Californians See the Queen — for Free — through Jan. 31

The Queen Mary. We'd like to live in one of those orange-red stacks atop the ship, but that probably wouldn't work, as we wouldn't have a bed up there, or a television. Plus, foggy mornings. Brrr. Okay, end fantasy.

But we can visit, and, during January, we can visit as much as we tra-la-la please, which is a lot. Why? Because of a gorgeous little offer being extended to residents of the Golden State. How gorgeous? Like, free-gorgeous. Californians are invited to visit the landmark boat gratis through January 31, 2009, but here are a few things to know before legging it to Long Beach: interested sightseers should arrive with driver's license or photo ID. And parking? There's still a fee. And the no-admission part includes the (great) self-guided tour, but not the additional tours offered by the attraction.

Nothing to sniff at though, free admission to the Queen Mary. Consider that a full, exceedingly packed day can be spent wandering the woodsy hallways and echo-y hulls while snooping out ghosts, historic stories and juicy tales of the ship's time on the high seas. We love the Observation Bar, and all the decks.

Thanks, Queen Mary. And at the start of the year, too, right when we are plum spent-out. Shall we do a little curtsy to show our gratitude? We think we shall, next time we see you.

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