Susanne Lakin and her musician husband Lee Miller are opening a Cape Cod-style B&B on the ocean at Trinidad (about 50 miles below the Oregon border). This is noteworthy for a couple of reasons. First, because this is a newly built B&B. Second, the couple will be catering particularly to families with rates that'll be hard to beat: $75/$90 double, $5 extra for children up to age 16. Singles: $65/$80. The 5,000-square-foot home features ocean-view rooms, lofts for youngsters, a Jacuzzi. There's a children's play area with farm animals. Child care will be provided in the evening while parents dine out. Susanne and Lee came up with the idea for their B&B "out of frustration with not being able to enjoy a B&B while traveling with our own children." To get a fix on Trinidad, it's 22 miles north of Eureka, a short drive from the Arcata-Eureka Airport and only minutes from the redwoods. Guests will awaken to the barking of sea lions, home-baked breads, muffins, smoked salmon and quiches made with farm-fresh eggs and vegetables. At the sunset hour the hosts will serve cappuccino, wine, home-baked pastries.
Susanne Lakin and Lee Miller, The Lost Whale, 3452 Patrick's Point Drive, Trinidad, Calif. 95570. Telephone (707) 677-3425. Note: The inn opens May 1. Current number: (707) 677-3827.
Sonoma Valley Inns
Ira and Irene Greenspan of San Bernardino ask for recommendations for inns in Northern California's Sonoma Valley. We like Madrona Manor, a Victorian mansion (circa 1881) that rises on eight wooded acres outside Healdsburg. Twenty rooms, some with fireplaces. A swimming pool and an award-winning restaurant. Rates: $92.50/$135 double, including a full breakfast. In town try the Healdsburg Inn On The Plaza. Rooms with private baths, loads of antiques. Overlooks the town square. Rates: $65/$85 midweek, $85/$115 weekends (full breakfast).
Madrona Manor, 1001 Westside Road, Healdsburg, Calif. 95448. Telephone (707) 433-4231.
Healdsburg Inn On The Plaza, 116 Matheson St., Healdsburg, Calif. 95448. Telephone (707) 433-6991.
We continue to receive inquiries from readers about home exchanges. Lori Horne of San Francisco is a member of the world's biggest home exchange association. Listings in all 50 states, 30 countries. Home exchanges work particularly well for families with children. Enables exchangers to vacation at destinations they might otherwise be unable to afford. Exchange for a week or a month or even a weekend. Horne caters to singles, couples as well as families. She'll mail you a brochure: Lori Horne, International Home Exchange Service/INTERVAC, P.O. Box 3975, San Francisco 94119, or call (415) 435-3497.
Lake Como Villas
Tre Laghi Travel of Newport Beach will put you up in a villa on Italy's Lake Como for $500/$675 a week. July/August are nearly fully booked. Plenty of space still available for spring/fall months. Villas face the lake from the north shore village of Gera (about an hour by car from Lugano, St. Moritz). The same company books walking tours of the Italian Lake District (designed for "travelers who don't want to rough it"). Accommodations in luxury hotels. Time out for tennis, golf, riding, water skiing. Seven- and 10-night tours from $1,578. Twice-monthly departures from Lugano, May through September. Rates include accommodations, breakfast/dinner, taxes, gratuities.
Tre Laghi Travel, P.O. Box 9725, Newport Beach, Calif. 92658. Telephone (714) 723-4340.
England's Prettiest Village
Castle Combe has been described as England's prettiest village. Only 10 miles from Bath. It's the perfect spot for touring the Cotswolds, Stonehenge, Oxford, Winchester. (Hollywood chose Castle Combe for the home of "Dr. Doolittle".) Now you can vacation in the village's oldest home, the Old Courthouse, built in the early 1400s. Timbered, exposed oak beams, a winding staircase that leads to three upstairs bedrooms (one with an open fireplace, a four-poster bed). Ideal for three couples. Rents for $2,000 a week. Reduced rates between October/March. The Old Courthouse is one of the most photographed homes in Britain. Other cottages with gabled roofs line Water Lane.
Brochures from Jim Farmer, 120 Duane St., New York 10007.
London's Academy Hotel is offering price reductions for weekend guests. Regular rates: 58.50 single, 74.50 double. Stay a third day for 17.76. Originally the hotel consisted of two Georgian houses dating from 1770. A couple of years ago the owners refurbished everything, top to bottom. Central heating, color TV. Most rooms with showers. The bar remains open till 2 a.m. Only a short stroll to the British Museum, Russell Square. Buses, underground stations nearby.
Academy Hotel, 17-21 Gower St., London WC1E 6HG.