Elderhostel Notebook #52, September 2, 1999

Welcome to Elderhostel Notebook, the e-zine where hostelers
compare notes on elderhostel programs.

EN is an independent project, appreciative of but not associated
with Elderhostel Inc.          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 send an e-mail to the editor, Jim
Olson, at                      EHnotebook@aol.com

Please keep all correspondence in simple e-mail text format.


    From the Editors Notebook

    Elderhostel News and  Reviews

        Northern Illinois University- Mighty Mississippi
        Denali Alaska Denali Institute
        Great Lakes Maritime History
        Mars Hill College in N.C.
        Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies
        Northern Illinois University- Southeast Asia Studies
        College of Santa Fe Elderhostel- Opera
        George Fox University, Tillikum, Oregon
        Kentucky University, Georgetown, KY
        Georgia Southwestern College, Brunswick, GA

    Editor's Notebook
We have been visiting our daughter and grandchildren in Tacoma,
Washington, and I think I may have misplaced a couple of files in
the process of switching from using the grandtwins' computer to
our computer back home  so some of your queries may be in the
next issue of the Dialogue rather than the most recent one.

Like many of you we are looking over the winter catalog with the
idea in mind of taking a couple of back to back elderhostels and
maybe just some bumming around on our own in the south or
southwest to escape the coldest part of our Wisconsin winter.

Nice to see Northern Illinois University at DeKalb, Illinois, get
a couple of rave reviews in this issue. We visit friends there
every year or so as a group of us who started teaching in the
same junior high school in Beliot, Wisconsin,  back in 1949 get
together each year to renew old ties. Several of us eventually
ended up associated with one university or another and Northern
is one of them.

I sometimes relax at elderhostels and write a poem or two.
Several of them are in the current issue of the Quarterly e-zine,
the m.e.stubbs poetry journal, at

   Elderhostel News and Reviews


FUTURE/ELDERHOSTEL where we were housed at the Sheraton
FourPoints Hotel in Harbortown.  The studies: BASIC COMPUTER AND
INTERNET TRAINING,BEACHES ALIVE!  Classes were held with a
"minimum of threatening lingo".  Instructors were knowledgeble,
patient. Accomodations were comfortable.  Food was delicious.

Shops, restaurants, entertainment and outdoor activities abound.
Really enjoyed our visit to ANACAPA ISLAND, one of the Channel
Islands.  Yes, we may go again!

Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois

The Mighty Mississippi

There is alot of magic associated with the Mississippi River,
thanks to the book about Huckleberry Finn, the movie on Show
Boat, the jazz originating in Memphis and New Orleans.  It is
also a major commercial waterway draining much of the continent.
Such was the subject in an Elderhostel at . Several are sponsored
each year on this subject, the most recent one which we attended
August 15-21.  Of our eleven so far we would rank it near the top
overall for content, organization, accomodations, etc.

Three courses were on the glacial and erosion formation of the
Mississippi basin plus modern problems of flooding, on the origin
and appreciation of jazz, and on the author Mark Twain with
special attention given to "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn."
All three instructors were above average and very personable.
Ron Modell has just retired from a distinguished career, not only
establishing the outstanding jazz band program at NIU but also as
an accomplished musician in many areas. He shared with us both
trumpet artistry and humor.  Our study was augmented by various
videos and movies...including "Show Boat."  And on Friday came an
all-day excursion on a real show boat down the Mississippi. Not
only did the can can girls aboard dance but also served delicious
meals.  We passed through several locks and dams on the river
that makes possible the barge traffic.

Our group of 46 was housed in the student union hotel facility
and treated to excellent food.  Beware of those special desserts!
 Program coordinators Steve and Julia were attentive to every
detail the whole week. Classes were held in the union building. A
number of Floridians sought out this EH and enjoyed cool weather
in Illinois.  Easy connection to Chicago's O'Hare.  A nice extra
touch is the free edition from the selection of daily newspapers.

Bill   Lee Longman wlongman@yahoo.com


Denali Alaska Denali Institute

An absolutely fantastic experience.  We were very fortunate on
the weather and were able to take an airplane ride to  Mt
McKinley which was awesome. The coordinator, Todd Shoney, was the
best we have had in our ten Elderhostels.

The programs were outstanding.  One night we heard from Berle
Mercer who moved to Alaska in the 1950's.  He was wonderfully
funny and has lived a rugged outdoor life.  He is also one of the
toughest men I have ever encountered.  His stories were terrific.
 The next night we heard from a couple who live in the bush 9
months of the year with their 12 husky dogs. Again. a real treat
to hear from them.  The last night we had a slide show from a
mountain climber who had climbed Mt. McKinley from the difficult
side.  Absolutely spellbinding.

Rooms are cabins with two couples sharing a common bath.  Food
was good, but not great.

Saw lots of bear and caribou, and took some nice hikes.

Definitely a ten.  Our best Elderhostel to date.

