Elderhostel Notebook #51  August 18, 1999

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compare notes on elderhostel programs.

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    From the Editors Notebook

    Elderhostel News and  Reviews

       White River Junction VT
       Colby-Sawyer College, N. H.
       Daemen College, Amherst, NY
       Davis   Elkins College/Augusta Heritage Center
       Crowsnest Pass, Alberta,Canada
       Shakespearian Festival in Ashland, OR
       Otter Creek Park Elderhostel Program
       Ottowa EH
       Utah State University, Logan, Utah

    Editor's Notebook
I have two mailing systems to use with the Notebook project, one
at America On Line and the other my local University, giving me a
spare to fall back on when one fails.

Early this week they both failed simultaneously. So it goes- best
laid plans of etc.

The university is installing a new mailing system and having
problems with it, and AOL in its crusade against spammers took me
off temporarily for sending a bulk mailing. When they found I
wasn't delivering pornography or selling get rich quick schemes I
was reinstated. Nice to know they are doing something about their
e-mail problems in spite of the inconvenience it caused the

That accounts for all the address checks I was sending out from
various mailers.

I have transferred all Notebook operations to the America On Line
service and all e-mail should come to EHnotebook@aol.com

   Elderhostel News and Reviews

White River Junction VT
Helen Sternheim  helen@k12s.phast.umass.edu

We have just returned from a delightful elderhostel week at the
Coolidge Hotel in White River Junction VT. The program ran from
July 25-30 1999, and was entitled  "Window to History: Vermont
and New Hampshire Life Along the Connecticutt River."

This elderhostel was sponsored by the Elderhostel Eastern Area
Office, instead of the VT Institute for Lifelong Living the
original sponsor. In actuality David Briggs the Innkeeper/Owner
of the Hotel Coolidge acted as the program coordinator and host.
He did a wonderful job.

The Hotel Coolidge is an old railroad hotel and was last rebuilt
in the 1920^Òs. The rooms were all different, but very
comfortable. We had a mini suite, with air conditioning and a
private bath. The other accomodations were similar, but some
rooms had 2 beds and different furniture arragements. The web
address is: www.hotelcoolidge.com

We had lectures on Vermont and New Hampshire Architecture, by
Judy Haward on Monday morning. This was followed in the afternoon
by ^ÓThe History of Woodstock VT^Ô by Kathy Wendling. In the
evening we saw a video ^ÓCold Harvest^Ô on ice harvesting redone in
the old fashioned way. This was presented by John Freitag of
Stafford VT.

On Tuesday we had an all day field trip. This trip had three
segments, the first was a visit and tour of a working dairy farm
in Royalton VT. Next we went to Stafford VT and toured the Justin
Smith Morrill Homestead. The tour was conducted by young people,
under the direction of John Freitag, who told the history of the
rooms in the house. We also toured the town via a two horse drawn
wagon, with a local farmer as narator. We had a bag lunch
(provided by the Coolidge Hotel) in the shade under the trees at
the homestead. After lunch we traveled to Woodstock VT and were
met by Kathy Wendling for a guided tour of the Woodstock Common.
We were feeling hot and tired, so we cut the tour and visited the
Woodstock Inn for some Iced Tea and relaxed in one of the many
comfortable lounges.

Day 3 was conducted by David Briggs and started with a talk ^ÓThe
Rise and Fall of Community^Ô followed by a walking tour of White
River Junction. Wednesday afternoon was free time. We went
swimming at a local lake recommended by David. It was a
delightful afternoon. Others toured some of the recommended
sights in the area.

Day four was another field trip, this time to Windsor VT, where
we toured the American Presion Museum and the Old Constitution
House/Museum. Lunch was a salad lunch provided by the Hotel
Coolidge and served in Windsor House. There was a Vermont Crafts
store on the ground floor of the building and many of us visited
there after lunch. In the afternoon Judy Hayward joined us on our
bus trip to Claremont NH. We visited some old Mill Buildings and
learned about potential restoration efforts. We also visited the
Claremont Opera House. This is a beautiful facility that has been
restored and air conditioned. To end a perfect day the group
elected to have Ice Cream at a store on the Claremont Common. In
the evening after dinner we were treated to the humorous video ^ÓA
Man with a Plan^Ô a fictional story of Fred Tuttle^Òs run for
congress. We viewed this in the restored White River Junction
^ÓOpera House^Ô which is adjacent to the Hotel Coolidge.

