xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo EH Notebook #102 April 17, 2002 oxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox Welcome to EH Notebook, the e-zine where e-friends who have attended Elderhostel programs can compare notes. There is an independent but cooperatively maintained index to old issues at http://members.aol.com/ehindex To subscribe to the e-mail publication and/or to submit reviews of programs taken send an e-mail to the editor, Bob McAllester, at EHnotebook@earthlink.net Please keep all correspondence in simple e-mail text format. ################################################ From the Editor's Notebook ################################################ There is a new feature in the index web site, http://members.aol.com/ehindex. "Links to Readers' Own Elderhostel Web Pages" is now included in the section entitled "CONTACTS AND RELATED SITES" Most of these links were taken from Jim Olson's EHnotebook web pages. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ My wife and I are soon departing on our biggest Elderhostel ever. May 4 - 25 we will be attending an "Adventures Afloat" program in China. So, unless there is a flood of reviews in the next two weeks, this will be the last EH Notebook until about the first of June. When I return, I will have to catch up with the Notebook as well as my yard work etc. So please continue to send in your reviews and queries. I will catch up when I can. Bob McAllester EHnotebook@earthlink.net ################################################ Comments and Queries ################################################ BBCareers@aol.com Has anyone been to the Elderhostel at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, MD. I would appreciate any feedback you can supply. Thank you. Beverly Brown ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ALASKA WEATHER IN SEPTEMBER email@example.com I am considering one of the Elderhostel programs in Alaska in September - especially the one in Denali. I would appreciate your experience with the weather in Alaska in September. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ DorryToo@aol.com I enjoyed the newsletter and am curious if anyone has taken their grandchild to San Diego State University/Warner Hot Springs. The program is in August and I am concerned about hot weather. Anyone know how warm it gets? Please send your info to DorryToo@AOL.com. Thanks ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ My husband and I are considering the Dixie College/Kanab program in Utah in August. Anyone have comments to make on this one? The walks are described as "easy". Any opinions about this or altitude? Thanks. Martha Harvey firstname.lastname@example.org ################################################ Program Reviews ################################################ Peabody Institute, MD Grand Canyon Odyssey, AZ San Francisco Arts Humanities/Pacific Heights San Francisco Arts Humanities/Union Square UU in the Pines, FL Bishop's Ranch, Sonoma Valley, CA Costa Rica Naturalist Program [link] Introduction to Brazil [link] Oyster Maritime Museum, VA (Service Prog) [link]- DOES NOT WORK ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Peabody Institute, MD From: "Dorothy Andrews" email@example.com We just returned from a long-awaited EH at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, MD. Due to the destruction/reconstruction going on to the entire facility I would recommend that interested EHers delay a visit until 2004! Each morning the cranes, and tractors began digging next to our head at 7am, the route to the dining room took two days to learn and the route to the classroom another 2 because we had to go up and down elevators, in and out of buildings, etc. No one who can't climb and hike should go! To top off the otherwise fairly good experience (not at all as good as had been expected), the school was in intersession, so there were few student recitals and then, for the ones we attended, the 100+ of us were cramped into a tiny room! While the speakers were good, the overall environment and lack of interesting recitals gives it a C in my grade book. Dorothy Andrews (516) 783-7639 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Grand Canyon Odyssey, AZ March 24-April 1, 2002 firstname.lastname@example.org This 8-night program, sponsored by Yavapai College, was one of the most unforgettable I have taken. The first four nights we (25) stayed at Marble Canyon Lodge and traveled by vans to interesting places in the area. We 'vanned' to South Rim of the Grand Canyon and spent the fifth night on the rim in Maswik Lodge, then on to Peach Springs for final three nights. Each day started with breakfast of your choice, then a classroom lecture or discussion, lunch, and a field trip to a historical or geological point in the