Question: We plan to visit London this summer and want to see where the cover photograph of the Beatles' album "Abbey Road" was taken. Can you tell us?
Answer: The place where the Beatles recorded most of their albums was known as E.M.I. Studios until the success of the album named after the street it is on. Now, Beatles fans come together at Abbey Road - the street and the studios - to pose in the zebra crossing, just as the Beatles did shortly before noon on Aug. 8, 1969, and scribble on the walls.
Abbey Road, the thoroughfare, is in St. John's Wood, in northwest London, near Lord's Cricket Ground. According to "Rock & Roll Traveler, Great Britain and Ireland," by Ed Glinert and Tim Perry (Fodor's, $19), the cover photograph was taken in the zebra crossing near the southern end of Abbey Road, immediately south of the studios. (Paul McCartney is the only barefoot Beatle in the photo, which Paul-is-dead theorists claimed was a secret clue supporting their belief.) The authors say that the tile street sign shown on the back of the album was attached to a building that has since been demolished.
To make your own album cover, go to the St. John's Wood tube station, walk along Wellington Road toward Regent's Park, then make a right onto St. John's Wood Road, following it to Abbey Road. The studios, at 3 Abbey Road, are not open for tours.
Irish cooking classes
Question: I am interested in taking cooking lessons in Ireland. Do you know of any culinary schools there?
Answer: The Irish Tourist Board provided the names of three schools. Prices are based on $1.40 to the Irish pound.
Country House Cookery, Berry Lodge, Annagh, Miltown Malbay, County Clare; telephone and fax (353-65) 87022. Rita Meade, a cooking teacher for more than 25 years, mixes traditional and modern Irish food. Classes are in Berry Lodge, the restored 19th-century home in which she learned to cook from her mother. Meat, fish and vegetarian recipes are included. The lodge is near the Cliffs of Moher on the west coast, 160 miles south of Dublin. Three-night packages with lodging, all breakfasts, two other meals and seven hours of lessons are $308; companion guests not taking courses pay $154.
The Old Rectory Country House and Restaurant, Wicklow, County Wicklow; (353-404) 67048, fax (353-404) 69181. The chefs, Linda Saunders and Richard Doyle, lead one-day programs with lunch, including courses on vegetarian cooking, home entertaining and fish and shellfish. Double rooms with private bath and breakfast are $140; courses are $70 a person. County Wicklow is in eastern Ireland, on the Irish Sea.
Ballymaloe Cookery School, Shanagarry, Midleton, County Cork; (353-21) 646785, fax 646909. Darina Allen leads one-, three- and five-day courses, and a 12-week professional certification course offered twice a year. The one- and three-day courses focus on such subjects as breakfasts, salads and sandwiches, and home entertaining. The five-day programs teach small-business skills like pub cooking or cafe and delicatessen dishes. The 12-week course covers food preparation, menu planning, costing out dishes, food preservation and hygiene, and choosing a wine list. For those who cannot attend these courses, afternoon demonstrations are offered, with a reservation. Accommodations are available in cottages in 18th-century farm buildings, renovated with private bath, central heating and television. Fees start at $137 for one-day courses and $357 for three days, and go up to $5,285 for 12 weeks. Ballymaloe is 23 miles east of Cork.
For more information: the Irish Tourist Board, 345 Park Ave., New York, NY 10154; (212) 418-0800, fax (212) 371-9052.
Question: My husband and I seek a romantic weekend getaway for our 25th anniversary. We'd like our own separate room - preferably a cabin in the woods or by the sea - so we could be alone but have amenities nearby.
Answer: We searched the woods and found a few cabins in your price range - $200 to $300 a night - that were not too far from your home in Washington's northwestern suburbs.
Sugar Tree Inn, Highway 56, Steeles Tavern, Va., (800) 377-2197, is on 28 wooded acres just off the Blue Ridge Parkway. The rooms are in cabins, but the smallest of the inn's three cabins has three guest rooms (the others have four each); they are nicely decorated and have woodburning fireplaces. Doubles: $95 to $140, with breakfast.
Nearby is Osceola Mill Country Inn, Steeles Tavern; telephone and fax (540) 377-6455. There are two large, separate cabins with fireplaces (doubles: $375 to $475 for two-day weekends, $475 to $575 for three days) and a mill store converted to a cottage with a whirlpool by a fireplace. Rates: $169 a night on weekends. Breakfast is included.
If you prefer massage, loofah scrubs and reflexology, Coolfont, Berkeley Springs, W.Va., (800) 888-8768, is a resort, spa and conference center near the eastern tip of West Virginia. On weekends, private chalets with double whirlpool tubs and wood stoves are $119 to $129 per person, double occupancy, and include breakfast and dinner daily, hiking programs, tennis, fishing and use of the fitness center.
Blackwater Falls State Park, Davis, W.Va., (304) 259-5216, fax (304) 259-5881, is adjacent to Monongahela National Forest, farther west in the state, about a four-hour drive from your home. This 1,688-acre park in a high mountain valley has numerous hiking trails and a waterfall in an eight-mile-long gorge. The modern cabins have knotty-pine paneling but no housekeeping. The staff said that they are fully booked for most weekends, but suggested you put your name on a waiting list in case of a last-minute cancellation. Cabin rates are about $70 to $110 a night.
Cheat River Lodge, Elkins, W.Va., (304) 636-2301, is about five hours from your home, nestled amid 4,000-foot mountain peaks. It has six deluxe individual cabins, each with an outdoor hot tub and a fireplace or wood stove. Hiking, mountain biking, bird watching and fishing are among the activities. The property is next to the Monongahela National Forest. Double rates for cabins on weekends start at $151, without meals.