EH Notebook #112     Dec 2, 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

Ever since I started producing the EH Notebook, there has been a 
persistent problem.  Some of the copies get lost on their way to 
the subscriber.  Starting with this issue, I am using the "PSS 
Bulk Mailer" instead of "Outlook Express" to do the mailing.  Now, 
you will each be sent your individual copy addressed directly to 
your e-mail address instead of being included in a list of BCC 
addresses.  I think that this will be much more reliable.  I thank 
HGlucks for suggesting this bulk mailer to me.

There are two Chincoteague reviews in this issue.  One is a 
traditional program and the other is a short program.  I think the 
two reviews compliment each other.  Earlier in the year, I recall 
including a service program.  These Chincoteague programs seem to 
be very popular.

Grace and I will be at another Elderhostel the week of Dec 8.  
We'll be gone again for a few days at Christmas.  So I may not 
answer your mail as quickly as usual.  I don't know if the next 
issue will come out before or after the New Year.

Bob McAllester

    Comments and Queries

Intergenerational trip to France
Has anyone taken the Alpine Adventure: People and Nature in France 
#3773?  We are interested in going next summer in combination with 
a wedding and would like to take our 16-year old grandson with us 
on this Elderhostel first.  Any information on this?


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

I am looking for anyone who has attended an instrumental classical 
Performance Elderhostel for recommendations.

Pat Laurie

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Just returned home from our second Elderhostel at Peabody 
Conservatory in Baltimore. Excellent programs, with Shermer, 
Liotti, and Woodfield teaching sessions on the history of the met, 
Puccini, and Bel Canto Opera. 

Peabody's construction is proceeding ahead of schedule, and should 
be done by the end of next year. Meanwhile, programs are 
continuing just fine. The only difference is that you need to go 
out of the building on the street side, instead of the courtyard, 
to get to the cafeteria and some of the performances.

Very good news: they now have an excellent workout room, with 
bikes, treadmills, and weight machine. There is also free computer 
access in the library so you can pick up your email.

Contact me if you would like complete information.

Roz Cole

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Chaco Canyon program
We would like any information about this program in NM.  We 
wondered if anyone has taken a larger motorhome to this location.

Robert Laundroche

    Program Reviews

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


    Smith Mt. Lake 4-H Ed Center, Virginia
    Harambe Oaks Ranch, Texas
    Mo Ranch Conference Center, Texas
    Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois
    Chincoteague Oyster and Maritime Museum, Virginia
    Marine Science Consortium at Chincoteague, Virginia 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 


Smith Mt. Lake 4-H Ed Center
Oct.20-25, 2002

This was our 3rd Elderhostel vacation and once again we thoroughly 
enjoyed it. Our location was about 35 miles east of Roanoke in the 
middle of the beautiful Appalachian Mountains, which is a nice 
change when you live in flat Florida. There were 34 in our group. 
Some were WWII vets and Art enjoyed reminiscing with them as 
several had been in the U.S.Air Force. One man had been the Marine 
pilot for 3 presidents! The majority of the group came from 
further north with a few from Virginia. We were the only ones from 
Florida. Like little kids on a hike, we wore nametags on a string 
around our necks noting what state we came from. Nametags are very 
helpful for those 'senior' moments!

Our accommodations were private room and bath and meals were 
buffet style, usually quite good. Everyone is 'always' on time for 
that event! The tables accommodated 6 people and everyone changed 
tables at most meals so we all got to know each other. A few 
couples were old friends from different states who meet at the 
Elderhostels to catch up on their lives. Some couples had been to 
many Elderhostels over the years, even as far away as Alaska.

The 4-H Educational Conference Center stays occupied most of the 
year with different conferences, wedding receptions, etc. They 
cease most activities in November. This area provides absolute 
silence most of the time. You don't hear trucks or cars but now 
and then an airplane may fly over.

The majority of our time was spent listening to lectures, as it 
was a very 'learning' experience. There were 3 different subjects, 
which included "Trails Across America" (my favorite); "The 
California Gold Rush" and "Law in our Lives". These were given by 
excellent speaker's well versed in their subjects. Most included 
short films.

