Welcome to Elderhostel Notebook, The e-zine where elderhostelers share information about programs they have attended. xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo Elderhostel Notebook #48, July 1999 oxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox Contents From the Editors Notebook Elderhostel News and Reviews Santa Catalina Island, California Cooking Elderhostel in Baltimore Flathead Community College (Montana)# 26100 -0606-01 Toronto Takes Center Stage Watson Homestead Confernce Center, New York Walking in Switzerland Personals About Elderhostel Notebook ######################################## Editor's Notebook ######################################## We are currently building a new reserve as we have more reviews than we can fit into this issue so please be patient if your review is not in this issue. We will be setting up a new section of Elderhostel Tips and Advice which will feature travel tips for elderhosteling and general travel supplied by experienced elderhostelers. It will include information on such things as selecting an elderhostel program, making travel arrangements, traveling as a single, choosing a wardrobe, preparing for emergencies, connecting to the net while on the road, exchanging and safeguarding money, coping with disabilities, coping with snoring partners, sex on the road, and other areas of concern. Please feel free to suggest others. To begin with it will draw on a revision of some previous Notebook articles in these areas. Currently it resides on the web Notebook page and consists of links to other travel tip sites. ######################################### Elderhostel News and Reviews ######################################### Santa Catalina Island, California, June 20-25, 1999 USC Wrigley Maritime Science Center MHull32@AOL.COM Many modes of transportation took us to Santa Catalina, car to airport, airplane, shuttle van to San Pedro, ferry to the island, and small motor launch to Two Harbors. This program was sponsored by the USC Wrigley Maritime Science Center. Accommodations were excellent. We were housed in student dorms with a spacious, nicely furnished room with a private bathroom all rooms in this section were recently renovated. You must climb a steep staircase (18 steps) to the room. Not wheelchair accessible. There were ground level rooms which are probably available upon request. There was also a strenuous steep incline from the boat dock to the dorms. Diving and lifeguard students were in training at the site and added a spirit of fun to the elderhostelers. Cafeteria was large and clean, food was well-prepared with set menus at each meal. Good healthy food with a variety of salads and dessert at the evening meal. Many hiking trails were nearby, we often walked two miles over the mountain to Two Harbors and took the water ferry back to the Center. The coordinator was well-organized and ran the program very efficiently. However, the CO-hosts did not mingle and interact with the group as one would expect. I never could figure out their role. Our classes were held in a large auditorium with state-of-the-art computers which were used for visual displays. Our studies centered on the island's natural history, the land and the sea, and the marine wilderness. Plate Tectonics was very informative, I learned more about the earthquake faults and predictions of things to come in California then I really wanted to know. A marine biologist lectured on the sea animals in the waters surrounding the island and we observed her enticing Moray eels to come up on the rocks for a feeding of anchovies. We viewed rocks gathered on the island and plankton under powerful microscopes. A field trip around part of the island was conducted we saw buffalo grazing and other wild life and plants endemic to this particular island. For a change of pace there was a nature printing workshop and sushi making workshop with most of the group participating. One of the highlights of this trip was the tour of the Hyperbaric Chamber which was housed next to the auditorium. This is used for divers who get into trouble in the water, they are brought to this location by helicopter and treated for the bends. On our last day, we took a coastal cruise to Avalon and had several hours on our own to tour the town before we took the ferry back to San Pedro. It was five active days of learning and enjoying this beautiful island off the California coast. __________ Flavors of the Mediterranean-- Cooking Elderhostel in Baltimore email@example.com I went on this Elderhostel with my wife to use as a source for the sequel to my James P. Dandy Elderhostel Mystery, BLOODY BONSAI. You may check it out at: http://www.olg.com/pfwriter The Flavors of the Mediterranean Elderhostel is a course on learning to cook dishes from countries bordering the Mediterranean, but they also list about six other titles of cooking lessons. And I want to tell you, in the words of Billy Crystal, it was mahvalous, dahlink, simply mahvalous. The Baltimore International Culinary College, BICC, put on the event and we stayed at their hotel, the Mt. Vernon Hotel, which is right downtown. There is plenty of parking with parking lots are right in the area. The rooms were great, roomy, and warm. One couple was on the first/lobby floor, and they froze the first night because it was right over the garage. They moved up to the second floor after that. Breakfast was continental, with lots of goodies, made on the premises by BICC students, and coffee and juice. Lunch was always delicious as well. Dinner...well, I'll talk about dinners. I just wanted to emphasize that we liked our accommodations. The program consisted of a morning lecture, and while that might sound dry, Chef John Chalmers, who led the pro gram, kept it lively and full of