xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo Elderhostel Notebook #41, Feb 15, 1999 oxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox Elderhostel Notebook provides a place for elderhostlers to share information about Elderhosteling and other learning experiences related to travel. It has a world wide web site at http://discover-net.net/~jimo/eldnote/eldnote.html It is an independent project, appreciative of but not associated with Elderhostel Inc. which has a web site at http://www.elderhostel.org To subscribe to the e-mail edition send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org ********************************************** Contents From the Editors Notebook Elderhostel News and Reviews Volcano Art Center Elderhostel Montgomery Presbyterian Center, Starke, Florida Epworth by the Sea Fairhope,AL - Faulkner Community College Malta at Christmas Personals ######################################## Editor's Notebook ######################################## This will be the last notebook sent out through my AOL service as we will be returning to Wisconsin next month and have access to more appropriate technical mailing facilities. I may not have been able to acknowledge all correspondence this last month or so as it is hard to move from incoming mail on one server to outgoing on another. But I do appreciate your reports and queries. Those who know me well know I am not one to avoid controversy in almost any form, but as we sometimes discuss various issues concerning elderhostel, I hope we can all keep our cool even if we feel strongly about a particular issue like the change in fee payments and the apparent increases in fees for various programs that seems to many of us to go beyond cost of living increases and certainly beyond the means of many on fixed incomes. Elderhostel is still a travel/education bargain but for many of the fixed income elderhostelers it may be becoming an inaccessible bargain, and it may be time to explore some less expensive alternatives in future issues and particularly on my other travel web site "Going to Learn" http://members.aol.com/goingtolrn ######################################### Elderhostel News and Reviews ######################################### Volcano Art Center Elderhostel - 11629 and Lyman Museum Elderhostel - 11424 We just completed a combination of these two Elderhostels on the same island, the Big Island of Hawaii. They are both excellent programs run by excellent staff. We were concerned that there would be an overlap and repeat information. We did have a few visits to the same sites but the presenters and information were enough different that it was good to have a second view and the material gave a better understand with two visits. The first program by Lyman Museum had one week in Hilo at a very nice hotel with an excellent location. The evening meals at the hotel left something to be desired but they hired a new food manager while we were there and I expect this minor item has been corrected. The second week we moved to Hilo where the Royal Kona hotel was excellent in all respects. We would like to have facilities like this at every Elderhostel but realize that is not possible. The second program by the Volcano Art Center had one week at the Military Camp located at the Volcano. They had told us to bring hiking equipment and be ready for rain. Be sure and do both. It is cool at 4,000 feet and rains a lot. The facilities are what you would expect at a Military Camp. Mess hall for meals and barracks that are set up for family vacations. This is a way to really see and appreciate a Volcano. You hike down into the old crater where you are 300 feet above the molten lava that is coming out further down the side of the island. The second week was back in Kona at Uncle Billie's Kona Bay Inn. Uncle Billie has forgot about maintenance of his property. This facility leaves a lot to be desired. Lyman Museum had been there but has move to the Royal Kona and I hope the Volcano Art Center does the same. This was the only bad part of the entire month. The programs give you an excellent way to enjoy Hawaii for a month. The class sessions covered the history of the island and the people. The teachers were all excellent and gave a good understanding of the island, the people, the problems and advantages of Hawaii. The tours covered the historical places and the many things to see and locations to visit so that you have a better understanding of the islands. A rental car after the first week in Hilo which was driven to Kona and then returned to Hilo was a good solution to the problem of getting from one ending location to the other beginning location. We would recommend either or both Elderhostels as an excellent way to visit and learn about the Big Island of Hawaii from some of the best Elderhostel staff that we have had the opportunity to have. email@example.com _______________________________________________________________ Montgomery Presbyterian Center, Starke, Florida January 10-15, 1999 Roman Stanley and Joy Rising firstname.lastname@example.org