Current travel deals too good a deal to pass up

Let’s face it, we all have too much stuff in our closets and drawers. So this holiday season, perhaps giving an experience is the way to go. I’ve been watching for special deals because getting the most for your money is important. That means that traveling off-season can be a good idea. You’ll get real value and have a good time, too. The crowds are gone, the pace is more leisurely and hotel/motel/B&B rates are down.
You’ll get all this if you visit Mendocino County between now and April 1. You won’t find prettier coastline or inland scenery, and if you enjoy vineyard hopping, Mendocino County has some of the best wineries in the state. Here are a couple of the area’s deals:
— Fort Bragg: The Country Inn offers two nights, two passes to the Candlelight Inn Tour and dinner for two at the Mendo Bistro for $265 (that’s for two). Without dinner and tour: $55 per night through February. (800) 831-5327 or visit
— Mendocino Village: The Headlands Inn, a beautiful New England Victorian saltbox home by the sea, offers Annie’s Room for $99, or stay three nights and get a fourth free. All rooms have reduced rates Sunday through Thursday through April. (800) 354-4431 or visit
To see all that Mendocino County offers, visit
Girls just wanna have fun
If you’ve got gal pals and want to plan a vacation together, “Best Girlfriends Getaways Worldwide” (National Geographic Books, $15.95, paperback) will provide plenty of inspiration beyond a few days in Las Vegas. Author/travel expert Marybeth Bond offers her itineraries in 10 categories (included are Exotic Escapes, Glorious Gardens, Expand Your Mind and Castles Fit for a Queen).
“I have tossed out the average places, accommodation and experiences,” Bond said. “I have selected what is truly worthy, in my opinion, of your money and limited time.” And when you return home, you’ll feel “rejuvenated, recharged and recommitted to families and work.”
“Bond also is the adventure editor at travelgirl magazine, which you can check out at
Web wonder
Here’s a unique experience as close as your computer: Travel to our nation’s Capitol and see the Lincoln Memorial through a new interactive Web site developed by the National Park Service. The site is a first of its kind and provides some experiences that you couldn’t get even if you were there — like listening to the stories of park rangers who have personal connections with the memorial. You also can take a virtual, 360-degree interactive tour, get a view of the Lincoln Memorial visitor-free, and observe little-seen features like the stained glass skylights and the murals above the inscription of the Gettysburg Address and Second Inaugural Address. Visit index.htm.
Safe kids
Here’s an item that parents of young children may find useful whether the trip is across country or to the local park.
Two moms in West Conshohocken, Penn., who design and manufacture jewelry for charitable foundations like Make-A-Wish, were asked to create a child’s bracelet that could carry a phone number.
“The mother told us she wanted something for children who were too young to remember a cell phone number or children with special needs,” explained Shelly Fisher, one of the inventive moms of Hope Paige Designs.
Thus was born the Camper Alert Bracelet, made of durable, waterproof, soft plastic that comes in four bright colors. Order online and they will engrave it.
“The No. 1 request we get is for a parent phone number,” she said.
Should you buy the bracelet at a store, it comes with four stickers that can be used temporarily to provide contact information. The package also includes a mailing label to return the bracelet for engraving. Cost is $19.95. Visit


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