Murray Yaeger, who operates a B&B in Kennebunkport, Me. (the summer home of President Bush), complains that business is poor due to publicity surrounding the President. Yaeger says: "A great many other inns and businesses are suffering because vacationers believe the town is crowded with tourists and it's just the opposite. On a recent holiday weekend we filled only one room out of seven for the entire three-day period. This is not a unique situation. As I drove around Kennebunkport I saw vacancy signs everywhere--large and small inns. It was, in fact, the most quiet weekend any of us can ever remember. With all the media talk about crowds and lack of available rooms, we are trying desperately to get the message out that we have rooms in our town this summer."
If you're headed for New England, contact Yaeger c/o Arundel Meadows Inn, P.O. Box 1129, Kennebunk, Me. 04043, (207) 985-3770. Rates: $70/$125.
Week's Best Buy
Three nights, four days at the Pointe Resort in Phoenix, Ariz., will cost only $140, including round-trip air from LAX, Ontario or San Diego, plus nightly cocktail parties and dining discounts. The package is called the Sunbelievable Holiday . Based on two persons sharing a suite. (Add $70 for single occupancy.)
For hotel reservations, call toll-free (800) 528-0428, then book air space by calling Southwest Airlines at (800) 531-5600. In Phoenix you have a choice of three mountain locations.
A handsome new guide published by the SouthWestern Oregon Visitors Assn. lists lodges/resorts, special events, historic sites, dining, state parks. The 48-page publication ($2) takes in Oregon's Cascade Route, the Lower Umpqua, the Rogue-to-Redwoods Drive, the Avenue of the Boulders, lumber mill tours, Zane Grey country, Crater Lake, Hellgate Canyon, Oregon Caves National Monument, Cape Blanco Lighthouse State Park, Cape Sebastian State Park, Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area, Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, Redwood Grove Nature Trail, Coos Bay, Gold Beach. Dozens of other attractions.
Write to SouthWestern Visitors Assn., 88 E. Stewart Ave., Medford, Ore. 97501.
South Seas Odyssey
Islands that inspired Herman Melville and Robert Louis Stevenson will be visited by the new passenger/cargo ship, the Aranui II, starting next January when the vessel goes into service from Tahiti. The ship will replace the original Aranui II with cruises to the Marquesas, the Tuamotus and the Society Islands. New stops at Rangiroa (world's largest atoll) and Bora Bora. Fares for the 17-day voyage will start at $2,350, including meals/land excursions. Swimming pool, sun deck, video room, library. Accommodations for 60 passengers. Cabins are air-conditioned. The old Aranui has gotten rave reviews. The owners look for a sellout with their new ship.
See your travel agent or contact Campagnie Polynesienne de Transport Maritime, Suite 2880, San Francisco 94105. Telephone (415) 541-0677.
A free 50-page catalogue on New Zealand features air/coach transportation, walking tours, flightseeing, fiord trips (including famed Milford Track in New Zealand's Fiordland National Park). Lists ideas for the Bay of Islands, Rotorua, Taupo, Wellington, Christchurch, Queenstown, Mt. Cook, Te Anau. Tells how to obtain a Kiwi air pass (good value for travel throughout New Zealand). Other details on coach passes, fly/drive plans, motorhome rentals. (Prices for motor homes start at $45 a day.) Trips to sheep stations, New Zealand's spectacular mountain ranges. River rafting, cruising, other ideas for Australia, Fiji, Tahiti.
For a copy, call toll-free (800) 468-2665.
A guide to lodging in Washington, D.C., lists dozens of hotels in three price categories: under $80, $81/$120, over $120. Other information on B&Bs, campgrounds, inns. For copies of the lodging guide, write to the Washington, D.C., Convention & Visitors Assn., 1212 New York Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20005.
In the high-rent district, rooms at the fashionable Jefferson Hotel are available through August for $125 a night (regular rates: $175/$260). This luxury property hosts national/international political leaders. Each room is individually decorated. Period antiques, excellent service. Only four blocks from the White House. Call your travel agent or write to The Jefferson, 16th and M streets N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036-3295. Or telephone toll-free (800) 368-5966.
There's a scarcity of hotel rooms in Paris this summer due to the French Bicentennial. One group, L'Horset Hotels of France, is putting up guests in 18th-Century Paris mansions. Rates from $63 to $108 per room, including tax/service charge. The $108 price is for lodging at Hotel Astor (circa 1890) near the Madeleine in the Champs Elysees. Rooms at Hotel Opera d'Antin (close to the Opera and Rue de Rivoli) are pegged at $79. In the Loire Valley this same company has a $52 rate at its newly opened Hotel La Valliere in Blois (near a number of the major chateaux).