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March 05, 2000|By Tricia Bishop


There's something liberating about hitting the open road without a particular destination in mind. But if you like just a little planning before you set out, the Virginia Tourism Corp. has a "Map of Scenic Roads in Virginia" that will help.

More than 2,000 miles of off-the-beaten paths winding across the state highlight native plants and wildflowers, historical sites and wineries. The map also suggests one- to three-day drives that might make good weekend getaways.

For a free copy, call 800-825-6831.

A perennial favorite

Everything's coming up roses -- and lilies, daffodils and peonies, at the 2000 Philadelphia Flower Show. Running today through March 12, the "largest indoor flower show in the world" features 10 acres of floral and artistic exhibits, a gardener's marketplace, lectures, culinary presentations and a book fair, along with citywide discounts and activities.

This year's show theme is "Gardens of the New Millennium," and exhibitors have fashioned displays integrating nature and technology. You can check out the results at the Philadelphia Convention Center today and next Sunday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Ticket prices range from $8 to $18.

A "Bloomin' Fun Pass," which provides discount coupons at many participating restaurants, theaters, hotels and museums around town, is available.

For information about the pass and tickets to the flower show, call 215-988-8800, or go to the Web site

Guide earns high marks

If you have a college-bound teen or have ever been one, you know the headache of trying to organize campus visits. The Princeton Review can ease the pressure with the latest edition of "Visiting College Campuses." Inside you'll find travel instructions; maps; campus information about topics such as interviewing, tours and meeting with faculty; lodging recommendations; and local attractions off-campus.

With 250 entries covering the most-toured colleges in America, the combination travel-and-college guide saves time that might be better spent figuring out financial aid forms. The book costs $20 and is available at most major bookstores or by calling 800-733-3000.

High-flying gourmet dining

Which of these comes to mind when you think of airplane food: baked barramundi fillet in banana leaves with linguine, shiitake mushrooms and arugula; or a little bag of salted peanuts?

Singapore Airlines is working to change the image of airline food with its new "Book the Cook" service for first-class and business-class passengers. For no additional fee, passengers can reserve a main course up to 24 hours before their departure from a choice of 18 gourmet specialties developed by the airline's own "international culinary panel." For information, call 800-742-3333, or go to

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