The couple who spoke on Trails Across America" had taken their RV 
across the country and collaborated as a team (since 1988) to 
gather material. They have written 4 books on the subject, one of 
which was the "Appalachian Trail" which starts in Maine and ends 
in Georgia for a distance of 2,l00 miles. When we were in Georgia 
years ago we had done a small portion of the trail and again this 
time in Virginia. We are definitely not the hikers we once were! 
Other trails our lectures covered were "The Trail of Tears" and 
"The Oregon Trail", "The Lewis   Clark Trail" and "The Santa Fe 
Trail". I learned much about trails in a short time!

Another lecturer had his own law firm in N.Y. and his subject was 
"Law of our Lives". He is now specializing on what they call 
"Elder Law" which covers living wills, trusts, Medicare, power of 
attorney and taxes that all need to be seriously considered in our 
'senior' years. A lot was over MY head but Art gained a great deal 
from it and made lots of notes.

The third speaker was a geologist who had worked for the Atomic 
Energy Commission. Although a gifted speaker and extremely 
knowledgeable, most of it held little interest for me.

Each day there would be two hours of 'free time' when nothing was 
scheduled and on one such day we joined another couple to drive 
about 30 miles to The National D-Day Memorial. This is in the 
small town of Bedford, VA. This memorial was dedicated on June 6, 
2001. It is a magnificent structure surrounded by lovely gardens 
on 3 levels. The centerpiece of this 88-acre site is the massive 
"Overlord" arch, rising 44'6" in height, made of black marble and 
granite. "Overlord" was the code name for the Normandy landing. 
There are 'life sized' sculptures depicting the landing in a pool 
of water, which simulated explosions in the water. One such 
sculpture was a soldier pulling his fried from the water and 
another was a dead soldier on the shore. "Overlord" was the 
largest air, land and sea operation undertaken before, or since 
June 6, 1944. The landing included over 5,000 ships, 10,000 
airplanes and 150,000 servicemen.

Bedford, Va. was selected as the site for the D-Day Memorial 
because this small, rural community of only 3,200 lost 19 of its 
men in the Normandy landing.... the greatest single sacrifice of 
any of our nation's communities. (Art took part in this event 
flying in at 2000 feet because of heavy clouds.)

On another free time we all piled into a bus and drove two hours 
up the Blue Ridge Parkway to 2000 ft. The summit of this mountain 
rose to 4000 ft. The foliage was breathtaking. We had arrived at 
almost the peak season of the color change and it improved the 
higher we went. As we drove further up the mountain the colors 
became more vivid. It was a bit overcast that day but didn't rain. 
The bus stopped at the Park Ranger's Station where a Park Ranger 
joined us. He was not only full of information, but was also a 
'stand-up comedian'! Lots of questions from the passengers were 

We actually did take a short hike of about half a mile on a very 
steep and rough trail to the summit. Going down was just as 
difficult and we were happy to see the bus waiting for us with 
cold drinks and snacks. We were more than ready to sit down!

While on this short hike we met a 'real trail' hiker. He was a 
nice young man, hiking alone (not wise) and had been on the 
Appalachian Trail since July! He planned to be home for Christmas 
but still had a very long way to go before he reached the end of 
the trail in Georgia. He was from Kentucky and said at the next 
town some warmer clothes would be waiting for him. He would phone 
his parents every few days and stop at a motel for a bath and 
'real' food. He didn't have a bit of fat on him and said he was 
ALWAYS hungry. We were all wearing long pants and coats and he was 
in shorts!

I have left to the last the Smith Mountain Lake itself and I would 
have enjoyed a lecture on that rather than the geologist. Smith 
Mountain Lake is not a 'natural' lake, which was a shock to us. A 
mammoth dam located on the Roanoke River in Virginia was completed 
in 1966 at a cost of over $66 million. A year or so later (not 
sure of exact date) the dam was opened and flooded a huge valley 
to create the lake.

This lake is 260 feet deep in some areas and 40 miles long with a 
shoreline of 500 miles! The shoreline has hundreds of small inlets 
and bays and the lake twists and turns, hence the 500 miles of 
shoreline. Half of the larger area is in Bedford County and half 
in Franklin County. There are now several parks, wildlife areas, 
boat landings and yacht clubs. The fishing is very good and on 
the dock we saw a fellow take a 15 lb fish from his boat. 

Vicky Newett

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 


Harambe Oaks Ranch
November 3-8, 2002 

This was our 23rd EH and ranks right up at the top.  The theme was 
"Traveling Through Texas IV" (they do three others with different 
itineraries), and our hosts, Judy Rinker and Phyllis Bigby, were 
also the coordinators, tour drivers, and cooks.  They were truly 
pros at everything concerning our comfort and enjoyment;; this was 
their 240th Elderhostel!

