A couple of hours south of the border, Nancy Murray is renting one- and two-bedroom vacation condos on the beach again this year. This is near Ensenada. Fully furnished. TVs, microwaves, barbecues. A gated entrance with a security guard. Tennis, riding nearby. Faces Todos Santos Bay. Reasonable rates: $64.50/$100 a night. Stay a week and you get a 10% discount. (Cheaper rates in the off-season.)
Contact Nancy Murray c/o Mexico House Vacation Rentals, P.O. Box 970, Del Mar, Calif. 92014. Telephone (619) 481-6099. MasterCard and Visa accepted.
Overseas Message Center
A note from Mindy Sharp of Camarillo tells how to contact family members, business associates while you're in Europe. "I have used the services of Euraide and intend to do so again this summer. They offer an answering service where friends in the United States can leave messages. This service is available for $15 a week, $49 per month. We found it reassuring to be able to receive messages from elderly parents while we traveled. The staff answering the phone in Europe was always courteous. They became almost like friends, asking, 'How are you today, Mindy?' when I called daily to collect messages."
Here's how it works: Contacts in the United States dial Euraide and leave a message. If the staff is busy, the message is recorded. Later, when you call Euraide (wherever you are in Europe), your messages are read to you over the phone.
Euraide, P.O. Box 2375, Naperville, Ill. 60565.
Mrs. Lola Kastner of Oceanside writes: "Island Romance is a service operated by Nancy Russell of Catalina who puts together weddings and receptions at outdoor locations, makes all the arrangements. I was married there recently and it was wonderful."
Island Romance books your trip to Catalina, helps obtain the wedding license, lodging, refreshments. Even furnishes the minister (Russell's husband). Buena Vista Point (faces the Pacific) is a popular site for weddings. Near the old Wrigley Mansion (now known as the Inn at Mount Ada). Package rates for under $500.
Contact Russell c/o Island Romance, P.O. Box 2096, Avalon 90704. Telephone (213) 510-2096.
For train buffs there's a whiz of a trip between Denver and Salt Lake City aboard Amtrak's California Zephyr Superliner. This is a six-day package starting with three nights at the Denver Inn, including a sightseeing tour of Rocky Mountain National Park. After this you board Amtrak for a stunning trip over the Continental Divide (wilderness canyons, white-water rivers). In Salt Lake City the group goes sightseeing by motor coach, attends a performance of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Then it's back to Los Angeles by jet. Price: $599. Contact Jeff Boyd, Los Coyotes Travel, 8350 Los Coyotes Drive, Buena Park 90621, or call toll-free (800) 346-4317.
Meanwhile, Classic Rail Travel is preparing to kick off its private "dinner train" during the racing season at Del Mar on Saturdays/Sundays. The $89.50 price includes the round-trip journey between Los Angeles and/or Fullerton, transfers to the track in Del Mar, admission to the Turf Club and dinner/entertainment on the train returning home.
Contact Frank Sano c/o Classic Rail Travel, P.O. Box 6102, Laguna Niguel 92677. Call (714) 495-6314.
Privacy in New York
New York is heavily into the B&B business. Now comes Abode Bed & Breakfast with dozens of listings (both in Manhattan and residential neighborhoods). Rates start at $45 single, $50 double. A continental breakfast is included. Entire apartments (no hosts) range from $75 to $200 with a two-night minimum. Abode's Shelli Leifer checks out properties personally. Promises the "highest standard of cleanliness." Units available for nonsmokers. Leifer says her prices are up to 50% less than comparable hotel accommodations.
Abode Bed & Breakfast Ltd., P.O. Box 20022, New York 10028.
On Foot in Britain
The Wayfarers is a walking club in Britain. Focuses on Cornwall/Devon, the Cotswolds, Yorkshire and the Lake Region. There's even a new Scottish border walk that retraces the steps of Sir Walter Scott. The Wayfarers follows a network of old country lanes through James Herriot's Yorkshire, looks in on border castles of Wales, Thomas Hardy's Dorset. Green hills, peaceful forests, sleepy villages, lively pubs. Hikers do about 10 miles a day. Nights are spent in thatched cottages, hotels, inns. Meals feature full English breakfasts, pub lunches, home-cooked dinners. No worries over backpacks. Luggage is transported, inn to inn.
Brochures from the Wayfarers, 166 Thomas St., Newport, R.I. 02840, or telephone (401) 849-5087.