Polo, anyone?


Commonwealth Cup carries on a tradition dating to 600 B.C.

September 09, 2001

This time of year, baseball games are a dime a dozen, so why not seek out a sport you don't see every day, like polo? The Commonwealth Cup, an international charity match held annually near Richmond, Va., takes place next Sunday.

Sometimes called "hockey on horseback," polo dates to 600 B.C., according to the Commonwealth Cup's Web site.

At this year's match, the Virginia team takes on the Scottish team at South Ceres Farm in Oilville, about 30 minutes west of Richmond, in front of an expected crowd of 5,000. The gates open at 11:30 a.m. for tailgating and wine tasting ($5 extra), and the match begins at 2 p.m.

Admission is $15 in advance and $20 at the gate. For information, call 804-556-6565 or see www.commonwealthcup.com. All proceeds benefit charity.

(The Hilton Garden Inn in Glen Allen, Va., about 18 miles east of Oilville, is offering a $69 rate for those attending the match. For reservations, call 804-521-2900.)

-- Tricia Bishop


Anyone who's ever wandered through an art museum and wished he or she could become an artist will appreciate the new Walk-In Workshops at the Corning Museum of Glass in upstate New York. At the museum's teaching facility, daily classes run every 20 or 30 minutes, and encourage visitors to try their hand in four areas:

* Glass flowers -- Created by pulling and shaping molten glass. $18 per flower; for ages 14 and up.

* Glass beads -- Formed by melting glass and wrapping it onto a stainless steel rod. $12 per bead; ages 10 and up.

* Fusing -- Teaches the art of layering glass sheets to make plates, picture frames, pins, magnets and barrettes. $15 per item; all ages.

* Sandblasting -- Used to create frosted designs on glass (in this case a drinking glass). $7; all ages.

The museum, in Corning, N.Y., is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and admission prices range from $6 to $11. For information, call 607-248-1777 or log onto www.cmog.org. -- T.B.

Leave no leaf unturned

Autumn and its vibrant colors are just around the corner. To help plan your leaf-viewing excursions, check out the Foliage Network. Twice a week, it recommends the best spots to see autumn leaves now through early November. The network compiles data from more than 400 "spotters" who send in the color status of leaves in their areas. That information is then used to create color-coded, regional maps detailing the current hot spots. New maps come out every Wednesday and Saturday.

The network includes 17 states throughout the upper Midwest and the East Coast, including Minnesota, Vermont, New York, Maryland and West Virginia. The network is online at www.foliagenetwork.com. (You can also sign up to be a Maryland spotter.) -- T.B.

European agency to take off

Nine European airlines have announced plans to launch an online travel agency late this year, and analysts are already debating the merits of such a venture.

Opodo (www.opodo.com), which is being compared to the U.S. airlines' Orbitz, is expected to offer a range of travel products, including air tickets, hotels, car rentals and insurance.

Aer Lingus, Air France, Alitalia, British Airways, Finnair, Austrian Airlines, Iberia, KLM and Lufthansa are involved in the venture. Web sites will be developed for each country, offering local travel products and multilingual, 24-hour customer service centers, said Nicolas de Santis, Opodo's marketing director.

For Americans, de Santis said, Opodo will offer better information on the European market. But Henry H. Harteveldt, a senior analyst for Forrester Research, an Internet research company, wonders why Americans would bother to log on.

"It won't have any advantage over Travelocity or Expedia," he said. "There's nothing compelling for U.S. travelers." -- From wire reports

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