EH Notebook #116     MAR 1, 2003

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

Thanks to those of you who contributed reviews that made this 
issue possible before Grace and I leave for our Hawaiian 
Elderhostel.  I notice that there are a couple of first-time 
contributors.  It is nice to count on the repeat contributors and 
it is especially good to have first timers.

Even though I won't be home to reply to your communications during 
most of March, keep the reviews and queries coming.  I will be 
home for a few days between Elderhostels the week of March 16.  
Perhaps I can publish another issue during that time.  I don't 
promise it.  I will catch up in April.

Also, tell other Elderhostelers that you meet about the EH 
Notebook and encourage them to subscribe.

Bob McAllester

    Comments and Queries

The review (in #115) on the "Art and Architecture of Portugal 
and Spain" program were encouraging.  It suggests that 
Elderhostel learns from experience.  When we did this EH one year 
before you, evaluations were fairly negative.  The program itself 
was excellent, particularly in Madrid and Barcelona, but our 
guide, a young Catalan with no evident qualification except that 
nursing home!), was a disaster.  Nor did our hotels and meals 
he spoke English (having worked as an orderly in an English 
measure up to your description.

Martin Connor

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Anyone been to an Elderhostel place called The Mountain in North 
Carolina? I'm set to go there from June 8 - 13 for Appalachian 
Whitewater And Hiking Adventure, program # 9001. I think it's a 
new program and the place looks great in the picture. In June I 
doubt if I have to worry about warm clothes.

I don't know what I'm doing going on white water rafting, but I'm 
sure Jim Dandy and Dodee Swisher will take it in stride as I 
research for the fifth Elderhostel mystery.  Painted Lady, the 
forth in the series will be out in April, about a murder or two on 
the Santa Fe Trail Elderhostel.

Any information you could give me will be appreciated.

Peter Abresch, Author of the Jim Dandy ELDERHOSTEL Mysteries:

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"Has anyone attended Program #1679: Jewish Contributions to the 
Culture of New Mexico?"

Shirley Schultz

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The printed Elderhostel Catalog omitted two of the Elderhostel 
programs that Monastery of the Ascension, Jerome, Idaho is 
planning to present this summer.  These programs are now included 
in the Elderhostel web site so the program details are available 
there. The two programs are:

History of Christianity - program # 10369 - 7/21/03
World Religions - - - - - program # 10368 - 8/11/03

I did a review of the Monastery of the Ascension in issue #71.
I recommend their programs.

Bob McAllester

    Program Reviews

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


    San Francisco A   H/Pacific Heights/Chinese New Year, Calif 
    Carl Albert State College/Kerr Country Mansion, Oklahoma
    Art and Architecture, Cuba
    Bicycling Black Hills, Mickelson Trail, South Dakota
    Glen Eyrie Conference Center, American Foreign Service, Colo
    Arches, Bryce, Canyonlands and Zion Natl Parks, Utah
    Eckerd College/Historic St. Augustine, Florida

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San Francisco A   H./Pacific Heights/Chinese New Year
Feb. 9-16, 2003

We have just returned from yet another stellar EH.  Our hotel: 
Miyako Inn on Sutter Street, across the street from Japan Center.  
This hotel is used for many EH's sponsored by San Francisco Arts   
Humanities.   Co-coordinators kept 48 of us in tow as we traveled 
the city via public transportation.  There were several bus routes 
within easy walking distance of our hotel.

Breakfasts were buffet style, rather sparse and disorganized.  
Many meals were outside the hotel at various Chinese restaurants, 
most very good.   Our final banquet was held at one of the top two 
USA Today-rated Chinese restaurants in San Francisco.

Lectures on Chinese culture, history, religion, philosophy, etc., 
were outstanding.  No one missed a session.  Guides for walking 
tours through Chinatown were top notch.

We visited Angel Island in the bay, which served as the Ellis 
Island of the West.  Optional tours were to Muir Woods and 
Sausalito and a theater performance.  There was free time to 
attend other cultural events.

The New Year parade on the final evening would have been better 
without rainfall throughout, but most EH's stayed the course and 
then sought public transportation at the close.  That was a 
challenge!  The hills of San Francisco were taxing to some of the 
less able participants, but our coordinators tried to plot walking 
routes to avoid too many climbs.

Another EH we can recommend with fervor.

Fred and Alice Astroth

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Carl Albert State College/ Kerr Country Mansion - Poteau

America's Love Affair with Railroads Civil War in Indian Territory 
Music and Dance of the Native American

This was one of the best managed Elderhostel programs we have 
attended.  Everything started on time, and the few changes that 
had to be made because of weather etc. were managed smoothly.  
Linda Bradbury is an excellent co-ordinator.

