Actor Vincent Price sees spooky, rickety old houses wherever he travels in this country -- although not necessarily by choice, and not just around Halloween.

Having appeared in countless plays, TV shows and more than 100 movie roles as various weird or nasty characters, Price says that usually someone who has seen him in a thriller says: " 'You must come see your old home.' Obviously, it's a place where I've never lived but which could have been a set for one of my movies" -- generally the oldest, most run-down property "or a funeral parlor."

Price, on the road and working most of the time (making lecture tours between acting roles), says he never knows "what a vacation is or isn't." He has just returned from a cross-country trip speaking in museums on "food and art -- that's the story of my life . . . But in every town I try to make my time off pay off in relaxation by seeing the sights." Among his favorite places:

Venice: "I think it's the only standing movie set in the world. It looks like a set but there's something behind it: history and art." On his last visit he took a week of cooking lessons from cookbook author Marcella Hazan. "That combined everything I think a vacation should be -- eating and sightseeing."

San Francisco: "Because people live in the town and use it."

London: "Of all the foreign cities I like London most because, first, they speak English, and second, they're learning how to cook."