EH Notebook #107     August 31, 2002

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 

Please keep all correspondence in simple e-mail text format.

     From the Editor's Notebook

Has anyone tried to reach Diane Tanner for information about 
either of her two program reviews in the last issue?  Soon after 
that issue was distributed, her ISP took away her local access 
number so she has had to change her email address.  Her new 
address is: jdtanner$A$a5.com

Bob McAllester

    Comments and Queries

We would be interested to hear from anyone who has gone on an 
Elderhostel in Belize or Brazil.  Thank you.

Lois Rosenthal


Our October programs were inadvertently omitted from the catalog 
and we have been desperately trying to enlist friends and former 
attendees - as the programs are set and we do need registrations!  
Boston has listed us now in the on-line catalog (programs 7206   
7207) and we are hearing from a few people. We ARE running the 
programs even though they may be small - maybe 20 to 25.

Ron and Pat Smeenge - Program Coordinators
Michindoh Elderhostel - Hillsdale, Michigan.

    Program Reviews

To use an e-mail address, substitute
the "at symbol" for the 3 characters $A$.


    Lane Community College, Florence, Oregon 
    St. Charles Community College, Missouri
    Malheur Field Station, Burns, Oregon
    Geneva Point Center, Center Harbor, New Hampshire
    Silver Penny Farm, Petaluma, California


Lane Community College, Florence, Oregon

Courses: Life at the Edge, Estuaries and Tide Pools,
Sea Lions to Starfish
In Pursuit of the Hidden Image: Photography 
on the Oregon Coast

June 2 - 7, 2002

The 30 people that attended this Elderhostel were rewarded with a 
very well organized week of interesting classes and wonderful 
field trips. Our hosts did a great job of keeping everything 
running on schedule with a good deal of humor.  In addition we had 
a marine biologist and a professional photographer for the 
lectures.  They went along on all the field trips to answer 
questions.  The fifth person on the field trips is a cartoonist, 
writer, historian, and naturalist with a great sense of humor.  
Most days had morning lectures and afternoon field trips which fit 
in with the lecture.   All lectures were held in the large 
conference room at the resort.

Field Trips: More than half the time was devoted to field trips in 
this very scenic part of Oregon.  The places visited were:

Tidepools at Neptune State Park and Cape Perpetua Overlook with a 
nature walk.

A saltmarsh and Sitcoos River Estuary.

Oregon Coast Aquarium at Newport.

A two hour whale watching boat trip where we saw many whales. 
Sweet Creek Trail with cascading waterfalls and beautiful wooded 
scenery along the trail.

Oregon Sand Dunes with an hour ride in 20 person dune buggies.

Driftwood Shores Resort in Florence.   Large rooms and each has an 
ocean view.  The resort is located on 10 miles of uninterrupted 
sand beach.

Food: All meals were buffet style served in the conference room by 
the hotel restaurant. All breakfasts had a large plate of fresh 
fruit with hot selections, rolls, Cereal Lunches were deli 
sandwiches and salads

Dinners had a choice of meat or fish, vegetables, salad, and 
dessert with a nice variety during the week.

Summary: We would recommend this Elderhostel to anyone who enjoys 
the outdoors in a very scenic state. The accommodations and meals 
were very good. All the people involved made this one of the best 
Elderhostels we have attended.

Ron   Bonnie Reas


St. Charles Community College, Missouri
Meramec Caverns 
Aug. 4-9 

What a great experience we had as we shared the week with our 10 
year old grandson.  The quality of the program was all we've come 
to expect from Elderhostel and then some.  The leadership of 
Sherrill and Nancy showed an understanding of the energy level of 
not only 10 grandchildren (high), but also that of the 14 
grandparents (not so high).  They were able to anticipate when the 
enthusiasm of the mostly boy participants might get out of hand 
and skillfully guide them to a place where the enthusiasm was 
still high, but the learning curve was still in tact

We were housed in a motel right at Meramec Caverns and ate at a 
lodge near-by.   Breakfast was buffet style, but the other meals 
were served. We were within view of the Meramec River, which 
created a scenic background for the week.

Upon arrival we were greeted by the coordinators and were able to 
settle in before our orientation.  Our appetite was whetted that 
night by a short boat ride on the river, just right considering 
many of us had traveled a distance that day.

