Travel booklets for low of no cost Information: Maps, photos, guides to attractions and fact sheets are available, mostly from government agencies.

January 11, 1998|By Betsy Wade | Betsy Wade,NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

For New Year, here's a harvest of free or inexpensive booklets for travelers.

* "North Carolina Scenic Byways" contains 144 pages, and full-color photos present 44 roads that show off state history, culture and scenery. The book represents "heritage tourism," the highlighting of an area's history.

In the Piedmont, for example, the 18-mile Indian Heritage Trail passes the state's oldest historical site, the Town Creek Indian Mound. The longest road, 173 miles through the coastal plain, is designated Lafayette's Tour: It touches several places the general visited in 1825. It also passes through Essex, the center of a pre-Civil War free black community. The 10-mile Pacolet River Byway includes a precipitous hill that parallels the Saluda Grade, always described as the steepest mainline railroad stretch in the country.

The book gives estimated driving times, access spots and nearby historical or cultural sites.

For a free copy, call or write to the North Carolina Department of Transportation Scenic Byways, Post Office Box 25201, Raleigh, N.C. 27611; 919-715-2407.

* "Discover Our Shared Heritage," a pilot project of the National Register of Historic Places, has produced four handsome self-guided tours: South and West Texas, the Georgia-Florida Coast, the American Southwest and one called the Early History of the California Coast.

The National Park Service and the National Conference of State Historical Preservation Officers have joined in creating these colorful map-guides, and American Express helped financially. Unfolded, they measure about 28 inches square. Outline maps of the areas are keyed to photos and descriptions of historic, archaeological and natural features.

The leaflets are being sent to places listed on the tours and to state preservation offices, which may give the guides away or sell them. For a free list of places from which to request the guides, write to the National Register of Historic Places, National Park Service, 1849 C St. N.W., NC 400, Washington, D.C. 20240.

* "Washington, D.C., African American Historical Attractions Guide" is the latest version of the Washington Convention and Visitors Association's most requested publication. Its 32 pages cover the basics, including the Lincoln Memorial and the Frederick Douglass Historic Site in Anacostia, plus others not so obvious, including the Metropolitan AME Church at 1518 M St. N.W., built in 1886 by black artisans and often a forum in the civil rights struggle.

The booklet is free by phone or mail request to the association, 1212 New York Ave. N.W., Suite 600, Washington, D.C. 20005; 202-789-7000. Ask for a capital map because the map in the guide is small.

* "Sources of Air Travel Information," published by the Aviation Consumer Protection Division of the Federal Department of Transportation, lists sources and prices of government travel publications, along with phone numbers for recordings about travel warnings and vaccination recommendations.

One example: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention book "Health Information for International Travel" is $20 from the Superintendent of Documents. The rest range from $1.75 ("Fly Rights") to free ("Traveling by Air With Your Pet"). The sheet, as well as another, "Getting the Best Air Fare," can be obtained from the Consumer Protection Division, (C-75), Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh St. S.W., Washington, D.C. 20590.

* "Facts and Advice for Airline Passengers" has been reissued by the Aviation Consumer Action Project, a private organization founded by Ralph Nader in 1971. "Be assertive," it urges those stranded at a transfer point. It's $5 from the Aviation Consumer Action Project, 2001 S St. N.W., Suite 410, Washington, D.C. 20036.

* "The International Society of Travel Medicine Clinic Directory" lists 500 clinics operated or sponsored by members of the travel medicine society. It does not rate or classify them. The majority of the society's member physicians have certifications in tropical medicine; some have other specialties needed by travelers, like treatment of infectious diseases or high-altitude disorders. At least one person in each clinic should be expected to speak English.

The 52-page booklet, published with a grant from McNeil Consumer Products, the makers of Immodium A-D, is free from ISTM Directory, Immodium A-D, Drawer D, 1675 Broadway, 33rd floor, New York, N.Y. 10019.

* "Electric Current Abroad" is published by the International Trade Administration of the Department of Commerce mainly for families and companies going overseas for a long time. But it is useful for others who want to travel with computers, electric toothbrushes and such.

The book, stock No. 003-009-00673-2, is $2 from the Superintendent of Documents, 202-512-1800.

* "Historic Hotels of America," issued by the nonprofit National Trust for Historic Preservation, covers the 127 hotels in the lTC program, all at least 50 years old and maintaining their "historic integrity, architecture and ambiance." Few are humble inns of the George-Washington-slept-here type. Instead, it includes the Plaza in New York (1907), Mohonk Mountain House (1869), the Paradise Inn on Mount Rainier (1917) and the Viking in Newport, R.I. (1926).

It costs $3 from Historic Hotels, National Trust for Historic Preservation, 1785 Massachusetts Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036.

Pub Date: 1/11/98

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