Elderhostel Notebook #54, October 3, 1999

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

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    From the Editor's Notebook
I have made a number of changes to the Elderhostel Notebook and
its companion Dialogue newsletter and web sites.

Most of them are outlined in detail in the current issue of the
Dialogue and I won't repeat them here except to note that the two
publications will soon become separate entities each with a
mailing list of its own.

All subscribers to the notebook are automatically on both mailing
lists, but you may change that if you wish by e-mailing me at
EHnotebook@aol.com with a request to be only one or the other of
the  mailing lists. Otherwise you will continue to be on both.

The web site has undergone extensive revision and it is now much
easier to access a specific program report using the interactive
index on the site.

Many thanks to HGLUCKS@aol.com for providing the core index from
his AOL site that forms the basis of the new interactive index
(you can go directly to a report by clicking on its notebook
number in the index.) Currently this works only for reports in
issues from #29 to the present but other back issues will be
added as time and space permit.

This was accomplished by setting up individual files for each
issue (reviews only) with numbered anchors to each report. The
Boulder Community Net will continue to archive the complete
newsletter and I hope HGLUCKS will continue his more
comprehensive index on his AOL site as well.

Programs Reviewed:

         George Williams College at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
         John C Campbell Folk School, NC
         Mid Atlantic Center for the Arts, NJ
         Jewel Cities of NW, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver
         Trinity Center Elderhostel, N.C.
         Vermilion Community College, Minnesota
         Victoria Inn - Gore's Landing, Ontario


Bahamian Field Station
Feb. 2-13, 1999
BetsyCas@aol.com (Mostly by CFOGELIN@aol.com)

How do you go about describing 12 days spent in a place totally
different from your normal environment?  Not an easy thing to do,
but here is an idea of how our San Salvador Elderhostel program

The island is perhaps 10 miles long and maybe 4 miles in width
and quite isolated from other parts of the Bahamian Island
Nation.  Perhaps 1,000 people call it home.  They are a handsome
group, mostly the descendants of slaves from a couple of
plantations which no longer exist.  One of our field trips was a
hike along a trail roughly cut through thick growth and
underbrush to the remnants of an old plantation.  Our
enthusiastic professor made it come to life again.

The Bahamian Field Station where we stayed was built in WW2 to
help monitor submarine activity.  Now it is a student training
center for field biologists and the like, used mostly to train
local students.  Academic research teams from all over, spend
time here doing a variety of studies on the Caribbean
environment.  Except for one small research team from the US, we
were the only students "on campus" during our stay.  We lived in
the cement block rooms put up by the Navy and used their former
shops as meeting rooms and labs.  Food was good, occasionally
very good; and there was a patio party daily before the evening
meals.  A beautiful bay and beach abuts the property, a pleasant
place to be during free time.

What did we do with all that time on the island with no stores,
movie houses and maybe two bars?  We were busy all the time.
Every day included at least a two-hour period of snorkeling over
the reefs and coralhead-filled bay waters that surround the
island.  This was my first try at snorkeling, and instruction was
excellent.  I can't say enough about the beauty of these beaches
and reefs, still in pristine condition and undamaged by man.

What else did we do?  We saw the four places Columbus made his
first footprints in the sand of the New World.  No one is sure
which (if any) is the correct place of course.  Most of the
monuments are in very accessible locations, but one required a
hike along another roughly-hewn trail to the top of a hill.  En
route, we examined an archeological dig of an early Indian

We covered just about every aspect of San Salvador, present and
past, with a series of at least three lectures per day.  The
lead-instructors were retired professors from US Universities,
swim and snorkeling instructors also from the US.  They donate
their time in return for the pleasure of being on the island.
Local inhabitants presented insights into such things as herb
medicines, folklore, fishing practices, wood carving, religion,
and farming.  All were top-notch and classes excellent.  A
geology lecture took place in the field, visiting the different
formations throughout the island.  Spelunking was included.  An
ecology class took place on the seashore, as we turned beach-rock
at low tide and examined the creatures beneath.  On another trip
we went bird-watching, riding on a bouncing open-bed truck with
benches for all, wide open to the sky above.  That truck plus an
ancient bus and some tired vans provided transportation for us.
Aside from the bus door falling off during one of our trips, we
had no breakdowns and a lot of laughs.