The next day we started a schedule that took us through 3 caves, 
on several nature walks, fishing, swimming, and the highlight, an 
all day float trip on the Meramec River.  The schedule was 
balanced so we had high energy times interspersed with more laid 
back relaxing events.   The interpreters at various sites were 
knowledgeable and able to peak the interest of the group  
regardless of the age.  Sherrill   Nancy were able to adjust the 
schedule that was printed when it did not seem to fit either the 
time frame or the dynamics of the group.

I highly recommend this program for those who like to discover 
what is above and below the surface of Missouri.

Lillian Venner
Burlington, VT


Mount Saint Marie College, Newburgh, N. Y. 
July 14-19, 2002

There have been better; there have been worse. If I sound 
ambivalent, it is because I wonder if the pluses outnumber the 
negatives or vice versa.

Location, Location! The campus is on a tilting hillside with views 
of the Hudson River. Newburgh is a weary postindustrial river 
port, which saw its best times when Washington and whaling ships 
made it their headquarters. Between New York City and Albany, it 
is easy to get into, and easy to exit and visit the beautiful 
Hudson Valley. The coordinator in charge told us, before he 
charged home every night, that the campus itself was safe. But he 
warned us we must never ever go out the gate and turn left because 
of crime. His mixed message was unsettling.

Accommodations: The hostelers were housed on one floor in a large 
student dormitory. The lone security guard was at the entrance day 
and night. So far as I could tell, he/she did not carry firearms; 
just a telephone. We were alone when the coordinator charged home. 
It was a little eerie. There was no telephone in my room in the 
event of an emergency. The room had a private bathroom, air 
conditioner, refrigerator, microwave, and a dirty floor. It would 
have been nice if the trash basket were emptied just once, and 
fresh linen made available. 

Food: For fare that was shared with students and dozens of public 
school children the food was fair to good. There was freshly baked 
pizza and fresh vegetables at times for lunch and dinner, served 
buffet style. It was nice to have a separate dining room after 
going through the line with students and young children. The 
cafeteria was in a separate building, which was a good walk from 
the dormitory/classroom. The approach was steep 31 steps or a long 
downhill gradual path. There was no warning of this beforehand, 
and a person who has difficulty walking might have a problem 
unless a car was available for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

Classes: There was no coffee break between classes, as the 
coordinator told us the dormitory/classroom building "had no 
facilities" for making coffee. There was a juice break, though. If 
it takes two or three cups for you to perk, be forewarned and 
bring your own Java. The cafeteria opened exactly at 7:30 AM so 
there is no early eye-opener available.

Because of the steep hike to the dining facility, it is unlikely 
that an Elderhosteler would want to walk there between classes.  

The first class, "Heroes of West Point" was led by Colonel Cole C. 
Kingseed, Professor of History at West Point "Just call me Cole" 
was his style. Cole was rare. He made of his knowledge a generous 
gift, and of his teaching an art. Author of many articles, book 
reviews, books, and most recently, Eisenhower and the Suez Crisis 
of l956, he was down to earth and everything a teacher should be; 
warm, friendly, free with his time and effort. He took us to a 
higher level of intellectual understanding. Cole had deep insight 
into American and World History. Many handouts and magazines 
supplemented his teaching. This was capped by a wonderful tour of 
West Point, which was celebrating its bicentennial. I was lucky to 
be his student

Mrs. Marianne Taylor or "Marianne" taught us about "The Iroquois: 
The People of the Long House." Not only was she trained in 
History, but also just as importantly; she held a Master of 
Education. Marianne was a very skilled teacher who knew how to 
make a complex subject interesting. This important Native American 
group was presented to us with many printouts regarding their 
sociological and cultural patterns. When we had a fascinating 
field trip to the New York State Museum in Albany, Marianne was 
with us for the full day, above and beyond classroom work, guiding 
us through various exhibits answering a multitude of questions.

Dr. J. F. Cutter lectured on "Shakespeare's World View." He 
included ideas of the universal order, law, and "divine 
providence" It was interesting except for the fact that the title 
of the course implied a study of Shakespeare. I was surprised to 
hear more about the Metaphysics of Aristotle and the philosophy of 
Neo-Platonism than the good Bard himself. There was a discourse on 
"Order and Chaos" which tried to justify hierarchy as a bulwark 
against chaos in the universe. There was an abstract analysis of 
Shakespeare's Henry V. It would have been much better to have been 
briefed about this beforehand. There were no printouts to guide us 
through the complexities of Shakespeare's play, which depicted 
English history two hundred years earlier. There was no sense of 
historical context. Happily, I studied the Renaissance many years 
ago at Columbia with Garrett Mattingly, Pulitzer Prize winner for 
his study "The Armada." None of us was prepared with a text of 
Henry V, as we were not informed it would be needed. The reading 
aloud by fellow students or the lecturer without following the 
printed word deprived me of the full flavor of the poetry and the 

