Travel Tips

The dogwoods are blooming in Connecticut.

All 30,000 dogwood trees in Fairfield, Conn., should be in full spring pink-and-white dress for the 51st Annual Dogwood Festival, tomorrow through May 17. Music, art, and handicrafts will also be featured. All events are free. Hours are 10 to 5 p.m., Saturday, May 10; noon-5 p.m., Sunday, May 11; and 10 to 3:30 p.m. on weekdays. Take Interstate 95 to Exit 21, then left on Mill Plain Road, left on Sturges Highway, and right on Bronson Road to the Greenfield Hill Congregational Church.

Brushing up on Ireland.

Artist-teacher Robert Calrow has come up with a novel trip to the Emerald Isle. He will help you record on canvas your trip along the picturesque west coast of Ireland. This two-week artists' tour is for everyone from beginners to advanced painters who work in any medium. Mr. Calrow will conduct daily demonstrations and before-dinner critiques of each artist's work. Participants in the 14-day workshop will leave for Ireland June 12. The cost is $775 (plus air fare) for artists, and $655 (plus air fare) for those who only want to watch. For more information contact Robert Calrow, 30 Glenbrook Road, Stamford, Conn. 06902; (203) 325-0832.

Home swap.

A guide to international home exchanging has just been published by Arthur Frommer. In putting together this latest ``how to'' book, Mr. Frommer has turned to authors Albert and Verna Beerbower, a retired San Francisco couple, who have swapped homes more than 30 times. The book explains how to prepare your home for an exchange, and how to be the perfect guest or host. It includes a comprehensive list of international home-exchange clubs. ``Frommer's Swap & Go: Home Exchanging Made Easy'' costs $10.95 and is available through Simon & Schuster, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, N.Y. 10020; (212) 245-6400. Another new book on the same subject, ``Home Exchanging,'' by James Dearing, is available for $9.95 (paperback) from the East Woods Press, 429 East Boulevard, Charlotte, N.C. 28203; (704) 334-0897.

Arkansas celebrates 150 years.

If you're near Little Rock on Friday, June 13, don't miss the Arkansas Sesquicentennial observance, being billed as the state's biggest celebration in its 150 years. The Salute to Statehood Weekend, June 13-15, commemorates the state's official acceptance into the union by President Andrew Jackson in 1836. You can take in the Indian Powwow breakfast on the banks of the Arkansas River, enter the quilt contest, or tour Little Rock sites that span six different eras in the state's history. Most events are free; those with admission charges are modestly priced. For more information on Salute to Statehood activities call Telefun at (501) 372-3399.

Culinary tour of China.

If you're interested in the cuisine of China, you might consider joining Ruth Law's Culinary Tour of China and Hong Kong. The trip includes a five-day cruise down the Yangtze River with cooking lessons on board, shore excursions along the way, and tours to the Ming Tombs, the Great Wall, and gardens and temples in Shanghai. This year's journey is Sept. 15-Oct. 6. Price is $3,789 per person, double occupancy, including air fare from the West Coast. Contact Ruth Law, PO Box 323, Hinsdale, Ill. 60521; (312) 986-1595.

Date with a dolphin.

Vacationers with an interest in dolphins might like to know about the cooperative effort between Oceanic Society Expeditions and Friends of the Sea. Their project offers visitors a chance to swim with the friendly mammals and visit their deep-water friends, including sea turtles, jacks, and snappers. All this takes place off Grand Bahamas Island from the decks of the 61-foot catamaran Dolphin. Weekly expeditions are scheduled from May to September. Price is $795, plus $200 for charter flight. Special rates available for children. Contact Oceanic Society Expeditions, Ft. Mason Center, Bldg. E, San Francisco, Calif. 94123; (415) 441-1106.

Youth hostels on wheels.

Genuine double-decker buses are the new ``youth hostels on wheels'' for travelers in Europe, Scandinavia, and Britain. The British company Top Deck Travel has converted double-decker buses to include sleeping and dining facilities. The buses cover a dozen itineraries and operate year-round. Write Campus Holidays USA Inc., 242 Bellevue Avenue, Upper Montclair, N.J. 07043; (800) 526-2915. In New Jersey call (201) 744-8724.

Rail trips in Britain.

All aboard for Bath and Windsor; Oxford and the Cotswolds; Stratford, Coventry, and Warwick; Canterbury and Dover; and the Lake District. Superdays Tours offers these five one-day train trips from London. Tours are escorted and include a pub lunch en route. For more information, contact Salt and Pepper Tours, 7 West 36th Street, No. 1500, New York, N.Y. 10018; (800) 522-6558.

Unregimented tours to New Zealand.

For those seasoned travelers weary of regimented tours, Boojum Expeditions is sponsoring a ``cooperative expedition'' through New Zealand, Nov. 3-Dec. 6. The flexible itinerary includes backpacking on the Routeburn and Greenstone Tracks, working at a sheep ranch, white-water rafting, and exploring the natural wonders of North Island. Accommodations are rustic. Cost is $2,200 plus air fare. For more information write to Boojum Expeditions, PO Box 2236, Leucadia, Calif. 92024; (619) 436-3927.

Tours tailored for women.

Women who prefer to travel in a congenial group have found a friend in Bon Voyage Inc. This Marblehead, Mass., company offers luxury tours exclusively for women and is tailored to specific interests. Offerings include visits with professionals in one's field, trips to locations of historic or religious interest, theater tours, or a visit to a famous fashion house or spa. Forthcoming trips will head for Israel, Canada, Great Britain, and Africa. For more information write to Bon Voyage, PO Box 80, Marblehead, Mass. 01945.

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