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Briefs: An Irish idyll in spring

A May 17-23 excursion to Ireland focuses on the warm southern coast, from Waterford to Kinsale, Bantry and Killarney. Featured are a visit to Cahir Castle in Tipperary and a cruise around Kinsale Harbour, plus a Blarney Stone buss at Blarney Castle and a horse-drawn jaunting carriage ride through Killarney National Park.

A scenic tour of the Ring of Kerry and a sheepdog demonstration on a Kerry farm also are on the docket. The $1,369 fee covers accommodations, many meals, local transportation, admissions and sightseeing, as well as taxes and most gratuities. Air fare between home and Shannon is additional. For information, call (845) 758-1232 or go to

So that's how they make syrup

New Hampshire is gearing up for the February-March maple-sugaring season.

Many sugar houses offer sugaring demonstrations, tastings, sleigh rides or hayrides, petting farms and opportunities for kids to gather sap and sample just-cooked syrup on snow. More than 50 sugar houses are taking part in New Hampshire Maple Weekend, March 28-29, with tours, tastings and pancake breakfasts.

Many inns are also offering package deals during the season with maple-themed meals and maple sugar spa treatments.

Details at and There's even a Maple Hotline, (603) 225-3757.

Historic and distinctive places

The New England waterfront city of Bristol, R.I., and the historic Western mining boomtown of Virginia City, Nev., were among the 12 places honored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation's "Dozen Distinctive Destination" awards for 2009. Among the distinctions are dynamic downtowns, cultural diversity, attractive architecture, cultural landscapes and a commitment to preservation.

Other winners were Athens, Ga.; Buffalo, N.Y.; Fort Worth, Texas; Franklin, Tenn.; Hot Springs, S.D.; Lake Geneva, Wis.; Lititz, Pa.; Santa Barbara, Calif.; Santa Fe, N.M.; and Saugatuck-Douglas, Mich.

Details at

Atlanta guide for gay travelers

There's a new guidebook for gay travelers interested in visiting Atlanta.

The Out Traveler: Atlanta (Alyson Books, $15.95) is the latest in a series that also includes books on New York City, South Florida and Hawaii.

The Atlanta edition was written by Jordan McAuley and Matt Burkhalter.

The book lists many basic attractions, along with hotels and bed-and-breakfasts deemed to be "gay-friendly" by the authors, and nightspots and bars like the Atlanta Eagle leather bar, Blake's on the Park, Burkharts and Mary's.

Details at

Compiled from Times wires

Briefs: An Irish idyll in spring 02/07/09 [Last modified: Saturday, February 7, 2009 3:30am]
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