Day five was a short day with a humorous presentation by Vemont
State senator Dick McCormack. This preseantation was a
combination of Vermont humor and familiar folk songs. After this
presentation we picked up bag lunches for the trip home.

There were also programs on Wednesday evening and Thursday
evening, so we were always kept busy.

The food served by our host was plentiful and well prepared.
There were no choices, but all special diet requests were
cheerfully met. The Monday and Thursday dinners were served by
hotel waitresses. Tuesday and Thursday's dinners were buffet
style. We also had a wine and cheese reception before dinner on
Monday evening.

I would recommend this elderhostel to anyone who wanted to have a
good time and learn about the area.

Helen Sternheim, Amherst MA


Colby-Sawyer College, N. H.

This Elderhostel was in a charming small town in New Hampshire,
not far from Hanover and Dartmouth College. C-S is a small
college of 850 students, with many dormitories and other
buildings. The EH on July 25 featured courses on opera, Haydn and
Bach. Hostelers were housed in a dormitory.  The common area for
us was the dormitory lounge. Unfortunately, it was rather
scruffy, and appeared as though it was thoroughly cleaned a few
decades ago.  The coordinator never told us about the two air
conditioners, but it did not matter too much as they worked
sporadically. The courses were in the alumni lounge, a room with
terrible acoustics, and two small fans that barely made a dent in
the 90 degree heat.

Two of the courses were wonderful; the course on opera, taught by
Dan.  Dan was an English teacher in a local middle school whose
hobby was opera. Dan traced the history of opera with videos and
cassettes and even sang a few songs himself!  I am certain that
every one of the 25 people in the group was delighted with him.
The same can be said for Peg, who was a music teacher and a
devotee of Haydn. Peg taught us how to appreciate the life of
Haydn through books, slides, and the various compositions of this
very important figure in classical music.  Sadly, this cannot be
said for Martha, who was supposed to teach us about Bach.  She
obviously knew a great deal about Bach, and had a great amount of
material, but she was too disorganized to be coherent, and lost
half of the audience after the first day. Suggestions about more
music and less talk did no good.

The food was excellent.  I cannot imagine better food aboard a
luxury liner. Mike Hennerrnan, the Food Service Director, was so
accommodating, not only with food but with information about the
area, that I wrote a letter commending him to his superior. The
idea, given to me by a close friend, is: "Don't thank me, thank
my boss!"

I am sorry to say the major failing in this Elderhostel was the
coordinator and her assistant. The orientation was inadequate and
hurried, about 45 minutes before dinner on Sunday, July 25th.
There was no social the first night, or a chance to begin to know
other Elderhostelers.  There was no field trip or a discussion of
local interesting sites. A few tourist pamphlets were strewn
around the dormitory.  The coordinator only appeared when some of
the people from the Boston office visited.  The assistant
coordinator, a student, was never present, but could be reached
through a bulletin board or email.  She arranged for the farewell
continental breakfast on the last morning when everyone was in a
hurry to go home.  She was late. Her attitude can be summarized
in her comment "I can only do one thing at a time."  The word for
the coordinator and her assistant is....indifference.

Most people though 2 out of 3 good courses were enough, but I
have been to so many better Elderhostels I am not sure if I want
to return to Colby-Sawyer College.  I am glad I went though, and
I am very happy I was able to resume Elderhosteling after about a
year of absence.

The major problem with Colby-Sawyer was the coordinator and
assistant. Better facilities for the classroom should have been
found, especially with the brutal heat. The dormitory lounge
should have been cleaned. The farewell breakfast should have been
offered on time.  There should have been an attempt at
socialization. There should have been suggestions about what to
do in the area between classes and dinner.

