Elderhostel Notebook #56 November 7, 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 wasn't able to fit all reports from my incoming report file
into this issue, but all that have been submitted for this issue
will be included in the next issue.

It appears an e-mail address picker has been working on our
archives stored on the net and included some of you whose e-mail
addresses appear with your reviews on a porn spam list.

At least one of these spams was sent out with a return address
that resembled mine (a letter changed). It is possible with most
mailers to have a different "reply to" address that the actual
senders address.

I was able to trace at least one of the picks way back to the
very first issue of the Notebook as that was the one time the
recipient used that particular address. (If I keep up such good
detective work I may end up as a character in a Jim Dandy
Elderhostel mystery)

Fortunately there is no evidence that the mailing list
has been picked up. But in spite of the cautions of using a blind
carbon copy for mailing, I imagine anything is possible on the

The entire list of mail addresses for Microsoft's  hotmail, the
largest of the web based mailers was hacked into a month or so
ago and I did have an experimental Notebook mailing list there
(since deleted from that site).

If you get a message from an address looking like mine and
written in the tone of a sex-crazed college student just delete
it. That is not me.

Please don't click on any of the links in such messages as that
is the purpose of them- the sender gets a small payment for each
"hit" on one of the linked web sites that the letter generates.

Please note that you can request that your e-mail address not be
included in any reports you send in.

    Program Reviews

These reports all vary in format and indicate the range of
possibilities for inclusion here to meet our dual purpose of
helping each other choose programs and to provide a vicarious
Elderhostel experience.

Because the  programs in the catalog are listed by title and
sponsoring institution, it would be helpful to include the
catalog title and the sponsoring institution whenever possible
when you e-mail the report in to EHnotebook@aol.com

Programs Reviewed:

         Victoria Inn---Gores Landing , ON
         Art in Paris
         Alpine Lake Resort, Terra Alta, WVa
         Old (Japanese) Towns In A Modern Society
         Mustang Island Intergenerational Elderhostel
         People Program - New Orleans
         Chinese Elderhostel cooking course

Victoria Inn---Gores Landing , ON., Canada	Sept. 1999
BAHamm@webtv.net (Billie A. Hamm)

Review in issue #54 was accurate and complete. (They went at a
different time than we did) I have a few notes about physical
restrictions etc about the trip.

This is not a trip for any one handicapped or unable to climb up
to three flights of steps to the third floor several times a day.
The rooms are all up stairs--some on 2nd and some on 3rd floor.
Also you have to handle your own luggage up these steps !

And, as in a lot of B   Bs, there are only double beds. Only two
rooms had more than one bed. Persons traveling alone may want to
consider this.

This trip was all couples except for one single female. She felt
like the coordinator should have informed her of this fact and
let her choose whether to come or not. ( She left after three
days!) People were not unfriendly, I think she just felt like a
third wheel.!

Most of the persons attending were Canadian and from close by.
There were 6 americans out of the 17 attending. (Interesting note
is that the Canadians do not get our catalog as we do theirs.) We
were the only ones to fly, rest drove. Also, rooms are assigned
first come , first served----we were last to arrive so ended up
on third floor. Some had gotten there really early--like around
noon or before.

We found it as cheap to fly into Toronto and rent a car as to pay
them to come and pick us up. ( Its some 70 miles from airport) We
also opted to spend weekend in Toronto after program ended and
found a cheap, really well located B   B there and attended the
International Film Festival for three days before returning home.

Note: Comair has what is called Weekend traveler Coupons.--$299
for a book of four. Restrictions work perfectly with Eh programs
of one week. You people in the Cincinnati area might want to
check this out.(or anyone coming to Cincy from other places
Comair services) They have added lots of cities from this hub.
Makes for a cheap round trip ticket. ($l50) You can share coupons
with someone else , also. (Two can travel for $299) Check it out.

I would rate this trip an 8--(Only reason its not a 10 is that i
did not like the three flights of stairs to climb) Donna, the
hostess worked with persons special diets (something not usually
done) and the food was superb. She also got us some very special
speakers-the head man of the waterworks system met us at
Peterborough and explained the locks and the political aspects
,etc and also the author of a book "That Incredible Ditch" about
the Trent-Serven system. He had lived at the construction sites
as a child ( His dad helped build some of the locks) and was very
informative and also did slides of sites.

