xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo Elderhostel Notebook #52, September 2, 1999 oxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox 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. Contents From the Editors Notebook Elderhostel News and Reviews THE CENTER FOR STUDIES OF THE FUTURE Ventura, CA 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 http://www.sonatapub.com/stubbs.htm ######################################### Elderhostel News and Reviews ######################################### THE CENTER FOR STUDIES OF THE FUTURE Ventura, CA email@example.com Just returned from THE CENTER FOR STUDIES OF THE 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com _______________ Denali Alaska Denali Institute RLivsey@brobeck.com 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 attractive. 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. firstname.lastname@example.org ____________ Great Lakes Maritime History Northern Michigan University, Marquette, MI August 1-7, 1999 Msteade@aol.com 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 night. 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 anyway. 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 Msteade@aol.com _______________ Mars Hill College in N.C. email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org ________________ Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies Certified Marine Expeditions - Catalina, California 6/99 Barbara Graham - email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 changed. _______________ College of Santa Fe Elderhostel email@example.com >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 firstname.lastname@example.org ______________ George Fox University, Tillikum, Oregon Jeanbartoo@aol.com 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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org Classes: Island Hopping: St. Simons, Jekyll, and Cumberland Islands 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.