I highly recommend this informational and physically-active


George Williams College at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
kaycorn@hiwaay.net (Kay Cornelius)

We just got back from an Elderhostel at George Williams College
at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. The accommodations in the new lodge
were actually much better than we had been led to expect. We had
two lavatories, plus one twin and one double bed and a day bed
with enough pillow shams to make sitting up to read in bed very
comfortable. (The bathroom even had a dispenser with facial
tissues in it!)

Both the regular and "extra" programs were great. One night we
got to meet several foreign students who work at the Conference
Center. We found their presentations of ways of life in Senegal
and Zambia and Russia to be fascinating. The "Blues night out"
was fun, letting us all be "performers" as well as learners. We
even got to see a taped movie--with pop and popcorn--that was
filmed, in part, on the Lake Geneva campus, so we got to see what
it looks like in the winter. (CHAIN REACTION, with Keneau Reeves
and Morgan Freeman.)

For me, the best bonus of the week was being able to use the
Internet via the computer lab, which was always open for
Elderhostelers to access their e-mail and even do on-line

The weather was ideal, too, but even if it hadn't been, this is a
good program that we can certainly recommend to others.

Don and Kay Cornelius



I attended, and enjoyed, an Elderhostel program that was held at
the Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum. It was held 9/12 to
9/17/99. The town of Chittenango is located perhaps 16 miles east
of Syracuse, NY just off the NY State Thruway so access by either
car or air transport is good. The program consists mostly of
lectures and related indoor activities.  It is well suited to
those who have physical disabilities as well as the general

Sleeping accommodations were provided at a Days Inn in a
neighboring town, Canastota. A light breakfast was served each
day at the motel and the other two meals provided at the museum
itself. Different local restaurants prepared the main meal, often
featuring their specialties. The meals were very enjoyable. If a
hardier breakfast is your choice, there is a wonderful old
fashioned diner from the 1930s a short distance from the motel
that is open 24 hours a day. You can listen to John Cash or Frank
Sinatra if you have a quarter to spare as all the booths and the
counters have jukebox outlets. Don't bother to look for
contemporary recordings though .

The Elderhostel program is built around the history of the second
version of the Erie Canal which was made deeper and wider than
"Clinton's Ditch" that had been the first attempt. The museum is
on a site that contained a set of dry docks for repairing boats,
a store that fronted the canal and a blacksmith shop/ mule barn
toward the rear of the property. The buildings contain a wealth
of  artifacts that have been collected from the site during
restoration and the attics and barns of local residents who have
taken a very big interest in the project.

The Canal Museum exists today due to the very substantial efforts
of some of the local residents. Significantly, those most
instrumental in the restoration project are also the major
program presenters throughout the 5 day program. They have been
major movers in the transformation of the site from a heavily
wooded area back to the appearance it had when the canal was
operating. They have much to share with those who attend the
program and do so enthusiastically.

This program is excellent for those who wish to know more about
the early days of this country. The Erie Canal represented one of
the major "highways" opening the way to the Midwest. Those who
traveled it are worth getting to know something about if you have
an interest in the roots of our country. The program does open
the door to those days in a way that a simple visit to the same
museum can't be expected to achieve. I enjoyed it immensely.

I would recommend visiting nearby Chittenango Falls during the
half day of free time provided and also cruising the open farm
country located south of the NY State Thruway. It contains
wonderfully scenic areas.

Carl Fogelin


John C Campbell Folk School, NC


We have just returned from a wonderful week at the John C
Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC. The School offers classes
in folk craft that varies each week. This session had classes in
Wood turning, Carving, Quilting, Chair Caning, Basketry, Rug
Hooking, Hammered Dulcimer, and Book Binding. The classes include
both EH'ers and regular folk in combined sessions.  Brings in
some younger talent.

I took the wood turning  and learned to make hallowed vessels. In
this class some prior experience is necessary. The Instructor was
Larry Hassik, a professional turner and a very good instructor.
This school supplied excellent equipment and plenty of logs to
work from so that you really could practice your craft.

My wife took the quilting class and while the class did not
follow the intent of the course description, she felt that she
learned some valuable techniques.

The location of the school is ideal. In the mountain country with
lots of trees around and soft woody paths between the buildings.
The food was excellent, fresh vegetables and wonderful bread at
every meal. You eat in a dining hall and have plenty of
opportunity to meet all the people at the school as they ask that
you sit with different people at every meal so as to get to know
everyone at the school that week.