The program was held in the Kerr Mansion, a large home that was 
built by former Gov.   Mrs. Kerr, but hardly occupied because of 
Governor Kerr's death soon after the home was completed.  There 
were a great variety of rooms, each with private bath and very 
comfortable.  As there were not enough rooms in the mansion for 
all participants, some stayed in a group of rooms in a separate 
facility very close by.  We did not see those rooms, but 
understand they were satisfactory.  There was daily maid service, 
with clean towels each day, and clean sheets when requested.  

Meals which were served in the mansion, were excellent with a 
variety of menus and some delicious soups and desserts.  The 
service was buffet style in the windowed dining room with a 
magnificent view, especially at sunrise and sunset.  Some of us 
were a little embarrassed to find out that the assistant cook and 
main kitchen server was older than we were.

This was our first experience with a "saturation-type" program.  
Each subject was covered in one day.  It was a little daunting at 
first to look at the schedule of 4 lectures - 1 1/2 hours each on 
one day, but the excellent instructors and a lot of audience 
participation made it work.

Civil War in Indian Territory:
Lectures in the morning and evening,  with a trip to Prairie Grove 
Battle Field in between, with an excellent commentary by the park 

America's Love Affair with the Railroad:
Lectures all day Tuesday, with a very entertaining speaker and 
lots of questions.  A train ride on Wednesday on the Ozart Scenic 
Railroad. Only regret for railfans - no steam locomotive. 

Spiro Mounds Indian Site:
Lecture in the morning with one of the most interesting speakers 
we have ever heard.  A very cold afternoon trip to the Spiro 
Mounds site, with the outdoor portion cut a little short by the 
bitter wind.

Native American Music   Dance:
Dances by a group of Choctaw teen-agers on Wednesday evening, 
followed by a lecture on Friday morning. Amazing dance numbers for 
a varied age group, and no recent rehearsals.

Other evening programs included a tour of the mansion and the 
attached museum, and a sit-down banquet and graduation program, 
followed by a spontaneous sing-along featuring one of the 
Elderhostelers at the piano.  This was one of the highlights of 
the week, as this was a most congenial group. Almost all of the 
group was central states origin, only one loner from NY who was on 
a solo 6000 mile vacation. 

We would definitely recommend this Elderhostel or any other at 
Poteau.  A bonus was the relatively low cost.

Grady   Virginia Singletary

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Art and Architecture
December 5 - 16, 2002

For my recent, wonderful trip to Cuba I have no negative comments 
to make at all.  Many positive bridges were built between the 
people of Cuba and the Elderhostelers.

As usual, this was my number 11 trip, EH surpassed themselves 
again by providing experiences that can be found in no other 
travel group.  Their promised in-depth learning and unique 
experiences were fantastic.  A few examples being  - visits by 
small groups of participants to the homes of Cuban families, 
checking out a rationing store, visits to two well known Cuban 
artists and their studios, etc. Our Cuban guide, Marisol, was 
outstanding and extremely patient with all of our constant 
questioning and challenging of information we were given by 
various lecturers as well as herself.   I must say the impressions 
and information we took with us about Cuba and its people were 
much changed by  the end of that two weeks.  Present Cuban life is 
harsh but not to the extent I feel we in the US have been led to 
believe. Information is powerful and we would be wise to have more 
information about Cuba as well as the Cubans having more accurate 
information about us.  Fidel Castro is loosening up a little and 
out of necessity I am sure.  The people appear to be challenging 
him more and more each day. I think they are feeling hope for a 
better Cuba.  

How  wonderful that Elderhostel is making it possible for 
Americans to learn more about the little country with which we 
have had such negative relations.  I can hardly wait for the next 
two or so years to pass so I can checkout the changes!!

The hotels and food were well above average. And the people were 
so friendly and warm.

I would be glad to answer any questions anyone might want to ask.

Joyce Neese

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Active Outdoor/Bicycling
South Dakota

Black Hills, Mickelson Trail
Outlaw Ranch, Custer SD
October 6-11, 2002

This was by far the best active Elderhostel that I have been on.  
The trail was slightly difficult through beautiful scenery, the 
accommodations and the food were good, the program was well 
organized, and the staff was great.

The Mickelson trail was built on the old roadbed of a Burlington 
Northern branch from Edgemont on the south edge of the Black Hills 
to Deadwood on the northern part.  The railroad was built in 1890-
91 to service the many mines in the Black Hills and abandoned in 
1983.  The trail is 108 miles long with never a level place - 
going from 4600 feet elevation in Deadwood, up to 6240 at its 
highest point and ending up at 3400 feet at its Southern end with 
lots of hills in between.  The surface is hard gravel.

