GREAT JOURNEYS START RIGHT HERE; A Travel Writer Picks Some of the Year's Most Memorable Travel Books

Article excerpt

Byline: JUDY WELLS

Travel books come in two varieties, those you sit and read to learn about a country or trek, savoring someone else's experiences, and those you take along as references on the go. Here are some of the best we've encountered this year.

'ALONG FLORIDA'S EXPRESSWAYS, 2ND EDITION'

Author: Dave Hunter

Data: Mile Oak Publishing, 202 pages, $24.95

Canadian snow birds swear by Hunter's books and Floridians will learn a thing or three from his "Special Reports" section. The book is divided into two sections, maps for drivers and the reports with tips on avoiding construction, things to see and where to eat, plus fascinating nuggets of the state's history among other odds and ends. Having traveled with Hunter, I can attest to this avid historian's inexhaustible passion for research and accuracy. If we could pack our vehicles with as much stuff as he can pack information into a page, we really could take it all with us.

'HOMEGROWN HANDMADE: ART ROADS AND FARM TRAILS'

Author: North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources and North Carolina

Cooperative Extension

Data: John F. Blair Publisher, 387 pages, $19.95

This handy self-guide does for the eastern, Piedmont and foothills regions of North Carolina what the Hand Made in America series did for the state's western side. That is, to describe county by county sites that are open to travelers a minimum of 20 hours a week, restaurants with a local and popular touch, farms combining agriculture with activities, art galleries that feature the state's artists, retail stores with North Carolina products and B&Bs and inns with connections to authentic Carolina culture. Colored end pages for each area, maps, photos galore and even a recipe or two make it practical as well as fun.

'LITERARY TRAILS OF THE NORTH CAROLINA MOUNTAINS'

Author: Georgann Eubanks; photographs by Donna Campbell

Data: University of North Carolina Press, 426 pages, $18.95 paperback

Like a good friend in the back seat, Eubanks directs literate travelers to and through the Asheville of Thomas Wolfe, Hendersonville where F. Scott Fitzgerald spent a November writing and Crumpler's River House Inn, where the likes of Garry Trudeau and Annie Dillard have stayed. …