xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo Elderhostel Notebook #44, April 25, 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://members.aol.com/EHnotebook 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 email@example.com ********************************************** Contents From the Editors Notebook Elderhostel News and Reviews Grand Canyon Odyssey - March 28 Ashland, Oregon Elderhostel Mississippi River Boat Trip History of Broadway American Foreign Service (Washington, D.C.) Grand Canyon University at Scottsdale, Az. Historic Natchez: Magic on the Mississippi Personals ######################################## Editor's Notebook ######################################## More problems right here in River City. (Eau Claire, Wisconsin that is- Chippewa River not the legendary River City on the Mississippi in Iowa) Due to a hard disk event requiring a reformat of the disk I had to restore the mailing list files and current reports back to contents a week or two before the event. I may have lost a few. If you have sent in a report that I have not used please contact me. I have several in my reserve file for use in the next issue but probably have lost one or two others. The ones I have in reserve are from Billee Hamm, Marty Scearce, Helen Sternheim, and Linda Bowman. Others not in this issue sent in since the last issue have been lost in cyberspace and if you have a copy please resend them to me. The lost addresses aren't that easy to identify. If you know of someone who feels rejected please have them contact me. I'm not mad at anyone. Not even my @#$#%$ hard disk. ######################################### Elderhostel News and Reviews ######################################### Grand Canyon Odyssey - March 28 - April 4, 1999 firstname.lastname@example.org Our first Elderhostel - great experience. Since we live in AZ, we drove to Marble Canyon Lodge near Page where the EH began on Sunday afternoon. Met the other 36 participants that evening at dinner - great group, all but 3 of us were from east of the Mississippi. Our coordinator for the week was E.J. Saltala, from the Hopi tribe and was marvelous. The history of the Grand Canyon and its peoples was presented by Joanna Joseph on Monday. She's the director of the guides at the Glen Canyon Dam and was spirited, knowlegeable, interesting.......etc!! In the afternoon we had a field trip to the home of John Doyle Lee of Lee's Ferry fame - and lots of fascinating history of him, his family, the area, the ferry crossing, etc.... Monday evening: E.J. and Hopi culture, etc. He's wonderful and very intuitive - a great listener as well as instructor. Next day: short visit to the Dam, then a Colorado River float trip - 17 miles of non-white water rafting with a picnic lunch to boot. Charlotte Beyal, from the Navajo Nation, was our Wednesday instructor. It was all day inside - thank heavens since the winds were 60 to 100 mph that day! Charlotte: fantastic! We could have listened to her for another full day. Thursday was travel day to the western end of the Canyon via the South Rim. It was cool and some snow fell that day so the canyon was beautiful. Some went to the IMAX theater on the way to our destination - Grand Canyon Caverns Inn near Peach Springs - about a 300 mile day but great. Our speaker for Thursday was a 'no show' because of the snow in Flagstaff - he couldn't get there! E.J. picked up the slack and none of us were sorry about that - more of his knowledge was great as far as we were concerned. Bruce Banker, a geologist, came on Friday night and made us all "like/love" ROCKS, believe it or not. He was with us all the next day too - a field trip to the Colorado River, west end, via Diamond Creek Road, with a fried chicken lunch too! We all thought that by Sat. night there was no way to top off the week - and then we had Mike and Karen Landis, REAL cowboys. Mike is in charge of the Double O ranch in that part of the state and they were informative and entertaining. Food: Hearty, good, and plenty of it. At Marble Canyon there was a salad bar and then dinner was served to us. At G.C. Caverns, there was a super buffet/salad bar where we served ourselves and bussed our dishes. Accommodations: comfortable in both places. Suggestion: For Marble Canyon, bring a 150 watt lightbulb or two - it was hard to see to read, though we had little time for that anyway. :-) Finale: We had 80 degree days, sunshine, hefty winds, cold, snow, rain - we dressed in layers and were fine all week. __________ Ashland, Oregon Elderhostel March 28-April 3, 1999 Ashland is a beautiful setting for this site. We were housed in the Southern Oregon University dorm approximately one mile from downtown Ashland. The rooms were small and we showered and used the bathroom facilities down the hall. It was not a real inconvenience as the bathroom was large and had adequate showers. The cafeteria was renovated and updated at a 2 million dollar cost. The food was gourmet class and very well-prepared and presented. Our three classes were Charles Dickens, The Theatre, and Natural Wonder of Oregon. The instructor of the Dickens class, Don Vondracek, reviewed Dicken's more popular works, David Copperfield, Hard Times, Great Expectations and A Christmas Carol. He was very animated and brought Dickens to life for the class. The Theatre class was taught by an actor at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, James Peck, who was concurrently playing in Othello. He shared a lot of the backdoor information of the festival and took us on a tour of the three main theatres in Ashland. The next day after we saw the Othello performance, the actor who played Othello came and talked to our class. We also saw Chicago, (the nonmusical version) and the main actor who played the husband and Casio in Othello came to our class after the performance also. It personalized our theatre experiences and made