A classic in miniature

TRAVEL SMARTS

April 25, 1999|By Randi Kest

More than 70 years ago, the first golf-club wielding elf was placed on an 18-hole course and the game of miniature golf was born. To celebrate, the Chattanooga Regional History Museum in Tennessee has opened a display featuring nine holes, some of which are replicated from the original Tom Thumb golf course created by Garnet Carter and all of which are open for play.

The exhibit, "Putting Around: Tom Thumb Golf, A National Past-Time Sensation," also has photos and artifacts from the game's seven decades of evolution.

Today's miniature golf is based on the vision Carter had when he was part owner of the Fairyland Inn atop Lookout Mountain, near the Tennessee-Georgia border. While awaiting the completion of a real 18-hole course nearby, Carter crafted a smaller course on the lawn of his inn. Designed by his wife, the Tom Thumb course maintained the fairy-tale theme of the inn complete with statues of elves and gnomes. The original course no longer exists.

The museum is at 400 Chestnut St. in downtown Chattanooga. The exhibit is open through June 27. Hours: 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekends. Call 423-265-3247.

Packaging in fashion

Danskin, known for its active wear, introduces an easier way to pack for vacation. Its new line of Packables consists of 12 coordinating pieces -- including a T-shirt, jacket, short and long dresses, cardigan and drawstring pants -- that don't require advance planning to turn into a week's worth of outfits. The wrinkle-resistant coordinates are available in the base colors of black and mahogany, with accent pieces in birch, blue smoke, pale pink and yellow. Prices range from $20 to $88. Call 888-Danskin for store locations.

A video guide to Alaska

For those intrigued by the nation's 49th state, there's a new video about Alaska's national parks, monuments and lands. "The Great Parks of Alaska" surveys the state's human and natural history along with facts about population, wildlife and weather.

An interesting tidbit from the video: More than 60 percent of U.S. national park lands are found in Alaska, but only 10 percent of the state is inhabited.

Among the highlighted sites are Denali National Park (where Mount McKinley is found), Sitka (a one-time Russian trading post) and Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park.

"The Great Parks of Alaska" is available for $19.95; call 800-544-8422.

Folklife Festival on the Mall

New Hampshire, Romania and South Africa are the focus of this year's Smithsonian Folklife Festival June 23-27 and June 30-July 4. For more than 30 years, the festival has celebrated folk culture with crafts, cuisine and concerts. This year's festival will be held outdoors on the National Mall between Seventh and 14th streets. Hours: 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily with parties and concerts until 9 p.m. Free. Call 202-357-2700.

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