For me, the best part of this course was a live performance of 
Henry V and a discussion with one of the actresses the next day. 
Hint: If you are going to the play at the Boscobel tent theatre, 
be sure the coordinator tells you where the facilities are 
located, as they are relatively few and the crowd is large. The 
play starts exactly on time, and no one is admitted who is late. 
Some of the actors emerge from the side aisles. Also, be sure you 
know where the school bus is parked for the trip back to the 

Evening activities included two films: The Lawrence Olivier 
version of Henry V and Kiss Me Kate, the musical based on The 
Taming of the Shrew. Fortuitously, there were two engineers in the 
group who were able to extract decent video sound from an 
unfamiliar piece of equipment after the coordinator in charge left 
us for his home.

Did the positive qualities of this Elderhostel outweigh the 
negative ones? What do you think?

Sid Kessler
Your friendly Elderholic
My Elderhostel No. 62


Malheur Field Station, Burns, Oregon
Active Outdoor
July 2002

The cost of this Elderhostel was $100/day each.  This is the same 
price we recently paid for a 34 day cruise around South American 
on the Holland America line (which included air fare to Rio de 
Janeiro from San Diego - with 2 nights lodging in the 5 star 
Marriott Hotel on Cocacabana Beach)!!!

We had to furnish sheets and pillow cases (for 2 beds), towels, 
wash cloths, soap, waste basket, bottled water, facial tissues. 
Our room was quite dirty. There is no "room service," so if a 
clean room is required, request a mop and bucket the first day.  
No door key was provided to lock the room.

Old style, metal hospital type that crank into position. Cranks 
were broken. One bed was 3 feet high on wheels; the other was 2 
feet high and stationary.

The room was furnished with one broken lounge chair, one very 
badly stained straight chair, one wall lamp with a burned out 
bulb. We were able to "cannibalize" a vacant room and replaced the 
broken chair with a like one; also got a bulb. Rods fell off the 
wall when we tried to open the curtains.

Bathrooms and showers need a good scrub. Each sink had a plastic 
milk jug underneath to catch the leaks. The shower room consisted 
of three shower heads on a single wall with no privacy curtains. 
Shower "caddies" were not on the wall or nearby.  A badly stained 
wooden bench was provided in the shower area. 

My husband and I were the only couple. There was one other male. 
In order for me to get to the women's bathroom/shower area I had 
to pass through the men's bathroom/shower area. I was told by the 
Coordinator that if this was not acceptable, I could walk down the 
hall, outside and around the building, and pass through the 
Community Room to get to the women's bathroom. I ended up using 
the men's room during the night. We were able to work this 
arrangement out among us.

Field trips began each day around 7 a.m. and we returned to the 
Field Station around 6 p.m. each day. Dinner was scheduled at 6 
p.m. There was no time to relax, refresh, socialize before the 
meal. No activities were planned after dinner. Except for one 
evening when we saw a slide show of birds, geology, flowers. After 
10 hours a day on these subjects, I felt we needed a "break." No 
radio, music, daily newspaper were provided. The Community Room 
was very hot and dirty; furniture legs were broken off - cinder 
blocks were used to replace the broken furniture legs. Lighting in 
this room was poor and insufficient for reading.

Fans and Blankets:
Provided only on demand. The temperature was over 100 the day we 
arrived. We sweltered the first night because the rooms have no 
fans. Fans with broken switches were provided only on demand the 
second day. This was also the case with blankets. While day time 
temps can be 100 plus at Malheur; night time temps can drop to the 
low 50s.

RV Space:
Written information from the Field Station before arrival 
announced there is an RV "park" on site. On arrival we were told 
not to use the first 6 spaces (out of 10) due to a sewage spill 
from the laundry (staff use only). Only 50 and 15 amperage is 
available. We were not able to use the RV site.

This Elderhostel is described as "active" in the EH catalog. Daily 
activity consisted of climbing into the van and out. Two very 
short hikes of approximately less than a mile were scheduled.  The 
Coordinator was also the registrar, host, bus driver, bird and 
geology scientist, and lecturer.  I feel it's unreasonable that 
the scientist/bus driver was also the hotel manager and host. 

Absolutely top notch.  Information and presentation on plants, 
birds, and geology was excellent.