We stayed the entire time at Outlaw Ranch, a Lutheran camp near 
Custer, SD. I chose to stay in a modern, heated lodge with 
bathrooms shared between 2 bedrooms.  The beds were comfortable 
with lots of comforters as it went below freezing at night.  
Evening programs were held in the lodge.  Our meals were in 
another building.  The food was good, plentiful and appropriate 
for biking - lots of carbs.  Lunches were pack your own from a 
good assortment of sandwich makings, fruits and crunchy 
vegetables, and energy bars.

Our first day of riding was only 16 miles - 6 up and coasting for 
10.  We ended up in Hill City where we visited the Black Hills 
Institute and its great collection of dinosaur and other fossils 
found in the Black Hills.  We were taken to Crazy Horse to see the 
mountain being carved and their extensive Indian Museum.  That 
evening a local woman in her 80s who wrote one of the definitive 
books on climbing in the area and then, with her husband mapped 
Jewel Cave (a National Park) demonstrated caving equipment and 
showed slides that she had taken in Jewel Cave.

The second day of riding was challenging and cold, uphill for 12 
miles to the highest point and then down for 12 to Deadwood.  The 
van and bike trailer met us near the top where they had a fire 
going in a shelter cabin.  We appreciated being able to be warm 
while eating lunch.  The van took us for a tour of Deadwood 
including the graves of Wild Bill Hickock (murdered in Deadwood) 
and Calamity Jane.  Dinner that night was at a hotel in Deadwood.

The third day started very early with a drive through Custer State 
Park and Wind Cave National Monument to see wildlife.  The ride 
was to be about 25 miles, 6 uphill in short segments and the rest 
mostly downhill.  Some of the group asked if we could extend it to 
about 45 miles, thus allowing us to cover the entire trail.  The 
additional miles were mostly downhill to the southern end.  This 
was agreed upon, with the van meeting us to pick up those who did 
not want to go all the way.  The evening program was a cowboy 

The last day's ride of 23+ miles was one of the hardest.  It 
started downhill, but then had 7+ miles of steep uphill.  The van 
carried a few tired riders up that hill.  At the bottom of the 
last hill we celebrated completing the trail.  We finished the 
afternoon with a visit to Mount Rushmore.  The evening program was 
a local cowboy poet.

A few words of advice:  Go in September.  The Aspens were 
beautiful in October, but some of our days were very cold and damp 
with frost at night. I used the weather predictions from Rapid 
City, but it is 2000-3000 feet lower and 10-20 degrees warmer than 
where we were.  Most of the trail is at 5000 feet or higher- I had 
difficulty with the altitude and had to walk my bike a few times 
while recovering my breath.  Half of the group was from Denver - 
they had no problems.  I flew into Rapid City the day before, but 
it was not high enough to acclimate me to the altitude. 

Bob Loane 

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Glen Eyrie Conference Center
American Foreign Service - Colorado Springs - July 2002

Glen Eyrie Conference Center (Evangelical Christian) adjacent to 
Garden of the Gods.

Very nice, beautiful Rocky Mt. setting, short walk to main 
building (castle) for meals.  In early morning and evening, wild 
life in view.

Former Ambassador Bill dePree

Lt. Col. of Air Force, Political Science Prof. impersonating 
Alexander Hamilton; Col. of Missile Defense Command; NORAD 
Ambassador, Advisor to NORAD; Sam Taylor, COO of Junior 
Achievement International - all excellent.

Field trips:
NORAD installation in Cheyenne Mt. (required background checks and 
security clearance with photo ID in advance.  All of us passed.)   
Then to Air Force Academy.  This day's bus transportation provided 
by the Academy. "Alexander Hamilton" was our guide to the chapel 
and overview of campus.

Evening program:
Informal panel of families of diplomats. Supper and entertainment 
at Flying W Ranch nearby.  A rip-roaring Western evening.

A wonderful EH experience in a beautiful setting and outstanding 

Fred and Alice Astroth

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Exploring North America

Arches, Bryce, Canyonlands and Zion Natl Parks etc
(#2814 in the current catalog) 

Program: Utah's Parks and Monuments
Dixie State College, St. George, Utah
Program Type: National Parks
June 3, 2002 to June 13, 2002

This was a rolling program that covered Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, 
Arches, Canyonlands, and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon 
National Parks. We traveled through Grand Escalante Steps National 
Monument and visited Natural Bridges National Monument. We stopped 
at Marble Canyon (where we saw a young California condor). We also 
stopped at Anasazi State Park and Dead Horse State Park. We 
enjoyed an evening float trip on the Colorado River and an all day 
boat trip on Lake Powell with a stop at Rainbow Bridge...and much 

The themes of the trip were the geology of Southwest Utah and the 
people of the region.