We approached this Elderhostel program with some trepidation as it was in the middle of nowhere in northern Florida. Worse, it's in the same town, Starke, as the State Prison. We had chosen it because it was on the way to our eventual vacation destination, and the classes sounded interesting. It turned out to be one of the best we've attended. On a scale of 1-10, it was a 9. The Center has excellent basics: a super chef who provided homemade breads, pastries and a choice of entrees, duplex cabins with private baths on a gentle slope overlooking a lake, and a conference center with pleasant classroom, everything in easy walking distance, and some extras such as boats, bikes, and hiking trails. Madeleine and Fred Johnson, the Elderhostel Coordinator and Center Director, respectively, were wonderful, had everything well-planned, and well-done with the help of their staff and volunteers. The Center offers 9 Elderhostel programs this year and 13 next year with many variation of the same classes. What was unusual about this program, for us, is that it relied mostly on field trips for the classes. We spent one whole day in St. Augustine with a very good teacher from the Historical Society. Another day was spent at Florida's Silver Springs, a park. The Springs, the world's largest artesian springs, pour out 750,000 gallons of 99% pure water every day. We had a glass-bottom boat tour emphasizing the springs and fish, another boat tour viewing 22 species of jungle animals, and a nature boat tour down the river where we saw many different kinds of birds and stopped at an animal rehabilitation area. Several employees lectured as we toured the park. The third course was on Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, a Pulitzer prize winner for her book, "The Yearling" as well as authoring other books including "Cross Creek" about her life in northern Florida in the 1930s. The teacher, J.T. Glisson, was a 6 year old boy when Rawlings moved to Cross Creek in 1928, and he grew up next door to her. He is a Southern storyteller, fascinating, and could talk all day. We went to Rawlings house too, but the size of the group, about 48, precluded a tour of the house so many of us went back for that on our free afternoon. We enjoyed the field trip as class concept so much - crucial to that was a comfortable bus with rest room - that in the future we will search out such courses. We found that being in the middle of nowhere makes no difference in the quality of the program! ________________________________ Epworth by the Sea - Jan. 24th - 29th - The Golden Isle. Lmhar@aol.com This was a great Elderhostel, and I can't recomment it too highly. It was well organized, Cyndi Doeling (I am not sure of the spelling, can't find the sheet with the names) was the coordinator, and she knew exactly what needed to be done. There was a good balance of lectures about the barrier islands, and field trips, including one to Savannah. She did a great job. The lecturers, Ned, Dottie, and Ann, were all very knowledgeable and enthusiastic. I learned a great deal and realize how fascinating the history of the barrier islands really is. The setting is beautiful, Epworth is a lovely spot, and the whole island is gorgeous. It is covered with live oak trees, and many other kinds of trees and flowering plants of all kinds. Food was plain, but adequate and basically very healthful - soup and salads, two entrees to choose from, a couple of vegtables, rolls, and a dessert, either cookies at noon or cake or pie at night. The portions might not have been quite enough for a man who was used to large portions, but for most people it was fine. The rooms were clean, had tv and very clean baths. If anything was wrong with the room the staff were quick to have it fixed. The trip to Savannah was wonderful. It is a beautiful city, we had a bus tour, did some walking along the river, toured one of the houses, and had lunch at a great restaurant specializing in good Southern cooking, followed by a little free time to give the credit cards some exercise in the gift and antique stores. My previous Elderhostel had been at UC/Berkeley campus, run by the California Shakespeare Festival, and it was a disaster in most ways, --it was one where the coordinators went off and you were left to wander around, as best you could ,given the hilly terrain, between lectures, and of course you were put up in the dorms - bare of everything but a bed and chair (we were advised before the Elderhostel to bring lamps and fans, but I think most people found moving "furniture" along with their clothes just too much to do.) By all means try an Epworth EH, and do one that the Methodist Center runs itself - the other organizations that run them are probably all right, but Epworth really knows how to run an EH. L. Harrigan ________________________________________ Fairhope,AL sponsored by Faulkner Community College email@example.com I've just returned from my eighth Elderhostel and it was one of the best (possibly the best) I've ever attended. It was the program in Fairhope, AL