laughter while at the same time imparting a lot of cuisine knowledge. The class ended up buying him a small gift, we were so taken with him. After lunch we had a small program on a related topic, like handling knives or how to open clams and oysters, and then were we had coffee and an afternoon sweet, as the Chef called it. Following this we went into BICC's commercial kitchen where it was set up two to a station, and we pro ceeded to make dinner. Partners were picked randomly--good thing, if I had my wife everyday I would have been divorced by the time it was over--and each team was responsible for one dish. If something tricky was needed, the chefs would call us all over to see how that was done, like wrapping things in phyllo dough. I was a little nervous the first evening until I glanced around the room to see everyone else was in the same boat. After that it was damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead. And we ate well. The chefs plated everything and showed us how to present it in an appealing way, pictures taken, and then it was bon apatite. I had to try it all, just to make sure everything was as good as it looked, and a second time to make sure I didn't mis-taste the first time. Hey, you have to do these things, right? It's required. But the big things is, if you like cooking, or eating, or both, this is a super enjoyable week, and I hope you have as good a time as my wife and I. WE all know delicious murders don't happen on Elderhostels. Or do we? Peter E. Abresch editors note: You can check out the fictional answer to Peter's question by reading about "Killing Thyme" at: http://www.olg.com/pfwriter. _________ Flathead Community College (Montana)# 26100 -0606-01 LMorris804@aol.com We attended Elderhostel program # 26100 -0606-01 last week. It is sponsored by Flathead Community College (Montana) and is held at Big Mountain ski facility, eight miles from Whitefish, MT. It was one of the best Elderhostels we have attended. The living quarters were not fancy, but comfortable and with ample storage areas. Breakfast and indoor classes were held at the same facility. Lunch and dinner were at a restaurant which is not open during the summer months except to groups. The food was some, if not the best, we have had at any Elderhostel. We gained weight that week in spite of hiking which tells you something about the quality and quantity of food. There was a slight uphill walk of about 1/3 to a 1/2 mile for lunch and dinner. The coordinator, a young man conducting but his third Elderhostel, Chris Crane, did a fine job. He was the "victim" of much teasing by our group during the week and handled it and all of his responsibilities with poise. The classes: Tripods at Timberline, D. Blank. Our instructor for this class was a most enthusiastic young woman, who helped both those who needed basic photo instruction and those who needed tips of a more advanced nature. One day was spent in the field in Glacier National Park. It was pretty cold and wet some of the time that day, but ideas on keeping our gear dry and photographing in less than ideal conditions were provided and a successful trip was enjoyed by the group. Reading the Landscape of Glacier National Park was ably instructed by Ellen Horowitz. Again, a field trip into the park supplemented the classroom instruction. The weather was lovely that day as we took a not too difficult hike to one of the park lakes where we enjoyed the beauty of the park and tasty sack lunches. Fresh grizzly bear tracks on the trail added to the sense of adventure. Montana's Old West Era was led by a retired veterinarian who dressed in the character of an early old west cowboy and taught us much, in a unique manner, about both the cowboys and the Indians of both old and modern Montana. Both of us would recommend this session and these particular classes to anyone who is interested in this beautiful part of our country. One needs to be reasonably fit, but not "jocks" to handle the demands of the outdoor segments of the classes. Bob and Lea Ann Morris Seattle, WA ____________ Toronto Takes Center Stage Toronto Lifelong Learning Canada New College - University of Toronto June 13-18, 1999 by firstname.lastname@example.org My wife and I just got back from a wonderful course in Toronto. Unlike many domestic Elderhostel courses where there are multiple courses during a five day period, this program consisted of only one topic -- the theatre scene in Toronto. There are over 120 professional companies performing on over 40 stages in Toronto. In this 5 day course we learned about every aspect of the play production. All of our presenters were outstanding and the field trips to various theatres were very interesting. The program was not without problems, however. Throughout the week, two volunteer residential co-ordinators were with us, Trudy Ward and Imogene MacKinnon. They did an excellent job, despite minor glitches that popped up during the week. They apologized for all the problems, which were few, that popped up. They explained that this was only the second time this course had been held. The paid coordinator, Linda Stephenson, never showed up until the last day. As an example, when we first met for orientation the first night you would expect that there would have been information on what plays were being performed during the week we were to be there sa that we could have gotten tickets if we wanted. There wasn't. Only later in the week did one of the lecturers provide us with a listing of plays being performed. Hopefully, future offerings will be better run. The first day we had lectures on the history of Canadian Theatre given by some excellent speakers. In the afternoon theatre in Toronto specifically was discussed. The second day we had lectures by a publicity director