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Ready for Takeoff

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February 13, 2005

Got grapefruit?

With baseball already on your mind (not that it ever wasn't), Florida is the place to get your fix. Pitchers and catchers report to spring training next weekend, and games begin March 3; the Sunshine State hosts 18 teams. If you're interested in visiting more than the Red Sox in Fort Myers, you'll want to pick up ''Florida Spring Training: Your Guide to Touring the Grapefruit League, 2005 Edition" by Alan Byrd (The Intrepid Traveler). The league's 17 ballparks (two teams share a park) are described, with details including ticket information, seating, parking, and directions. Byrd provides five weeklong itineraries for tourists who want to explore an area and visit parks. For fans who want to craft their own visits, lodging and restaurant information near each stadium is provided. Byrd also critiques stadium food and offers those all-important tips on getting players' autographs. He goes out on a limb to predict that tickets for the Sox and Yankees will be harder than ever to obtain. But Boston fans know: Anything is possible.

DIANE DANIEL

Vermont, artfully

You've seen art in the park, so try Art in the Snow. On March 12, 1:30-4:30 p.m., the 40-some artists of Brandon, Vt., will open their studios to festivities. Visitors can tour seven studios that Saturday afternoon, stop by the Brandon Art Guild to hear folk artist Warren Kimball talk about the way art has transformed the community, and see an after-dinner art-related film. Couples staying at any of 11 nearby inns qualify for a studio map and a $50 voucher ($25 for singles) toward Saturday night dinner at one of three eateries. To sweeten the deal, participants get an extra 10 percent off the tab. Several inns are kicking in extras, such as meals and gift baskets.

Call 800-599-0341 or visit www.brandon.org.DIANE FOULDS

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