Came across a marvelous country-style inn in Los Olivos the other day. The sort of place you'd expect to find in a village in France. Only far more luxurious. The manager is Alex Murphy who served for 17 years as general manager of the popular Salishan Lodge on the Oregon coast. While Murphy was at Salishan the lodge won 14 consecutive five-star awards from the Mobil Travel Guide people plus five diamonds from the AAA. The Los Olivos Grand (less than an hour beyond Santa Barbara in the Santa Ynez Valley) is one of those rare inns with a superb restaurant and rooms to match. On the expensive side but worth it. Rates: $150/$275. Los Olivos Grand Hotel: P.O. Box 526, Los Olivos, Calif. 93441, telephone (805) 688-7788. Another unusual inn in the same general area: The Ballard Inn, 2436 Baseline, Ballard, Calif. 93463 (rates start at $120), telephone (805) 688-7770. Note: Watch for a feature on Los Olivos and the Santa Ynez Valley in an upcoming issue of the Travel Section.
New York is making big plans for the Statue of Liberty unveiling. Parades, fireworks, concerts. A discount booklet containing more than 200 coupons is being given away free by the Department of Commerce. Bargains on hotels, restaurants, tourist attractions. They'll be good throughout the Liberty Centennial Year. Lots of two-for-one admissions. Mini-maps of New York's 11 vacation regions. Easy to carry in purse/pocket. Write for Liberty Passport, Box 992, Latham, N.Y. 12110.
It's called Lady Liberty's Melting Pot Tour--a ferry/bus trip that's offered Saturdays, 9 a.m. Features New York's ethnic neighborhoods. You meet at the entrance to the Staten Island Ferry for a ride past Liberty, Ellis Island. After this it's sightseeing in Chinatown, Little Italy, Little Ukraine. Other visits to a Hasidic Jewish Community, Little India (in Queens). Coffee served in Little Athens. Polish specialties during lunch. There's an afternoon swing through Harlem, a Spanish market, German Yorkville. Including lunch, you'll pay $38. Contact Guide Service of New York, 445 West 45th St., New York 10036, or telephone (212) 408-3332.
Hawaii Vacation Homes
This note from Adam Matthews of Playa del Rey: "We're thinking of renting or perhaps buying a vacation home in Hawaii. Any suggestions?" For rentals, write to Rob Dorman c/o Four Star Services, 310 Market St., Wailuku, Maui, Hawaii 96793. Your best bet for sales is Paul Kendall, 4309 Kilauea Ave., Honolulu 96816. Kendall's a longtime Hawaii resident. Familiar with all the islands. Specializes in homes, condos, estates (on the water, in the mountains, remote coastal/valley regions). Kendall will meet your flight, assist you on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, the Big Island, Molokai. Dozens of listings.
Traveler's Back Support
An orthopedist told me once that airplane seats are a nightmare for travelers with bad backs. Particularly the lower back. There's simply little support. Now there's an inflatable pillow you can get that molds itself to the lower back. It's sold by Travelers' Checklist, Cornwall Bridge Road, Sharon, Conn. 06069. Costs $19.95 plus $1.75 for shipping. When you're not traveling, the pillow can be deflated, carried in your pocket, handbag, briefcase. Meanwhile, a company in Massachusetts manufactures an inflatable travel pillow that fits around the shoulder, neck. One flared end tucks underneath the chin, the other behind the head. Provides plenty of support. It's called the Hedbed. This one also fits into a pocket, purse, briefcase. Sells for $9.95. Details from Talus, 661 Green St., Cambridge, Mass. 02139.
A Walk in Britain
With more than 100,000 miles of footpaths, Britain offers some of the best walking opportunities in the world. An outfit called Greenscape does guided tours from inn to inn. Takes in out-of-the-way hideaways, ancient castles, beaches, Roman ruins, gardens--"and an odd pub or two." About nine miles per day. Luggage is delivered ahead by van. (If you grow weary, you can always ride.) Maps provided for hikers who want to run off on their own. Meals and accommodations are included in the package. Teas and occasional picnic lunches. Areas include the Cotswolds, the North Devon Coast/Exmoor and the Southern Highlands of Scotland (visits to glens, lochs, mountains). Contact Greenscape c/o Travac Tours, 1275 Carling Ave., Ottawa, Ont. K1Z 7L3, Canada, or write directly to Greenscape, Amberley, Wickham Close, Wickhamford, Evesham, Worcs. WR11 6SE, England.
For the Record
Due to price hikes and a decline in the value of the dollar, rates published last Sunday for hotels/resorts in Positano, Italy, are being readjusted, according to hotel representatives in the Italian village. It has been suggested that vacationers contact their travel agents for the latest figures.