If you're dreaming of a White Christmas, Colorado's little family-run San Juan Guest Ranch is planning another of its old-fashioned holiday celebrations. Carols by the fireplace, a lighted tree in each guest room. Ice skating on a pond, downhill and cross-country skiing, rides in a one-horse open sleigh. On Christmas Eve, St. Nick will show up with a gift for everyone, and on Christmas Day, hosts Scott and Pat MacTiernan and Cheryl Bennett will serve a huge turkey dinner. The price for the entire Sunday-to-Saturday package (Dec. 20-26) is $550, including free airport pickup.
The San Juan Guest Ranch, 2882 Highway 23, Ridgway, Colo. 81432. Telephone (303) 626-5360. (Note: The San Juan was featured in the Travel Section last spring.)
Meanwhile, Vista Verde Ranch near Steamboat Springs will be welcoming other holiday guests. Both downhill and cross-country skiing. For non-skiers the ranch offers snowshoeing, sleigh rides. Guests are bedded down in log cabins with kitchens, fireplaces. Wine and cheese are served each afternoon by hosts Frank and Winton Brophy, a couple of transplanted Easterners. (If you're an adventurous soul, Brophy does overnight tours to a snow cave.) Rates: $95 a day per cabin (regular season), $150 a day during the holidays. The Brophys charge an extra $25 per person for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Vista Verde Guest & Ski Touring Ranch, Box 465, Steamboat Springs, Colo. 80447. Telephone (303) 879-3858.
Skier R. J. Phillips of Sherman Oaks wants the name of a B&B at Lake Tahoe. We've got a lead on a place that looks like a transplant straight out of Bavaria. It's a chalet-style inn with five guest rooms, each with private bath and balcony. Only $60 a night (two-night minimum) between now and Jan. 1, plus 7% tax. After New Year's the price will be hiked 10 bucks a night. Owners Wolfgang and Annalise Zimmerman serve a Bavarian breakfast (cold cuts, cheeses, cakes, rolls, coffee).
The inn is on the North Shore of Tahoe. About five minutes from the lifts at Incline Village and Mt. Rose. Shuttle buses serve Heavenly Valley, Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows.
If you can't make it to Europe's ski slopes this winter, the Zimmermans will be serving gobs of Old World atmosphere at Tahoe.
Haus Bavaria, P.O. Box 3308, Incline Village, Nev. 89450. Telephone (702) 831-6122.
Here's an opportunity for teachers to exchange houses. An across-the-board swap. Territories take in the United States, Canada, the Virgin Islands, New Zealand, Australia, Europe. Choose a spot and swap with another teacher. It's as simple as that. Or there's a B&B deal. You host a teacher in your home and later that teacher hosts you. Names, addresses and pertinent information are included in a directory. Costs $30 to be listed and receive a copy. Or you can buy the directory for $25.
For details: Teacher Swap, Box 4130, Rocky Point, N.Y. 11778. Telephone (516) 744-6403.
Ask a kaamaina (an old-time Hawaiian) to name the best restaurant in the Islands and nine out of 10 will answer The Willows. This is an award-winning restaurant in a residential neighborhood not far from Waikiki. Owner Randy Lee, a sixth-generation Hawaiian and former manager of Oahu's Halekulani Hotel, plays host along with his wife Sunny, daughter Lori and sons Jon and Michael.
There was a time when dining in Hawaii meant Island atmosphere. This was before so many restaurants substituted Hawaiian music for rock 'n' roll and island fare for steak and lobster. At the Willows the music is pure Hawaiian, with a menu that brings to mind Hawaii before Matson stopped calling at Aloha Tower. Everything from lau lau and lomi-lomi salmon to chicken luau. Sunday brunch ($15.95) features 60 items prepared by chef Kusuma Cooray. What with a Hawaiian trio providing Island melodies, The Willows is popular with romantics.
The Willows: 901 Hausten St., telephone (808) 946-4808. Open seven days a week. Lunch served 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., dinner from 5 to 9:30 p.m. and Sunday brunch beginning at 10 a.m.
A Letter From Ireland
Author Allen Drury sends along this note: "For those planning to visit Ireland's charming capital, I'd like to recommend a most delightful bed and breakfast in the Georgian section of Dublin, a short distance from the city center: Ariel House, 52 Lansdowne Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4. Under the skilled and most pleasant management of Michael and Marese O'Brien, Ariel House provides extra large, comfortable rooms, a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, and easy access to Dublin's many interesting tourist sites. Full breakfast is provided and special meals may be arranged on request. Prices are reasonable--twin or double with private bath and full Irish breakfast, 25 per person; single with private bath and full breakfast, 35.