Elderhostel Notebook #45, May 16, 1999

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information about Elderhosteling and other learning experiences
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    From the Editors Notebook

    Elderhostel News and  Reviews

       John C. Campbell Folk School, Brasstown, NC
       Holy Cross Monastery, West Park, NY
       Astoria, Oregon, (May 2-7)  Clatsop Community College
       Berkshire Community College
       Mammoth Cave, KY
       900 Years of Monarchy--London, England


    Editor's Notebook
I have an inventory of reports now so the next notenook,#46, will
come out within the next two weeks.

Readers comment that they sometimes have trouble identifying an
Elderhostel program from a Notebook review because the heading of
the review is different from the one used in the Elderhostel
Catalog.   It is much easier to find a program (or a review for
it) when the names match, as they do in most cases.

Whenever possible please  use the heading from the Elderhostel
Catalog listing  in your review.  Then it will appear the same
way in the Notebook and Indexes, making it easy for everyone to
locate and cross-reference. But in any case the important thing
is to write and send the review however you head it.

   Elderhostel  Reviews

John C. Campbell Folk School, Brasstown, NC

Last December my husband and I spent a week taking intensive
craft courses at this 300 acre campus located in the SW corner of
North Carolina. We walked pine needle-covered trails through the
woods between housing, classes and meals. We walked about a mile
a day, although you can drive around the campus if walking is
difficult. Housing was adequate with shared baths. The food was
very good and served family style at large tables so all the
students, staff and teachers got acquainted.

Teachers were excellent. My husband took advanced woodcarving and
I learned wheat weaving. The school teaches a total of 45
subjects, about 12 per week. There were eight in his class, two
in mine, so we received lots of personal attention. There was an
optional morning hike at 7:15 a.m., then a morningsong period
with local musicians/story tellers, both before breakfast.
Classes met morning and afternoon, and we had a program every
evening using local talent. We heard the finest bell ringers I
have ever seen anywhere, and a great evening with 80- and
90-year-old residents telling of their life in the mountains.

Another night the Morris Dancers and Garland Dancers performed;
these are traditional old English/Welsh dances done in colorful
costumes. We had a Show-and-Tell time; exhibits for the week
included jewelry making, Father Christmas dolls, blacksmithing,
wood turning, local Indian history, and kaleidoscopes. The school
was established in 1925 and is on the National Register of
Historic Places. It was a total getaway with no radio or
television, a few newspapers, no traffic, no bright lights. They
publish an extensive catalog and classes are open to students
other than Elderhostelers. We made up about one-fourth of the
student body and receive a better rate than the general public.
Many people come back again and again to study various crafts and
we had such a good time and learned so much that we are
considering another course there ourselves!


Holy Cross Monastery, West Park, NY
Course: East Meets West

Holy Cross Monastery, built in 1902, was the first new Anglican
monastery built since the Reformation. It is a series of
buildings occupying a 26 acre tract of land fronting on the
Hudson River. The site afforded many views and pleasant grounds
for walking. Bedrooms were plain, comfortable and clean as were
the common bathrooms. Classes were held in a large room on the
second floor of the main building.

The dining room, a modern addition, is an octagonal room with
large windows affording distant views of the river. Meals were
tasty and ample. Breakfast and the first half of dinner meals
were eaten in silence. At dinner the monks read passages from
contemporary books.

The monastery is home to 13 monks of various ranks. Chapel
services allowed us to attend Benedictine monastic services
whenever we wished. The monks aren't cloistered and usually
dressed in regular clothing, though they wore white robes during
their rites.

Five teachers, from outside the monastery, provided the
instruction for our topics, Yoga, Tai Chi, Zen Buddhism, Zen and
Christianity. Two teachers were outstanding, one a Buddhist monk
and the other a fascinating nun of the Holy Cross, who both gave
us insights into Buddhism and the relation of Christianity to
Buddhism. We also practiced meditation exercises. Handouts and
bibliographies were informational. Yoga and Tai Chi were
presented with lectures and actual physical exercises.

Entertainment on various nights included a chapel concert by a
local college choir in the chapel, a folk singer and a video
about Thomas Merton.

The class was attended by 42 Elderhostelers and most seemed to
agree that it was a mentally stimulating week.


Linda Bowman  lbowman@MIT.EDU


Lodging: The Zion Park Inn is a very attractive motel with
attached restaurant just outside the park. The outdoor pool was
not open but the Jacuzzi was. Food in the attached restaurant was
good: buffet with cold cereal, fruit, and pastries for breakfast,
hearty sandwiches in the box lunches, and good to excellent
dinners. Vegetarian meals were available.

