New England's Santaland
Sunday, July 9, 2006
Q. I'd like to spend Christmas in Vermont or New Hampshire at an inn with such traditional holiday activities as sleigh rides. I plan to go by train and not rent a car. Can you recommend any places?
Doris Cooney, Catonsville, Md.
A. Both states are lovely during the holidays, but unless you have a team of reindeer, it might be tough to access many of the inns and activities. "There are quite a few places that offer sleigh rides. The 'no car' piece really does limit it significantly," Jason Aldous, a spokesman of the Vermont Department of Tourism & Marketing, said by e-mail. "Vermont, quite frankly, is not a place where one can easily string together a lot of mass transportation."
Amtrak's Vermonter goes directly from the D.C. area to such Green Mountain State towns as Waterbury, Montpelier and Brattleboro. Travel to New Hampshire is more involved: You must switch trains in Boston or New York, and the train only goes to a handful of southern towns. Among the options:
* The Trapp Family Lodge (800-826-7000, http:/
* Mountain Top Inn & Resort (800-445-2100, http:/
* Activities at the Cortina Inn and Resort include ice skating and snowmobiling. The property's Christmas package features five nights' lodging, a sleigh ride and fruit cake. Depending on the time of your arrival, the Killington, Vt., inn can arrange a pickup at the Rutland station (15 minutes away) or will give you the number of a taxi service. Info: 800-451-6108, http:/
* In Woodstock, a 15- to 20-minute taxi ride from the White River Junction depot, pair a visit to the 1871 Billings Farm and Museum (802-457-2355, http:/
* In Exeter, N.H., the Around the Corner B&B (603-778-0058 http:/
We'd like to go to the Okavango Delta in Africa in late December/early January. Any ideas?
Laura Burns, Annapolis
For safari-goers in Botswana, Okavango Delta's got game -- lions, elephants, cheetahs, etc. "The Delta is known for three things: scenic beauty; remote, unspoiled wilderness; and a good concentration of wildlife," says Pierre Faber, who owns Classic Africa (888-227-8311, http:/
"There will be more driving between sightings," says Faber. "You won't see high-profile species every 10 minutes." Birders, though, will be in heaven, as migratory species return to their summer grounds to breed.
If you have limited time, Faber recommends dividing your time between two safari camps, to experience a larger swath of terrain. If you have more time, he says to pair Okavango with the Chobe safari area, known for its elephant population. Safaris are usually twice a day, in the early morning and late afternoon, and the majority of accommodations are cushy. Most places do not take direct reservations, so you will have to work with a travel specialist to create an itinerary. Classic Africa, for example, offers a seven-night safari that includes the Okavango Delta and Chobe area for $4,150 per person double. For info on Botswana: Botswana Tourism, http:/
Dave Collins of Cleveland offered another way to see Santa Barbara's wine country (June 25) -- on a Cloud Climbers Jeep Tours (805-965-6654, http:/
Send queries by e-mail (travelqa@wash post.com) or U.S. mail (Travel Q&A, Washington Post Travel Section, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071). Please include name and home town.