I have suggested to Elderhostel in Boston a few years ago that
they should honor and praise model coordinators as examples for
others, a kind of mentoring system.  I have singled out at least
two excellent coordinators in the New England area as examples:
John La Plante in the Incarnation Camp, Ivoryton, CT., and Rene
Hurwitz of the St. George School, Newport, RI as coordinators who
make a difference.

The key to a successful Elderhostel is not the food, or even the
excellent teachers, but the coordinator who is the host or
hostess to it all.

Best wishes and happy Elderhosteling, Sid Kessler,


Daemen College, Amherst, NY
U of Buffalo Med. School
June 27, 1999

Located in a beautiful upscale suburb of Buffalo, Daemen College
provided a pleasant setting for our Elderhostel week. We stayed
in modern dorms, each room had a private bath. Food served in the
college cafeteria was delicious and abundant.

Everyday we were transported by vans to the U of Buffalo Med.
School campus for lectures that were overviews of courses given
to med. students. The "Mini Med." course is a continuing program
of the U of Buffalo. Topics included Antibiotics, Pharmacology,
Osteoporosis, Dementia, Nutrition, the GI system, Lung functions
and the health care system. Being part of an ongoing program, the
course did not cover key topics such as cardiology and cancer as
they had been covered already in the local program. I felt the
course should have been customized for the older Elderhostel
group and presented a more complete program of medical subjects.
A course on Cystic Fibrosis which affects young people was
interesting but not appropriate for older people. The lectures
about the topics that were covered were excellent. We also toured
their "brain museum" one afternoon Would advise anyone planning
to take the Elderhostel to call Daemen and inquire about the
topics to be covered in the course.

One afternoon, Daemen hired a bus and gave us tour of Niagara
Falls and the surrounding areas. They also brought us to a
traveling "Monet" art exhibition at a local museum.

It was a very enjoyable and stimulating week.

Davis   Elkins College/Augusta Heritage Center Elkins, West

My first clue that this eight day, seven night EH program was
going to be special came at Sunday orientation when most of the
hostellers mentioned they were repeaters, at this particular
program or other EH programs run by the Center. One couple was
there for the 6th year (about 10 programs); most other attendees
were there for the 2nd or 3rd time.

Immediately after orientation the program swung into full gear at
9:pm with a choice of a dance or vocal program. It continued at
full tilt until ending with a gospel sing the following Sunday at

Each day started at 9:00 with a storytelling/song memory class
led by Kate Long followed by a dance class (square, cajun, clog,
contra)until noon. After lunch came a full afternoon of workshops
and demonstrations by professional storytellers, fiddlers,
singers, banjo players, etc. Mini-classes on musical instruments
or vocal specialties were available in the early evening; a
concert was part of the package every night from 8:00-10:30pm.
>From 11pm until the wee hours of the morning informal "jam
sessions" were available for all.

On Friday and Saturday we were an integral part of the Augusta
Festival; a daylong event (at which several EH's served as
volunteers) culminating in an outstanding final concert Saturday

The setting on the beautiful campus of Davis   Elkins College,
with all amenities, except students :o), was great. During the
entire week we never moved our car, because everything was in
walking distance. The food was well above average; the
accommodations clean and well maintained; the swimming pool and
library excellent when we could find time to break away from the
events. Professional performers were gracious, well informed and
friendly. Margo Blevins, Director of the Augusta Center, and her
staff put together an outstanding program and were always
available to make sure it clicked.

I have been to over 20 EH programs, all of which I've enjoyed,
but none that I've repeated. Next year I intend to join the ranks
of repeaters at this one.