This trip was truly an exciting Elderhostel adventure, which was 
ably led by Pat Magleby. Her husband, Dan, served as our guide and 
geology teacher.

We spent 3 nights at Dixie State College--two on arrival and one 
before departure. The accommodations at the College were Spartan. 
The rooms were in a converted college dorm. The room had twin 
beds, a small table between the beds and a table with two chairs. 
The private bath had a commode and a plastic shower stall. The 
sink was in the bedroom. We were given linens to make our own beds 
and a sufficiency of towels. We also stayed in Bryce Canyon, 
Capital Reefs, Moab, Ticaboo, and Wahweap. At each of these places 
we were housed in comfortable, standard motels: two double beds, 
private baths, and air conditioning. All of the motels were two 
story with no elevators. Several of the motels had swimming pools. 
A couple had coin operated laundries which were handy because of 
the length of the trip.

Breakfasts varied. Most were continental type with cereal--
sometimes both hot and cold--pastries, breads, beverages. etc. 
Several were full breakfast buffets. Most of the lunches were 
boxed with a sandwich, fresh fruit, and snacks. We had one lunch 
at a nice buffet restaurant in Green River and an elegant lunch at 
the lodge at the Grand Canyon. Dinners also varied. We had either 
a buffet or a choice of entrees. In Moab, we were given money to 
go to a restaurant of our choice. We had several meals in the 
college dining facility at Dixie State College and they were about 
what one would expect. In general, the meals were not of gourmet 
quality, but were usually tasty, nutritious and satisfying.

The main emphasis was on the geology of the area. Dan Magleby led 
a number of hikes and also lectured on the bus. We had many 
schematic handouts which helped to explain what we were looking 
at. We also had docent-led tours at several museums and park 
ranger talks at the parks. All of the talks were well done. On 
some of the longer bus hauls we were able to watch informative 
videos about John Wesley Powell and the early Mormon pioneers.

Evening Programs:
We had several evening programs. Dan shared with us some of his 
adventures as a field geologist in the West. The former coroner of 
Dixie County gave a slide presentation on the early days in Zion 
Park. One night we were treated to a talk by a John Wesley Powell 
impersonator. One of the highlights of the trip was an evening 
spent at the Navajo Village educational center in Wahweap. We were 
served a typical Navajo fry bread lunch. The chief told us about 
the spiritual beliefs of the Navajo and we had lecture 
demonstrations by some of the tribe members. Truly a memorable 

In some ways this is a physically demanding trip because of the 
high altitudes and the heat. The hikes were frequently over 
uneven, hilly ground.   However, it was also a forgiving trip 
because those who did not feel that they could make the hikes, 
always had a place to rest until the hikers returned. We also had 
to spend a lot of time on the less than new bus. Because of the 
difficulty of finding dump sites, we were discouraged from using 
the toilet on the bus; therefore, we had to make frequent pit 
stops and some were pits. Take handi wipes with you.


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Eckerd College/Historic St. Augustine
St. Augustine: 450 Years of History Comes Alive
(Feb. 16-21, 2003) 

This was a  potpourri of lectures, live period music, guided 
walking field trips and eclectic evening entertainment in a "real 
Florida" environment. 

Unfortunately, the site, the Ponce de Leon Golf and Conference 
Center, is slated for demolition in a few months, along with its 
interesting Donald Ross designed golf course, the oldest in 
Florida.  This program, however, will continue next year in a 
Beachside facility on Anastasia Island.

Fifty participants enjoyed bounteous buffet-style meals and unique 
nightly entertainment, from a Bob Denver-style "Cracker" ecologist 
and troubadour, to re-enactors who brought Henry Flagler and 
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings to life. When the scheduled Minorcan 
presenter fell ill, we saw "The Yearling," the film adaptation of 
Rawling's Pulitzer-prize winning novel, complete with popcorn.

The co-ordinator, Frances Case, was always there, keeping things 
moving smoothly despite a mild medical emergency and the late 
arrival of one snowed-in participant. We had attended three other 
programs administered by Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, which 
also sponsored this St. Augustine program.  This program and its 
content rank among the best of the 18 my husband and I have 

Don and Kay Cornelius