We started with a tour of the facilities at 4:00 p.m. Sunday 
afternoon and it was almost non-stop from then till Friday 
afternoon.  There were four classes of perhaps 11/2 hours each on 
Texas wildflowers, birds and geology, local history, and Celtic 
music in Texas, all excellent.  Evening activities consisted of 
the opening "get acquainted" night  and closing "talent night", 
both while gathered around a big fireplace.

Monday night Judy taught us games of dice, cards and dominoes 
which I can't wait to teach my grandchildren.  On Election Night 
we were served dinner in our hosts' beautiful private home while 
we watched election returns on a bog screen.  We sang patriotic 
songs accompanied by Phyllis "playing" a player piano Wednesday 
night, and the highlight was the last night's Country-Western hoe-
down with five cowboys joining us for hors d'ouevres and dinner 
beforehand.  Table decorations were changed daily to correspond to 
the evening's theme.

We were driven in comfortable vans to Austin (Texas State 
Cemetery, State Capitol Building, and Bob Bulloch Museum and an 
IMAX film and Texas history film); Seguin (tour of historic town 
and home of Janice Woods Windle, author of best seller "True 
Women", hosted by author's brother and mother) and Gonzales, where 
we were given a driving tour of the town's 80 nineteenth century 
homes built on cattle and cotton money; and San Antonio, for the 
Alamo, wonderful buffet lunch at the Menger Hotel (oldest 
continuous hotel west of the Mississippi), and a boat ride through 
the Riverwalk. Docents had been arranged for many of the stops, 
and these were all-day trips from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 or later.

Food was home-cooked and delicious, served buffet style, with 
great salads, up to four vegetables at a meal, and wonderful 
desserts.  Judy taught us lovely graces, which we sang before or 
after each meal.  We were asked to make up our beds when we 
arrived and to clean and vacuum the dining area after each meal, 
which took five minutes.  Rooms were in a lodge complete with 
social room, laundry facilities, and refrigerator; our classroom 
was on the second floor.

Harambe Ranch does intergenerational EH's, and would be a great 
place to spend a week with your grandchildren.  The coordinators 
are both former college professors of recreation, and know how to 
keep a group comfortably busy and happpily entertained.   There is 
no livestock (lots of wild deer) but a large pool and observatory.

We learned a lot, laughed and sang a lot, saw a lot of Texas, and 
received great value for our money.

Don   Marty Scearce

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 


MO RANCH Conference Center/Texas Hill Country
Oct 27-Nov 1, 2002 

My husband and I spent five days in the Texas Hill Country at this 
conference center, and we would rank it near the bottom of the 23 
we have attended.  The classes were excellent: Texas History, 
Western Humor, and Celtic Roots of Texas Music.  The teachers were 
all very knowledgeable in their fields, and well prepared.

But the overall program left much to be desired.  Class sessions 
were up to 2 1/2 hours long with a short break, and all we did all 
day and evening was sit in a classroom.  There were no field trips 
planned and we were miles from anywhere.  Our coordinator walked 
through at breakfast, said "How's it going?" and disappeared until 
the next morning.  A volunteer couple introduced speakers and 
stayed overnight near us, while the E/H coordinator went to her 
home 40 miles away.

Registration was interesting as we were given the key to a room 
already occupied, whose residents screamed when my husband 
entered.  The key cards were programmed to expire two days early 
and had to be redone.  Worst of all, our sister-in-law died while 
we were en route to Texas, and the front desk never gave us the 

We had an hour's free time after breakfast, an hour for lunch, and 
from 2 1/4 to four hours of free time in the afternoon.  One 
evening was to be cards or board games, unorganized, and almost no 
one stayed.  Another night they showed "The Alamo" with John 
Wayne, which everyone had seen several times. We had a get-
acquainted night and a talent night, and the fifth evening a 
country-western singer entertained us.

The food was very good, served buffet with a nice salad bar and 
fresh fruit.  But everything was lukewarm, and a group of 150 
church youth from Baton Rouge in the same dining room made 
conversation extremely difficult.

The terrain was challenging for some participants due to the 
hills, and the dining room requires climbing either six steps or 
eighteen steps to enter.  Several of our group drove to all meals.

We're glad we went because of the wonderful Elderhostelers we met 
(always a high point of any EH) and the fine teachers.  Perhaps a 
different program would help break up the monotony of just sitting 
in the same classroom all day and evening.