this a memorable experience for us. Jack Leishman, who taught the Natural Wonders of Oregon, shared some very interesting geological information with us, showed slides, and took us on a tour of the area. An additional class in the evening, Exploring the Sky, was taught by Richard Moesch, who provided us a unique perspective of astronomy with his engaging sense of humor. It was one of the highlights of the scheduled events during the week. As an added bonus we had an early morning exercise class at 7:00 a.m. Mary Perry, the instructor, is a former member of the US Olympic Volleyball teams. Being a senior herself, she was very gentle with us and it got our day off to a good start. We had a wonderful plus added to this experience, it snowed several days while we were there but it did not curtail any of our planned activities. Our going-away dinner was excellent and music was provided by a couple and their two young children who were very talented and delightful. I would recommend this trip to everyone but especially those who enjoy the theatre. Mary Hull email@example.com _________ Mississippi River Boat Trip, Natchez and New Orleans Dec. l998 BAHamm@webtv.net (Billie A. Hamm) This trip either starts or ends with a long bus ride from New Orleans to Natchez or vice versa. Every one that flys in must go into N.O. and then either start up river towards Natchez or be bussed to Nachez and come down river and end at N.O. (which we did) If you drive, you have the same problem as your car will be at the starting point and you will be bussed back to get your car. we stayed 2 nights in Natchez ( the first not arriving until around 7 pm) Lodging is at the Natchez Eola Hotel. It is one of the oldest hotel there and a delightul place to stay. The rooms are very inconstient in size, some being spacious with veradas and others being the size of a large closet. Meals were at various places--breakfast and lunch mostly at the hotel. The food was good and varied as dinner was always out at a local resturant. Natchez is a lovely old town wih lots of antibellum houses to see. We spent the largest part of the first day( and only full day) in lectures with a field trip and dinner later in the day. last day there we had field trips in AM and boarded steamboat (Mississippi Queen) arouond lunch time. More time is needed there to see everything and i understand they have added another day on trip now. (We skipped out on some of the lectures and took a horse drawn buggy for a tour of downtown area and homes.) Next 3 nights on steam boat with stops at Oak Alley plantation and Baton Rouge (tours included of these)--again trip was heavy with lectures, while interestering took away from just "sitting and looking" while going down the river. They were scheduled during any free time we had on the boat. Rooms were all inside staterooms and smaller than the usual cruise ships cabins. Food was OK but heavily flavored on the Cajun side. Not the usual cruise ship fare. Arrived in New Orleans on day 6. Left boat for city tour and lunch. Hotel was the usual one in Metarie (Those of you who have done People Program will know which one i mean) way on outskirts of town. Lectures next AM and then more touring of city. Could use another day there also. Again only one full day there. Food - breakfast at hotel and all other meal at local resturants. Was a good variety. Weather was good in Dec. We wore shorts most of time. This would be a hot trip in summer months. Interesting note for you single ladies--the boat had gentleman hosts on board to dance with the ladies in the lounge at night. Anymore info on trip, please e-mail me with your questions. editor's note- photos from the trip are in the photo album at the notebook web site. _________________________________ History of Broadway Elderhostel, April 4-9, 1999 By MacRuth Accommodations This Elderhostel is housed at the WestSide YMCA in Manhattan. The accommodations are Spartan, to say the least. Single rooms for everyone but married couples. The bathrooms are down the hall. The Elderhostelers are not grouped on the same floor, so you live with young travelers from all over the world. At times this can be distracting, and noisy. The "Y" did make an attempt to move EH'ers if they were assigned to a floor with too much late night activity. The Y provides excellent security and the floors are patrolled during the night. If you wish, you meet very interesting young people from around the world. You could eat breakfast with kids from Spain, lunch with a group from France, or dine in the evening with the bunch from England. The Elderhostelers scattered throughout the dining room and often formed their own tables. The food was adequate, not exciting, but okay. The location for this "Y" can't be beat. It's just a block from Lincoln Center and less than a block from Central Park. Most of us walked to the theater district and most everyplace else we wanted to go. The buses are convenient and easy for longer trips. The "Y" also has beautiful exercise equipment and two swimming pools. The Elderhostel Program I enjoyed all of the activities arranged by Elderhostel. We went to The Players, a private club for actors in the Gramercy Park area, enjoyed lectures from actors and producers. Acting lessons were available in the evenings at the "Y" for those who wished to try it out. We did a field tour of the Museum of the City of New York to see a special exhibit of 100 years of Broadway. The Museum of TV and Radio took the prize in my book as the most entertaining and fun experience of all. We were given a special showing of old TV shows and spent a good 90 minutes doubled over in laughter. Evenings were free as was Wednesday afternoon so we could obtain our own tickets to shows. We were also entertained by actors at a luncheon in a nearby restaurant that proved to be another highlight of the program. On the down side, it seemed this