at Seeapartement Erlberg, Seeuferstrasse 106, A-5700 Zell am See, Austria. Furnished bedroom and sitting room opened onto a balcony at the edge of Lake Zell in the Kaprun winter sports area of the Kitzbuhler Alps in Salzburg province. Fully equipped kitchenette. Lake Zell is great for swimming and windsurfing. Our off-season rate for a double was $56 U.S. High-season rate is $73. One-room apartments also available. Manager-owner is Mrs. Hedi Giesinger."
We regret that only a select few recommendations can be used. They must be brief (typewritten or printed). Only one recommendation per reader, please. Note: Recommendations will not be used unless prices and addresses are included.