Leaders: The host, a former Boy Scout staffer in his 70s, was
competent in a nice, low-key way, had a good sense of humor, and
was a reliable sweep on hikes. The other staffer was a seasonal
Zion Park Ranger, and since it was off-season for him, we had his
full attention. In addition to driving the bus (a challenge on
the steep roads), he made the geology of the Park interesting,
both internally and in the context of the Colorado Plateau. He
was fun, young, very knowledgeable, a good complement to the

Instructors: In addition to the Ranger as geologist, and who was
with us on every hike, we had talks by a wild-life ecologist
(excellent) and a botanist (very disappointing slide presentation
had no organization and on the trail, he was unable to ID half
the plants.).

Hikes: We did 23.5 miles over 5 days, gradually working up to an
ascent of 1000 feet over 2 miles. It was exhilarating,
challenging, but one that all of us were able to make. The pace
was comfortable for most of us, thought a few of the fastest
hikers found it frustrating to have to wait for the "careful
observers" among us to catch up.

The area is beautiful, the weather was perfect (cool and sunny),
the Park was in its quiet period, and I would love to go back. A
two-week program of hiking in Bryce Canyon National Park (2 hours
away, much higher elevation), Zion, and a state park would be my


Astoria, Oregon, (May 2-7)  Clatsop Community College.

It was just as wonderful as I had been advised that it would be
by friends who attended during the winter season. Accommodations
and food selections were very good. We stayed at the Red Lion Inn
on the edge of the West Marina. Our inside classes and meals were
in an adjoining conference center. And the classes were
absolutely excellent!

The theme is based on the coming centennial celebrations on the
Lewis   Clark Expedition of 1803. This included a visit to the
restored Fort Clatsop, the winter camp based near the mouth of
the Columbia River on the Oregon side of the river. Our teacher
was Barbara Minard who specializes in the ethnographys of the
Columbia River tribes who contacted and assisted Lewis   Clark on
their mission. Barbara has assisted museums and school districts
in the preparation of curriculums and traveling museum boxes for
use in the history of this area. She brought many of these items
to the classroom for our inspection as well as a great number of
texts that we might select for further reading on the subject.
Barbara was our guide through the Interpretive Center at the Ft.
Clatsop exhibit.

Our second class was on the Marine estuary systems that support
the life of the Columbia River. This is especially important
since the salmon is now on the endangered list. Our teacher was a
retired physician, Dr. Robert Bacon (just call me Bob), who
specializes in studies of the life of the marine estuary. He and
his wife Sue, brought interesting information and a mini-lab for
us to explore. We made a field trip out to a working marine
estuary to gather specimens and we were fortunate to view a
release of salmon at a nearby salmon farm. Salmon farming may be
the only future for the salmon in this river system. Dams have so
impacted the area, that wild salmon are not at harvestable
levels. Speaking of dams, the treat that I enjoyed almost as much
as the information of the tribal peoples, was the musical history
presented by Hobe Kyte (pronounced k - eye - t -er). This
included stories and songs about Woody Guthrie. Woody is noted
for his folk songs and stories on the building of the Grand
Coulee Dam on the upper Columbia River. "Roll On, Columbia, Roll
On" is just one of the tunes bearing his name, though the music
was actually written by Huddie Ledbetter. Hobe also had stories
and poems written by people from the area and many stories of the
gillnetters who came from many countries of Europe to fish the
Columbia River for salmon, sturgeon, and smelt.

Since the people who do these classroom presentation are subject
to the same human conditions as all of humanity, I cannot
guarantee that they will be the very ones to present future
elderhostels at Astoria, but I should like to think that they
will indeed be there for many more years to bring us this
wonderful experience. And, if Rae Goforth, the excellent
coordinator of this elderhostel has anything to say and do about
it, they will. So, if you find yourself down on the Columbia next
winter, or early spring, tell Rae I sent you.


