If you enjoy trains, particularly those in Europe, one of the fall season's best buys is a ticket offered by Lufthansa German Airlines. Only $49. Good for unlimited rail travel (nine days) in Germany/Austria. Covers a huge network and is good through next March 31. There's a catch, of course. You must fly round-trip to Europe with Lufthansa, but that's an experience. On a recent hop (LAX to Frankfurt) I rang the stewardess for a glass of water in the middle of the night; she responded in less than a minute (which has got to be a record of sorts). The plane was immaculately clean, the meals were superb (too often airline food can be rated on a scale with McDonald's or Burger King). But back to the rail pass: It's available with any fare, including reduced holiday prices going into effect Nov. 1. See your travel agent or ring up Lufthansa. The toll-free number is (800) 645-3880.
Cheap Car Rentals
If you're traveling on a budget, Rent-A-Wreck has produced a new rental directory. Lists more than 300 offices in 42 states (including Hawaii), Australia and the Dominican Republic. Plenty of low-cost used cars as well as new cars, trucks and vans. Rent-A-Wreck's used cars are available for as little as half the price of new cars at other agencies. The directory is free. Drop a card to Rent-A-Wreck of America, 10889 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1260, Los Angeles 90024. For toll-free reservation information in California dial (800) 535-1391. Outside the state call (800) 421-7253.
A letter from Mrs. Pat Paugh of McKinleyville in Northern California tells about "a true lover's hideaway" an hour by car outside Eureka, Calif. "It's on a mountaintop overlooking the ocean. Features French gourmet cooking and has hosts that treat you like royalty." There's more. "Totally secluded from the outside world, we shared our Swiss chalet with only the hosts and about 100,000 acres of surrounding wilderness. A brook ran right by our bedroom window. I can't say enough about the food, the congeniality, the ambiance of this romantic hideaway in the forested mountains of Northern California."
In case you're in the mood for a romantic weekend (or longer), contact Chalet de France, Star Route Box 20-A, Kneeland, Calif. 95549. Telephone (707) 443-6512 or (707) 444-3144. Rates (accommodations, all meals, beverages, activities) run $75 per person a day, or if you stick around for four days or longer it's $5 cheaper. They'll even arrange to pick you up at the airport in Eureka in a vintage automobile.
I'm on my way!
In a note from another reader, we're asked for the name of "a luxury hotel" in Washington, D.C. My vote goes to the little Jefferson (69 rooms, 35 suites). Only four blocks from the White House. This is where ex-Atty. Gen. William French Smith made his home in Washington. The Jefferson has played host to the Walter H. Annenbergs and the Caspar Weinbergers. Others: Vivien Leigh, Katherine Anne Porter, Leonard Bernstein, Helen Hayes, H. L. Mencken. Hostess is the charming director, Rose Narva, who supervised the recent renovation of the Jefferson. Our reader insisted on a "luxury hotel," so this one is on the expensive side, but worth it. Rates from $145/$235 single, $155/$255 double. Or there's a $270 double occupancy special for Friday/Saturday that includes a bottle of champagne, chocolates, cocktails, breakfasts. Address: 1200 16th St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036. For reservations telephone toll-free (800) 368-5966.
Skippers with private boats/yachts can have their vessels shipped to Cabo San Lucas soon by a company operating out of Newport Beach. A converted cargo carrier will accommodate 80 to 100 boats whose owners will fly to Cabo to meet them. Says Pete Maddox, vice president of Boat Shippers: "Traditionally, boat owners spend their vacations in the local marinas, cruising the harbor or going to Catalina. Few ever venture down to Cabo unless they enter a sailboat race and have a crew to return the boat up the coast. Now anyone with a vessel can fish for marlin in the Sea of Cortez." Prices for the round-trip shipping of boats start at $1,500. This same company plans to offer scraping/painting of hulls while boats are in transit. Details from Boat Shippers, 2505 W. Pacific Coast Highway, Suite 102, Newport Beach 92663. Telephone toll-free (800) 422-8778.
Teachers Home Swap