Elderhostel was shorter than it should be. We checked in Sunday night and the program ended Thursday night. A morning trip to the Metropolitan Museum for those who wanted it on Friday was available. The accommodations are a challenge even for the well traveled Elderhosteler. I had hoped that Elderhostel would have obtained at least one set of group tickets to a show or made some tickets available at a group discount, but they did not do this. This is a very popular Elderhostel and I enjoyed it. But I see room for improvement in the program. Ruth McCormick __________ Association for Diplomatic Studies /American Foreign Service Association March 28 - April 2, 1999 >From firstname.lastname@example.org If you are looking for a great Elderhostel in the D.C. area, this is the one. Our subjects were the U.S. Foreign Service, NATO, and Case Studies in Diplomacy. As it happened, with the war in Kosovo starting, the topics could not have been more timely or appropriate. We had a new speaker at almost every session; frequently several speakers at one session expressing differing points of view. Most of them were retired ambassadors and Foreign Service officers, people who have represented our country around the world. These speakers were exceptional, some of the best we have ever heard. They were not only trained for a life in foreign affairs, but they actually lived it and told us their stories from personal experience. It gave us behind-the-scenes exposure to foreign policy that we could not have received anywhere else. The Elderhostelers attending were a lively, spirited group who did not hesitate to question and debate the professional speakers, or one another, for that matter. It was all fast-paced, informative and entertaining. At times, it felt like being in the middle of a panel on Politically Incorrect. We arrived expecting that the diplomats would be presenting us with the official government position on everything, but this turned out not to be the case at all. Since most were already retired, they did not hesitate to express their own opinions and some were very critical of our politicians indeed. One night, there was a heated debate between a Hungarian and a Russian diplomat. Another night, some wives and children of Foreign Service officers came and told us about life in the Foreign Service from their point of view. There was never a dull moment. To give an example: one lady from our Elderhostel group earnestly encouraged the Foreign Service children to study Latin. She eloquently expressed how helpful it would be to them throughout their lives and how they would always be glad they had taken it. No sooner had she finished speaking than a gentleman from the group jumped to his feet to present the opposing point of view. He vehemently advised the young students not to study Latin under any circumstances; he had taken Latin, hated it, and even flunked it -- twice! On the two days we were taken into Washington by chartered bus, our classes were held at the State Department, the Foreign Service Institute, DACOR Bacon House, and the European Union. Armed guards were swarming all over the State Department during our visit, more densely congregated than we have ever seen before at any government building. They were in process of preparing the Benjamin Franklin State Dining Room (the largest of the Diplomatic Reception Rooms) for a "ceremony." Our group was permitted to stand and observe the activities from the back of the room. People wearing various badges were setting up and testing the microphone at the podium and scurrying around the massive room rearranging chairs and equipment. We kept asking what was going on and whom they were expecting, but they would not tell us, claiming they didn't know. From the unusually tight security, we figured it must be someone important. Shortly before noon, they very politely kicked us out of the building along with the other visitors and locked the doors behind us. Later that day on a TV news broadcast, we saw President Clinton giving a speech from that room, at the very podium we had been watching them set up only a short time earlier. During our visit to the Foreign Service Institute, we were fascinated to learn how officers are selected, trained and assigned to various posts throughout their careers. Just when they had us tempted to apply for a new career of excitement, intrigue and glamour in the Foreign Service, we were abruptly jolted back to reality by finding out that most Elderhostelers are not even eligible. How unfair! The Foreign Service has a compulsory retirement age of 65. At DACOR Bacon House, the beautiful building of the retired diplomatic and consular officers, we were served a lovely luncheon complete with wine and made to feel very welcome. There, a British Admiral in full dress uniform spoke to us about the NATO forces. We were given brief bus tours of Washington, stopping off to visit the new FDR memorial one day and the National Cathedral another. But this was not intended to be a sightseeing program. It was a very intensive seminar, packing in as many speakers as possible. We had almost no free time in our schedule. Although we could have taken off to go sightseeing on our own whenever we wished, almost no one in the group chose to do so, not wanting to miss any part of the program. We were delighted to have the chance to hear these speakers. In fact, we could not think of even one whom we would have chosen to omit in exchange for more free time. We decided to stay over a few extra days after the Elderhostel ended to do some sightseeing in D.C. on our own, which actually turned out to be a much better way to visit the museums and monuments than going with a group. Our Elderhostel coordinators went "above and beyond" throughout the week, continually managing the logistics of the entire operation, juggling speakers and classrooms, adjusting bus schedules and