Q My sixth-grade class is planning a trip for May. Wherever we go has to tie in to what we are studying: ancient civilizations (including indigenous peoples), the human body and earth science. Are there places in the United States where we can learn about any of these subjects and have fun, too?
A The Four Corners region, where Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah meet, offers many sites related to indigenous peoples and archaeology. Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado, with its cliff dwellings of the ancient Pueblos, is the most famous site.
Mesa Verde Co. (800-449-2288, www.visitmesaverde.com) offers a five-day package that includes lodging, guided tours of the park's cliff dwellings and the Ute Valley Tribal Park, and admission to the interactive program at the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center for $298 per person. Your class, depending on its size, may also qualify for group rates. Fly into Durango, Colo., about a half-hour east of the park; American Airlines offers round-trip fares of about $350 from BWI and may offer cheaper group rates.
Also, a travel agency devoted to educational school trips may be able to put together a custom tour. Try Julian Tours (703-379-2300, www.juliantours.com) or EF Tours (888-503-2323, www.eftours.com).
My family is planning on visiting Sweden next summer, with Stockholm our preferred destination. Is there a travel agency in the D.C. area that specializes in Scandinavian travel?
Just about any travel agency could book a tour to Stockholm. Finding one that specializes is more important when traveling to an out-of-the-way or exotic destination, or when several destinations are being combined into one trip.
Several agencies in the United States specialize in Scandinavia, although I couldn't locate one in the D.C. region. Scandinavian American World Tours (800-545-2204, www.scandinaviantravel.com) in Cranbury, N.J., offers a Stockholm hotel package starting at $106 per family of four per night during summer. Other agencies include Borton Overseas (800-843-0602, www.bortonoverseas) and Scan Tours (800-223-7226, www.scantours.com). For more choices: Swedish Travel and Tourism Council, 212-885-9700, www.gosweden.org.
Do you know of a good ski school that teaches cross-country skiing in the United States or Canada?
If you're interested in a "woman's week," Ski for Yourself camps promise to "energize your body and enliven your spirit" while offering about 4 1/2 hours of daily cross-country ski instruction. The camps will be held in three locations: Latigo Ranch in Kremmling, Colo., Dec. 12-15; the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vt., Jan. 23-26; and the Waterville Valley Resort in New Hampshire, Feb. 6-9. Prices range from $695 per person double at Waterville Valley to $1,255 single in Stowe; meals, accommodations and clinic included. Info: 303-499-0436, www.ski4yourself.com.
If you'd rather go it alone, White Grass (304-866-4114, www.whitegrass.com) in West Virginia's Canaan Valley is the closest large cross-country area, offering 30 miles of trails, 15 of them groomed; lessons are also offered. New England has dozens of Nordic centers that offer extensive trails and lessons, including Craftsbury Outdoor Center (802-586-7767, www.craftsbury.com) in northern Vermont and the Jackson Ski Touring Foundation (800-927-6697, www.jacksonxc.org) in New Hampshire's White Mountains. In Quebec, Canada, Mont-Sainte-Anne offers 140 miles of groomed trails, lessons and seven heated shelters along the trails, three with lodging facilities (800-463-1568, www.mont-sainte-anne.com).
And if you'd rather go west, Washington's Methow Valley offers 150 miles of connected groomed trails encompassing three separate areas (509-996-3287, www.mvsta.com).
Bill Lansinger of Gaithersburg has visited Mauritius eight times, and says it's worth the long flight (Travel Q&A, Oct. 13). "I highly recommend the Shandrani resort, which is a few miles from the airport, or Le Saint Geran resort, which is on the other side of the island," he said. "Both are great and have many amenities." Lansinger also warns that "roads in Mauritius are terrible, so it's not a good idea to plan to drive a distance unless you have plenty of time."
Rooms at the Shandrani (www.beachcomber-hotels.com) start at about $268 for two per night, including two meals. Rates at Le Saint Geran (800-223-6800, www.saintgeran.com) start at about $744 for two per night, including two meals.
Suzanne Dove and Miguel Garcia of Annandale say the Reef Retreat Hotel in Palm Cove, Australia, about 20 minutes north of Cairns, is a good choice for those who want to snorkel or dive the Great Barrier Reef (Travel Q&A, Oct. 27). They paid $80 a night in May for a spa suite with an ocean view and a fully equipped kitchenette. Info: fax 011-61-7-4059-1745, www.reefretreat.com.au.
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