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TRAVEL SMARTS

THE BALTIMORE SUN

New Landing

Jamestown film looks at contact between European and Indian cultures

A movie due out in November called The New World could do for tourism in Jamestown, Va., what The Lord of the Rings did for tourism in New Zealand.

Jamestown was founded in 1607 as the first permanent English settlement in North America. The film is from New Line Cinema, the studio behind The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

The New World dramatizes the encounters between the white colonists and American Indians, focusing in particular on the relationship between Jamestown founder Capt. John Smith -- portrayed by Colin Farrell -- and the Indian princess Pocahontas, who intervened to save him when he was captured by her tribe.

Alisa Bailey, president of the Virginia Tourism Corp., says the Jamestown area is hoping that The New World will stir interest among tourists.

Tourism officials in New Zealand say The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which was filmed there, helped raise the country's profile as a vacation destination and contributed to a 10 percent increase in tourism between February 2004 and February 2005.

The release of The New World also will help publicize preparations for the celebration of Jamestown's 400th anniversary in 2007. Anniversary festivities kick off in April 2006 with a voyage along the East Coast of the re-created Godspeed, one of three ships that carried British colonists there.

Visitors heading to Jamestown this year will find plenty to do in the meantime, including visiting replicas of the ships and observing continuing archaeological digs. On May 14, the 398th anniversary of Jamestown Landing Day will be observed with maritime demonstrations and interpretive activities exploring contact between European and Indian cultures.

For more information, go to www.the newworldmovie.com or www.jamestown 1607.org.

PERSONALIZING FITNESS

Fitness is suddenly the hot new hotel service.

Several big chains are offering their guests more than just a hotel gym, bringing workouts and exercise equipment right into the privacy of the traveler's own room.

The hotels say the in-room fitness programs are popular with people who feel uncomfortable taking the elevator to the gym in their workout clothes or bumping into one of their colleagues on the treadmill. The in-room workouts are also a way for business travelers to maintain their exercise routines on the road.

"It's very easy to fall off the wagon when you're traveling, but if it's in your face right in your room, you're more likely to work out," said Rachel Volante, a spokeswoman for the Westin Hotel in Boston.

The Westin chain has installed workout equipment in two or three rooms at each of its 122 hotels in North America. The rooms cost an extra $20 a night, and come with either an exercise cycle or a treadmill and a table of exercise aids, including a stability ball, medicine ball, yoga mat, weights, strength cord and water.

"If you don't want to see people you're working with in the [hotel] gym, this is a nice alternative," Volante said.

Marriott Corp. is offering three types of in-room workouts, all designed to deliver a workout in a brief time. They include the BodyRev, which the hotel describes as a portable exercise device and video routine developed by Alden Mills, a professional trainer.

It also offers Michael Sena's Traveling Trainer, which features resistance tubes along with an easy-to-follow guide. The third workout is the BodyWedge21, a foam wedge with 21 exercises.

Hilton is offering what it calls mini gyms that include yoga mats, elastic exercise bands, resistance tubing, two sets of hand weights and a training guide. Hilton guests also can hire a personal trainer from Bally Total Fitness.

Internet travel options

Two Internet travel stalwarts have changed course. Priceline, which has sold travel-related products in a bidding format since 1998, has just introduced a new version of its Web site, featuring retail prices. Users can still try their luck with the name-your-price option. Meanwhile, George Hobica, the former manager of AOL's Travel Bargains service, which was closed last year, started a similar service last month, at newyorkairfares. blogspot.com. The site finds fare bargains not easily discovered through conventional searches and, despite the Web address, offers options for non-New Yorkers.

Worth the trip

The top "once-in-a-lifetime" trips, from www.iExplore.com:

1. Champagne flight to North Pole.

2. Travel to Timbuktu (Mali) and back.

3. Sea kayak the Panama Canal.

4. Stay with Mongolian family in Gobi Desert.

5. Dive with great white sharks in South Africa.

6. Camel caravan across Sahara Desert.

7. Trek to Mount Everest base camp.

8. Hot-spring bath in Iceland.

9. Balloon safari over Serengeti (Tanzania).

10. Walk rain forest tree canopies in Amazon.

-- From wire reports

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