Elderhostel Notebook #44, April 25, 1999

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    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


    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

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

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

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


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

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


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 hglucks@aol.com

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


Grand Canyon University at Scottsdale, Az. March 19 - 26

Courses were: Arizona Adventure, Native American History, Spring
Blooms in the Desert


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.

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

All in all, it was an excellent Elderhostel and very enjoyable.
There were two groups of about 40 people per group, but it was


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

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