It's a showcase of natural beauty of the land adjacent to the crashing sea where visitors are tempted to stay forever. Anyone with the spirit of getaway adventure can discover how in "The Hiker's Hip Pocket Guide to the Mendocino Coast" by Bob Lorentzen. Both serious nature lover or casual looker should find it worth the price. Send $11.95 to the Grey Whale Inn, 615 N. Main St., Ft. Bragg, Calif. 95437.
"The Historic Hotels of London" by Wendy Arnold allows the reader to discover where to enjoy gracious living in the British capital. It's a compilation of 30 hotels the author considers outstanding for delightful furnishings, cuisine and personal attention. Large or small, opulent or eccentric, the selection tells about comfortable accommodations through beautiful color photography supported by explanatory text (Henry Holt: $11.95).
Although it's presented in tiring-to-read computer read-out text, "The Frequent Flyer Guide" by Kriss Hammond is a plethora of helpful suggestions and facts. A lot of money-saving tips. It's a tad high at $9.95, but the results could put you in first-class with a better menu and three extra belts of Black Label for nothing extra. You can qualify for a quick copy by adding $1.50 for handling and sending it to Hammon Publishing, 1220 3rd St., Spearfish, S.D. 57783.
Around 1849 the town was primarily a supply stop for those on the way to the Sierra gold fields. Faren Maree Bachelis' "Sacramento and the Gold Country" describes its flamboyant past and present. It's a fascinating and detailed source book, complete with maps of the area's rich history. Some go-see-and-do attractions are included, with enough restaurants and where-to-stay information to help you get the lay of the land (Pelican: $9.95).
Initially called Byzantium and then Constantinople, Istanbul is the only city in the world (with artifacts dating back to 13 BC) that stands on two continents. In the Blue Guide "Istanbul," John Freely has compiled its history in a many-faceted and comprehensive reference guide. (W. W. Norton: $18.95).
Beth Weinhouse's "The Healthy Traveler" is one of those indispensable guides to staying healthy away from home. It's also a good reference book that could be used around home. It contains a lot of watch-out-fors extending far beyond the don't-drink-the-water admonitions. For only $6.95, the Pocket Books Guide could make a happier vacation.
Robert Bone's "The Maverick Guide to New Zealand" offers almost all of the practical information you'll need to plan a trip. Besides lots of nitty-gritty observations, it touches upon bits of history, language, personalities. (Pelican: $11.95).
People whose bag is B&B will find the 550 pages in "Bed & Breakfast North America--A National Directory for B&B Travel" loaded with selections to keep them busy for a while. It has details from costs to amenities, including availability information for more than 10,000 accommodations. Norma Stephen Buzan compiled this comprehensive source book that includes sections on traveler's comments, tourism offices and much more. For $13.95 postpaid, you can get a copy from Betsy Ross Publications, 3057 Betsy Ross Drive, Bloomfield Hills, Mich. 48013.
If doing something really different on your next vacation would turn you on, get a copy of "Adventure Travel North America" by Pat Dickerman. She points out the many opportunities to enjoy life away from the routine. The many choices are described in detail, from costs, type of challenge, accommodations, whom to contact. There are enough color photos to make you want to pick up your suitcase and take off (Owl: $12.95).