The Beach Zone

June 03, 2007

WHAT'S NEW

Beach shuttle service

Crossing Ocean Highway with kids and coolers in tow just got a little easier in Ocean City. Beachgoers can now turn to e-cruzers, an east-west shuttle service that will ferry vacationers from the bayside to the beach and back. The open-air vehicles have professional drivers, can carry six passengers plus gear and are powered by rechargeable batteries.

"We're not adding to traffic congestion or pollution; we're reducing it by giving people a safe and convenient way to get to the beach," says Russell G. Rankin, founder and president of e-cruzers, who ran a test trial of the shuttle last summer. "It's a win-win for everyone."

The service, launched Memorial Day weekend, will operate seven days a week from 9:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. throughout summer. Prices vary by plan. For details, go to e-cruzers.com or call 410-330-CRUZ.

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[MICHELLE DEAL-ZIMMERMAN]

WHAT TO DO

FIVE THINGS TO DO THIS WEEK IN OCEAN CITY

1. CELEBRATE GRADUATION / / Graduates of the class of 2007 can have a fun, safe time with planned activities, including kayaking, rock climbing, laser tag and more. Details at playitsafeoceancity.com.

2. EXPERIENCE A CULINARY DELIGHT / / Ocean City Restaurant Week runs through June 9 with local eateries offering a fixed three-course dinner for $30 or two-course lunch for $20.

3. MAKE A TRUCK STOP / / The Ocean City Car and Truck Show will be held at the Convention Center, 40th Street and the Bay, featuring more than 700 vehicles, interactive games, live entertainment and more. $20.

4. WATCH FOR BIRDS / / Summer birders in and around Ocean City spot oystercatchers, rails, herons and other marsh birds. The inlet is a choice location for spotting brown pelicans.

5. SHOP FOR A KITE / / The Kite Loft on Fifth Street and the Boardwalk expects the tumbling and twisting Prism Designs EO6 Box Kite to be popular. (EO stands for expandable object, as kite aficionados know.)

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[ALLIE SEMENZA]

BEACH BET : REHOBOTH

HERITAGE MUSIC FEST

Head to Rehoboth Beach, Del., on Friday and Saturday for the third annual Heritage Music Fest. The festival, presented by the Delaware Celebration of Jazz, will feature performances from Luther "Guitar Junior" Johnson, Irma Thomas, the original lineup of the Miracles with guest Claudette Robinson, and Richard Street, lead singer of the Temptations from 1977 to 1995. The event is a charitable fundraiser for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Beebe Medical Center's diabetes outreach program.

The festival is at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center, 229 Rehoboth Ave. in Rehoboth Beach. Friday's show is at 9:30 p.m., and tickets are $48-$55. Saturday's show will be at 9 p.m., and tickets are $69-$109. Call 800-29-MUSIC or go to rehobothjazz.com / hmf.

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[ALLIE SEMENZA]

WHAT YOU THINK

A WEEKLY POLL FOR BEACH LOVERS

This week's question: Which beach has the best sand for building sandcastles? To vote, go to baltimoresun.com / baybeach.

Results from last week's poll. Which beach destination do you prefer? 75% ocean, 25% lake

THE SMART TRAVELER

LONDON

Detour for the Tour de France

In which country will the Tour de France start this year? It may sound like a trick question, but there have been five occasions in the race's 104-year history when the route began outside France. This year, the race will start in London on July 7 with the prologue -- a 4.9-mile time trial that starts by Trafalgar Square. To find a good viewing position, go to tourdefrancelondon.com, which has race maps. The Stafford hotel, (44-20-7493-0111 or thestaffordhotel.co.uk) is offering a two-night package throughout July, with a biking tour of London and an in-room massage. The cost for two is $2,890.

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[NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE]

10 FOR THE ROAD

For the girls

Best destinations for a "women-only" vacation from shermanstravel.com:

1. Art-viewing in Florence, Italy 2. Club-hopping in South Beach, Fla. 3. Cooking in Provence, France 4. Going wild in Las Vegas 5. Shopping in New York City 6. Spiritual renewal in Sedona, Ariz. 7. Surfing in Bali 8. Theater in London 9. Wine-sipping in Sonoma, Calif. 10. Yoga in Costa Rica

CRUISES

An excursion for real jet-setters

Forget trinket shopping and bus tours on your next cruise. Here's a shore excursion you can brag about: soaring 80,000 feet above the Earth in a Russian MIG military jet. Silversea Cruises offers the high-flying thrills on a three-day excursion from St. Petersburg, Russia. After flying to Moscow for a city tour, you go to Nizhny Novgorod, where, after training, you board the MIG with a test pilot for a one-hour flight. Then it's back to St. Petersburg by train. As souvenirs, you receive a flight suit, a film of your big day -- and a lighter wallet. The package price is $29,815. Call 800-722-9955 or go to silversea.com.

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[LOS ANGELES TIMES]

ONLINE

We want to see your best beach photos. Share them with us online at baltimoresun.com / bayphotos

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