Berkshire Community College

I attended the "Irish Theme Week" program sponsored by Berkshire
Community College in Lenox Massachusetts March 14 to 19, 1999.
All aspects of the program were excellent:

Accommodations in a Quality Inn were well appointed, clean and

Food service, despite warnings in the welcome letter not to
expect too much, was far above average. The meals were available
on a timely basis; were substantial; well prepared with nice
touches to enhance the taste. Programs (2): Revolution and the
National Question in Ireland; and Giants of the Irish Theatre
were outstanding. Both instructors, Kevin Cahill and Linda Austin
were not only well versed in their subjects, but presented them
with verve and enthusiasm. Linda brought in professional actors
to present the plays of the Irish theatre, adding greatly to our
understanding of the subject. Evening presentations: a walk
around Ireland with a donkey, and Irish dancing further added to
the program.

Overall Administration. As with all the 20 some Elderhostels I've
attended, much depends on the Coordinator. Alexandra Warshaw and
her staff stayed fully involved in the program and deserve
accolades for its success.

Ambience. Cultural activities in Pittsfield and Williams College
and the gorgeous scenery of the Berkshire mountains gave
attendees plenty of choices for free time.

Note: One other thing; unlike some 5 night programs which do
little or nothing on the last half day,and send you away early
with a box lunch, this one had a full program through Friday
lunch; leaving me with a sense that it more than gave me my
money's worth.

Mammoth Cave, KY hspitzer@clemson.campuscwix.net

We attended an Elderhostel April 18-23 at Mammoth Cave, KY.  It
was unique because of the experiences going in many different
caves, taking nature hikes and listening to interesting
presentations by the park rangers (it is a national park).  The
hotel on the grounds was clean and very convenient and the staff
was attentive and helpful.  The food was good, but not much
variety - a lot of heavy/high-cholesterol things.  Fruit and/or
yogurt would have been a nice addition for breakfasts.  Also, the
option of a sandwich for lunch would have been welcome as well as
the addition of cookies or just a little something sweet for

The entrance to one of the caves - the Great Onyx Cave - was very
unsafe and hard to navigate.  One lady fell going down the
"steps".  This needs to be totally re-worked.  The railings in
this cave were also in bad or non-existent condition.  In some
places, it was evident there had been railings because there were
upright supports, but with nails sticking out of them where the
horizontal pieces had been.

Transportation for the tours was OK, but we used 3 vans,
necessitating having 3 drivers (at times using the participants
as drivers).  It would be much better to have one large bus that
would hold everyone.   No evaluation form was given to us on site
even though one was promised.  This should be given at the
beginning of the week so we could evaluate as we went along. All
in all, it was a very good week, but there was room for

Herm   Carol Spitzer


900 Years of Monarchy--London, England
August 1998

BAHamm@webtv.net (Billie A. Hamm)

This was a 7 day program. We went to London a couple of days
early to do some extra sight seeing on our own. London is really
expensive - food and lodging--so we stayed in a "hostel" like
dormitory that was much cheaper than hotels. It was close to
Underground and thats the only way to travel there. you can get a
day pass rather cheap -good for unlimited trips .

Our site hotel was the Copethorn Tara-located in west Kensington.
a 4 star hotel that was great. The food was excellent=we ate in
the regular dining room and did have limited choices. The hotel
was one block from the underground and the very busy section of
London known as W. Kensington-lots of shops, movies etc.

Our coordinator was Dian Crawford. She was very knowledgable and
saw to our needs easily.

Day one: Morning lecture was at the Tower of London in the New
Armouries Lecture room. That afternoon we toured the Tower
grounds and had some free time to explore on our own. Highlight
of trip was our private visit to the Crown Jewels after the
grounds had closed to public. They treated us to wine and cheese
before our viewing.

Day two: Morning visit to Windsor Castle, with lunch in Windsor
and free time in afternoon before returning to London.

Day three: Hampton court--morning lecture on the Tudor Dynasty
(1485-1603) then viewed the Buttery Kitchens , chapel royal. We
ate a delicious lunch on grounds and had a tour of the Tudor
Palace and gardens that afternoon.

Day four: Left by bus to visit Hever Castle. (a three hour drive)
This romantic, double -moated castle was the home of Anne Boleyn
and where Henry VIII courted her. We had lunch on the grounds and
had some time to visit the gorgeous gardens before our return to
London. (Only day we had rain !)

Day five: Morning lecture at the National Portrait Gallery on the
English Civil War. (Trafalgar Square area) Also that AM after the
lecture , we walked to the Banqueting House at Whitehall-=-this
had been the principal palace of the Tudors and Stuarts until the
reign of William and Mary (1689). It was destroyed by fire and
all that was left was the banquet hall. We had lunch coupons and
ate in the area at local restaurant that day. There was another
lecture at the Portrait Gallery that afternoon but we opted to
skip out and take a ride on the Thames river up to Greenwich and
see homes, observatory etc in that area.

