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Two new tour books show off Boston's Irish, French accents

NEW YORK -- Two new books on Boston take a look at the city's storied Irish heritage and its less well-known French connections.

"Irish Boston: A Lively Look at Boston's Colorful Irish Past" by Michael P. Quinlin (Globe Pequot Press, $14.95) lists historic sites, pubs, gift shops, museums, Irish music and dance venues, and genealogy resources.

Among the highlighted sites are no fewer than six memorials around the region to victims of the Irish famine: the Boston Irish Famine Memorial, at School and Washington streets; the Cambridge Irish Famine Memorial, on Cambridge Common; the Celtic Cross in Cohasset's Central Cemetery, dedicated to immigrants who fled the famine only to perish in a shipwreck; the Deer Island Irish Famine Memorial at the island's Rest Haven Cemetery; the Providence Irish Famine Memorial in Rhode Island; and the Irish Famine Memorial at St. Mary's Cemetery in Lawrence.

"Boston's French Secrets: Guided Walks That Reveal Boston's French Heritage" by Rhea Hollis Atwood (www.imagesfrom

thepast.com, $19.95), documents places associated with Franco-American history in the Back Bay, Beacon Hill, and other neighborhoods. The book takes travelers to obscure sites, such as a plaque at 24 School St. where a Huguenot church stood in the 18th century, as well as major thoroughfares such as Commonwealth Avenue, which was modeled on the Champs Elysees. Author Atwood notes that many 19th-century Boston architects and designers studied in Paris and were influenced by that city's revolutionary urban layout of broad boulevards and open spaces.

New ski resort to open in Idaho

BOISE, Idaho -- Ski resorts around Idaho are getting ready for a new season and some fresh competition this year. Tamarack Resort is tentatively set to open Dec. 15 with five lifts, including two high-speed quads.

It will be the state's first new all-season resort to open in more than 20 years, according to the Idaho Tourism Division.

Lift prices around the state are generally the same as or only slightly higher than in previous years.

Sun Valley, the state's premiere ski resort in central Idaho, set its all-day lift ticket price at $67 for the 2004-2005 season.

The Tamarack Resort, about 100 miles north of Boise, set its daily lift price at $55. Tamarack's Jessica Flynn said the new resort will have three restaurants, ski rentals, and lockers in large tentlike shelters.

She said skiers and snowboarders will be able to find lots of room to maneuver through 700 skiable acres that include 25 ski runs, a super pipe, and a terrain park. They are expecting about 1,500 skiers per day.

Bogus Basin does not expect to be hurt by Tamarack. "Most of our users are dyed-in-the-wool season-pass holders," said Eric Steigemeier, vice president of skier services for Bogus Basin.

50 top spots for families

NEW YORK -- Golf and a spa have become de rigueur elements of the resort experience. But what about golf for kids, or a spa for teens, in a setting where their parents can also kick back and feel pampered? Travel + Leisure Family magazine asked readers to name their favorite family-friendly hotels, and the top 50 places appear in the fall-winter issue. "Hotels and resorts are catering to families in ways never before seen in this segment of travel," said Margot Guralnick, the magazine's editor in chief. She added that resort activities for kids are increasingly sophisticated, ranging from cooking and scuba diving to etiquette classes.

The magazine's readers chose the Cloister, on Sea Island, Ga., and Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello, in Quebec, as the top two family resorts in the continental United States and Canada. Disney properties took the next five spots on the list: Wilderness Lodge, Animal Kingdom Lodge, and Yacht Club Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., followed by the Grand Californian Hotel in Anaheim and the Boardwalk Resort in Lake Buena Vista.

The top resort in Mexico was the Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita, while the winner in Hawaii was the Four Seasons Hualalai in Kaupulehu-Kona. Caribbean bests were the Casa de Campo in La Romana, the Dominican Republic; Atlantis on Paradise Island in the Bahamas; the Aruba Marriott Resort; the Reefs in Southampton, Bermuda; and the Four Seasons Resort in Nevis.

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