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TRAVELGIRL: Hot ticket in Tahoe, Tilley hat

SHAKESPEARE AT THE SHORE

This summer, grab your board shorts, bikini tops and sunscreen, and head for South Shore Lake Tahoe where the sun shines 274 days a year. Kidnap your girlfriends for a weekend of hiking, biking, water skiing or tanning on outdoor decks before evenings of clubbing and partying around town. There are six 24-hour casinos in the South Lake Tahoe area.

And from mid-July to mid-August, kick back and enjoy starry nights on the beach watching Shakespeare plays. The annual Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival at Sand Harbor State Park offers great food, fine wine and top-notch entertainment, seven nights a week. The 2007 playbill features "The Taming of the Shrew" and "Romeo and Juliet." Ticket prices start at $22. Keep your eyes open for famous neighbors such as Cher, Natalie Cole, Liza Minnelli and Wayne Newton. But good news -- despite such an A-list crowd, a weekend getaway to South Shore won't drain your wallet.

Tahoe Lakeshore Inn & Spa offers midweek specials and spa packages (try the hydrotherapy tub scrub with a massage) and large rooms so close to the lake you'll nod off to sleep serenaded by waves breaking on the shore. Rooms have full lake views and gas fireplaces, and corner rooms have kitchenettes.

Shakespeare Festival, www.laketahoeshakespeare.com, (800) 747-4697

Tahoe Lakeshore Inn & Spa, www.tahoelakeshorelodge.com, (800) 448-4577

Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, www.bluelaketahoe.com

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HATS OFF TO TILLEY

They call it springtime chic; we're calling it an all-season addition to top off a travelgirl's wardrobe. Whether you're a sun-seeker heading for the Caribbean, an adventurous type racing across the Hawaiian rainforest or simply a jet-setting soul looking for a practical way to top off any vacation, this is $85 well spent.

The newest addition to the Tilley hat collection is made from raffia, a natural fiber hailing from a palm tree found in Madagascar. This smart and stylish accessory can be crushed into a suitcase or carry-on, worn in a light rain and has a certified ultraviolet protection factor of 50+ to protect you from sun damage. Smart and stylish, the three-inch brim can be turned up or down for two distinct looks -- and there's a secret compartment to stash valuables. Each hat comes with a two-year, all-perils insurance policy against loss! And how many hats do you know that come with an owner's manual?

Tilley Women's Raffia Hat, www.tilley.com, 1-800-ENDURES (363.8737)

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