revising the itinerary as needed to ensure that everything went smoothly for us. The accommodations were at a motel in Arlington, Virginia (across the river from D.C. and about 10 miles from Reagan National Airport). It was a typical basic motel, 2 double beds in the room, clean and comfortable, elevator accessible, reasonably priced for the Washington area. Meals were buffet-style in a private dining room at the motel restaurant. The quality and quantity of the food were fine, but choices were very limited. I would rate the meals and facilities about average or slightly above for an Elderhostel, bearing in mind that we chose this one for the program, not for the food or housing. To anyone with an interest in foreign affairs (NO, not that kind), I highly recommend this Elderhostel, especially around the beginning of April when the beautiful cherry blossoms are in bloom and the weather is ideal for walking. The quality of this program is top-notch; one of the best Elderhostels we have ever attended. ______________ Grand Canyon University at Scottsdale, Az. March 19 - 26 Courses were: Arizona Adventure, Native American History, Spring Blooms in the Desert Chap9296@aol.com This elderhostel was a mixed bag. The classroom was located in a sports bar and restaurant. The meeting room was separated from the noise of the sports bar only by a curtain, so it was difficult to hear if you were sitting next to the curtain. The rooms were clean and comfortable, although the motel had trouble getting fresh linens to the rooms before 3:00 P. M. My room overlooked a park and walking path with ma vies of mountains in the distance. The meals were repetitious, and not very well balanced. There was a noticeable lack of vegetables. Two of the courses - Native American Historn and Spring Blooms in the Desert were excellent, although one of the instructors got confused and went to another location, thus delaying matters by an hour or so. This was filled in with a video (which was originally scheduled for one of the evenings). The trip to the Heard Museum was delightful, although short on time. The trip to the Desert Botanical Gardens was great - the desert was in bloom. Arizona Adventure was average. The trip we took to Heritage Square was ok, but airplane and traffic noise made hearing the instructor all but impossible. Evening programs relied exclusively on videos which got old in a hurry. Our "free" afternoon amounted to two and a half hours - hardly time enough to go very far. Many people skipped dinner and the evening. Transportation was by school bus. On the trip to the Desert Botanical Gardens, the battery failed twice - once at the Gardens and once while we were on the road. When the latter happened, the driver asked if anyone had a cell phone (no one did). One of the members of the group who had followed us in a car went to a phone to get help. So one wonders what would have happened if the bus had been filled with school children! The crowning blow came on the last morning. Since the coordinator had used up all of her videos, nothing was planned because so many people were leaving early! And she had used up all of her videos. This was just as well because when we arrived at the restaurant, the room had been rented out to another group. As the program was located in Scottsdale, the charges for the five day program were a little higher than for other programs of the same length, but the value was far lower than most of the programs I have been on. So I would not recommend it. ________ Historic Natchez: Magic on the Mississippi. Copiah-Lincoln Community College. BHall55@aol.com We stayed at the Lady Luck Hotel, which is associated with the Lady Luck casino in Natchez. The rooms were very nice and the food was excellent. We went out to two different restaurants for some southern cooking, which was very enjoyable. The breakfasts and lunches were normally from the hotel buffet line. We did have two lunches at churches which were very good. The classes were very well presented and interesting. Everyday there was a tour to see some of the historic antebellum houses, historic churches, etc. Each tour required some walking and was guided by a person who was very familiar with the place we were going. All in all, it was an excellent Elderhostel and very enjoyable. There were two groups of about 40 people per group, but it was ######################################### Personals ######################################### Subject: Australia/New Zealand Gaudeamus Date: Thu, Apr 15, 1999 5:00 PM From: Grammie B We are thinking about taking this tour next February (Year 2000!!!) Would really appreciate comments from anyone who has had experience with a similar one.Thanks. ____________ From: EGoodson@aol.com Date: Tue, 20 Apr 1999 22:34:46 EDT Bill and I attend a wonderful elderhostel in Highlands N.C . We had a whole mountaintop for our group. Nice lodging in twin beds and private bath. The food was wonderful . We studied Astronomy, The Scots and Irish, and the flora and fauna of the early Appalachin Spring. Our instructors were top notch. A great experience. Elise Goodson _______ From: Suprnova33@aol.com Subject: how is accessibility My folks are huge elderhostel fans I plan to share your wonderful site with them. Your already wonderful articles would be even more useful if people remembered to briefly review the physical accessibility of sites and programs. Simple things like slopes, "just a few" steps, uneven pavement or awkward beds and bathrooms can be enormous obstacles for some. I'd also love to hear directly from participants with limited mobility about which sites are most accessible and in which programs they could most fully participate. For several years, my parents averaged 2-4 elderhostel programs a year. As their physical challenges have increased, accurate information on accessibility has become critical to continued participation.