TRAVEL Q&A

Going Fore Pebble Beach

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By Andrea Sachs
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, April 2, 2006

Q. Do you have suggestions on how to orchestrate a weekend trip to Pebble Beach without spending more than $3,000?

Tracy Turgeon, Silver Spring, Md.

A. With its stunning Pacific views and elite players, Pebble Beach is the darling of the golf world. "Pebble Beach is the mecca of golf courses. It is one of the top three or four courses in the United States," says Tim McDonald, national golf editor of GolfPublisher.com. "For golfers, it's a real feather in their cap." However, that feather doesn't come cheap.

Pebble Beach Resorts (800-654-9300, http://www.pebblebeach.com/ ), on California's Monterey Peninsula, owns the 18-hole Pebble Beach Golf Links, as well as three other courses, a trio of upscale hotels and a spa. A round on its star course costs $450 per resort guest (non-guests add on a $30 cart fee). Guests can book as far out as 18 months in advance, while non-guests can secure a tee time only 24 hours ahead. While equally esteemed, the resort's other courses are less expensive and have more flexible booking windows. For example, greens fees at the Links at Spanish Bay are $240 and drop to $105 at local favorite Del Monte.

For the full Pebble experience, you'll want to stay at the resort, but again, you'll need a trust fund. Nightly rates start at $535 at the Inn at Spanish Bay. A more economical option is to book a package; a current deal with two nights at the Inn at Spanish Bay and two rounds of golf starts at $1,725 per person double for one golfer.

To tamp down expenses even more, go municipal. Julie Armstrong, spokeswoman for the Monterey tourism office, recommends any of the area's 25 courses, especially Pacific Grove Golf Links (831-648-5777, http://www.ci.pg.ca.us/golf ; from $20), which she calls "the poor man's Pebble Beach." For lodging, the Monterey Plaza Hotel and Spa (800-368-2468, http://www.woodsidehotels.com/ ; from $220) is near the hustle of Cannery Row. Info: Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau, 888-221-1010, http://www.montereyinfo.org/ .

Do you have any information about cruising the Intracoastal Waterway?

Betty Spann, Charlottesville, Va.

For ocean-fearing cruisers, the Intracoastal Waterway lets boaters explore American waters without getting splashed by the Atlantic. The inland route technically runs from Boston to Brownsville, Tex., though many people define it as the patchwork of rivers, bays and canals that flows from Maine to South Florida. To confuse matters more, the waterway's name can change with the geography; for example, the Norfolk-Miami section is called the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. What's certain, though, is that the ICW is shallow. "Vast stretches of the waterway are about six to 12 feet deep. A cruise ship would hit bottom," says Ryan Stallings, managing editor of the Waterway Guide ( http://www.waterwayguide.com/ ). "You mainly see pleasure boats and smaller commercial traffic."

While city-size ships follow the ocean route, smaller vessels can navigate the inland waters. American Canadian Caribbean Line (800-556-7450, http://www.accl-smallships.com/ ), for example, offers two intracoastal trips on ships that sleep 84 or 100 passengers. Its 14-day voyage (from $3,070 per person double) travels between Warren, R.I., and Stuart, Fla.; the weeklong trip goes between Charleston, S.C., and Jacksonville, Fla. (from $1,535).

For a more intimate experience, you can also cruise a portion of the waterway on a chartered boat. Let's Go Cruising (410-263-1818, http://www.letsgocruising.com/ ) offers a three-day sail from Annapolis to Solomons Island on a 43-foot sailboat. Round-trip cost is $2,000 for up to 10 people, plus $200 to $250 a day for a captain. In Florida, Sunsail (866-894-SAIL, http://www.sailingflorida.com/ ) suggests a four-day sail from Anna Maria Island to Sanibel and Captiva islands; the one-way trip costs $2,400 for up to eight people, plus $750 for a captain who cooks.

We have a five-hour layover in Paris. What can we do near the airport and not miss our flight?

Bill Castillo, Odenton, Md.

Charles de Gaulle airport is about a 45-minute train ride from Paris, though it can take longer if the RER ticket line is long (save time by using coins). Since you need at least two hours for check-in and security, you basically will have enough time to snap a photo of Notre Dame, grab a croissant and cafe au lait, then dash back to the airport.

A less-risky alternative is to explore the airport. The facility's Web site ( http://www.aeroportsdeparis.fr/ ) offers ideas for layovers lasting one to four hours. For example, you can get a haircut and a massage, buy an Hermes scarf, dine at a brasserie and toast Paris with France's finest.

Send queries by e-mail (travelqa@ washpost.com), fax (202-912-3609) or U.S. mail (Travel Q&A, Washington Post Travel Section, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071). Include your name and home town.


© 2006 The Washington Post Company


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