They have rooms for two with shared baths that were clean and
sufficient so that one was always available. The beauty of the
school (in existence since 1925) is that you get exposed to new
crafts and you want to go back to take a class in something new
that you never knew you wanted to learn. Half the group taking
classed had been at the school previously. The purpose of the
school is to teach you crafts to make your life more enjoyable.
It certainly fulfilled its mission.


Mid Atlantic Center for the Arts, NJ

Program - Victorian Exp, Butterflies   Birding

Accommodations for the Elderhostel are in an old hotel built in
1876 which has had few renovations since it was built. It has no
AC, heat, parking, room phones or TVs. Single bathrooms are down
the hall and used by both sexes. My bedspread was old and
tattered and looked liked it had been used for over 100 years.

Food, served buffet style was adequate, but the cook was unable
to coordinate the timing of the food. Rolls, entrees and
vegetables would appear after half the people were thru the line
and were often under or over cooked. Their serving lines were
chaotic. Towels and sheets were supposed to be changed on
Wednesday, but we were only able to get new towels on Wednesday.

The coordinator was a pleasant person, but not a "take charge
person." The group was on their own for field trips and one
afternoon had to wait a 20 minutes in the hot sun in a marsh for
a naturalist to appear, who just brought a telescope and didn't
appear very interested in the group. Another arrived for a
lecture a few minutes late and took another 1/2 an hour to set up
her slide presentation. Presentations appeared to be ad hoc and
geared to a very low level.

The group often had to provide their own carpools to sites with
no help from the Elderhostel staff or hotel. Teachers or
coordinators never accompanied the group on field trips making
them fend their own way the best they could. One half the group
disappeared after a few days and did sightseeing on their own.
Often the coordinator had no idea what the next program was going
to be and was perplexed that people expected her to know anything
about the course content.

We never even met anyone from the sponsoring group.

Would definitely not recommend this Elderhostel, there are a lot
of better ones.


Jewel Cities of NW, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver

I just returned from  this 10-day trip to Portland, Seattle and
Vancouver - a brand new EH -  and my advice is - never take a
brand new program - wait till next year or years ! This program
was much more expensive than the usual EH - including an extra
fee for a single accomodation, my bill was $2130 (outside of

What was disappointing? Too many slide lectures instead of
on-site sightseeing.  Not enough time in each city to see really
important things like major museums and unique and famous areas
of the city. Round trips between cities on always-late and draggy
Amtrak - one way would have been enough  - the way back was an
annoying letdown. Although expensive, this tour included terrible
food served on paper plates and a stay at a Best Western -
certainly not an upper bracket hotel.

The coordinators - although extremely nice people and trying hard
to be helpful -  were unfamiliar with two of the three cities
visited.  The programming for those two cities revealed this
unfamiliarity. But the potential of this program - which included
some very rewarding experiences  - is terrific. Suggestion: ask
for details before signing up.

Ruth Branchor (rbranchor@juno.com)


Trinity Center Elderhostel, N.C.

From: 	kensen@nut-n-but.net

We have just returned from our 20th Elderhostel. It was held at
the Trinity Conference Center, Slater Path, Bogue Island, N.C.,
September 5-l0. Hurricane Dennis had just missed the Center two
days earlier but that did not affect the program--one of the best
we have attended.

Everything about the area, the program and the personnel, not to
mention the very compatible 51 members of our group, was
outstanding. We were housed in clusters of 8 nicely furnished
bedrooms, centered around a "living room" with TV, ice machine,
coffee maker, and fireplace (not needed at the time).

The program was focused on the flora and fauna of a barrier
island, and early technology. Instructors Jacey Smith and BJ
White were especially knowledgeable and entertaining. A local
storyteller, Rodney Kemp, related in two sessions the unique
history of the area. His presentation was one that kept everyone
laughing, almost rolling on the floor. He is not to be missed!
Finally, the food was excellent, well prepared and presented
cafeteria-style. This is one Elderhostel not to be missed for
those who love nature and the outdoors. It is operated by the
Episcopal Diocese of East Carolina.

Ken Senstad kensen@nut-n-but.net


Vermilion Community College, Minnesota


Each day started with classroom studies, and then we were off an
running by 10:00 a.m.  The pace was very flexible, changing
things to fit with the capabilities of the participants.  Of the
14 hostlers, only five were really able to keep up with the full
physical challenge.

