There's still time for last-minute "leaf peepers" to make arrangements to frolic in the fall foliage, but Eastern state tourism offices say you must act now. All echo one rule: Don't even think of going to New England without reservations. Call ahead. Here's how:
Connecticut: For travel information, reservations and a foliage report, call (800) CT BOUND.
Maine: Foliage reports start Sept. 29 at (800) 533-9595. Callers may also request a fall calendar.
Massachusetts: A foliage report and fall calendar will be available Monday by calling (800) 632-8038. Accommodation and B&B; guides are available at (617) 727-3201.
New Hampshire: The "leaf peepers" hot line, (800) 258-3608, provides foliage information. A 172-page guidebook is available by calling (800) 386-4664. For information on the New Hampshire seacoast area, call (800) 221-5623; on inns in the White Mountains, call (800) 562-1300.
New York: Updated foliage reports are available at (800) 225-5697, along with information on events.
Vermont: Foliage reports are available by calling (802) 828-3239. Tourism information and a calendar of fall events can be obtained by calling (800) VERMONT, Ext. 7404, or VTFAX, an automated fax service at (800) 833-9756.
Branson Bound? Now You Can Fly
For the first time, travelers can now fly into Branson, Mo., the thriving country music center in the Ozark Mountains, from key hubs around the country.
Direct air service is now available on Branson Airlines, which flies from Dallas/Ft. Worth and Nashville ($119) and St. Louis and Kansas City, Mo. ($69).
Travelers planning to visit Branson may obtain a vacation guide by calling the Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce at (417) 334-4136 or (900) 884-Branson ($1.50 a minute, which is applied to mailing and handling costs for various information packets).
On Oct. 1, Branson Airlines is scheduled to begin service to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tenn., on the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Reservations and information are available by calling (800) 422-4AIR.
Deal of the Week
The San Diego Princess Resort, home to five swimming pools, six tennis courts, a sand volleyball court, 18-hole putting course, marina and botanical gardens, is offering a special $79 room rate through Dec. 30.
The resort is near Sea World, the San Diego Zoo and the Wild Animal Park.
Like most bargains, this one has some strings. The rate is subject to availability. If a family uses a room as is, the rate doesn't change, but if an extra cot is requested, there is a charge.
To call the San Diego Princess: (800) 344-2626.
Free for the Asking
Wishing you were in the Pacific Northwest this fall? Then you need the "Washington State Field Guide, Fall '93." The 48-page illustrated guide includes tours, getaways and events.
Scattered throughout are coupon books and deals offered by chambers of commerce and visitors' bureaus, plus a 12-page listing of museums and festivals, outdoor, ferry and road information, and other resources.
For a copy, call (800) 544-1800, Ext. 101, or write: Washington State Tourism Division, P.O. Box 42500, Olympia, Wash. 98504.
This Week's Holidays
National and religious holidays will occur in these countries in the coming week. Banking and government offices will close or curtail services.
Monday: Mauritius, Switzerland.
Tuesday: Armenia, Belize, Malta.
Wednesday: Bhutan, Mali.
Thursday: Australia, Japan.
Friday: Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Guinea-Bissau, New Caledonia, Spain, Trinidad, Turks and Caicos Islands.
Saturday: Israel, Mozambique, Netherlands Antilles, Rwanda.
Source: J.P. Morgan
The United States is geographically closer to which of these countries--Russia or Japan?
Source: National Geography Bee
To Our Readers
This week, you'll notice a new look to the Travel Section. We've redesigned, added more color and put destination names on the pages. Fewer jumps make it easier to clip and save articles.
And there are new features. There's a detailed index on the cover. For those who want close-to-home getaways, we've added a "Weekend Escape." Page 3 has brief travel tips. On the Reader's Page, you can share the joys and frustrations of your travel experiences, and we've brought back the popular Reader Recommendations. And, as always, there is a mix of articles for every kind of traveler or armchair fantasizer, from seniors to young families, from backpackers-on-a-budget to luxury-seekers, from cruise ship enthusiasts to adventure addicts. Bon voyage!