of two historical theatres, The Royal Alexander and the Princess of Wales. We also had a lecture by a working playwright. In the afternoon we got to tour two other theatres, Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres, almost the last of the "stacked theatres in North America. That evening we got to see "Our Town" at the Royal Alexander. On the third day we had lectures in the morning from a director and another playwright. That night we attended a performance at an "alternate" theatre where we got to talk after the show to the playwright we had heard from that morning as well as all of the actors in the play. The fourth day we had a lecture on "Theatres' Illusion" by a professor at the college. This was more or less about the psychological aspects of the relation between the audience and performance of the play. A very interesting discussion. Later we were treated to a talk by a working actor, John Friesen, who has acted in TV, movies and the theatre. "Staying Alive" was the title of his talk. He talked about how an actor lives day to day. He presented a really good, detailed picture of a day in the live of a typical actor and what he had to do in order to support himself and his family over the years. That night, our last night there, we went to a dinner theatre that used black lighting and puppets to put on a show. What was different about this show was that most of the actors that operated the puppets were mentally retarded. We were housed in a student dormitory that previously had been an all women's dorm. We found this out when we went to our rooms and found that there weren't any mens rooms on our floor. Post It notes were hastily put up on one of the restrooms to show it as 'men only'. We also ate all of our meals in the basement of the dorm served cafeteria style. All of the meals were delicious and we were offered a variety of things to choose from. On the last day we were treated to the performance of two plays given by Act II Studio, a drama school for older adults. Our final wrap up was a talk by the president of New College. This was a most lively discussion between the president and us. In response to a question one of the participants asked, he called on our mysterious coordinator whom we had never met. At that point we finally met her. When Elderhostel headquarters switched over to paying for courses to the central headquarters a problem associated with Canadian courses has popped up. This has to do with refunds of the Canadian federal tax (GST). For this course it amounted to $12.25 per person. Before, participants paid the college directly and were given a receipt which was then used to get a refund on the GST tax. Now the course fee is paid to Elderhostel headquarters who doesn't give a receipt. The co-ordinator for the course said that she couldn't give a receipt for the course. The college wouldn't allow it. Of course, the refund doesn't amount to much, but many of the participants thought it was the principal of the thing. All in all we really enjoyed the whole program. We didn't feel we were rushed at any time during the week. We were usually provided with some free time each day and one free night so we could see a play on our own if we wanted to. Due to the deflated value of the Canadian dollar extracurricular expenses such as eating out or seeing plays were very reasonable. Many, such as us, moved into a hotel and stayed a few extra days to explore the city more. Toronto has an excellent transportation system so it was easy to get around in the city. We even got to see a revival of "The Pajama Game" at a group rate after the course was over and go a guided tour of the theatre before the play. Many of the participants stayed over an extra day to see the show. I highly recommend the course. Dave and Nancy Harvey - email@example.com ___________ Glassworking Watson Homestead Confernce Center Painted Post, New York 8 miles from Corning, New York May 16-21, 1999 frog@BEDFORD.NET Watson Homestead Confernce Center is situated on 600 acres with plenty of walking space. They have a huge pool that is only open at specific times. Once a day in the evening for several hours with a life guard on duty. Rooms were very nice with private baths. There are no phones or TV sets in the rooms. Several phones in the conference center and a TV set in the library. All meals were buffet style and very tasty. They would even make something special for you if you couldn't make do with the buffet. The courses on glass working were held in the Glass Studio in downtown Corning, New York. Only 27 people in the group and we were broken up into three groups of 9 students. Each group spent an hour and a half in each workshop -- glass blowing, bead making and coldworking. Husbands and wives were in separate groups. The glassblowing had two instructors and each of the others had one instructor. There was plenty of time to "make" whatever was to be done. Instructors were available the entire time. Each participant make a variety of items, all of which you were able to take home with you. Glassblowing -- three glass flowers, two vases, and a paper weight. Bead making -- as many beads as you could make in about 4.5 hours. Anne and I made about 45 beads between us not counting the ones that broke. I also made a marble. We're going to turn the beads into necklaces for two of our granddaughters. Cold working -- sand blasted a vase with a design of our making. We made several flat glass pieces that could be hung on the wall if you liked the end result. These were fused pieces of glass or glass powder between plates of glass. There was a glass blowing demonstration by the master glassblower on Wednesday and a trip to the Glass Museum on Thursday afternoon. The demonstration pieces made by the instructors were