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Fall for an island, or head north

The Baltimore Sun

In winter, we long for the warmth of summer. In summer, we pray for cooler weather. Ah, but in autumn most of us are satisfied. For travelers, the mostly balmy weather and smaller crowds make fall an ideal time to hit the road or catch a plane. Some autumnal offerings:

You can experience the colors of Ireland while staying in a castle. The sixth annual West of Ireland Coastal Tour, Oct. 21-27, begins at $1,799, including airfare from Boston or New York. Participants stay at Dromoland Castle, a 17th-century, multiturreted structure on a 400-acre estate in County Clare. Sites to be visited include Galway Bay, Connemara, the Burren National Park, the Cliffs of Moher, the Shannon River, Blarney, Killarney National Park and the Ring of Kerry. Leading the group will be Patricia Preston, author of 12 books on Ireland. The trip also includes six full breakfasts, five dinners, sightseeing, admissions and other features. Go to irelandexpert.com or call 845-758-1232.

A horseback ride by day and a luxurious atmosphere at night is the promise of Deer Lodge, a boutique hotel in Lake Louise, Alberta. A new package, available through Oct. 8, includes a full-day guided trail ride to Lake Agnes and the Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouses, a night's accommodation and breakfast. Prices start at about $295 per person. Go to crmr.com or call 800-661-1595.

Ever considered the Caribbean in autumn? Frenchman's Reef and Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort in the shoppers' paradise of St. Thomas has a Shop Till You Drop package through Dec. 20 that includes a Shop Talk seminar with tips on finding the best deals, discount coupons from shops, unlimited water ferry tickets from the resort to downtown St. Thomas, a daily breakfast buffet for two, a rum or fruit punch and gift upon arrival, and room tax and gratuities. Through Oct. 31, rates begin at $222 a night, representing a 60 percent savings over high season. From Nov. 1-Dec. 20, the cost is $324 a night, a 45 percent savings. Go to french mansreefmarriott.com or call 800-524-2000.

Another fall destination you may not have thought about is Alaska. September is a fine time to view the Northern Lights, and there is foliage, too. Stay at any of Denali Park Resorts' lodges at half the price through Sept. 18 and you will also get half off any of the Explore Denali excursions, which include hikes and van tours. The package, which features lodging at McKinley Chalet Resort, McKinley Village Lodge, Denali Bluffs Hotel or Denali Grande Lodge, costs $329 per room for two nights and tickets for two on any Explore excursion. Go to denaliparkresorts.com or call 800-276-7234.

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