Out of the mail comes an appealing giveaway, the "Official Alaska Vacation Planner." This is a slick, 108-page guide and it's free by writing to the Alaska Division of Tourism, Pouch E-803, Juneau, Alaska 99811. Contains maps, color photos, information on travel (air, sea, train, car), accommodations, camping, wilderness resorts. Capsule descriptions of dozens of destinations. If you're planning a trip to Alaska, write for a copy. This is the best state-produced travel guide we've come across in years.
London on the House
If you're on a budget, fly to London with British Airways and get up to three free nights in a hotel. BA makes the same offer for 17 other European destinations. The only stipulation: You must buy a full-fare ticket on BA--economy, business-class, first-class. Other cities participating in the program: Amsterdam, Brussels, Copenhagen, Cologne, Frankfurt, Geneva, Hamburg, Helsinki, Madrid, Marseilles, Munich, Nice, Paris, Rome, Stockholm, Vienna and Zurich.
France by Train
Bob Berthe of the French National Railroads says he'll mail you brochures about the 1986 Eurailpass, Eurail Youthpass, Eurail Saverpass, Eurailsaver and France Vacances Special. He'll provide other details on Franceshrinkers Tours (April 14-Oct. 17) to Normandy, Burgundy, Chartres, Versailles, the Loire Valley and Switzerland on the world's fastest trains. An English-speaking guide accompanies these tours. This is a particularly good deal for travelers on a tight schedule. You see a lot in a little time. Here's an example: Leave Paris at 9 o'clock in the morning, travel to Burgundy and you're back in Paris by early evening. The Burgundy trips will cost adults $92 or you can go for $58 if you're a Rail Pass holder. The overnight trip to Switzerland figures out to $298, or $230 for the Rail Pass holder. See your travel agent or contact Berthe c/o French National Railroads, 9465 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills 90212. Telephone (213) 272-7967.
In the Rocky Mountain states, Kate Peterson is the mother superior of the lodging game. She's prepared a long list of lodges, inns, B&Bs in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico. Does on-sight inspections. Publishes directories listing more than 600 accommodations. Rates from $37 for a B&B with a full breakfast near Breckenridge (cross-country skiing out the front door) to roomy condos (fully equipped kitchens) for up to eight skiers for $356 a night, which figures out to about $45 per person. Peterson also provides information on the proximity of accommodations to lifts, slopes. For copies of Peterson's directories, send a post card to B&B--Rocky Mountains, P.O. Box 804, Colorado Springs, Colo. 80901.
"What's Up Down South" is the title of a 72-page mini-book naming more than 500 celebrations in the South (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia). Town-by-town listings. Addresses, telephone numbers. A couple of examples: Elvis Presley's birthday week in January when crowds pay homage to the late king of rock 'n' roll in Memphis; the world-renowned Spoleto Festival in May that attracts thousands of visitors to Charleston, S.C. (Spoleto is the big arts shindig founded by composer Gian Carlo Menotti.) Features 100-plus performances within a two-week period (opera, chamber music, ballet, symphonies, theater). For copies of "What's Up Down South" mail $2 to Travel South U.S.A., 3400 Peachtree Road N.E., Atlanta, Ga. 30326.
The British have produced a new map that spotlights hundreds of stately homes in England, Scotland, Wales along with towns and popular hotels. (Tells how Keats and Byron were guests at the Burford Bridge Hotel at Box Hill and how Dickens was a regular in the bar at the White Horse in Dorking; Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton lived it up at the Ivy Bush Royal in Carmarthen, Wales.
Meanwhile, Britain's popular "Open To View" pass is good for admission to more than 500 castles, homes, gardens throughout Britain. Copies of the map are free from the British Tourist Authority, 612 S. Flower St., Los Angeles 90017. The "Open To View" ticket ($23) is sold by travel agents and BritRail Travel International.
Note: A 1986 calendar with scenic color pictures of Britain is on sale at British Gifts, P.O. Box 26558, Los Angeles 90026. The price: $7.25 including postage and handling plus 6.5% sales tax for California residents.
For the Record
In a column Nov. 3 I described my favorite small Paris hotel, the Saint Simon. Unfortunately the address came up wrong, so here is the correct number: Hotel Saint Simon, 14 Rue de Saint Simon, 75007 Paris, France. This is a 19th-Century gem just off Boulevard St. Germain. Expensive but worth every franc. Owner Goran Lindqvist spent a fortune restoring and refurbishing this three-story property. In my notebook, it's second to none in Paris' small hotel category. Filled with antiques, charm and good cheer.