Looking for love in all the right places

TRAVEL SMARTS

February 06, 2000

If you're searching for a last-minute way to impress your sweetie this Valentine's Day, how about a trip to a romantic inn? Jim Yenckel, a veteran reviewer of mid-Atlantic lodgings, features five romantic inns in his news-letter Great Getaways. The January issue (call 202-537-1915 for more information) lists more than 40 inns in categories such as Mountain Retreats and Pure Luxury. Prices range from $120 to $200 a night.

Here are the romantic five:

* Antrim 1844, Taneytown, 800-858-1844: Fireplaces, hot tubs, gourmet restaurant.

* L'Auberge Provencal, White Post, Va., 800-638-1702: South-of-France feel; gourmet restaurant.

* Inn at Montchanin Village, Montchanin, Del., 800-269-2473: Restored historic inn; Krazy Kat's restaurant has a decidedly feline ambience.

* The Lords Proprietors Inn, Edenton, N.C., 252-482-3641: Albemarle Sound provides the background; fine dining restaurant.

* Bailiwick Inn, Fairfax, Va., 800-366-7666: A 19th-century townhouse with candlelight in the parlor; gourmet dining.

Custom cruising

Finding a cruise to complement your character might be easier than you think. The Cruise Lines International Association's Web site can help you uncover a voyage that meets your requirements (and your budget) among its 25 member cruise lines -- whether you're planning a honeymoon or a trip with the kids. Read detailed profiles of individual lines and guides divided by lifestyle, or check out the cost comparison link to narrow your choices. From there, sign up to receive the free vacation planner, answer your questions about sailing in the "Cruise Questions" section and then start packing. Go to www.cruising.org

Fun with the feds

Uncle Sam is looking out for your leisure time -- particularly if you plan to spend it on government property. Recreation.gov, a searchable Web site for planning vacations on federal lands, puts information about 371 national parks, 422 wildlife refuges and 114 national forests where you can bike, boat, hike or camp at the tip of your cursor. Search for things to do by state, activity or sponsoring agency, and after you've narrowed your choices, get the weather forecasts, driving directions and a roster of recreational options. Also available is a list of links to volunteer programs and basic information such as entrance fees, special-use permits and federal land-use etiquette.

European train travel

Quick: you're traveling with a friend across Europe for two months with 15 actual days of transit. What type of rail pass is best for you? If you had the free "2000 Guide to European Rail Passes," you'd know a first-class-flexi-saverpass would be a good choice, unless, of course, you're under 26. Sound confusing? It is, especially if you're looking for the most economical mix of train travel. This 60-page guide helps put you on the right European track by sorting through the options according to your needs and destinations. The guide includes a rail pass worksheet and ordering information, and is available by calling 425-771-8303, Ext. 4.

--Tricia Eller

A COOK'S TASTE OF ITALY

To truly experience Italy, you have to spend some time in Italian kitchens, and the International Cooking School of Italian Food and Wine offers just the means to do it. During hands-on cooking courses in Bologna, you can learn to be a sfoglina (pasta chef) or maybe a pizzaiolo (pizza chef).

From market to table, guests drink in the intricacies of la cucina Italiana, dividing their kitchen time with hours spent touring the countryside, tasting food and taking in sights. The school offers two packages of five classes each. The six-day "Basics of Great Italian Cooking" runs in May, June and September, followed by the seven-day "October Truffle Festival," which combines classes with the annual white truffle celebration.

Trip prices, which range from $3,200 to $4,105, include lodging, classes, meals and day-trip transportation. Travel to Bologna is not included. For more information, call 212-779-1921.

Pub Date: 02/06/00

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