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World warms up outside the cave

Email|Print| Text size + By Richard P. Carpenter
Globe Correspondent / March 26, 2006

For those of us who shake and quake at the very thought of being outside in cold weather, it is nearly time to end our hibernation. With April in reach, outdoor activity will beckon once again, and there will be plenty of money-saving options. For example:

Visitors to Olympic National Park in Washington can save up to 33 percent at three wilderness lodges. A Trio of Treasures package for $299 per couple is available through May 24 and includes a three-night stay at any -- or each -- of three properties managed by the park concessioner ARAMARK: Lake Quinault Lodge in Olympic National Forest; and Kalaloch Lodge and Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort, both in Olympic National Park. In addition to lodging accommodations, the package includes Kalaloch's signature French toast breakfast for two and souvenirs from Lake Quinault Lodge and Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort.

Go to www.visitkalaloch.com or call 866-525-2562; www.visitlakequinault.com or call 800-562-6672; or www.visitsolduc.com or call 866-476-5382.

In New Hampshire's Mount Washington Valley, the mud season is cause for celebration, with many events and specials. For instance, the Inn at Crystal Lake in Eaton has a Wildlife & Birdwatching package for $295 a couple that includes two nights' lodging, two full country breakfasts for two, one three-course dinner for two, one lunch, and information and trail maps about the Hoyt, Watts, Dahl, and Lovejoy sanctuaries, all of which are owned and managed by the New Hampshire Audubon Society and are a short drive from the inn. Participants also get a gift pack with bug repellent and heavy-duty soap to scrub away that seasonal mud. Also, a small donation to the New Hampshire Audubon Society will be made in the name of each guest who books the package, available April 1-June 20 except for school vacation weeks or holidays.

Call 800-343-7336 or visit www.innatcrystallake.com.

Bet you've never considered fly-fishing in Ireland while you were staying at a castle. Ashford Castle in Cong, which has been rebuilt into a sports lodge, advises us that some of the best fishing in Ireland can be found on Lough Corrib during the mayfly hatch in May and June. The castle's Fishing in Ireland package, available through September, includes accommodations, guided fishing, all breakfasts, lunch on fishing days, and complimentary use of tennis courts, the nine-hole golf course, and walking trails throughout the 350-acre estate. All fishing gear is provided. Prices range from $785 for two nights and one day of fishing to $2,241 for five nights and four days fishing. Non-fishing companions pay less.

(The fine print: International flights, transfers to the castle, beverages, lunches except when fishing, dinners, and gratuities are not included.) Call 800-547-4322 or visit www.orvis.com.

Ocean Edge Resort & Club, an upscale resort in Brewster, features golf, tennis, indoor and outdoor pools, and a 700-foot private beach. Through April 30, a Let Spring Begin package gets you three nights' accommodations for the price of two in oversized guest rooms or one- to three-bedroom villas plus breakfast daily. The cost is $164 per person, per room, per night, with a two-night minimum.

Call 800-811-3457 or visit www.oceanedge.com.

Alaska's weather can be a pleasant surprise in May and June. For $189, plus tax, guests can book one room at any one of Denali Park Resort's four properties -- McKinley Chalet Resort, McKinley Village Lodge, Denali Bluffs Hotel, and Grande Denali Lodge -- and get a second night free, May 15-June 5, single or double occupancy.

Call 800-276-7234 or visit www.denaliparkresorts.com.

A treat for Mum
British Airways has brought back its Mother's Day Package, starting at $634 from Boston's Logan International Airport. The offer includes airfare, three nights at the three-star Royal National Hotel, daily continental breakfast, a Kensington Palace pass, and afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason, home of London's first teahouse. The package is for sale through May 5, and although Mother's Day is May 14, travel can be from April 3-May 28.

See a travel agent, call 877-428-2228, or visit www.ba.com/mothersdayoffer.

Free for military families
Free admission to Anheuser-Busch theme parks for more than 900,000 members of US and coalition armed forces and their families has been extended through this year. The Here's to the Heroes program provides one-day admission to any one SeaWorld or Busch Gardens park, Sesame Place, Adventure Island, or Water Country USA for the service member and up to three direct dependents. Any active duty, active reserve, ready reserve service member or National Guardsman is eligible. The serviceperson should first register, either at www.herosalute.com or at the entrance plaza to the park being visited and show a Department of Defense photo ID. The offer is also open to members of foreign military forces serving in the coalitions in Iraq or Afghanistan or attached to US units in the States for training.

An Elvis 50th
Life would never be the same for Elvis Presley after 1956. That year, he released his first RCA single, made his first TV appearances, starred in his first movie, and became one of the world's most famous, but not necessarily happiest, people. A two-night Golden Anniversary Tour visits many locations that played a part in his 1956 metamorphosis and includes a stay at Heartbreak Hotel, the Elvis Lauderdale Courts Apartment, or other lodging places; a Graceland Platinum Tour ticket; a four-hour all-Elvis tour of Memphis; and a $15 meal or merchandise voucher. Prices range from $325 to $1,065, depending upon the number of people and hotel selected. Extra-cost options include a four-hour Love Me Tender Spa package and a seven-hour visit to Tupelo, Miss., where the King was born.

Call 866-320-5295 or visit www.sweetmagnoliatours.com.

Hot spot Holly Trolley
Visitors who plan to barhop in Hollywood might consider riding the Holly Trolley. It's a bus that stops at several of Hollywood's hottest night spots and costs just $1 a night. Riders can embark and disembark as often as they like near clubs such as The Highlands, Mood, and Avalon. The trolley operates Thursday-Saturday (except designated holidays) from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m., arriving at each stop in 12-minute intervals.

Visit www.ladottransit.com/other/trolley.

When not included, hotel taxes, airport fees, and port charges can add significantly to the price of a trip. Most prices quoted are for double occupancy; solo travelers will usually pay more. Offers are subject to availability and there may be blackout dates. Contact Richard P. Carpenter at carpenter@globe.com.

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