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BOOKS THAT’LL HELP

The Official Guide to American Historic Inns, Bed & Breakfasts and Country Inns (7th edition) by Deborah Edwards Sakach. (2000, 518 pages, paperback, $15.95. American Historic Inns, PO Box 669, Dana Point CA 92629)

Historic inns offer a special historical perspective and are unique venues for smaller reunions. In fact, scanning through this book I found many places that specifically host reunions, so they're expecting you!

Historic inns were built mainly in the 17th, 18th, 19th, and a few in the early 20th century. Staying in one, according to the author, "promotes and supports the preservation of our nation's architectual and cultural heritage." That certainly puts new purpose on where you select to stay. Most of the inns are privately owned and have been restored by their owners. They infuse their inns with their own style and personality. It's like being a guest in their homes.

By definition a country inn serves both breakfast and dinner. While located in other regions, they are concentrated mostly on the East Coast. Bed and breakfasts focus on lodging but include just breakfast. Many innkeepers pride themselves in their culinary skill.

While this Guide does not have an index, each listing follows a specific outline and you'll have no trouble finding what you're looking for. A special "Inns of Interest" section includes everything from inns associated with the Revolutionary and Civil Wars to ones in former schoolhouses, taverns or jails. There's also a list of inns and the famous guests who slept there.

Innkeepers often live on premises so are available and are great resources about the richness of their area. Historic inns are certainly a way to make your reunion additionally memorable. EW

Campus Lodging Guide. ($16.95, B & J Publications, PO Box 5486, Fullerton CA 92838-0486; 800-525-6633; www.campus-lodging.com.)

We know the high cost of lodging makes traveling prohibitive for some. The 19th edition of the Campus Lodging Guide, might just be what you need to make domestic and international travel more affordable. This new updated book includes information about accommodations at colleges and universities, meals, prices, dates available, recreational facilities and phone numbers for reservations. Use this Guide to plan your itinerary and stretch your travel dollars.

Staying in college lodging is not limited to students or teachers. The Guide lists 609 colleges and universities where student rooms/apartments can be rented by the day, week, or month. Also included are Hostel Associations and 393 YMCA Hotels worldwide that offer lodging and, in most cases, economical on-site food service and recreational facilities for men, women, and families, plus conference centers. Student rooms/apartments can be rented by the day, week or month. Worth a look if this is the kind of reunion you're interested in. Facilities are well-managed, safe, clean, comfortable and usually include inexpensive food service and parking. EW

More about dormitories was found in Meetings & Conventions. They say these are not fancy spas with 24-hour concierge service or five-star dining. University and college campuses provide low-key meeting space for budget-minded groups according to Henrietta Cullinane, CMP, Conference Coordinator at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Renting Vacation Condominiums, A Suite Experience, by Rick Fisher and Dan Proctor, is a great new resource for potential reunion properties all over the US, Mexico, Canada and islands in the Pacific and Caribbean. Condos, villas and vacation homes are particularly attractive to reunion groups who want the convenience of homestyle settings and the ability to cook some of their own meals. Many of the properties have the added advantage of being on the beach! The book features 130 properties that will certainly get you thinking about some pretty exotic, yet affordable, reunion locations. For a free copy, call Condominium Travel Associates, 800-492-6636.

Learn about how a reverse auction site can help gather hotel information for you! It's free and gives you all the information you'll need all in one place. Use it for all your travel planning. Click here to listen to the podcast.

 

Motel 6 guide
If your destinations include National Parks, Outlet Malls or Amusement Parks, Aquariums, Zoos and Halls of Fame, you may be interested in Motel 6's Unofficial Guides. State-by-state, the guides tell you which Motel 6 is the nearest to your destination. Fold-out maps make locations even clearer. Write Motel 6, Attention: Unofficial Guides (specify which you want), c/o American Fulfillment Center, PO Box 218, Glenwood MN 56443-0218.

NC state guide
North Carolina has released a lavish new state travel guide. In addition to warm, sandy beaches, North Carolina is home to spectacular mountain ranges and sophisticated urban landscapes. Also rich in historical sites from America's Colonial days, North Carolina is steeped in heritage. To receive a free copy of North Carolina, A better place to live, call 1-800-VISIT NC.

Family Fun in Washington DC, is a guidebook for children of all ages. Neighborhood by neighborhood throughout the city there are countless great attractions, sights not to be missed and special offers. Heading to the nation's capital? Don't go without this treasure. District of Columbia Chamber of Commerce, 1301 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Ste 309, Washington DC 20004.

On a budget
Another family enjoys conference center
Sybil Richardson, Canute, Oklahoma, organized the Brown Family Reunion of 185 members. They will occupy 36 (6 person/one bathroom each) rooms at Estes Park Center, YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, Colorado. The Browns have chosen mid-week days (Tuesday through Thursday) so everyone has comfortable travel time from coast to coast.

Vacation homes
Choosing a condominium for your reunion gives you some freedoms other facilities do not. If you'd prefer to prepare most of your own meals, condos are ideal. Generally, you'll have more space than in facilities where you are occupying one room with meeting and activity space nearby. Just bring yourself, a change of clothes, your food and everything else is waiting for you.

An example is the Outer Banks of North Carolina where the beach is focal to the destination. Vacation homes accommodate nice size families while renting several adjacent homes help expand to a large reunion. Nature preserves, wildlife refuges, state parks, hiking, hang-gliding and windsurfing are all choices that make the area intriguing. The season and size of your reunion will determine the price of lodging.

While most condos, villas and vacation homes are available Saturday to Saturday some can be let for shorter periods depending upon availability. In the Outer Banks area of North Carolina, Village Reality (places from Corolla to Nags Head) focuses each year on a family reunion in their brochure. This year the Tazewell Family Reunion is featured. Their 67 members have visited the Outer Banks area for generations. They enjoy the beaches, pools, golf, tennis and fishing. Contact 800-441-8533; sales@villagerealtyobx.com; www.villagerealtyobx.com.

Pointe Royale Condominium Resort on Lake Taneycomo, Branson, Missouri, reports about their satisfied reunions. The Hoertel Family Reunion appreciated the help in arranging their family reunion and were pleased with the accommodations. Reverend N. Garland in a testimonial said, "From the first encounter arranging the reunion, to the very last detail, you certainly did more than we could have ever asked to make our stay wonderful."

Pointe Royale features a large meeting room in their clubhouse ideal for receptions and banquets, an outdoor pavilion accommodates 100 people. Activities range from golf and trout fishing to playgrounds, two outdoor pools and a nature trail.

Contact Pointe Royale Properties, Inc., 158-A Pointe Royale Dr., Branson MO 65616; 800-962-4710; groupsales@pointeroyale.com; www.pointeroyale.com.

The Condominium Travel Associates, Inc. is a helpful resource for referrals to travel agents in your area who specialize in condo rentals around the country. Contact CTA, 2001 W Main St, Ste 140, Stamford CT 06902; 203-975-7714; info@condotravel.com.



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