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Going by the Book

April 06, 1986|DON JAMES | James is a Los Angeles free-lance writer.

David Brewster's observations and suggestions, with star ratings, are available in "1986 Northwest Best Places." It is well-defined coverage of where to eat and stay, plus tourism highlights in Washington, Oregon and British Columbia. The more than 1,200 listings include 250 first-time finds. The eight maps are general. While the few sketches are unnecessary, they are crisply above average. (Sasquatch: $12.95).

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Think you have most of the information? Then try "The Dolphin Guide to Hawaii" by Tom and Karen Horton. The few maps and photos add little to the text which, however, appears to be well-researched (Doubleday: $8.95).

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A traveler could miss a lot in Great Britain and Ireland without a copy of Egon Ronay's "Lucas Guide 1986." Posh to budget, it covers most hotels, inns and restaurants. The information is almost total and worth the $14.95 tab.

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It's described as "a book about good food, the restaurants that serve it, how it is prepared and where it comes from." Just browsing through "The Good Food Guide--1986," edited by Drew Smith, is a culinary adventure into more than 1,000 of the best restaurants in the British Isles. Seafood pancakes, smoked chicken and lamb rosemary are but a few of the delights described (Hodder & Stoughton: $19.95).

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Fielding's "Lewis & Clark Trail" by Gerald Olmsted and "Spanish Trails in the Southwest" by Lynn and Lawrence Foster are described as reliving-history guides. Both are above average in following the footsteps of trail-blazers. Excerpts from historical accounts highlight the texts. The "Spanish Trails" includes a smattering of travel tips such as where to stay, etc., while Olmsted's guide sticks to historical information (Morrow: $12.95 each).

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"Bed & Breakfast U.S.A." by Betty Rundback & Nancy Kramer is one of the more complete references. This 1986 edition lists 641 individual B&Bs plus 144 reservation organizations in the United States and Canada. It's concise, comprehensive and offers a wide range of information (Dutton: $9.95).

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A visit to the Middle East might be easier with "Getting By in Arabic" by Salah El-Ghobasy and Hilary Wise. It's a quick beginner's course for tourist or business travelers and includes words and phrases for meeting people, booking a room, ordering a meal, shopping, socializing, etc. The $2.95 tab is cheap for the varied information (Barrons).

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Barry and Hilda Anderson chose 25 lodging destinations and restaurants to help you enjoy an unusual experience in "Special Places in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia." The book offers an opportunity for the visitor to capture the best of each region. The text is good, the photos are generous and informative. It's $11.95 at most bookstores or by mail from Special Places, 391 S.E. Sycamore Creek Lane, Issaquah, Wash. 98027.

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If you're into hiking, especially through some really fine, wild and beautiful country, then "55 Ways to the Wilderness of Southcentral Alaska" by Helen Nienhueser and Nancy Simmerman will probably turn you on. It offers some exciting routes of exploration for wilderness-wise travelers or beginners. There are lots of maps, photos and detailed information for lengthy regional or half-day trips (Mountaineers Books: $9.95).

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"Hawaii" reveals, in fantastic color photos, the beauty of this island paradise. It allays the initial arrival through Honolulu's factory-ridden, smoke-choked airport corridor to the island chain of vacation fantasy. The text is not overwhelming but does provide interesting bits of information (Times Editions: $14.95).

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Frommer's "Swap & Go--Home Exchange Made Easy" ($10.95) by Albert & Verna Beerbower is basically a guide of travel advice. Addresses to tourist offices, consulates, airlines et al. take up about a third of the text. The exchange and rental information is limited but good for starters.

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"Woodland Walks in Britain" by Gerald Wilkinson is a beautiful hardcover textbook style compendium. The observations are in-depth and accentuated with more than 400 full-color photos, including maps and descriptions of 400 scenic walks (Holt, Rinehart & Winston: $19.95).

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Jim Yenckel's "Great Getaway Guide" is full of vacation ideas for the mid-Atlantic region. It's an excellent source to almost anything you might like to do or see, including where to stay or dine. Bargain hunters or those wanting to be pampered will find the guide excellent (Andrik: $6.95).

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"Work, Study, Travel Abroad--The Whole World Handbook 1986-87" by Marjorie Adoff Cohen could make daydreams a reality. It offers comprehensive advice on international living and touring. The Council on International Educational Exchange is responsible for its vast collection of information. It could open a new world for people 18 to 40ish, although some age exceptions have been made (St. Martin's: $7.95).

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"Las Vegas Access" by Richard Saul Wurman is a must to get the most from this 24-hour boom town. It's rightfully described as "a guide to the fine points of this neon desert." From cheap to expensive, where to stay, eat, plus how to play the games of chance. It also includes some cultural, historic and nearby "to-see" things that demonstrate the fun city's other half (Access Press: $6.95, illustrated).

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