Day six: Back to HamptonCourt--morning lecture there on reign of
william and Mary and fire of 1986. Lunch on the
grounds--afternoon visit to the apartments of King William III. (
these have been restored as they were destroyed in the fire) Free
time to explore on our own that afternoon.

Day seven: Morning visit to Kensington Palace. ( this is where
Diana lived) Saw the State Apartments and the Ceremonial Dress
Collection. Other parts of this palace are still occupied by
members of the royal family. Again we had lunch vouchers and used
them at Orangarie at Kensington. This concluded the official
portion of the program.

Buckingham palace was open to the public at this time of the year
so we visited and toured it on our own.

Note: Princess Di's final resting place at her birthplace
(Althorp) was also open at this time. We had written for an
"invatation" there before we left home , so before the EH program
started, we took a train ( an hours ride from London) there and
toured her home where she was born and saw the island where she
is buried. This is only available to public for 30 days at
anniversary of her death.

Not much planned in the evenings. People were doing their own
thing, seeng plays, shopping etc.

We left the next day for home--several were headed for Wales or
Ireland or some other place close to do another week or two of

This was a good program but a little expensive for only seven
days. ($3500) but London is expensive to visit. We had great
instructors and every thing moved along smoothly, even the
weather cooperated!!

editors note- Photos to accompany this review will be in the phot
page of the notebook web site.

Subject: Arkansas
From: BHutch1044@aol.com

We just came back from an Elderhostel at the U. of Ark. at
Fayettville, and everything was first class all the way The
subject matter was the Middle East.  The profs were outstanding.
We stayed, and had our meals at the Hilton--very good!


From: Rosemary Shaber  rshaber@lewiston.com

The Marine Science Consortium/Chincoteague Island in Virginia,

The above Elderhostel which focused on Birding, Waterfowl
Management, and Barrier Islands Ecology, was an excellent
experience. The housing was superior (a comfortable, convenient,
3-star motor lodge. The food was fantastic! The only downside was
that the mesquitoes came out in force the last day we were there.


From: "Robert J. Levine"  rjl@gurus.com

Subject: Chinese Cooking course, April 1999

The course was superb, the instructors and guides could not have been
better and except for the hotel in Xi'An, the facilities were more than
satisfactory. (We have been assured that the Xi'An hotel will be changed).
For some pictures from the trip go to:


I would be happy to answer more detailed questions about the
course. E-Mail me at    Bob Levine at rjl@gurus.com


From: 	HGlucks@aol.com

Hello Elderhostelers,

A number of you have questioned whether non-AOL users can access
the Notebook and Index located on AOL.  The answer is a definite

Both have recently been moved.

The Notebook is now at http://members.aol.com/EHnotebook

The Index for it is now at    http://members.aol.com/EHindex

The confusion apparently arises because non-AOL members are
unable to access many other AOL features, such as Travel,
Lifestyles and the message boards.  Rest assured, the Elderhostel
Notebook and its Index are available to everyone who has Internet
access, regardless of which Internet Service Provider you use.


From: Ray   Gail  cherbert@bellatlantic.net

We attended the Springmaid Golf hostel in Myrtle Beach last
month, It was our first and it was wonderful. We met some very
nice people and hope our paths will cross again someday. We
learned a lot about the golf game and are doing our best to put
it into practice!!!!!	 It didn't take us long to sign up for
the next trip. We are looking forward to going to Nova Scotia in


From: ERWB@aol.com

We would like to attend an Elderhostel in October or early
November at Williamsburg. Do any of you have suggestions as to
the best one or comments if you have attended one there. Thanks.


From: Albert Steinhart  albstein@juno.com

Can anyone give me information about	The Fresh Air Society
Butzel Conference Center and its courses? It is located one hour
north of Detroit.

Thank You
From: FBennett@aol.com

We are considering attending the San Diego Museum Elderhostel in
June. Does anyone have a comments regarding this location?

Forrest Bennett
Peoria, AZ
From: PNestor@aol.com

Just want to say the New Orleans People Program is top of the
line. Here's an item for the Personals section:

I hope to attend the French barge program titled "From Gaul to
France" next March-April. It includes visits to Lyons and Paris
and a barge cruise through Burgundy. Would like any information
about this program and/or the barge trips in general. Reply to
PNestor@aol.com Thanks, Pat