For D. N. of La Mirada who asks for the name of an inn at Rockport, Mass. We've had good reports about The Old Farm Inn at Halibut Point. This is in Rockport's Pigeon Cove area. An old two-story red farmhouse with beam ceiling, set on five grassy acres with picnic tables, surrounded by trees, filled with country antiques. Dates from 1799. Features "warm throws to snuggle under while reading or napping."
Proprietors John and Mabel Balzarini encourage guests to "kick off your shoes and relax." Views nearby of Ipswich Bay and sunsets from Folly Cove. Guests walk the road to downtown Rockport.
The Old Farm Inn, 291 Granite St., Rockport, Mass. 01966. Telephone (617) 546-3237. Season rates: $53/$95, including continental breakfast.
Tale of 10 Cities
British Airways has packaged a fall/winter program at a 50% discount on a two-city vacation. For as little as $142 per person (double occupancy) the package will get you three nights in a London hotel and three nights in one of the following cities: Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Dublin, Edinburgh, Madrid, Paris, Rome, Vienna or Zurich plus round-trip air between London and the destination of your choice. This plus sightseeing, airport transfers, continental breakfasts, hotel service charges and taxes. Offer good Nov. 1 through March 31. (Dates must be booked before Nov. 1.)
During the off-season BA is also offering budget day tours from London to Windsor and Runnymeade (or Hampton Court) for $15, to Stratford and Oxford for $30. Or you can do an overnight tour to Stratford for $135 per person (double occupancy) that includes hotel, dinner and tickets to the Royal Shakespeare Theater. In Spain: A full-day sightseeing tour between Madrid and Toledo ($32) includes lunch. In Belgium: A day-long tour from Brussels to Ghent and Bruges ($17).
See your travel agent or call BA toll-free at (800) AIRWAYS. At the same time ask about the five-day car/drive trips through Britain (rates starting at $224 per person) using Trusthouse Forte hotels throughout.
Romantics (any age) will enjoy the Miramar restaurant in Acapulco. Overlooks the bay not far from Hotel Las Brisas. Stunning views. Because of the elevation, the Miramar is comfortable even during the hot summer months. An impressive menu: shrimp mousse, smoked salmon, coconut-flavored ceviche, escargot , chilled soups, quail, lobster, veal, espresso, cappuccino . In downtown Acapulco my vote goes to Restaurant Villa Demos (Ave. Del Prado No. 6), another option for romantics. Outdoor dining under the stars. A perfect choice on a moonlit night. Try the spaghetti carbonara or the fettuccine ciociara . Cabbies know Villa Demos (just down the street from Acapulco's famous Villa Vera resort).
Doug Vieyra, proprietor of the quiet little Chalet de France in Northern California, tells us he now arranges weddings at this mountaintop retreat. The chalet--it's off in the boonies--gets lots of honeymooners. Only two guest rooms with a shared bath. Rustic, peaceful. "No noise save for the whisper of the wind," says Vieyra. The parlor contains a stack of 78 r.p.m. records spun on a 1917 Edison gramophone. Guests play darts, croquet, horseshoes. Deer graze in the meadow. There's fishing, picnicking, hiking, bicycling. During summer, guests swim in a pond. The menu at Chalet de France features country French cuisine. Vieyra describes the life style at Chalet de France as "casual and unpretentious, laced with intellect and a sense of good humor."
Chalet de France: Star Route Box 20-A, Kneeland, Calif. 95549. Telephone (707) 443-6512 or (707) 444-3144. American plan rates (room, meals, beverages): $85 per person (two to three days), $85 per guest (four or more days). Note: The chalet reopens Nov. 5.
A Letter From Paris
Emmanuel Legrand, a former dentist, is the proprietor of Hotel du Leman, 20 Rue de Treverse, 75009 Paris. "I chose the hotel trade," says Legrand, "because of the human contacts." (Besides, it's more enjoyable, we suspect, than pulling teeth.) Legrand says he and his wife know "all our guests by their names" and offer "small attentions" seldom enjoyed at bigger hotels. Only 24 rooms. Telephones, mini bars, stereos, color TV, videos with free films. "Our most expensive room costs approximately $100," Legrand says. Location: 10 minutes by foot from the Paris Opera House, five minutes from Galeries Lafayette.
For the Record
A recent reader recommendation from Patricia and Mack Burke of La Mesa told of two restaurants in Florence Italy that were inadvertently listed as hotels in the Tips column. We regret this error. The Burke recommendations were for Restaurant Buca Lapi, Via del Trebbio 1, and Restaurant Paoli, Via Tavolina 12.