Although it's summertime, here are a couple of fall/Christmas packages that are bound to book up fast. The destination: just down the road from the old mining town of Ouray, Colo. Known to visitors as America's "Little Switzerland." Magnificent mountains. Stunning waterfalls.
A couple of fall foliage photo workshops are scheduled for Sept. 20/27, Sept. 27/Oct. 5 at the scenic little San Juan Guest Ranch. Taught by nationally known outdoor photographer Charles Dreaner. Open to both amateurs and professionals. None of those tedious indoor lectures. Dreaner takes his groups into the mountains, meadows, along rivers and streams. Both by horseback and Jeep.
This same guest ranch will be the setting for an old-fashioned Christmas holiday Dec. 21-28. Guests will go riding in a one-horse open sleigh. There'll be downhill and cross-country skiing, ice skating on a pond just outside the ranch house. On Christmas Eve St. Nick will come calling with gifts for the guests (carols sung by the fireplace). This family-run ranch will feature a huge turkey dinner on Christmas Day.
The San Juan Guest Ranch is not a resort with Pac Man games and pinball machines. Just wholesome atmosphere. Both the photo session and the Christmas package figure out to the same price: $500 a week for accommodations, meals, activities--or less than $72 a day for the works. Contact Scott MacTiernan, San Juan Guest Ranch, 2882 Highway 23, Ridgway, Colo. 81432, or telephone (303) 626-5360.
Modeled after Spain's paradores , a series of country inns is welcoming guests in Puerto Rico. The newest is Parador Boquemar (41 rooms) in Boqueron and Perador Perichi (15 rooms) in Joyuda between Cabo Rojo and Mayaguez on Puerto Rico's southwestern coast. Reasonable rates: $31/$50 at Boquemar, $35/$39 at Perichi. This brings Puerto Rico's lineup of paradores to an even dozen. Located both in the mountains and along the seashore. Villa Esperanza, also newly opened, features 50 rooms on the island of Vieques. Sailing, water skiing, surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving. There is a central reservation number for all of Puerto Rico's paradores , (809) 721-2400. Other details from the Puerto Rico Tourism Co., 1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York 10104. Telephone (212) 541-6630.
There's a country inn in Vermont I've been hearing good things about. Operated by a husband/wife team, Charlie and Deedie Marble, in the little village of Ludlow. About a three-hour drive out of Boston. This is a former governor's mansion (circa 1890). Eight guest rooms furnished with family heirlooms, four-poster brass beds. Plenty of highly polished oak. A slate fireplace and an old Crawford wood-burner. Charlie is said to create wonderful breakfasts. Tells funny stories.
Deedie, an ex-artist, does dinners (they've gained her a reputation throughout New England). Oysters Newburg, bluefish flambe with gin, steak Diane, scallops and crab meat in a Burgundy sauce. No frozen ingredients. Instead, Deedie uses locally grown vegetables, berries.
Meals are served by waitresses in mobcaps and pinafores. The rates are $65 per person (double occupancy) including a six-course dinner and a full country breakfast. I'm planning a visit to Vermont, so you'll be reading more about this unusual inn. Address: The Governor's Inn, 86 Main St., Ludlow, Vt. 05149, or telephone (802) 228-8830.
Innkeepers in Northern California have published a new map/guide. Directs travelers to about 100 B&Bs, Monterey to Humboldt County. Some are top-notch. Others only so-so. One thing I find irritating about this guide is the absence of prices in some instances. In all cases, though, there are telephone numbers, but this means a toll call. Even so, the guide could come in handy if you're planning a trip north. For a copy send $1 and a stamped, self-addressed envelope to BBLNC, P.O. Box 766, Calistoga, Calif. 94515.
Close to Home
In Long Beach, The Breakers Hotel is producing a $99 package for two adults that includes accommodations and two round-trip tickets to Avalon with Catalina Cruises. (As a bonus, the room may be occupied by another couple or two children at no extra charge.) Offer is good through September. The Breakers overlooks Long Beach Harbor and is next door to the Long Beach Convention Center. See your travel agent or contact The Breakers Hotel, 210 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach 90802, or telephone (213) 432-8781.
A couple of handy guides have been produced by the State Department of Parks and Recreation. One is a 24x36-inch map/folder spotlighting 225 state parks. Contains descriptions of each park, phone numbers, visitors' services, recreation opportunities including boating, camping. Sells at state parks for $1 or you may mail for a copy to: Publications, Department of Parks and Recreation, P.O. Box 942896, Sacramento 94296-0838. Same people are mailing a guide ($6) listing 951 registered historic landmarks.