given to the students through a drawing. Very nice touch since the dragon goblet was worth about $250. The bead maker made a special bead for each participant. Evening programs were on the area and concerned the big flood of 1972 and what they did to restore the museum and the library. This EH ranked very high on our list. If not the best it is tied for first place. And a couple of the ladies were there for the second time for the same course. Bill Kerr Frog@bedford.net ____________ Walking in Switzerland Hansengh@aol.com I am just back from the two-week Walking in Switzerland Elderhostel program. Here are some comments: All in all this is a great program for hostelers who enjoy walking/hiking and are in good shape. The land operator is European Walking Tours. It is headquartered in Engelberg, Switzerland, but has an office in the US from which hostelers receive their pre-tour information. We spent one week in Appenzell in the northeast corner of the country and the second week in Engelberg in the heart of the Alps. We went on day hikes every day. There are two levels of participation: walking and hiking. The former features shorter and less strenuous walks while the latter consists of longer and more up and down hikes. One is free to switch from one program to the other whenever one wishes. Good boots are essential for both groups. The hikers found the so-called trekking poles (two of 'em) quite useful, particularly when we were tramping around in the snow at 10,000-foot-plus altitude. The weather, which, unfortunately, cannot be controlled, was not the finest. We had only one day of real rain, but fog and low clouds obscured the views from the mountains. Fortunately, the day we were at our highest point (Mt. Titlis) there wasn't a cloud in the sky. Our two hotels were in the medium class, but centrally located. Breakfast was always at the hotel and featured a variety of cereals, juices, breads, cheeses, jams and cold cuts. (No eggs.) Our daily picnic lunch, which we ate outdoors (weather permitting), consisted of a sandwich, a piece of fruit and a bar of chocolate. All our dinners were taken in the hotels. For the sake of variety, some of us would have appreciated a restaurant meal once in a while. Also, those who had expected to enjoy some typically Swiss food, were disappointed. Our dinners were rather the same as what we have at home. Our program leader and local guides were very good, except one of the latter who had trouble making herself heard in the crowd at a museum and a library. In fairness, some hostelers may not hear as well as they did years ago. The lecturers - on Swiss history, flora and fauna, school and political systems, etc.- were a bit of a mix. All in all, a wonderful experience in a beautiful and very civilized society. Hostelers should know that this program calls for participants being in relatively good shape with the right kind of equipment. It's not for strollers. ######################################### Personals ######################################### Subj: Marty Knowlton's birthday From: BIGTANNER @aol.com On July 30th, Marty Knowlton will celebrate his 77th birthday. For those who might not know, Marty was one of the co-founders of Elderhostel in 1975. He is still connected, in a way, with Elderhostel. In 1992, he and JoAnn Kimble founded THE CENTER FOR STUDIES OF THE FUTURE, which isa major Elderhostel site in Ventura, California. Marty still gives advice to the program and also gives talks to some of the CENTER'S sites. I thought it might be nice, for those who wish, to send Marty a birthday card. You could mail it to: Marty Knowlton C.S.F. P.O. Box 1645 Ventura Cal. 93002 My wife and I have had the pleasure of working for Marty and the Center as coordinators since 1993. A nicer person than him, you would never find. Editors note the web page for Centers et al is http://eldervision.org/ ______________ From: "emeritus91" firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Costs I enjoy these notebooks very much. I have not been on the Elderhostel circuit since last year due to radiation treatments for cancer. Now that I hope to start up again, I would appreciate hearing more about the new system of payment and reactions from folks. Also, Elderhostel seems to be much more expensive now, and more suited for couples than for singles. I would also like to hear responses from people who require single rooms for whatever reason. It seems to me that Elderhostel is getting less interested and more hostile toward singles. After 46 fairly good experiences, I may have to quit and find a substitute. Thank you. Sid Kessler, email@example.com Editors note: The issue of finding an elderhostel friendly to singles is one of the tips we will explore in our new section. ___________ From: BHutch1044@aol.com Subject: homestay in France We are planning to attend a homestay program in France in Oct. Does anyone have any experience with this program, or comments to make? ___________ Subj: Rice Lake, Ontario From: firstname.lastname@example.org We are tentatively planning a Christmas Elderhostel at Rice Lake, Ontario at the Victoria Inn. We would appreciate any information about the area (transportation, winter, access, facilities) etc. Thanks. Grady and Virginia Singletary email@example.com ######################################## About Elderhostel Notebook ######################################## EN is an independent project, appreciative of but not associated with Elderhostel Inc. at http://www.elderhostel.org EN has a WWW site at http://members.aol.com/EHnotebook To subscribe to the e-mail edition and/or to submit reports of programs taken or personals send an e-mail to the editor, Jim Olson, at firstname.lastname@example.org Please keep all correspondence in simple e-mail text format.