Elderhostel program 60451-0718-01 Crowsnest Pass, Alberta,Canada


We participated in the Crowsnest Learning Centre program July 18
to July 23,1999. [Crowsnest Pass, Alberta, Canada]. It is a very
active hiking program. We recommend good hiking footwear.Two
levels of hikes are offered each day to accomodate different
skill and endurance levels. We did the shorter hikes of 3 to 5
miles each day and one of about 7 miles. The hikes were in very
scenic locations and often were tied to the mining history of the
Crowsnest Pass area. We hiked to Lille, an abondoned coal mining
town with its coke oven ruins  one day. Another took us on a tour
of waterfalls in the area. We also hiked through the Frank Slide
area where a 90 million ton mountain slide filled a valley with
huge rocks and boulders and buried part of the town of Frank. It
was an awesome sight. Comfortable private room lodging at the
Crowsnest Center. Excellent breakfast and dinner each day at the
center. Very good bag lunch for each days hikes. We were
fortunate to have excellent weather all week which added to the
positive  experience.

We chose this program in part because of it's location. It is
close to Glacier National Park and Waterton Lakes Canadian
National Park. We visited both prior to the Elderhostel. After
the Elderhostel we extended our trip by going to Banff and Jasper
Canadian National Parks. They are about a 5 hour drive North of
Crowsnest. We traveled by air to Great Falls, Montana and then
rented a car. One could do the same via Calgary, Alberta which is
about 150 miles from Crowsnest. From Great Falls it is about 210
miles to Crowsnest Pass. We chose Great Falls because Glacier and
Waterton Parks are along the way north to Crowsnest.

Richard   Patricia Krueger


Shakespearian Festival in Ashland, OR
lou bell lbell@PACIFIER.COM

My 13 yr. old granddaughter and I attended our fifth
Intergenerational Elderhostel this month at the Shakespearian
Festival in Ashland, Or.,sponsored by Southern Oregon University.
The price of the tickets to see three plays was included in the
Elderhostel fee. Our previous Elderhostels had all been
outdoorsy-nature ones in the northwest, so this one was quite

There were about 23 grandparents and 19 children (only two boys).
About half were 13 yr. old girls ready to enter 8th grade.
Accomodations in a dormitory and meals at the university
cafeteria. were fine, and classes and performances were
outstanding. My granddaughter's only complaint was that some of
the activities for the kids were too juvenile. I, too, wish she
could have attended all of the classes with me. All in all, it
was a very pleasant week.

I'm now getting ready to attend another Intergenerational
Elderhostel next month with my 8 yr. old granddaughter in
Gillette Wyo. We'll learn more about Little House on the Prairie.

Lou Bell	 lbell@pacifier.com

Otter Creek Park Elderhostel Program

My husband and I attended the intergenerational program July
18-23rd. This is a very large park south of Louisville with many
different programs going on at the same time. Our group,
consisting of twelve children-eight boys and four girls-with one
or two grandparents for a total of 23 persons, stayed at a very
nice lodge. All rooms had a loft with a bed for the children. The
food was fair, and improved as the week went on. I think this was
partly due to the fact that despite the fact that the camp had
cabin, camping, and lodge facilities there were no restaurants or
other food services. Our food was brought in by a local caterer.

We attended this program on the basis of a recommendation by a
couple who had attended several years ago. Unfortunately, the
outstanding program director had left, and the person in charge
this year for the first time a young woman with obviously little
understanding of either adolescent children or older people.
While she was very sweet, she not only was not efficient, but was
not around much of the time. We also met someone connected with
the park at our picnic lunch on the second day who said he shared
coordinating responsibilities, but we never saw him again that I
can remember. On the other hand all of the other staff were
exceptional. The program which apparently was unchanged from
prior years was also excellent.

Unfortunately, there was considerable free time--good for us
oldies, but not so appropriate for youngsters. The children had a
volley ball which they played with during all the in-between
times. But as this was totally unsupervised, there were some
social problems. I have had considerable experience working with
youngsters and was somewhat disapointed that there were no real
"team building" activities. At no time did the group divide into
teams i.e. kids Vs grandparents , or one group pulling a rope
against the other group or relays. The program was really an
outward bound program (which I liked), but not focused on kids
and grandparents relating. This was the result of the youth and
inexperience of the coordinator.

>From chatting with other grandparents, those who had had previous
experiences with similar programs had many of the same concerns I
had. If they, like I, put them in their evaluations, hopefully,
Elderhostel will respond to our concerns.