My evaluation of this experience is honest and I hope was written 
without emotion.  We are experienced hikers, back packers, and 
campers.  The Malheur site was described as "rustic" in its 
literature. Primitive, perhaps. We are astounded that Elderhostel 
would buy into such a situation --- and then sell it back to the 
unsuspecting at top dollar.  

Sandra Cummings
Prescott, AZ


Geneva Point Center, Center Harbor, New Hampshire
The Plays the Thing
June  9, 2002

This EH is located on a peninsula in the northern end of the 
largest lake in NH- Lake Winnipesaukee.  The Center is a 
conference / retreat center.  The location is about a 1 1/2 hr 
drive from the Manchester airport which we flew in to.  You do 
need a car for this program or lets say its very helpful ! they do 
pick up at airport in the Centers van .

After picking up our car, we headed east to the ocean and Hampton 
Beach for the night and then drove the eastern side of the lake ( 
stopping along way for lobster rolls in Wolfsboro) on our way to 
Geneva Point Center.

The Center is located in a remote, wooded section with a nice 
beach on the lake. (It was not open when we were there - no life 
guard yet!)  The lodging was either in a couple of lodges or 
duplex cabins..  Was very adequate.  There were smaller facilities 
on the "campus" but we had the best lodging that they had.  You 
could walk to everything.  

Note:  nice hiking, walking - well marked trails BUT lots of ticks. 
Found several in cabin after walking in woods.  Need to shake off 
shoes, brush off clothes outside after being in wooded areas.

Meals were in original house they called the Inn.  Food was 
plentiful, but plain. Hot breakfast each day with large bowl of 
fresh fruit. 

  Our classes were in a new building called the "Meeting House"--
very nice, modern and had a stage for our performance- lovely 
large room, fireplace in one end-stage in the other.

Day 1 ---      -Reception and tour or the Center.  Usual 
orientation and introductions that evening.  Coordinator was Jill 
Collins , who did a great job and our instructor was from 
Wisconsin -Name JIM OLESEN!! (not our JimO, but what a 
coincidence !)

Days 2,3,4  were pretty much the same-class in the AM until lunch 
time and we were free in the afternoons.  We did encounter some 
rain and opted to have extra practices in the afternoons on a 
couple of days.   

Day 5 -Usual class and practice and then we had our performance 
that evening.

Day 6- class in AM then lunch and departure.  

Monday was a nice day and they offered different tours of the 
area.  We went to Squam Lake area - toured lake in boat and saw  
where "on Golden Pond" was filmed.

There were 21 persons in our class and 24 in the photography 
section. (They were our audience!)  We all ate together so was a 
large group at meal times .

Evening programs were from the instructors of both sections--slide 
shows of the animals, scenery etc, poetry reading from Jim and his 
wife and of course our Production of "Spoon River Anthology"

Our script in hand production turned out really good.  We each had 
several parts due to the nature of the play, a very accomplished 
pianist in the group along with what Jim called his "chorus"--we 
did a musical / drama that was well received by all that saw it!

Was a really fun week if you like to do theater and no memorizing-
-was all script in hand !  Jim was an excellent teacher -class 
never got dull and had full attendance at all sessions .   Lovely 
location--the weather could have been better, but as we were 
inside for most of day, really did not matter !

Note:  This was motorcycle week in Meredith and we had to share 
the road with 600,000 bikers !

Billie A. Hamm


Silver Penny Farm, Petaluma, California
Early Christian Controversies
August 5-9, 2002

Silver Penny Farm is in a very relaxed rural setting, but its 
programs may promote very intense discussions on both intellectual 
and very personal levels.  This is an Elderhostel that inspires 
people to return.  There were many returnees at this session.  Our 
friends who enticed us to attend this one were there for their 
fifth time and enjoying every minute of it.

This site has been reviewed in two previous issues of the EH 
Notebook, #55 and #64.  There is a limit of 23 participants, 10 
double rooms with private baths and three single rooms in the main 
house that share a bath.  There is no extra charge for the 
singles.  The setup makes for a very congenial group, very much in 
the original Elderhostel philosophy.

Our instructors were Judy and Jeff Siker, who were described in 
the #55 review.  They gave us a broad view of the origins of the 
New Testament and the controversies that existed among Christians 
of the first three centuries after Christ.  How Christianity was 
at first just a small group of people who were active Jews and how 
it spread into the world of the gentiles.

Some of the controversies are still alive today.  For instance, 
was Christ human or divine?  People have not changed that much in 
two thousand years.

Yes, we recommend this Elderhostel.

Grace   Bob McAllester