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Rockville

Searching for Spring

SALLY SHIVNAN'S article ["Destination: Springtime in March," March 13] brought back memories of when I first fell in love with Hunting Island State Park in South Carolina's Low Country. Ever since discovering this pristine little oasis the summer of 1990, I had longed to return, and raved to friends about my "secret beach."

My homecoming finally arrived 14 years later with my wife on our fifth wedding anniversary, while staying close by at Beaufort's historic Rhett House Inn. After our walk along the park's subtropical trail to the water, with waves crashing right up to the magnificent forest, our 1-year-old daughter took her first reluctant steps into the ocean.

Even now, sound recordings I made on initial visits to the park's empty beach still take me back to this enchanting place.

John Marston

Arlington

Pining for Rome

A FRIEND'S daughter just sent me the article by Jerry V. Haines on the pines of Rome ["Pining Away for Old Rome," Oct. 10, 2004]. The best place to see the pines on the Janiculum is at the Villa Doria Pamphili, the large park "farther up the hill" from the Garibaldi park that Haines describes. Large umbrella pines are beautiful, gigantic and abundant -- they truly do justice to Respighi's romanticism.

When I am in Rome for an extended stay, I slip my Respighi tape into a Walkman and run through the park gazing up at the pines, moved by the music and my love of Rome. With apologies to Respighi and Haines, I have not been there late at night to hear nightingales as the park closes at sundown.

Pauline Dyson

Buffalo, N.Y.

San Francisco, Cont'd

I JUST want to add my two cents to the interactive map of San Francisco that you published online. I love to visit there and I live on a tight budget, but it is possible to do San Francisco on a shoestring -- well, sort of.

The best coffee is Pete's -- you'll find several in the city. I also like Pasquale's Pizza, by the San Francisco Zoo. And for $10 a person, you can take an hour's trip on the Bay, going under the Golden Gate Bridge and around Alcatraz Island. It is truly a memorable trip.

Thanks -- I am new to your Web site and I enjoyed reading the Travel section.

Dawn Mikeshin

Eureka, Calif.

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