Our family of four is planning to visit Williamsburg, Va. -- do you know of any
special deals or passes we can take advantage of for hotel and admissions?
Colonial Williamsburg has teamed up with several
other historic and not-so-historic attractions to offer the Revolutionary
Funpass. It allows unlimited admission to Colonial Williamsburg, Busch
Gardens Williamsburg, Water Country USA, Jamestown Settlement and the
Yorktown Victory Center. A four-day pass costs $96 for adults, $71 for
children 6 to 12. A five-day pass costs $115.95 for adults, $92.95 for
children 6 to 12. Children under 6 are admitted at no charge. Parking is
included in those rates.
Colonial Williamsburg also offers a Revolutionary Fun Package that includes
admission and lodging; the typical price of a four-day/three-night vacation
for a family of four is $702, plus taxes. Go to the Colonial Williamsburg
site and click on hotels and restaurants, then under places to stay, look for "packages."
For simple admission, Colonial Williamsburg offers three types of passes:
historic area exhibition buildings, trade sites, the capitol, the courthouse,
the DeWitt Wallace Gallery and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Center.
(It does not include the Governor's Palace, the wheelwright, Carter's
Grove or Bassett Hall.) The cost is $27 for adults, $16 for children ages 6
6 to 12. It includes the
orientation walk, all of the historic area exhibition buildings, the
Governor's Palace, the capitol, the courthouse, and trade sites, as well as
the DeWitt Wallace Gallery and the
Abby Rockefeller Folk Art Center. Not included are Carter's Grove and
children ages 6 to 12. Besides the sites included with the other passes, it
allows admission into all of the celebrated 18th-century homes open to the
public, including the Peyton Randolph House, the George Wythe House and
Carter's Grove. And you can wander into any of the colonial trade sites. The
Patriot's Pass also provides a 20 percent discount off ticketed evening
programs such as concerts, special candlelight tours, plays and reenactments.
There also are seasonal packages, which can be found on the Web site or by
calling Colonial Williamsburg at (800) 541-2225.
Besides Colonial Williamsburg, there's a Williamsburg site that includes a lodging guide and descriptions of
all there is to see and do in the area.
I'm planning a trip to Indonesia. I understand that Bali is always safe,
but what about other parts -- Sulawesi and Lombok in particular?
Lombok and Sulawesi have not made the U.S. State Department notices that call
attention to demonstrations or violence, but would-be visitors should
continue to monitor the advisories because the Indonesian political situation
A June 11 State Department announcement says: "On June 7, 1999, Indonesia held peaceful parliamentary elections in most parts of the country. However, the political and
economic situation remains unsettled and will likely continue to be so as the election results become known, political
coalitions are formed, and a new president is selected before the end of 1999. Demonstrations and unrest are possible
throughout Indonesia in coming months. American citizens should consider carefully whether to travel to Indonesia during
this period. Those who do should exercise prudence and common sense, and avoid demonstrations and other situations
that could turn violent."
Adventurers and many independent travelers will regard that advice as
overcautious; others will consider it reason enough to go to Thailand instead.
As for Bali, I've noticed a slippage in assurances that there is no risk
there. The June 11 notice now says "although demonstrations in Bali have not affected tourists, serious unrest has occurred in isolated areas and is possible
elsewhere on the island."
For a different perspective, check the travel reports posted by the British
Government's Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Regarding Bali, it says simply: "There have been a few minor incidents in
Bali, but tourism has not been affected."
The British Indonesia advisory includes: "British nationals are advised not to travel to Ambon and Maluku Province or
to West Kalimantan (West Borneo) which has been subject to serious rioting
and violence recently. Non-essential travel should be deferred to the area
around Lhokseumawe (North Aceh) where there have been violent clashes.
Particular care should be taken in Irian Jaya where an independence
movement is active. The situation in East Timor is volatile and potentially
dangerous. We advise British nationals to defer all non-essential travel to
this area. Permits are required from the police to travel to Irian Jaya
(except Jayapura and Biak) and East Timor.
"The economic crisis, sudden unemployment and deprivation are hitting
Indonesia hard. This has led to an increase in street violence. There has
also been ethnic and religious rioting. British nationals are advised to
remain vigilant, monitor the television and radio news and keep clear of
crowds. Up-to-date advice can be accessed via the home page of the British Embassy in Jakarta."
I'm interested in doing Las Vegas with as little cigarette smoke exposure as
possible. What are my chances of success?
Smoking remains commonplace in Vegas, but the odds for nonsmokers have
improved in the showrooms, hotels and restaurants.
In early 1991, the Silver City Casino became the first Vegas casino to adopt
a no-smoking policy, but it didn't last. Even so, many of the city's
resort-casinos have taken less-drastic steps in that direction.
The big resort hotels accommodate nonsmokers with entire floors of no-smoking
rooms; all you have to do is ask. Smoking is generally prohibited in the
showrooms. In the dining rooms the host always has just two questions: "How
many in your party?" and "Smoking or non?"
Although some of the casinos have space devoted to nonsmokers, the casino
floor is where nonsmokers have the hardest time avoiding fumes. It seems
like every time I've sat down at a video poker machine, some
cigarette-puffing patron parks right next to me. The Nevada Casino Dealers
Association has been pursuing a class action on
behalf of nonsmoking dealers. What's worse for nonsmokers is that cigars
have a greater presence than ever, and the cigar smokers embrace this freedom
with a vengeance.
For statistics on air quality inside a casino in 1995, check out a report on casino
smoking in the travel section of the Los Angeles Times.
Where can I get information on sizable hot-air balloon events in the United
The giant of the hot-air balloon world is the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta
scheduled for Oct. 2-10. Last year an
astounding 873 balloons took part in this event.
Scores of hot-air balloon festivals occur each year, but you'll find that
many of them have 20 or fewer balloons. Organizers tell me that corporate
sponsors of balloons -- those that emblazon their logos on the balloons'
bulging sides -- don't like to have too many in one rally. They don't want
their message to get lost in the crowd.
For a schedule of rallies around the United States this year, visit the Hot
Air Balloons USA Web site.