- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 5, 2006

Here are some books worth reading when the weather keeps you indoors:

The Top 100 Most Beautiful Rustic Vacations of North America, by Dusty Dave ($22.95, Rusty Duck Press, Telluride, Colo.; inquiries: DustyDave@RusticVacations.com).

I have no idea who Dusty Dave is — if that is his real name — but someone in the world of publishing needs to give this man an award for one of the most delightful, informative and worthwhile efforts I’ve ever seen.

What you have here are 240 pages filled with rustic vacation possibilities all over North America. Yes, most of them consist of beautiful western guest ranches, lodges and resorts geared to people who love breathtaking, wild scenery, horseback riding, trout and salmon fishing, canoeing, log buildings and fragrant wood fires that hark back to an earlier era on this continent.

Dusty Dave, however, didn’t just concentrate on western places that range from New Mexico to glorious Alaska. He also provides closer destinations for Easterners. There are a couple of camps and resorts in Maine, five in New York, even one in Virginia, plus a number in Ohio, Michigan and Minnesota.

Dave also offers spots from Quebec to the Yukon. Now add Mexico, from the Baja California to Quintana Roo, and you have a terrific selection to choose from.

Locally, in Montebello, Va., 55 miles west of Charlottesville, there’s the Three Sisters Log Cabin, available for around $150-$200 a day for the entire cabin. Fishing rods and firewood are included. As with all the other vacation suggestions, you’ll get two pages of bright color photos that leave no doubt about what will greet you. The illustrations frame solid written information, phone numbers and Web sites and cabin capacity. In the case of the Virginia location, it would be for up to eight people and it is available year-round.

I can say without reservation that I would be happy in any of the 100 rustic beauties.

Adventures with Jonny— Let’s Go Fishing! by Michael DiLorenzo, richly illustrated by Jenniffer Lulich, $17.95, Running Moose Publications, Clinton Township, Mich., purchase through www.adventureswithjonny.com.

This large hard-cover book came about when DiLorenzo discovered that not many of today’s children fish.

“I felt compelled to help change that statistic by developing a character that children could relate to and emulate,” he said.

The book, a three-part adventure, begins with a story line that can interest children ages 3 to 8 as they venture out with little Jonny to learn what a day of fishing is all about.

The second part is a “how-to” fishing guide to help parents and the little ones. In word and color sketches, there’s all the necessary equipment to carry along, the best fishing rigs to use, how to cast, and where to find the fish. Every written word by DiLorenzo is accompanied by wonderful color drawings that children, especially, will find entertaining and educational.

All that is followed by a third part that identifies what you’re after. It’s titled “Name That Fish,” and it has color sketches of walleyes, bass, sunfish, catfish — you name them — along with the types of “munchies” they like, where they prefer to live, what to watch out for when handling them, and so on.

The book ends with fishing journal pages that a child can use to record each outing. This book surely will help get mom, dad and the little ones into fishing. I recommend it.

Fish: 77 Great Fish of North America, paintings by Flick Ford, text by Travis Clarke ($50, Greenwich Workshop Press, Seymour, Conn. Visit www.greenwichworkshop.com/FISH to see sample pages of this 14-by-14-inch beauty).

This wonderful book is destined to grace the sporting crowd’s coffee tables whether they’re in a city condominium, a suburban house, or a fishing club’s mountain cabin where anglers gather to outdo each other in the story-telling department. One thing is certain, the book’s publicist wasn’t joking when she said that this will be an upscale guide for the naturalist and angler. (To tell the truth, for me the latter two are interchangeable. Good anglers are born naturalists.)

The fish species shown run the gamut from little pumpkinseed sunnies to shad, and from largemouth bass to the fabled peacock bass of South America. They’re all here — 77 freshwater and saltwater species that enthrall anglers everywhere.

Recommended — even at $50 a copy.

Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: gmueller@washingtontimes.com.

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