Here's another one of those remote South Seas hideaways. The destination is Vatulele, an island in Fiji. Only a 28-minute flight off the Coral Coast of Vitu Levu. A dozen thatched cottages (the Fijians call them bures ). Sixty acres of palms/white-sand beaches. Guests swim, sail, snorkel, dine by candlelight/lantern (seafood, Indian curries, Thai/Italian dishes). No radios, no TV, no newspapers. Just drop off the world and enjoy. The Milky Way cuts a wide swath at night. Days as peaceful as the trades that flow from the Equator. This is a long hop from the bustle of U.S. cities. Rates: $330 per bure , plus $165 per person for meals, alcoholic/nonalcoholic beverages. Not exactly a giveaway, but if you're looking for an escape, this could fill the bill.
Your travel agent or Vatulele Island Resort, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Suite 875, Los Angeles 90045, (800) 828-9146 or (213) 670-8430.
A Scottish Manor in Mass.: Vacationers are getting a taste of Scotland at a Tudor-style mansion called Blantyre in Lenox, Mass. Twenty-three guest rooms/suites. Several with fireplaces. Loads of antiques. Beamed ceilings, a music salon, paneled dining room, a serve-yourself bar, four-poster beds. Sweeping views of the Berkshire countryside. Blantyre is set on 85 acres of woodlands only a few minutes from Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The mansion, circa 1902, is a carbon copy of a grand Scottish manor. Plays host to renowned conductors/musicians. Features tennis, golf, croquet. Fishing 30 minutes from Blantyre. A swimming pool, hot tub, sauna. Free carriage rides each Sunday. Excursions to Williamstown, the Berkshire Theater Festival and the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge. Shakespeare at Lenox. Rates from $150.
Blantyre, Lenox, Mass. 01240.
London Giveaway: "Amazing London" is the title of a 48-page paperback that the British Tourist Authority is giving away. Tips on inexpensive accommodations, transportation, sightseeing, shopping, dining. Names admission-free attractions (galleries/museums). There's a calendar of events (coming up: the London Motor Show). Other chapters deal with theater/dance/music and how to obtain a British Heritage Pass (good for admission to nearly 600 attractions). The booklet directs readers to antique markets (Portobello Road, Bermondsey Square, Camden Passage), and under the title "High Fashion, Low Prices" there's a listing of shops dealing in women's/men's/children's wearing apparel. Another shop features items exclusively for left-handed customers, including a left-handed boomerang (for the leftie who has everything). The authors tell where to buy pop-up post cards, key rings from the Bank of England, model army trucks and replicas of tunic buttons worn by Lord Nelson. These and other offbeat buys. Following are pages of pubs, wine bars, restaurants. Additional chapters deal with a do-it-yourself London bus tour, river trips/canal cruises, walking tours, rental cars and day trips out of London.
For a free copy, contact the British Tourist Authority, 350 S. Figueroa St., Suite 450, Los Angeles 90071, (213) 628-3525.
Week's Best Buy: Island Packers of Ventura is featuring camping trips to five of Southern California's Channel Islands--Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, Santa Rosa, San Miguel. Prices: $37 and up. Because of their proximity to the mainland, Anacapa/Santa Cruz are attracting midweek campers looking for uncrowded getaways. Camping also permitted on the other islands. Free (with the exception of Santa Cruz). Sun worshipers are drawn to San Miguel. Snorkelers frolic with sea lions off Santa Barbara Island. Space is limited. Reservations required.
Island Packers, 1867 Spinnaker Drive, Ventura 93001, (805) 642-1393. For recorded information, call (805) 642-7688.
