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THE MATURE TRAVELER

Orchestrating a Move to Welk Resort

May 21, 1989|BILL HUGHES | Hughes is a 30-year veteran travel writer living in Sherman Oaks

Mature travelers, especially those on the high end of their 50s, should enjoy the Lawrence Welk Resort in northern San Diego County near Escondido.

The resort has grown in 25 years from a four-room motel and restaurant to a complex of more than 1,000 acres.

In addition to fine accommodations it has restaurants, shops, swimming pools and spas, tennis courts and two 18-hole golf courses.

There's also the Lawrence Welk Resort Theater, with a small museum of Welk memorabilia.

Several package plans are available, including the Theater Lovers Getaway of three days and two nights. It features a room, two breakfasts and an evening at the theater after a buffet dinner, all for $169 per person, double occupancy. "My Fair Lady" is playing through July 15.

There's also a $399 per person, double occupancy, plan for seven nights, including the theater and buffet, plus unlimited golf and tennis.

For more information, call toll-free (800) 932-9355 or (619) 749-3000.

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Within driving distance of the Welk resort are San Diego Wild Animal Park, Mission San Luis Rey and Mission San Diego de Alcala, many wineries, more than a dozen golf courses and San Diego Harbor.

There are also such diverse attractions as Mt. Palomar Observatory, the Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum in Vista, the old gold-mining town of Julian, plus the cities of Del Mar, La Jolla and San Diego, 30 miles southwest. For information, call the Escondido Visitors Bureau: (800) 848-3336.

Other hotels in the area have package plans. Carl and Angie Dizon of the American Budget Inn at Escondido offer a "Great Gorilla Getaway," which includes three days and two nights for $48.95 per person, double occupancy.

The package includes a room at the new inn, plus continental breakfast, admission to the Wild Animal Park and a monorail tour. In addition it has a dandy budget-priced golf package. For more information, call toll-free (800) 426-6071.

Escondido TraveLodge West also has a golfers' special at $52.50 a night, double occupancy. It includes greens fees at a choice of 10 area courses, plus daily breakfast. Call toll-free(800) 541-6012.

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For mature travelers who like cruising but who are prone to sea sickness, the old Highland Springs Resort offers a Cruise Weekend June 2-3 (repeated next fall). Normally a family resort, Highland Springs opens to mature travelers on those weekends.

The 900-acre resort offers entertainment, dancing, wine tasting, and tennis and other sports.

Facilities include three tennis courts, a large pool, a sauna and exercise room, paddle tennis, lawn games and three 18-hole golf courses nearby. A nine-hole par-3 is adjacent to the resort.

The Cruise Weekend starts at $137 per couple a night, including comfortable cottage or lodge accommodations, daily brunch and dinner and the entertainment.

Highland Springs is 88 miles east of Los Angeles in the Cherry Valley/Beaumont area, at the base of the San Gorgonio Mountains. For more information, call (213) 271-5505 or (714) 845-1151.

Also during the summer season, Highland Springs has a "Grandparents Special" for which grandparents pay full resort rates and their grandchildren (any age) get a discounted rate of $10 a night for lodging, meals and entertainment.

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Murrieta Hot Springs Resort and Spa in Temecula has joined the mainstream of resort life by adding meat and poultry to its menus (as well as wine and beer), although the previously all-vegetarian cuisine still is available.

The resort has 14 tennis courts, three swimming pools, access to a Robert Trent Jones-designed golf course, plus an array of spa, health and beauty programs. No new accommodations have been added, but older rooms have been renovated.

A good way to check out the resort is through one of the several midweek package plans. The three-day, two-night "Golf Getaway" provides accommodations, 36 holes of golf, a cart, two breakfasts, two saunas and 10% off optional spa and beauty treatments. It runs $124 per person, double occupancy.

There's also a similar midweek tennis program that offers unlimited court time, a half-hour lesson, breakfasts and saunas, plus the discounts, for $99 per person, double.

Spa programs are one to seven days, and provide a variety of options from the resort's 15 health and beauty services.

For more information, call toll-free (800) 458-4393. The resort is about a 90-minute drive south of Los Angeles, just off Interstate 15 north of Temecula.

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Kathleen Desmond MacLennan of Journeys Etc. provides some unusual tours for mature travelers who want an educational experience. Although not limited to mature travelers, most trips get a high percentage of them.

MacLennan works with professors and teachers of Los Angeles community colleges in setting up trips.

Some are exploratory visits or photography trips to places such as Yosemite, Death Valley and the Albuquerque hot-air festival. There's also a "New England inthe Fall" tour.

One trip, which departs June 25, is a 10-day natural history tour to the Gulf of California that includes seven days of sailing and snorkeling in the Sea of Cortez. It's led by Prof. Joseph Franz of Valley College.

The sailing, plus three nights on land, most meals and round-trip air fare, is included in the $1,195 price. For more information, call (213) 855-1335 or (213) 655-9549.

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