I would highly recommend this trip if physical limitations are
not a problem


Art in Paris

In April I had the most wonderful experience of going on an Art
in Paris and Nice EH trip.  Air France left on time and arrived
on time.  Champagne, wine, etc., was free.  The dinner was first
class.  At the airport I was met by our group leader who gathered
all participants and took us to the waiting bus.  The hotel was
quite lovely.  I felt very safe in the surrounding area.  My room
was always clean, bathroom up to date.  Breakfast was always at
the hotel.  Lunch and dinner were at different restaurants.
There was one around the corner that was particularly charming,
the owner very accommodating.  We were a few blocks from the rue
Mouffetard, an old-type outdoor market, and within a 30 minute
walking distance to the Seine, Luxembourg gardens, Latin Quarter
(I always felt safe).

Our instructors were excellent.  Sometimes there were lectures
and slides; other times we were taken by bus to the Louvre,
d'Orsay, Notre Dame, Cluny, tour of the city.  Time was available
to explore the museums at our own pace.  The Orsay was my
favorite.  Imagine seeing before you the paintings you have
always loved by: Renoir, Manet, Monet, Van Gogh, Whistler,
Mattisse, etc.  One special night we went to St. Chappel, famous
for its beautiful stained glass.  We heard Mozart's Requiem, an
unforgettable experience.

The second week we flew to Nice.  Again the hotel was fine,
within walking distance to the beautiful flower market, to the
Mediterranean, close to shops.  By Mercedes Benz bus we toured
surrounding villages where the Impressionists lived and painted.
We saw Renoir's home surrounded by ancient olive trees, where
Picasso painted, the church that Mattisse designed (this was so
simple, but so beautiful), a museum of Chagall's paintings,
another museum where many famous artists had donated paintings
and sculptures, a Rothschild house with outstanding garden, an
old monastery.  The Meditteranean was the most beautiful blue,
the houses were salmon colored or beige, wooden shutters were an
almond green--no wonder the Impressionists used such vivid color
when they lived in this area.  In Nice you can purchase colorful
provencal tablecloths, lavender sachets, herbs de Provence.
There's a Galerie department store close to the hotel.

I'd also like to add that it doesn't bother me to pay a few
months in advance for an EH trip.  The very few dollars I might
gain in interest, maybe $30, I gladly let EH use.  In Frommer's
Budget Magazine, I just read "the time for cheap accommodations
is over."  It is worth it to me to have someone else worry about
buying tickets, finding group leaders and instructors, getting us
to the head of the line in museums, taking us to museums,
villages that we wouldn't even know existed, finding charming
restaurants.  Now I wouldn't be afraid to go on my own to Paris
or Nice.  The introduction to France, and especially its art,
that I received from EH was really superb.


  Alpine Lake Resort, Terra Alta, WVa
"Fritz" joy@shore.intercom.net

Three of us attended the program at Alpine Lake Resort near Terra
Alta, WVa. The painting program, The Wild Wonderful World of
Watercolor taught by Dick Garra was tops. Geared towards the
beginner it was also enjoyed by the more advanced painters I
spoke with. Not only is the instructor a talented artist and
excellent teacher, he is about as dear a person as you could
imagine (funny too).

I had taken his course seven years ago as my very first program
and it was such a good experience I have been to 42 others. My
friend that attended that first program with me returned for this
same one as a refresher. My other friend and I attended the Fall
at Alpine Lake course presented by a husband and wife team. Helen
Wiley wound up to be the stronger of the duo and did most of the
presenting and guiding of the walks. She was very well prepared
and organized and went the extra mile. In contrast, Bill Wiley
simply "winged it" sharing his vast knowledge via antidotal
monologues that meandered more than a nature walk.

Sadly, he alienated many of the class right away with sarcasm and
general curmudgeoness and lost the rest of us when it became
obvious that he was unprepared to offer material in any
meaningful way.

The resort itself was nice with satisfactory motel type rooms and
adequate food with fresh fruit always available. The scenery was
spectacular with flaming oranges, yellows and reds covering the
surrounding mountains. Fall foliage at it's peak.

The coordinator was friendly and helpful. The WVa State College
who sponsored the program was however only showed initiative by
having one "real" evening program and that was a roaring success,
a Madrigal choir from the local Preston County High School. The
other evenings were basically free with board games etc and there
was MUCH wasted time with 1 1/2 hour lunches, and 2 1/2 hour
breaks between the afternoon class and supper.