area. Guides were local and changed each day as we went to various locations and learned about ecology, geology, and human history of this beautiful canyon area. Our guides were very special people. Each brought a different point of view and told of their relationship with canyons and the land. Two native Americans spoke of how they were brought up, some of their beliefs, and of ties to the canyons and changes they have seen in land and cultures. Another guide entertained us with folk songs written by local poets and canyon stories. My favorite speaker/guides were cowboys from a local ranch who work each day in what we call wilderness. Yes, they really do use horses, rope cattle, and eat from their chuck wagon during round up time. We saw the canyons from the rim of Marble George, then at water level as we rafted down the Colorado River. After 'vanning' miles down a little known trail through an Indian reservation, then walking the last mile in and out of canyon streams, we picnicked on the banks of the Colorado. Some days we hiked along canyons, beside canyon streams, and along the rim of the Grand Canyon. Each day seemed better than the one before. Just having the chance to view this spacious, wide open country and experience it's heat, cold, sunrise, sunsets, clear nights and stars, learning names of native plants and their uses, while taking an active part in exploring new territory was a dream fulfilled. Words such as unconformaties, erosion, plateaus, mesa, buttes, temples, igneous, uplifts filled our vocabulary. In brief, our coordinator, Stacy, always kept us informed and explained what we were seeing. Great job! Guides and speakers fit the area. Food was plentiful with lots of fruit and veggies. Rooms met my needs. Weather - 30 degrees at night - 85 during the days. Layering worked well. This was not listed in Active Program but one could make it active by doing trail walks. I walked about 7 extra miles per day usually among panoramic views. I give this EH a high rating! Jean Crowley ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ San Francisco Arts Humanities/Pacific Heights: Food, Wine Culture Adventure March 17 to 24, 2002 'Moveable Feast' in San Francisco Thomas and Jean Foran email@example.com Site: Best Western Miyako Inn, Japantown [Nihonmachi], San Francisco, CA Group Coordinator: Bob [and Audrey] Clayman Staff: Steve Johnson, Lecturer on China/Japan Ben Pease, Tour Guide of Japantown Stanley Gee, Tour Guide of Chinatown Christina Waldek, Lecturer on North Beach Jerry Morucci, Tour Guide of North Beach Mary McCloy, Tour Guide of Mission area Meals: Breakfast was available each morning in a small room adjacent to the conference room. Fresh fruit, bread and bagels or muffins, cold cereals, coffee and juice. This meal was always the low point of the day. Either the breakfast was late or the toaster blew the fuse or.....some disaster. Two lunches were also served in this room: a sandwich, one day with salad the other with soup. A served breakfast was included on Sunday, the last day. Lunches out included a 'bento box' lunch at the Hakusan Sake Brewery. This was an excellent box lunch. The Farewell Meal was a lunch at the Culinary Institute of America [CIA]. This consisted of five appetizers, and a choice of baked Sea Bass or half Cornish Game Hen with Crême Brulée for dessert. There were two evenings for 'dinner on your own'. This was new to us as Elderhostel trips usually provide all meals or the means to buy the meal. The catalog did mention this and the fact that two lunches were also on your own. We took advantage of this and had some excellent meals with the latest issue of Gourmet [March 2002: The San Francisco you need to know] as our guide. Three dinners were served in the Mum's Cafe, the hotel restaurant. The meals here were good: Teriyaki Chicken one night, Salmon and Red Snapper the other two. Salad, dessert and coffee were served with the meals each night. Two dinners were provided on field trips. On Wednesday evening in Chinatown there was a cooking demonstration of 'pot stickers' followed by dinner at the Golden Phoenix. On Thursday evening a dinner of Lasagna or Cheese Ravioli was served at Tomasso's at the end of the North Beach field trip. Classes and Field Trips: There was a good mixture of lectures, field trips, and videos. The classes were held in a conference room on the second floor of the hotel. The room was of appropriate size but the view of the projection screen was sometimes difficult. Ample break time was given. Some topics were: Cultural History of China, Cultural History of Japan, Introduction to North Beach and the Mission. Field trips by local transportation were to Japantown [within walking distance], Chinatown, and North Beach. Field trips with transportation by tour bus were to Domain Carneros in the Sonoma region for Champagne tasting, Hakusan Sake Gardens for lunch and tasting, Remy Martin Distillery for Cognac 'sniffing', St. Supery Winery in Napa Valley for a wine tasting and the Culinary Institute of America for lunch and a cooking demonstration and tasting. Two afternoons were free for optional field trips. The Monday trip was a City Tour for $22 and Friday for Muir Woods and Sausalito for $22 [which did not include the entry fee of $3 for Muir Woods???]