The Yachting Game: Elite Yacht Charters of Beverly Hills will put you aboard vessels in the Caribbean, the Bahamas, the South Pacific, along the New England coast. Or anywhere else you choose to sail. Bali, Fiji, New Zealand, the Seychelles, Japan, the Philippines. "Anywhere there's a sea or an ocean," says Elite's Kelley Smith, who attended the Sorbonne in Paris, graduated with a degree in finance and decided that being in the yacht biz beats toiling in a bank or brokerage house. (Kelley crewed aboard her family's yacht as a child.) She's a sailor who's as familiar with St. Tropez as she is with Seattle. Arranges trips on both motor and sailing yachts. Fifty-footers up to 446 feet. Vessels are fully crewed. Smith boasts that her network "spans the globe." Kelley, 28, offers customized itineraries with in-port guide service. Activities from water skiing/jet skiing to scuba diving. Yachts are equipped with speedboats/sailing boats/dinghies. A few even feature their own two-passenger submarine. Crews put in at deserted islands as well as world-renowned ports.
Elite Yacht Charters, 9709 Olympic Blvd., Suite 21, Beverly Hills 90212, (213) 552-7968.
Saddling Up: Vertie Hill, the one-time equestrian Olympic gold medalist, teaches vacationers to ride at his Great Rapscott farm in England's North Devon. Assisted by his wife Mary, Hill provides instruction for recreational riders as well as professionals. Only four pupils per class. Sessions begin each Sunday. Hill, an authority on jumping, cross-country riding, hunting, operates near Exmoor National Park. The program features pub lunches, visits to Dunster Castle, a village specializing in antiques. Riders are put up at Marsh Hall (noted for its fine cuisine, Victorian accommodations). Marsh Hall overlooks the Mole River Valley near Exmoor. Others sign in at the 400-year-old Huxtables Farm, a working sheep ranch that features rooms with family-type atmosphere.
Rates/details from U.S. representatives Karen Lancaster, (914) 437-0178, and Pam Neary, (800) 545-0019.
Trolley Celebration: If you're sightseeing in Maine, take a swing over to George Bush's favorite vacation town, Kennebunkport, where villagers are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Seashore Trolley Museum. The latest addition is New Orleans' street car named Desire. Acres of trolleys, commuter cars, mass transit coaches. A total of 227 vehicles, making this the largest collection of electric transit carriages in the world. Trolleys from dozens of U.S./Canadian cities, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Italy, Germany, Austria, Hungary. Carriages date from the 1870s to the 1970s. Demonstration rides on a four-mile track. Currently, the park is remodeling Boston's old Victorian-style Northhampton Station that served the Forest Hills Elevated Railway Line. (The museum provides a shaded grove for picnickers.)
Seashore Trolley Museum, P.O. Box A, Kennebunkport, Me. 04046, (207) 967-2712. Details on lodging and sightseeing from the Kennebunkport Chamber of Commerce: (207) 967-0857.
California--Veronica and Herschel Evans, Fullerton: Enjoyed Palisades Paradise B&B;, 1200 Palisades Ave., Redding, Calif. 96003. Rates: $50/$60.
Hawaii--B. Dunne, Sherman Oaks: "Spent a blissful honeymoon at Victorian Garden Cottage, Poipu, Kauai. Rates: $875 a week. Available from Kauai Vacation Rentals, (800) 367-5025."
Washington--Shirley Barkan, Simi Valley: "An old Victorian B&B;, Capital Hill Inn, 1713 Belmont Ave., Seattle 98122. Rates: $65/$105."
New Jersey--Robert S. Elbyn, Calabasas: "My wife and I recently stayed at the Inn at the Ocean, 109 S. Dover, Atlantic City 08401. Clean, modern, quiet. Full American breakfasts. Owners are young, friendly, helpful. Rates: $135/$250."
Canada--Jeanne and Sam Bellman, Claremont: "Betty's B&B;, 251 Flora St., Ottawa K1R 5R8. Spacious, air-conditioned. Outgoing, gracious hostess. Rates: $50 U.S."
Hungary--Gabrielle Oey, Huntington Beach: "Bed and breakfast in a Hungarian home, approximately $40 for two persons per night. Write to Sarose Janosne, XIV Mimosa U.5, 1146 Budapest, Hungary."
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