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      Elderhostel Notebook #48, July 1999


    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


    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

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

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

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:

 Flathead Community College (Montana)# 26100 -0606-01

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 daveharv@aol.com

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

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

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

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 - daveharv@aol.com

Watson Homestead Confernce Center
Painted Post, New York
8 miles from Corning, New York
May 16-21, 1999


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

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

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

Walking in Switzerland

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.


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
P.O. Box 1645
Ventura Cal.

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" itisalive@erols.com 
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, itisalive@erols.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


Subj: 	Rice Lake, Ontario
From: 	gsfarm@lcc.net

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.

Grady and Virginia Singletary

    About Elderhostel Notebook

EN is an independent project, appreciative of but not associated
with Elderhostel Inc.  at   http://www.elderhostel.org

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programs taken or personals send an e-mail to the editor, Jim
Olson, at   olsonjam@uwec.edu

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