Hot Springs holidayWhile the first family now spends its...


September 11, 1994|By Howard Henry Chen

Hot Springs holiday

While the first family now spends its holidays on Martha's Vineyard or at least Camp David, you, yes you, can start planning a winter holiday at the old Clinton haunt, Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas. The park's monthlong winter festival, Holiday in the Park, gets under way Nov. 25 and runs through Jan. 1, 1995.

The resort spa's holiday events are highlighted by the largest luminaria display in the southern United States. Thousands of these lanterns will cast light along the city's downtown district and Bathhouse Row. Luminaria are crafted from tea candles tucked inside little paper bags.

The festival also promises a Christmas parade through the city, a 400-voice choral procession that winds through the wooded hills of Hot Springs National Mountain, performances at the city's music halls, holiday fine arts gallery exhibitions, and a lighting project that includes more than 3 million Christmas lights.

For information, directions and accommodation information, call (800) 772-2489.

If a week celebrating a genteel Southern Christmas is too syrupy for you, try this. One section of the former KGB headquarters in Vilnius, Lithuania, has been turned into a museum documenting the treatment of political prisoners under the KGB. The Victims of Genocide Museum includes 20 former holding cells, among them an interrogation cell with padded walls and a totally dark isolation cell about 2 feet square.

Guided tours in Lithuanian, Russian or German are given by former inmates. Fact sheets and a plan of the museum have been translated into English.

The museum, on February 16th Street at the corner of Auku Street, is beside the Ministry of Justice and the current KGB archives. It is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Call 011-370-2-622-449 for more information.

Bahamas on a budget

The Bahamas can be an inexpensive trip from Florida. Here are just a few of the great deals.

Palm Beach Cruise Lines offers special cruise-hotel prices through Oct. 15 that include round-trip passage on the Viking Princess cruise ship and a choice of four Freeport hotels.

Passengers leave the Port of Palm Beach at about 8 a.m. and arrive in Freeport about 1 p.m. The round-trip cruise and a one-night stay at the Radisson at Lucaya Beach Resort is $79 for one night (per person double occupancy); $109, two nights; $139, three nights.

Great Escape Vacations prices, in effect until Dec. 10, are about $20 higher. Call (800) 447-2290 for more information and reservations.

Antarctic sampler

Travelers to New Zealand who are looking for an even more exotic experience can sample a bit of Antarctica at a new attraction just outside Auckland. At Antarctic Encounter, visitors can ride in a Sno-Cat, a huge vehicle with treads wide enough to traverse snowy landscapes, and inspect a re-creation of the explorer Robert Falcon Scott's 1911 headquarters. They will also see an orca whale and penguins as well as other Antarctic exhibits, including a display on how exploration is expected to be conducted in the 21st century.

Antarctic Encounter is linked to Kelly Tarlton's Journey Under the Sea, an aquarium named for a diver and inventor who died seven weeks after it opened in January 1985. The two attractions are connected by a moving walkway in an acrylic tunnel that passes through two underwater tanks full of sharks, stingrays, eels and many of the aquarium's 1,500 other fish.

Antarctic Encounter and Journey Under the Sea are open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The fee of $8.50 covers both. For a free brochure, call the New Zealand Tourism Board at (800) 388-5494.

Roadside dinner

September has plenty of harvest festivals, but not many like one in West Virginia that's inspired by the, er, "bumper crop" along the shoulder of the two-lane tarmac. The annual Roadkill Cookoff in Marlinton, W.Va., will be held Sept. 24 this year, and, as usual, the only rule is that the main ingredient be an animal commonly found dead on the side of the road. Last year's entries included "Radial Rabbit," "Jane Doe's Tire-Tenderized Stir Fry," and "Failed-to-Yield Venison." For information, call the Pocahontas County Parks & Recreation Department at (304) 799-7386.

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