--Marge Rafner, E-mail: Potomack3@aol.com


Ottowa EH


I've just returned from a rewarding 5 days in Canada's capitol
city - in July, hottest July in history ! I had hoped that it
would be cooler in Ottowa and perhaps it was - but not much. The
heat, however didn't detract from the trip. Highlights were
visits to two exciting museums - the Museum of Civilization and
the National Gallery of Canada. The latter , a spectacular
glass-enclosed structure by Moishe Safie who created the famous
Habitat buildings at Montreal's World's Fair, had special
exhibits of art by Van Gogh and Daumier.

For anyone who loves art - and architecture - a very special
treat ! Lecturers on Canada history, politics, native populations
, etc , were excellent to terrific. And the food was gourmet
!!!!!! Our hotel was centrally located as well, walking distance
of Parliament, the Rideau Canal that winds through the city and
the storied Ottowa Market with its many boutiquesand fine
restaurants. Lots of walking - get in condition ! Ruth Branchor


Folklore   Traditions of Ireland

This was a 2 week program (June/July 1999) - 5 days in Cork, 4
day homestay in Castlemaine and 5 days in Lisdoonvarna.
Coordinator Emir and coach driver Martin (9years driving
EHostelers) were knowledgable and fun. Accommodations were very
good; food was more cosmopolitan than I had expected with 3
course dinners and several choices. Excellent lecturers - most
outstanding were Michael McMahon on the Burren and Mary Angela
Keane on Literature of Western Ireland. Storyteller Eddie Lenihan
was an unexpected surpirse - he had just been featured in NY Times
and People for getting the path of a new road moved in order to
protect a fairy tree.

We visited many interesting   varied places from Cobh to Galway.
This was the first homestay program in Castlemaine and there were
a few communication problems but it was an interesting
experience. Activites planned (or not) by host families varied
greatly. The group had a tour of the Dingle Peninsula and a
folklore performance during this time. On two occasions we were
entertained by a group of 3 families who played Irish music,
sang, danced and told stories and we were encouraged to dance
with them. A string quartet played chamber music one evening at
dinner. Weather varied from cold and rainy to unusally hot (for
Ireland) our second week. This was my third international EH
(many in US) and I would recommend it.


Utah State University, Logan, Utah
American West? Opera Elderhostel Program No. 44692-0725-01

Housing: In the University Inn on campus.  Equivalent to a AAA 4
star. Kept in a like new condition with a staff that is very
attentive, competent and pleasant. Food: Breakfast and lunch in
one of three on campus facilities.  Better than average food.  We
were given a debit card with adequate fund.  In fact many had
money left over.  Evening meals were off campus at local
restaurant with one cook out in a very nice park and another
steak cookout at the Festival. Classroom instruction: A talk by
Timothy many hats a Tracker and Story teller and a demonstration
of Indian Dancing by Two Hawk.

We heard about Cache Valley History, Women of the West, Mormon
History, The Golden Spike Railroad {Where the Eastern railroad
met the Western and opened up the West}. We were also given
lectures and demonstration on Stage Production, Props and Lights,
Wigs, Makeup and Costumes at the Opera house. Another lecture"Where do ranchers go when they die?" was interesting, however I
never did find out where they go. I saves the best for last as
far as the program go and that is we were treated to the musical
Carousel, two operas; The tales of Hoffman and The Student
Prince.  Plus a delightful COWBOY Concert at the Festival, that
had us in stitches for two hours.

Next years operas are: Carmen, Julius Caesar and The Mikado. All
the above was well coordinated by Kimberley Davis a fine young
lady that was on top of things and was there to help and pursue
our requests.  She was helpful, considerate and did it with a
smile.  Her assistant was also right on the job. Logan and the
surrounding area is beautiful with many community activities and
some of the best hiking trail in the West and steeped in history.

 If you like opera and the American West you'll most certainly
will like this outstanding program. Last but not least this 6
night program is an outstanding value. Respectfully submitted, Al