The canoe lessons were basic and easy enough for beginners to
handle.  The first day we had a one-mile ride on our "home" lake.
  On another day, we paddled the length of a different lake,
beached for a nice picnic and some hiking, then paddled back -
about 3 miles in all.  Only six stalwarts undertook the third
canoe trip (it was mighty windy), and it was the best trip of
all.  We went into the heart of a big swamp on yet another lake,
waterlilies all around, beaver house and beaver dam, wonderful
flowers and grasses, a few deer watching our progress from shore.

We had hikes along the wilderness trails (forest ecology),
identifying plants and trees and exploring the geology of the
area.  The hikes were easy, so much so that earnest hikers
insisted on one more challenging - - and five undertook that
while everyone else enjoyed life at the resort.

The wolf-study was fascinating.  One night we went "howling," a
selected four volunteers howling in four different directions,
then all of us standing silently waiting for a reply.  We visited
the International Wolf Center where we "met" three captive
wolves, heard about the tracking of the packs, wolf
communications, etc.

The instructors were delightful, and they shared with us their
love of that territory, even during the desolate winter months.
They are all highly educated and knowledgeable.  Many people up
there raise sled dogs.  We had an unexpected treat one evening
when two pups came to join us.  The owner also brought a sled
along, so we could all try standing on it, could see how it

The setting is spectacular, a former fishing resort neighboring
the Boundry Waters Canoe Area.  We slept in nice cabins (I had
one all to myself) with porch, sitting room, bedroom and cooking
area, modern plumbing.  Ours was a small group, so no one used
the upper bunks. There is a pretty sand beachfront and a lodge
with a huge front porch.  Loons greeted us every morning on this
beautiful, sparsely populated wooded lake.  The food was cooked
at the lodge for us, and was excellent.

If you want to visit some wilderness with all the comforts of
home, this is a program I'd highly recommend to you.


Victoria Inn - Gore's Landing, Ontario

This program is so varied and interesting that it is very
difficult to summarize. The Victoria Inn itself is the beginning
of this very pleasant experience. It is an historic building
nestled on the shore of Rice Lake. Donna Cane and her husband,
Donald, operate it. Donna is the dynamic person who is the heart
and soul of this program. She is the one who has planned and
organized it. She is also the coordinator, involved in all
phases, schedule, rooms and meals.

There are two main areas of study, the Trent-Severn Waterway and
Native Cultures of the Kawartha Lakes district.

The Trent-Severn Waterway is an historic system of lakes, rivers,
canals, dams and locks, which provides a navigable connection
from Lake Ontario to Lake Huron. Its modern use is primarily by
pleasure boats. Before going to the Elderhostel, I tried to find
more information. The waterway is not mentioned in most
encyclopedias. It seems to be an unknown waterway for most of us
in the USA.

It is a beautiful waterway and it includes some marvelous
examples of engineering that were developed in the late
nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The outstanding example
of engineering is the 65-foot hydraulic lift lock at
Peterborough, the highest in the world.

We spent a major part of two days cruising a portion of the
waterway, including the Peterborough lift lock. Sharing the locks
with a group of other pleasure boats is a very sociable
experience. You find yourself in very close proximity with yachts
and houseboats. The exchange of conversation can be amusing and
educational. You will have a better feel for life on the canals.

We also traveled by bus to make connections to the waterway and
to study the Native Cultures and their contributions to the
history and culture of the area. One of the contributions of the
Indians was the canoe. The European explorers and fur traders
were quick to recognize that the canoe afforded the best mode of
transportation if this land of lakes. We visited a canoe factory
at Alderville and the Canoe Museum in Peterborough.

We also visited Serpent Mounds Park (ancient burial mounds) and
Petroglyphs Provincial Park and the studios of some outstanding
native artists.

We were never at Victoria Inn for lunch, but always had a good
lunch provided, either a box lunch or a great lunch at some
picturesque lunch/tea room along the way.

We spent one night away from Victoria Inn. That night we had
dinner at The Old Bridge Inn in Young's Point and that night we
split the group between two B  The next day when we returned
to the Victoria Inn, we all felt that we were returning home.
This was our home away from home.

I would recommend this program to anyone.

Bob McAllester
Santa Fe, NM