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October 14, 1990|JERRY HULSE

If you're searching for trip ideas, this is a fine time to visit the wine country north of San Francisco. Leaves in the vineyards are turning. A blaze of color in both Napa and Sonoma Valleys. To assist travelers, the Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau has produced a 50-page guide that's packed with details on lodging, RV camping, restaurants, wineries (addresses/telephone numbers). Colors should last into November. Tour arrangements to watch the crushing of grapes can be made with individual wineries. The guide also contains a helpful map.

For copies, contact the Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau, 453 First St. East, Sonoma, Calif. 95476, (707) 996-1090.

For details on the Napa Valley harvest, write the Napa Valley Vintners Assn., P.O. Box 141, St. Helena, Calif. 94574, or call the association's hot line: (707) 963-1112. Other information from the Napa Valley Chamber of Commerce, 1556 First St., Napa, Calif. 94559, (707) 226-7455.

A Small Hotel: London travelers are discovering a small, newly renovated hotel near Harrods called The Beaufort that's a combination of a couple of old Victorian homes. Newly refurbished by Diana and Michael Wallis. Twenty-eight rooms with air conditioning. Loads of flowers, a pleasant dining room, a collection of videotapes, decanters of brandy, gift chocolates/shortbread. There's also a self-help bar (drinks on the house). Rates include breakfast, afternoon tea, cocktails, value-added tax: 160/220 (about $315/$433) per room.

The Beaufort Hotel, 33 Beaufort Gardens, London SW3 1PP, England.

Boston: If you're on a budget trip to Boston, consider Cambridge House, a B&B with rates starting at $49 single, $69 double. Six guest rooms. Some with four-posters, fireplaces. Trays of fresh-baked cookies, mulled cider, sherry. The proprietress says she serves a "mean breakfast" (omelets, strawberry crepes, Belgian waffles). This is a 100-year-old Victorian with a library/parlor. Classical recordings set the mood. Cambridge House has hosted guests from all 50 states, 40 countries. There's a subway station nearby for quick transportation into Boston.

Cambridge House Bed & Breakfast Inn, 2218 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, Mass. 02140. Telephone toll-free (800) 232-9989 or (617) 491-6300. (The inn is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.)

Baja Beat: Baja California Tours is scheduling a Christmas shopping tour Dec. 6 (two days/one night) from San Diego to Tijuana/Ensenada. The price sounds fair: $99 per person, double occupancy. Includes round-trip transportation between San Diego and Ensenada, accommodations, a continental breakfast, lunch, wine tasting, sightseeing. In Ensenada, the group will overnight at the Villa Fontana Hotel. Shopping both in Ensenada and Tijuana. Those arriving by train from Los Angeles will be met at the Amtrak station in San Diego at 9:05 a.m. for transfer to the motor coach. Arrangements can be made to reboard the train Dec. 7 in San Diego at 8:45 p.m. with arrival in Los Angeles at 11:45 p.m.

Contact Baja California Tours, 6986 La Jolla Blvd. 204, La Jolla 92037, (619) 454-7166.

New Zealand for Actives: A slick new 66-page magazine for outdoor types has been prepared by the New Zealand Tourist & Publicity Office. It's aimed at "lovers of wildlife" as well as skiers, rafters, boaters, bikers. A section on fishing lists more than three dozen outfitters. Other pages devoted to golf, tennis, "flightseeing," riding, four-wheel drive safaris, farm holidays. (Travelers have a choice of more than 1,500 farms--from dairy to deer farms.) Dozens of adventure packages, sporting lodges. A map pinpoints towns/villages on both the North/South islands. A dozen national parks are described as well.

Copies from the New Zealand Tourist & Publicity Office, 10960 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1530, Los Angeles 90024, (800) 388-5494 or (213) 477-8241.

Arizona Request: In reply to Donna Adams of Fontana, who asks for the address of "the Arizona B&B service that you published recently in the Travel Section," it's the Arizona Association of B&B Inns, 3661 N. Campbell Ave., Tucson, Ariz. 85719. For a brochure that lists each inn, send a stamped, self-addressed envelope. The 24-hour answering service is (602) 231-6777. Adams is particularly interested in Tucson. One of the properties listed in the association's free brochure is The Peppertree. Features a couple of Southwest-style guest houses (each with two bedrooms, bath, kitchen, private patio). These units sleep four. Rates: $109 per cottage. In the main house (a Territorial-days dwelling), rates are $59 single, $69 double. The Peppertree, 724 E. University Blvd., Tucson, Ariz. 85719.

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