DATE: Sunday, September 14, 1997            TAG: 9709120069


COLUMN: Travelwise 

SOURCE: Stephen Harriman 

                                            LENGTH:  126 lines


SORRY, BUBBA, about getting this to you so late. Only found out about it myself this week.

They're holding the fifth annual BubbaFest this weekend down at Woodruff, S.C. (It'll be over before you get there this evening, so just settle down and start planning for next year.) It's also the official South Carolina Barbecue State Championship, so you can figure they go whole hog on this one.

In case you're not as up on your Southern ethnology as maybe you should be - about ``bubba'' things, for instance - here's what Chet Hoag told Paula Crouch Thrasher of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

``Bubba means brother. A bubba is not a redneck. He's not some guy with a big beer gut and a gun rack with a baseball bat in his truck, driving down the highway throwing beer cans out the window.''

So what exactly is a bubba?

``He's hard-working, honest and still opens doors for his wife or girl,'' says Hoag, one of the founders of this celebration of brotherhood and good humor.

In short, a good ol' boy - with the emphasis on good.

The BubbaFest atmosphere is family-friendly, no alcohol allowed.

Little bubbas ages 6 to 16 compete in teams in the Bubbalympics, which include searching for marbles in a baby pool filled with grits, bowling with frozen turkeys and negotiating an obstacle course while pushing a riding lawn mower.

There are also cloggers, bands (from bluegrass to beach music), arts and crafts and carnival rides. There's a Bubba and Bubbette contest, in which a couple is chosen to represent the high ideals of Bubbadom.

The big Bubba-Q is a fund-raiser for Bubba Scholarships, awarded to individuals for continuing education in technical fields.

Woodruff lies between Greenville and Spartanburg, just off Interstates 85 and 26. Info: (864) 596-5202. Tracking fall foliage

The U.S. Forest Service operates a toll-free hotline that suggests good viewing in selected national forests. The recorded message is updated once a week. The number, which has been serving as a summer wildflower hotline, is (800) 354-4595.

Many states also have phone numbers through which foliage information can be obtained after mid-September. Among them:

Virginia: Shenandoah National Park, (540) 999-3500; Blue Ridge Parkway, (704) 298-0398.

West Virginia: (800) 225-5982.

Maine: (800) 932-3419.

Vermont: (802) 828-3239.

New Hampshire: (800) 258-3608.

Massachusetts: (800) 632-8038.

New York state: (800) 225-5697.

Connecticut: (800) 282-6863;

Pennsylvania: statewide, (800) 325-5467; Poconos, (717) 421-5565.

Delaware: (800) 441-8846. Student travels 102

``Jim's Backpacker's Bible'' by Jim de Cordova lists more than 1,000 U.S. and Canadian hostels, hotels, motels, inns, campgrounds and other places to stay for $20 or less per person daily. The book is $5.95 in bookstores or can be ordered ($7 by check, $7.25 by credit card, including postage) from de Cordova - who runs a lodging for international travelers in Venice Beach, Calif. For information, call (800) 20-US-CAN or visit the Web site at Superhighway to U.K.

The British Tourist Authority has upgraded and changed the address of its Web site, now providing about 40,000 pages of content about England, Scotland and Wales. The new location is It has Internet versions of several popular BTA publications, including ``The Movie Map,'' ``British Arts Cities,'' ``Britain for Cyclists,'' ``Britain for Walkers'' and ``Style & Design.'' Travel planners who don't use a computer can still obtain information through the BTA's toll-free number, (800) 462-2748. For time travelers

It's been 150 years since the first amphibious landing in U.S. military history - near Veracruz, Mexico, in March 1847. Marking the sesquicentennial, an Oct. 4-11 Mexican-American War tour will follow the route of Gen. Winfield Scott's small army from Veracruz to his victory in Mexico City that September. The excursion is land-only priced at $1,395 per person, twin, for seven nights' four-star accommodations, seven breakfasts, two lunches, five dinners, transport and guidance by historian John C. Waugh, author of ``The Class of 1846.'' Single supplement is $290. The operator, HistoryAmerica, also plans a tour in May, covering the 1846 northern Mexico campaign of Gen. Zachary Taylor. Info: (800) 628-8542. Frommer magazine

Budget guru Arthur Frommer is launching a consumer-oriented magazine targeting a surprisingly untapped niche in the $467 billion travel industry - those trying to vacation on a shoestring.

Why now, after 40 years as the author of close to 200 guidebooks on low-cost travel?

``One impetus,'' he said, ``is that the standard travel magazines have become almost aggressively elitist. Everything to them is a value even if it's unaffordable to the vast majority of the U.S. population.'' The operative word for Frommer deals will be ``cheap.''

Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel Magazine, subtitled Vacations for Real People, will be a joint venture with New York-based Group XXVII Communications. The premier issue, due out Jan. 5, will feature best bargains in everything from health spas to house swaps. One article is titled ``Las Vegas on $0 a Day (Well, almost . . .).'' There will be four general issues annually and two with special themes. A subscription is $14.95; single copies are $3.95. Frommer also publishes a daily online magazine at his Web site: Cruise news to use

Traditionally, the weeks bracketed by Thanksgiving and Christmas are the slowest in the cruise industry and a great time to net a bargain. Look for ads in this section, or call a local travel agent. No-smoking cruise ship

The world's first smoke-free cruise ship will be introduced in fall 1998 by Carnival Cruise Lines. Crew and passengers will find a completely smoke-free environment aboard the 2,040-passenger, 70,000-ton Paradise now under construction in Finland. Take it easy

Workers in Bombay average 39.3 paid vacation days a year. That compares with 27.9 days in Paris, 22.1 in London and 8.6 in Los Angeles. MEMO: Travel-wise is compiled from wire-service reports, news releases,

trade journals, books, magazines and the deepest recesses of the

writer's mind. Send comments and questions to Travel-wise, The

Virginian-Pilot, Norfolk, Va. 23501-0449; phone (757) 446-2904.

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