WARNING  One thing to avoid is making your travel arrangements in
Fairbanks through Lori at Girwood Travel.( Girwood Travel is
recommended in the materials Elderhostel sends you.)  Girwood
booked us into the Downtown B and B In Fairbanks.  I specifically
asked if it was downtown, and was assured that it was.  However,
it turned out to be a 40 minute walk from downtown. Moreover, the
landlady was so grumpy and unhelpful that we eventually checked
out and moved to another B and B near the train station which was
wonderful (I think it was called the Minnie St  B and B).  The
Downtown B and B is also a little rundown and not very

One last warning.  Taxis are expensive in Fairbanks.  Girwood
Travel told me a taxi from the airport would be about $5 to the
Downtown B and B.  It was $16.  Eagle Cab is the least expensive;
Tundra Cab is more expensive.


Great Lakes Maritime History
Northern Michigan University, Marquette, MI
August 1-7, 1999

Organization: When our informational packets had not arrived by
July 6, I called Boston to see who I should contact at NMU.
Boston picked up the ball and ran with it and the packets finally
showed up in our mailbox, but only about two weeks before we were
scheduled to leave for Michigan. We found out later that this was
only the second Elderhostel that this coordinator had done, and
that it had been dumped on her midstream. If the other 'Hostelers
were as candid on their evaluations as my husband and I were, she
will have plenty of ideas to work with in the future --
everything from providing blank sheets of paper in our folders to
take notes on to having a better organized "get acquainted"
program to allowing more than just an hour for lunch.

Accommodations: We were housed in a 1950s-era dormitory which was
generally clean but not very comfortable.  We've had more rustic
accommodations at 'Hostels, but they were supposed to be that
way!  The beds were okay but creaky; the only chairs in the rooms
were straight-backed wooden chairs; the bath towels weren't much
larger than hand towels and you could read a newspaper through
them, they were so thin. For meals, we were issued debit cards to
use at the food court in the student center. The $20.00 a day
limit was adequate, and the food was acceptable. We shared the
dining room with a couple hundred high school students who were
on campus for cheerleading, music and boxing camps, so the noise
level was always rather high. The crowds were also one reason
that an hour for lunch and dinner was barely enough. The student
center closed at 6:00 p.m., so dinner was necessarily early each

Curriculum and Instructors: The curriculum included segments on
shipwrecks (with special emphasis on the Edmund Fitzgerald),
lighthouses, the Coast Guard and US Life Saving Service and the
Great Lakes iron industry. Field trips included the Marquette
Maritime Museum, Iron Industry Museum, a glass-bottom boat tour
to view shipwrecks, and a lighthouse. A tour of an iron mine was
scheduled but was canceled by the mine operators, to the
disappointment of practically everybody. Instead, we had a
session on "Shipwrecks via the Internet" which was probably not
the best choice for a substitute, since most of us already had
considerable exposure to the Internet and knew how to find our
way around, and those who were not online weren't interested

Our primary instructor for the week was Fred Stonehouse, author
of 14 books on the Great Lakes and considered by many to be the
preeminent authority on the Great Lakes today.

Classes usually ended by 3:30 or 4:00 p.m., but there were
optional activities planned for each evening.

Overall: I rank this Elderhostel 8.5 on a scale of 10.0. It could
easily be a perfect 10.0 with a little more attention to detail
on the part of the coordinator and her staff.

Marion Steade

Mars Hill College in N.C.

The last EH program we attended was at Mars Hill College in N.C.
We were hooused in avery old dorm with showers ansd toilets at
end of hallway. Men used one floor, women the other. We wished
there would have been  at least a wash bowl in each room.  There
was adrinking fountain near our room but it didn't work It's a
beautiful area though and the  principal teacher was excellent.
The program was all about trains in Apalachia.  He made you
interested in all the details even if you weren't a
trainaficiando.--which most of the hostelers were.  Food was
average college cafeteria food. Adequate.

rita ulm@compuserve.com


Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies
Certified Marine Expeditions - Catalina, California 6/99
Barbara Graham - tannyw@msn.com

This was our 14th Elderhostel; it ranks at the bottom. This was a
cruise designed to teach snorkeling and kayaking.

We were on a ship built as a kids camp. The rooms were very
uncomfortable, which sometimes happen. The food was poor, which
also happens. What made this trip so awful, was the crew. This
was the first Elderhostel where we all felt unwelcome. This crew
barely tolerated us, and, with one exception, were condescending
and unresponsive to their passengers. They gave us a minimum of
instructions - and that was reluctantly.

For example: The did "not have time" to take us back and forth to
the shore, but after we had paid a shore boat to return us to the
ship, it was to find the crew using the shore boats to play water
games among themselves.

We were returned to port a day earlier than scheduled for no
apparent reason and left to our own devices.  At $700, this was a
comparatively expensive Elderhostel to begin with and then to
make matters worse, 5 days in reality became 4.


