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Going by the Book

July 05, 1987|DON JAMES | James is a Los Angeles free-lance writer.

Even the generous advertising support in "Milepost--Alaska" adds to the excellent advice on traveling this state's many highways, including the 1,500-mile Alaska Highway from Dawson Creek to Fairbanks. The general information virtually furnishes all the answers, including vignettes of history, wildlife and much more. The large four-color fold-out map puts you right on target (Milepost: $14.95).

The gray, computer-text presentation is bland, but the hints, suggestions, etc., in "Europe Free," by David Shore and Patty Campbell, should inspire one to try an on-the-road vacation on the Continent. The guide explains how to get more for your dollar by using a van, car or RV. It's a nuts-and-bolts approach on how to lease, buy and sell a used car there with additional information on passports, sleep sites, security, directions, etc. Send $5.95 (plus 39 cents tax for California residents) to Shore/Campbell, 1437 Lucile Ave., Los Angeles 90026.

Most everything a visitor would want to know is furnished in "The American Guide to Britain," edited by Esmond Wright. Descriptions of towns, villages and nearby places of interest are supported by above-average color photos. Accommodations, special tours and feature articles, including area and town maps, are complete and informative (Salem House: $24.95).

Its unofficial nickname is Beantown, and it is famous for a tea party. Today it's better known as one of America's most visited cities, and you can discover why in "Uncommon Boston," by Susan Berk with Jill Bloom. The guide expertly takes you through a city filled with history, art and music. The food and grog suggestions are sufficient, but you'll have to look elsewhere for lodging information (Addison-Wesley: $7.95).

"Water Escapes--in the Northeast," by Betsy Wittman and Nancy Webster, would be a good companion for those intrigued by the nearness of the shore. From Maryland's eastern shore to Nova Scotia, you're guided past seacoast villages, lakes, rivers and geography dominated by water landscapes. There are lots of places to see, stay and eat. Side trips, too, are plentiful. (Wood Ponds: $12.95).

To fishermen, the whine of the reel as the catch heads for deep water is like a symphony. To help enjoy the same thrill, there are two new Rand McNally "camping for fishermen" publications--for "Western U.S. and Western Canada" and for "Eastern U.S. and Eastern Canada" ($5.95 each). Each guide describes more than 4,000 campgrounds.

"Wine Maps--The Complete Guide to Wineries, Restaurants and Lodgings in California Wine Country" will pique the interest of those who enjoy conviviality amid pleasant surroundings. It describes most of the available tasting and/or crushing-bottling facilities for all of California. The wineries' specialties, history, hours and locations are well-defined. It's a delightful compendium for only $4.95, or to help plan your tour right now, add $1.95 for handling and send to the Wine Spectator, Opera Plaza, Suite 2040, 601 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco 94102.

"The Private Gardens of England" by Penelope Hobhouse should interest anyone with a green thumb. Especially if you're vacationing in Great Britain and want to visit the available living works of art. More than 200 color and black-and-white photos offer a page-by-page stroll through manicured beauty (Harmony: $40).

Visitors to the Continent will be in for several surprises, i.e., making a phone call, doing laundry, finding a toilet plus a few more. "Travel Key Europe" by Peter B. Manston furnishes many answers. Most all the basics are well-covered, including "know-hows" to health care, holidays, security, customs and much more. It's an excellent 428-page guide of important and useful information (Travel Key: $9.95).

Here are two guides by Patricia Wilson that those who enjoy B&Bs will find worthwhile when visiting Canada: "The Ontario B&B Book" ($4.95) and "The Canadian B&B Book" ($7.95). The presentations are not flamboyant, but they do offer above-average information for many accommodations, plus their surrounding amenities (William Street).

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