sponsored by Faulkner Community College. Everything came together to make this a wonderful week. First of all, in this "off" season, the weather was perfect. Nights were cool, while the days were cool and sunny. We probably have El Nino to thank for that. Secondly, our accommodations were at the Grand Hotel. For those of you who may not know, the Grand Hotel was established in 1847 in Point Clear, Al and has always been a luxury hotel. I've never stayed in such a large hotel room in my life, and we had all the amenities...coffee pot with gourmet coffees and teas, big fluffy towels, hair dryer, USA Today at my door every morning... Thirdly, and to top it all off, our lectures and field trips were outstanding. The food was average, except for 3 or 4 times when we ate in restaurants in the town of Fairhope. Those meals were great. The town of Fairhope is lovely - made for walking around. Needless to say, I highly recommend this program. You may want to wait until next year's "off season" however. I noticed in the catalog that this same program in the spring costs quite a bit more than the $415 I paid for it in January. ___________ Malta at Christmas firstname.lastname@example.org Dec 19, 1998-Jan 2, 1999 The choices for Elderhostel are like a box of chocolates. So many pieces. So little time. My list includes my first, which was an Intergenerational trip to Corning, New York with a grandson. My last was International to Malta at Christmas. There was a service program to the Navajo School in Arizona in the middle. So far I^Âve had about 6 chances to grow with Elderhostel. Two weeks in Malta at Christmas was the best of a good box of chocolates. The program lasted from 19 December when I left Baltimore and ended in London on 2 January 1999. That last date was the only hang-up since we barely got space on our return flight from Malta due to problems with the Lyons Travel and Air Malta. Each blames the other. None of this takes away from a marvelous outing. Malta is so full of history one would imagine it impossible to get it all - from 4000 BC to World War II and today^Âs political outlook. However, the country has the distinct advantage of being only about 125 sq. miles and that makes it possible to do it all. Field trips were never long journeys because everything was so close. The lecturers were, for the most part, passionate about their subjects. Even though it was winter, we could do all of the field trips easily. The countryside is beautiful and dramatic, although trash removal is a big problem. One guide, Teresa Cachia-Zammit was herself a Maltese treasure. The program was well-prepared and effectively organized in spite of holiday closings. Being there at holiday time enabled us to experience the Christmas Pantomime and the New Year^Âs Eve celebrations. We were in touch with lots of Maltese people. The lecturers made themselves available to us on field trips. We experienced a fine Folk Museum on Gozo, a visit to a home decorated for the season, dinner with the University of the Third Age members, even Midnight Mass in Maltese. One sunny Sunday afternoon we went to the market at a fishing village where all the boats really ARE those beautiful colors and the fish are the same. What a wonderful country! We were all initiated into the Order of the Inland Sea as Knights and Dames at the New Year^Âs dinner in an ancient palazzo. Isn^Ât this tempting? Our sponsoring institution was University of Malta with OTS as the provider of the program. The Hotel Plevna in Sliema was a good location because it was in a fairly modern area of the central district, so access to many service was possible. The hotel is family run, a combination of two smaller hotels. It was comfortable and I found the food good and the service very good. Ginny Thayer, Solomons, MD email@example.com ######################################### Personals ######################################### From: MSteinbrug@aol.com Subject: Cruise:South America Los Angles Times Sunday, February 7, 1999 WWW.LATIMES.COM Beverly Shaver, a free lance writer from El Cerrito, CA, wrote about 40 days at sea on a Russian Research Ship. This was about the Elderhostel trip called "Pathways of the Conquistadors". It gives a description about the boat, food, excursions, etc. Interesting write up especially for anyone interested in making the trip. ______________ >From :Dora Palmer - Subject: Unacceptable requirments Hi all you Elderhostelers: We have just canceled our Elderhostel in San Antonio. The Jewish Community Center required us to sign a form that would release them from any responsibility for injury ,disability, or even death due to negligence on their part. Our Attorney informed us that this was absolutely illegal and we should under no circumstances sign this form. We sent the forms back unsigned and were informed we had to sign or look for another Elderhostel. So, needless to say, we cancelled,losing $40.00 in the process. We believe we should be informed of all requirments before we sign up for a program. We also found out,after all fees were paid, that we would