Northern Illinois University- Southeast Asia Studies

Went to a wonderful Elderhostel at Northern IL University in De
Kalb IL  (not too far fr Chgo and Northern suburbs)

Focus was on S.E.Asia. We learned about the history   music of
the area. We also learned to play musical instruments of that
region. One professor took us to his home which was like a S.E.
Asian museum. The hilite was a S.E. Asian  barbecue we all helped
to prepare. This was a hands on lesson on S.E. Asian food and
dietary habits. We even shared recipes. Then we were serenaded by
students who played the instruments that we learned about. It was
so much fun, and  because it was in the professor's home, we felt
like we were having a party. Our professor was planning a trip to
S. Viet Nam. This helped us to understand how this area has


College of Santa Fe Elderhostel

>From August 8-14 we participated in the  program "Opera: A Matter
of Life and Death," offered through the College of Santa Fe.  The
large group (51) was housed and had classes in a Holiday Inn
(3-diamond AAA rating) south of downtown.  Quarters were spacious
and comfortable; food was the worst we've had in four
Elderhostels (starchy, overly heavy on chicken and sweets, short
on salads or palatable vegetables).  Each morning session focused
comprehensively and informatively on one of the five operas on
the Santa Fe Opera's 1999 summer program, together with a talk
and/or performance by a guest (a mezzo-soprano, conductor,
baritone, soprano, music critic, composer) previously or
currently associated with the Santa Fe Opera.

A tour of Santa Fe by bus and on foot, visits to the Museums of
International Folk Art and of American Indian Arts and Culture,
and trips to the Santa Clara Pueblo (to witness Indian feast day
dancing) and Chimayo (to see a family of Spanish weavers) filled
four afternoons.  We went as a group to see one opera (good
seats, easy bus ride); many participants attended additonal opera
performances on their own.  A staff member lectured on Indian
pottery and jewelry one evening and showed a PBS video on Georgia
O'Keefe on another.

We received a four-day pass for free admission to four of five
New Mexico museums and had one afternoon and one evening free.
The opera part of the program was informative and interesting,
the Indian part brief, superficial, and more digressive than
integral.  We recommend the program but suggest that one have a
car for free time sightseeing, purchase tickets for additional
operas at least three months in advance, and schedule a few
additional days before or after the program since there's so much
to see and do in Santa Fe.

Mary and Bob Georges rgeorges@ucla.edu


George Fox University, Tillikum, Oregon

The Elderhostel at Tilikum, out of George Fox University, was
excellent.  Tilikum means a friendly place.  It was just that!
There is a small lake, with canoes for Elderhostelers to use. The
surrounding farms and vineyards provided beautiful views.  A
small barn with llamas, goats, chickens (with breakfast eggs) a
huge white turkey and a pot-bellied pig provided entertainment if
we cared to visit.  There is a deck and a small gazebo where we
gathered before and after meals, which were all homemade, (even
the bread and rolls) everyday.

I believe that of the 40 Elderhostels I have attended this one
was among the most friendly.  There is not much nearby to
distract participants from the program.  They tended to attend
all of the activities.  The atmosphere and the srroundings were
very restful and rejuvenating.  Many of the participants were
returnees.  I believe we will return to Tilikum for another
Elderhostel soon.

Jean Bartoo, North Olmsted, Ohio

Kentucky University, Georgetown, KY	Oct. 98

Classes: 	Agatha Christie, The British Monarchy, Horses: A
Kentucky 			Industry.

We learned about the life and the writings of Agatha Christie.
She was truly a remarkable woman for her time. We studied the
British Monarchy and learned how the parliament has taken over
much of the power. We became aquatinted with the horse industry
in Kentucky. We visited Kenland Race track, first to see the
horses train and later to attend the races. We also visited the
Kentucky Horse Park and Jonabelle Stud Farm.

Highlights:	Seeing the gorgeous horses such as Affirm and
Holly Bull. We toured the Toyota Plant and had a great humorous
presentation about Kentucky.

Evaluation:	 The classes and the trips were wonderful. Our
instructors were top notch. The accommodations were very good.
However, we ate all of our meals at a Shoney^Òs restaurant and the
meals became very tiresome. Also, the schedule was such that
there was very little time to socialize with others. Recommended

Georgia Southwestern College, Brunswick, GA	June 97

Classes: 	Island Hopping: St. Simons, Jekyll, and Cumberland

We learned about the history of the three Islands and a
great deal about the ecology of the barrier islands.
We had lectures about sea shells, birds, and
reptiles. Learned and visited the marsh situated on
the property. many classes 	were taught by the
environmental education staff at Honey Creek.

Highlights:	The guided visits to the islands. The most
wonderful day was at Cumberland Island.

Evaluation:	Outstanding experience in every way. Classes were
excellent, wholesome food, exceptionally well planned experience,
beautiful setting, friendly people. Highly recommended.