. Summary: This was our seventh Elderhostel trip. We found the experience to be quite comprehensive, if a bit casual in its organization. The idea of local transportation for such a large group seemed a bit daunting in the beginning but we decided to travel the buses on our own after learning the system. The quality of the lecturers and guides varied greatly. The group of Elderhostelers was, as usual, filled with enthusiasm and willingness to learn new things especially about the mix of cultures in the great city of San Francisco. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ San Francisco Arts Humanities/Union Square April 7-12, 2002 Bill Longman firstname.lastname@example.org For someone who had never visited San Francisco, our recently completed Elderhostel was an excellent introduction. We combined this week with seeing our son living for a time in the Bay Area doing research at Berkeley, and others in our group of 36 made similar family visits or enjoyed more travel in this beautiful part of the state. Lodging for the San Francisco Arts Humanities Seminars was at the Stratford Hotel. Accomodations were spartan but clean in this hotel conveniently located near Union Square with the cable trolleys passing out front. Meals which were good and lectures were excellent were a short walk away up the hill at the Sheehan Hotel. Monday included a thorough bus tour of the city, and several evenings videos were shown depicting the fascinating city history. Along with Charles Fracchia speaking on the colorful historical saga of the city and John Rothman with stories about the many ethnic groups, we had top notch guides for a number of walking tours. During our walks we were divided into two groups. The program was well coordinated by Barbara Corso. During free time people went to places like Fisherman's Wharf and to see "The Glass Menagerie." Lunch on Thursday as a group was at New Asia Restaurant in Chinatown. A few impressions of San Francisco: lots of hills, fascinating views, diverse population, plenty of homeless, good public transportation, great restaurants, unpredictable and often cool weather, with fog enveloping the Golden Gate Bridge. Several others have reviewed this program in EHNotebook or others in the area. We felt the educational content including those by guides on our walks were good enough to rank this near the top of the 18 we've gone to so far. Hotel rooms were indeed small but what can you expect in such a central location? Many sites are nearby such as Napa Valley, Big Sur, Monterey, Redwoods, etc. Write us if you have any questions. Bill Lee Longman, Springfield, MO email@example.com ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ UU in the Pines, FL John Mary Zelle firstname.lastname@example.org We're just back from a program, and this is my report..... Exploring Florida's Ecosystems from the Water Up: Canoeing Three Rivers 17-22 March 2002 This was an enjoyable program for us, with fun, easy canoeing and a congenial group. The program began with Sunday dinner and a program of introduction and outline of the schedule with some information about canoeing. Monday morning was a short program; free time after lunch; an afternoon program about reptiles (read snakes and alligators). Dinner, and then a short program about the rivers we'd be doing. Tuesday, we were bused to and canoed the Withlacoochee River - about 8 miles long. I was pretty tired, because I was unaccustomed to canoeing (hadn't done any since Girl Scout camp in the dark, distant past). John did better. We had packed our lunches after breakfast, and ate at a picnic area long the river. (There were bathrooms available at the put-in, lunch stop, and take-out.) This was a warm day, and the river was fairly open - lots of birds, and a few alligators (no snakes) to see. It is a dark-water (tannin-stained) river, but very clean. Wednesday - the Hillsborough River - this is the river that supplies the water supply to Tampa, so it is very clean - also a dark-water river. None of the rivers were very deep. This river had lots of trees overhanging and meeting, so was sort of like being in a tunnel. Lots of twists and turns, and going over fallen trees - a more difficult and technical paddle. However, only one canoe capsized (the only one during the program)....of course, it was ours! The only casualty (other than