Marty Scearce

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 


Art Institute of Chicago                                                                                   
Nov. 10-16, 2002 

This excellent Elderhostel program in downtown Chicago deserves a 
full review though repeating the brief information found in #76.  
In this our 19th my wife Lee and I were participating in an 
Elderhostel sponsored by the Art Institute which has been an on 
going program since 1992 with 20 per year.  That's quite a few 
Elderhostels! There were 44 enrolled which is the limit though the 
sponsors would go ahead with only a handful if EH in Boston would 
allow it.  That it is well run goes without saying.  Participants 
are residents at the stately Chicago Athletic Association just 
across Michigan Avenue from the museum.  This is where a light 
breakfast and delicious dinner are served in an elegant dining 
room overlooking Lake Michigan (dinner jackets required for 
dinner).  Lunches are in the museum school's deli.  The rooms are 
comfortable although a few complained of street noise. 

Each day we began with a Tai Chi class led by two well-liked 
experts.  Then came a brisk walk over to the museum for several 
gallery lectures and tours each day.  The Art Institute is 
renowned for its collection of Impressionist paintings, but 
certainly has a creditable collection of art from other periods.  
We chose this EH because of the opening of a special exhibit on 
"Medici, Michelangelo, and the Art of the Late Renaissance."  Also 
there was a Juan Munoz exhibit...but with boring extra lecture.  
I'm sure we all learned a great deal about the paintings, 
sculptures, drawings, etc. Overheard was a conversation between an 
engineer and an accountant chuckling about their enjoyment of art.  
Actually, these two along with others in the group were the usual 
well-traveled and informed Elderhostelers.  It is always a delight 
to share a week with such folks. In addition to the program 
itself, we enjoyed extras such as a performance of the Chicago 
Symphony and noonday concert at the Cultural Center, both close by 
on Michigan Ave.  Also we walked over to State Street for a film 
at the Gene Siskel Film Center and went with the group on an 
architectural tour in the Loop.  Many in the group went by bus on 
Friday night to a wonderful production at Steppenwolf Theater.  
Arriving a day early on the Sunday beforehand we worshiped at 
Chicago Temple (First Methodist).  Some of us were familiar with 
Chicago but did enjoy staying right on Michigan Avenue for the 
week with stores decorated for Christmas and coffee shops and 
bookstores close at hand.

We drove our car and parked elsewhere at a niece's house because 
parking is quite expensive.  Of course, you can arrive by train or 
airplane, as most did. 

Glad to answer questions.  Also, I have a schedule of Art 
Institute EH dates for next year.

Bill Longman
Springfield, MO

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 


Chincoteague Oyster and Maritime Museum
Chincoteague/Assoteague Islands EH
Nov 17-22, 2002

This EH program's advertised features are lighthouses, pirate 
legends, and Chincoteague Ponies. But the week's program also 
includes islands history, oyster cultivation, hunting, fishing, 
seafood processing, Eastern Shore geology, carving duck decoys and 
showcase waterbirds, and island wildlife (ponies, 300 species of 
waterbirds, horseshoe crabs, Delmarva fox squirrel, deer, sika, 
opossums and other refuge dwellers).

Chincoteague (Shink-A-Teeg) is a small populated barrier island 
shielding VA's "Delmarva peninsula" mainland from Atlantic's tides 
and weather. In turn, Chincoteague Island is shielded by 
Assoteague, a much longer unpopulated barrier island managed by US 
Fish   Wildlife Service as a wildlife refuge...free admission for 
EH groups and those individuals of us with Golden Passports.

EH meals are buffet-style at Steamers, a seafood restaurant next 
door to Mariners motel. Focus is seafood (tuna steak, shrimp, baby 
shrimp in pasta, kingcrab legs, Maryland crabcakes). There's also 
fried chicken and pre-requested special-needs items. Seafood ranks 
second only to the ponies in popularity for past EHers (ongoing 
menu prices being $21-$29).  Also, at his intro lecture our 
program director brought cooked crabs and raw oysters...my virgin 
chew and swallow of this tasty gem.

Mariner motel is centrally located on Chincoteague near shops, 
bank, drugstore. All tours and events are 5 minutes away, so 
there's time for many scheduled events and free-times during the 
week. In free times, one can choose to visit NASA's nearby museum, 
tour the refuge at our own speed, shop, walk around the island's 
small town and beaches, or just relax at the motel.

