If you want to do Britain in style, rent yourself a castle, manor home or cottage in England, Scotland or Wales. High on the list is a castle built by William the Conqueror. Or there's a 15th-Century home that belonged to Sir Walter Scott. Rates for castles, homes, cottages start at about $475 U.S. a week. Busby House near Stokesley in North Yorkshire ($460 and up) is a rambling old two-story farmhouse with stunning views of gardens, hills, pastures. It even has a river running through the property.
Castle/cottage/manor homes accommodate three to six persons. This is a particularly good plan for families. Catalogues listing hundreds of properties are available for $3 to $5 from British Travel Associates, P.O. Box 299, Elkton, Va. 22827. Telephone toll-free (800) 327-6097.
Jamaica Villa Vacations has produced a honeymoon package for newlyweds. Features seven nights in a private villa (swimming pool, cook, maid, gardener), a rental car, lunch at The Ruins restaurant in Ocho Rios. The price: $1,050. Smaller villas/condos available, starting at $855 per couple a week. A wide choice of properties in several of Jamaica's popular resort areas (Negril, Montego Bay, Discovery Bay, Ocho Rios, Port Antonio).
Jamaica Villa Vacations, 31-33 S. Prospect, Park Ridge, Ill. 60068. Call toll-free (800) 323-5115. Ask about in-season/off-season rates.
Small Luxury Hotel
Businessmen and vacationers are being steered to a new luxury hotel in downtown Sacramento called The Sterling. A dozen rooms with marble baths, private Jacuzzis. Quality furniture by Henredon and Century, a four-star restaurant (entrees include roasted quail with grapes and black currants, sweetbreads in a wine sauce, pork tenderloin in filo dough with plum sauce, duck with mushroom and pork sauce, veal with mushrooms, rack of lamb). A conservatory shipped from England serves as headquarters for business functions, receptions, weddings in this former private mansion. A charming 12-room hotel with a strict no-smoking rule. The Sterling is within walking distance of the State Capitol.
The Sterling Hotel, 1300 H. St., Sacramento, Calif. 95814. Telephone (916) 448-1300. Rates: $95/$225.
Home exchanges for disabled travelers and their families are being arranged through a New York organization called Access. Trades in the United States, Canada, Britain, Europe. Exchanges are made for any period of time agreed on by both parties. A week, a month or more. Access also arranges tours, individual/group travel packages. Suggests airlines with low fares for the handicapped.
Details from Access: The Foundation for Accessibility by the Disabled, P.O. Box 356, Malverne, N.Y. 11565. Call (516) 887-5684.
The Grape Route
More than 500 wineries are listed in the new edition of "The Wine Spectator's Wine Country Guide to California." Provides addresses, business hours, along with information on hotels, inns, B&Bs, restaurants, picnic areas. Regions covered in this 128-page publication (with maps) are Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino and Lake counties; San Francisco; Monterey; the South Central Coast; Southern California; the Central Valley, and the Sierra Foothills. Sold in wine shops/bookstores or by contacting The Wine Spectator's Wine Country Guide, Order Department, 601 Van Ness Ave., Suite 2014, San Francisco 94102. Price: $7.27 in California (including tax, mailing), $6.95 outside the state.
Riding the Rails
A five-page list of Europe's rail passes is being mailed to travelers by the European Travel Commission. Contains rates for Eurailpasses plus regional passes in the Benelux and Scandinavian countries, and national passes in 17 European countries. Also listed are discounts for children, students, senior citizens. Prices are in U.S. dollars. Countries include Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, West Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland. Among the good buys is eight days of rail or bus travel in Ireland for only $74.50.
For a free copy with price lists, send a stamped (25 cents), self-addressed envelope to European Rail Passes, P.O. Box 1754, New York 10185.