Saturday 07 August 1999
"I've never known a summer like it", said one of Britain's leading discount agents this week. "There are 10 times as many transatlantic bargains as there were this time last week." And many of them are to the gateway to New England: Boston.
British Airways has three flights between Heathrow and the Massachusetts capital; American Airlines has two from Heathrow and one from Gatwick; Virgin Atlantic has one from Gatwick (code-sharing with Continental); and this year United Airlines joined the crush of carriers flying between London and Boston when it launched flights from Heathrow.
Fares this month are around pounds 350 return, much lower than last summer, and availability is reasonable. They will fall still further from 1 September until mid-December; you should be able to get a return ticket for as little as pounds 200 in October and November.
Most visitors end up renting a car to explore New England, but a serviceable railway runs south from Boston and buses link other parts of the region. It is also possible to take a commuter flight from Boston to the small town of Bangor, but those with time on their hands would be better advised to rent a car.
At Acadia National Park, there are two large campgrounds, both with washroom facilities and ranger activities.
Cost: $12 (pounds 7.50) per night per tent, reservations recommended. Acadia HQ: 001 207 288 3338
Tamsin Murray-Leach also spent a night at MacDonald's B&B in Somesville, right in the center of the island, and wished she could have stayed longer. Rt 102, Somesville, PO Box 52, Mount Desert ME 04660; 001 207 244 3316, pounds 50 plus.
The Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce lists 55 B&Bs on the island, ranging from pounds 30-pounds 220 per night for a double room. Afternoon tea, evening drinks and hors d'oeuvres are often included, but young children are not always welcome. The Chamber of Commerce also lists cottages, from pounds 30 to pounds 130 per night. Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce: 001 207 288 5103.
Lobster pounds are everywhere, and these well-respected shacks in the Mount Desert Island area should whet your appetite: Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound, Trenton Bridge (mainland side of bridge to the island), 001 207 667 2977. Beals Lobster Pier, Clark Point Road, Southwest Harbor, 001 207 244 7178.
Discover New England brochure line: 01732 742777.
Maine Tourism Office: 001 207 287 5711.
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