Bus field trips are to Chincoteague's Oyster and Maritime Museum 
(this EH program's sponsor), a waterfowl museum, a drive around 
Chincoteague Island, a tour behind public access roads in the 
refuge, a working lighthouse (EHers' allowed to climb its 199 
steps for a fantastic view), and a leisurely group walk along 
Assoteague's pristine oceanside beach.

On-tour and conference room lectures include oyster cultivation, 
seafood processing, lighthouse history, islands history, pirate 
legends, Eastern Shore geology, refuge maintenance and goals, 
refuge's waterbirds (permanent   migratory), horseshoe crabs 
(history, biology,   medicinal uses), decoy and showcase waterbird 
carving, and daily wild-pony TLC by the Volunteer Fire Dept.

Each lecturer brings credientials to attest to their area of 
expertise. I.E., the decoy carver is rated among USA's top-15. The 
ponies lecturer is a Chincoteague volunteer fireman in its "pony 
brigade." The horseshoe crab lecturer's day job is running a 
business that extracts raw blood from crabs for processing into a 
product that detects contaminations in serum and other medicines 
that must be sterile. The 3 other program lecturers are similarly 
well-qualified. Also, each lecturer never fails to bring along to 
us a spirit of fun.

The past EHers main attraction here has been the ponies, 
especially their July roundup and forced swim from Assoteague 
across a channel to Chincoteague where surplus yearlings are 
auctioned to a loving new home. The island can support only 150 
ponies, and has no predators to thin the herd.

November ends the tourist season on Chincoteague. But it was a 
good time to visit here for me. THe island was uncrowded...just 
our EH group and the 3000 permanent residents (8000 in summer 
months, and up to 50,000 during "pony penning" week in July). Our 
Nov week's lectures and videos covered the island's annual July 
pony run well enough, IMHO.

What makes this EH really swing is its incomparable program 
coordinator, Captain Barry Frishman. Besides organizing the EH's 
many events and lecturers, he instills his hang-loose have-fun 
spirit into most of us EHers...right from the get-go! So this is a 
fun, informative week for EHers. Thanks, Captain!

Assisting the Captain is Loraine Faith, who also runs Oyster and 
Maritime Museum (this EH program's sponsor). She "sweeps" any/all 
table-cleaning details. Assisting her most evenings is her still 
working husband Fred; and the Captain's wife (he married well, a 
local girl) Missy also helps as needed. It's a great-fun, well-
run, well backed-up EH program. I recommend it highly.

Jim Fleming
Falls Church, VA.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Short Program, Virginia

Marine Science Consortium at Chincoteague 
The Wild Ponies, Culture and History of Virginia's Eastern Shore 
Nov. 10 - 13.

Although I have been on five wonderful Elderhostels, this was my 
husband's first (he just retired).  This was a short program, 
three nights.   Chincoteague is about a four hour drive from our 
home so I thought this would be a perfect introduction to 
Elderhostels for my husband.  It was really delightful.

We were housed in an older motel.  It was very clean.  Next door 
was a restaurant and this is where we had all our meals.  The food 
was fine except I was a little disappointed that we didn't have 
more seafood.  The tour of the barrier island was especially 
interesting to me as the fall migration of waterfowl was taking 
place.  We were taken on a road not open to the general public and 
we saw bald eagles, thousands of snow geese, herons, egrets, 
ducks, etc. and of course the wild ponies.  A nice gentlemen who 
knew everything about birdlife accompanied us.  In the evening he 
lectured and showed slides.

The next day a young lady with the U. S. Fish   Wildlife Service 
showed slides and talked about what her service does in this area.   
She was so energetic, loved her work, great speaker.  That 
afternoon we took a boat trip on an oyster barge where Marine 
Science Consortium employees showed us how water is tested.  A net 
was dragged and the contents were brought on board and identified.

They also talked about NOAA and NASA.  Both agencies have stations 
here (Wallops Island).  NOAA tracks weather satellites.  The 
information they gather is then distributed around the country 
where it is interpreted.  In the evening a gentleman talked about 
Native Americans from this area and exhibited artifacts he has 
found.  The last morning a volunteer fireman who has  participated 
in the roundup of Chincoteague ponies for years talked about his 
experience.  For our last meal we did have crab cakes.  There was 
a waiting list for this program, so if you are interested, sign up 
quickly.   Incidentally, my husband enjoyed his first Elderhostel