our dignity - which we have very little of anyway) was a soggy lunch. Our clothes got wet, and our shoes got muddy, but the guides were there right away, got our canoe right side up, emptied of water, got us back in the boat, and we were on our way again. It was warm, so no hypothermia problem. Thursday - the Weeki Wachee - a lovely river. This trip began at the Weeki Wachee Spring, and went almost to where the river flows into the ocean. It's a lovely, faster-flowing, crystal clear river. More open, and easier to paddle - just had to watch the turns and not let the current sweep you into the bushes. We stopped for lunch and got to go swimming at a nice beach area. Each evening, we had short programs about the rivers, birds and wildlife, the history of Florida before the arrival of the Spaniards. UU in the Pines is a Unitarian-Universalist Retreat Center, and is quite spartan. Our accommodations were in a dormitory like setting. In our building were the 5 couples in the group. We each had our own room, with twin beds (which we made ourselves), dresser, desk, 2 chairs, small hanging space, and we were given bedding and towels. The 10 of us shared two bathrooms across the hall. The five singles in the group were in another building, and I didn't see their rooms. It worked okay, but was certainly not luxurious. As is usual with Elderhostel, the food was plentiful, tasty, and relatively plain. Because of our small group, we were served breakfast and supper buffet style, and we cleared our own tables after meals. Lunch fixings were put out so that we could pack our own lunches for the day after breakfast. We were asked to strip our beds and take the bedding and towels to a central location at the end of the program. The maximum number in this program is 40, and we had 15 (their minimum). I'm glad we had the small number, and we got along well. We thoroughly enjoyed the program and the folks who led the canoe trips and did the programs. I am definitely not an outdoors-y type person, but even I had a good time. The only thing we thought could have been handled better was to give about a 15-30 minute paddling instruction session on the first day out. There were a couple of us who were (shall we say) less than capable paddlers, and I think we would have been much more comfortable with some in-the-water instruction. We did have some class-room information given, but that's not quite the same thing. I think, for the right person, this is quite a good program and would not hesitate to recommend it. Mary Zelle email@example.com ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Bishop's Ranch, Sonoma Valley, CA. Bob and Callie Stewart - firstname.lastname@example.org Our experience last week was very satisfying except for my husband Bob's back problems. However the site is bucolic, the food fabulous, the program very good and, of course, the twenty four Elderhostelers were the best part. You do have to make your own bed upon arrival and the one towel and one washcloth per person a bit sparse. As mentioned in the catalogue, a fair amount of walking - up and down gentle slopes - is also part of this particular setup. We drove whenever possible. Pete and Darlene were excellent "counselors" and with us all the way. A Most enjoyable experience. Some people have returned several times. We shall see. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Costa Rica Naturalist Program [link] Kathleen Grant email@example.com I recently returned from the Elderhostel Naturalist Program in Costa Rica and developed a web site to share pictures with my group. Perhaps some other folks who are thinking about this program would enjoy looking: http://homepage.mac.com/katiegrant/PhotoAlbum2.html Katie Grant ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Introduction to Brazil [link] Carl W Farley" firstname.lastname@example.org Here's a link to the Farley's recent Elderhostel trip - "Introduction to Brazil". Enjoy. http://www.hal-pc.org/~farleycw/QTravels/200Brazil.html ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Oyster Maritime Museum (Service Program) [link] "BOB" email@example.com Subject: CHINCOTEAGUE TRIP I just returned from a service program at the Chincoteague Wildlife Refuge. The following site has all the pictures from the week of April 7-13 http://www.PictureTrail.com/rabbit-1 If you click on one of the five albums, it will open up with an introduction and a gallery of "thumbnail" size photo's. If you click on a photo, it will open to full size; and in some cases, will include a short description. ENJOY....!!! NOTE TO READERS: THE PICTURES ARE NOT AVAILABLE AT THE SITE GIVEN ABOVE. However, a working link that goes directly to the Chincoteague pictures is now posted in the index "Link to Readers' Own Elderhostel Web Pages" under "CONTACTS AND RELATED SITES"