be required to pay $8.00 a day for parking. We sent a letter to Elderhostel along with our cancella tion, explaining all this. Do any of you have any similiar stories or comments? This is the first time in all our years of Elderhosteling that we have had a problem like this. Dora editor's note: Subsequent to this post Elderhostel did remit all of the fees paid. This may be an advantage of the new fee system where the fees are handled centrally. Evidently the release from liability form is not done by Elderhostel but is used on occasion by some of the sponsors or sub-contractors particularly if some high risk activity is involved and the sponsor wishes the participant to assume all of the legal risk. It should be noted, however, that as noted above, the sponsor cannot legally avoid responsibilty for negligence by use of such a release. We would strongly urge Elderhostel to inform potential participants of the existence of such requirements for a program and any additional unanticipated fees. These are not the kinds of things you want to find out the day you arrive at the program. ________________________________ From: Harlan Hague firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Elderhostel discussion group? Jim, I have enjoyed your elderhostel for a long time. Now I'm trying to get some specific information that I can't find on the internet, so I turn naturally to you. Is there an elderhostel discussion group, or a forum somewhere where one can ask questions about particular elderhostels, a la discussion groups or chat forums? If not, there should be. I posted the following question on rec.travel.usa-canada yesterday: Can you recommend the best elderhostel to see Charleston if I can't get into the one at College of Charleston? Similarly, can you recommend the best elderhostel in or around Savannah that focuses on and gives quick access to Savannah? I want to book an elderhostel at either Charleston or Savannah--or both--in the second half of May or early June 1999. I would appreciate an email response in addition to a posting here. I'm hopeful that there will be helpful responses, but nothing yet. There must be many people who are online who could give informed responses to the question. Any advice? Have you--or anyone else--thought of engineering an elderhostel discussion group? Harlan editor's note: There are a number of forums on the net where people can exchange information about elderhosteling. One is at the Http://www.thirdage.com forum site dealing with travel One is at the Seniornet Roundtables forums (travel section) which can be accessed by links in Http://www.seniornet.org The most active one is at the seniornet forum site on elderhosteling in the Seniornet (keyword seniornet) section of America On Line under Arts and Leisure. Unfortunately one must be an AOL (but not Seniornet) member to access this one. I maintain an AOL account as I have mentioned earlier to use when on the road as it does have a number of local phone accesses around the country. (as do some other internet connection services) There are other general travel related forums at the AARP site (both on AOL and the web) and the various newsgroups in Usenet. I regularly monitor and post to the two Seniornet forums. One does not have to be a Seniornet member to do this. _______________________ Karen Roseth Chicago London Classical Music I have just returned from this trip and highly recommend it. We saw 7 concerts and 2 operas. There was a lot of free time and I went to 4 plays, the Ingres exhibit, and other site seeing. Had some good meals away from the group, as well. I am adding to my travel list the Palaces trip and the Art Gallery trip. For next year. Karen __________ I am interested in hearing about various golf packages people have been on. Particularly Arizona and the Southeast. Did you take instruction or just play? Where the accompanying courses/instruction worthwhile. How were the accommodations. Thanks for any information you can pass along. Respond to Gretamarie@aol.com __________ I would love to hear from anyone who has taken the Peru archaeology trip, how stressful it was at the high, Machu Picchu elevation, what the weather was like, what season(s) were best. I'm thinking of going in early October or mid-November of '99. Linda Bowman (617) 253-7742From: The Singletarys email@example.com Subject: South Seaport Museum Elderhostel Would like to hear from anyone who has attended any of the Elderhostels at South Seaport Museum in New York City. Grady and Virginia Singletary firstname.lastname@example.org (that's a small L not a number 1) 10-500, Massachusetts Institute of Technology 77 Mass Ave, Cambridge MA 02139 lbowman@MIT.EDU ________ From: "Fritz" email@example.com Subject: re the review on People's Program part 2 Am scheduled for part 1 2 "back to back" and the review on part two shared in this issue concerns me. Could others that have attended part 2 please comment? thank you. _________ From: Rjjnana@aol.com Am considering EH in Egypt next year. Has anyone been on one - would like any comments. Thanks.