Although there were many amenities at the resort we were told of
none except the indoor swimming pool which was open only 5-9pm.
Yet I would give this week an 8 because of the scenery,
camaraderie of the two groups and the efforts of Dick   Helen.


Old (Japanese) Towns In A Modern Society

Having served in Europe and in the Philippine Islanders during
the World War II and seen  the havoc wrought the German army and
the Japanese army it took more than 50 years to consider visiting
Japan.  (A visit to Germany is still unthinkable for me.) That
visit removed all my demons and erased all the stereotypes
created during the war.

Our program was titled, "Old Towns In A Modern Society ".  We
stayed in Kyoto, Kanasawa and Osaka.  The purpose of the program
was to compare and contrast the old cities of Japan with their
modern counterparts. Within that context we learned Japanese
history, economics, societal changes, ancient and modern Art,
performing arts old and new and classical and modern culture.  It
was a most fulfilling and illuminating experience.

Since the catalog defines the program in each city very clearly
we will confine ourselves to overall impressions.  First, let us
say that our Japanese hosts could not have been  more friendly,
kind, and hospitable.  Every person on the staff as well as
volunteers who held and guided us on our trips could not do
enough to assure us a wonderful experience.  How were living
quarters in each city ranged from very good to superb.  The food
was excellent both in our hotels and in the restaurants to which
we were taken.

The country itself is surprisingly beautiful.  We say this
because we had no idea of what to expect.  Gardens, shrines,
outdoor art museums and small towns we visited were lovely.  The
Japanese are obsessive about their cleanliness.  There cities,
towns, restaurants, stores, hotels and homes reflect this.  The
people are hard-working but maintain a wonderful sense of humor.

Obviously we wore more than pleasantly surprised and truly loved
every moment we spent in this lovely country.  We commend it  to
you without reservation.  While we enjoyed our particular program
we would recommend any of the programs offered as a unique and
most enjoyable experience.

Matt and Sylvia Schwartz
Laguna Wooods, California

Mustang Island Intergenerational Elderhostel

Intergenerational - Mustang Island, TX - June 6-11, 1999 - Island
Secrets Port Aransas, TX

Sponsor - Marine Science Institute, The University of Texas at
Austin Judy Reynolds, UTMSI, Coordinator

Neal Lillard, UTMSI

Rating - Two doting grandparents and granddaughters ages 10 and
12 rate this program FANTASTIC!

We can't say enough about the excellent planning and execution of
this program by Judy Reynolds. Judy's Rules are designed to make
life easier for the kids and the grandparents. Her attention to
detail is admirable. The kids and grandparents loved her happy
demeanor and unflagging enthusiasm.

Housing - The four of us were very happy with our housing at
Beachhead Resort. All families had a condo consisting of 2
bedrooms, 2 baths, living/dining room, kitchen and balcony
overlooking the ocean. There are no buildings between you and the
beach! The two baths were especially appreciated with all the
sand we acquired. We never ran out of hot water. The air
conditioning was excellent. There was an outside shower on the
way back from the beach. Parking is underneath your condo on
ground level. Housing is up one or two flights of stairs. To get
to the building housing the meeting/dining room and laundry room
(bring your own detergent/softener) involves more steps.

Activity level - I would not recommend this program to anyone who
is not physically active and able to climb lots of steps.
Activities require riding outside in boats on choppy water,
riding distances in both an air conditioned coach and a non-air
conditioned school bus. Lots of sandy beach and marsh walking.
The beach is down a board walkway approximately 100 yards. There
is constant sun and wind. It requires lots of stamina to keep up
with all the fun, fun, fun activities. Your grandchild should be
a good swimmer.

Food - All breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 3 dinners at the Beachhead
dining/class room (catered) Two dinners at local restaurants as
noted. A sack lunch at the Corpus Christi Museum. A cafeteria
lunch at the UTMSI. The meals were all tasty, varied and
generous. Judy's excellent rule: Children could not go through
the line without a grandparent. A grandparent must sit at each
table, including the restaurants.

Port Aransas has an IGA which functions as a general store. Most
grandparents made several trips for beach shoes, more film, tee
shirts, more film, junk food, etc.

Activities -

The days began with 7:30A breakfast and ended at 9:00P. By the
end of the week we noted some grandparents were taking turns
attending the evening activities so the other one could collapse.

Sunday: Introductions/orientation and off by school bus to the
Seafood and Spaghetti Works for dinner. This was followed by a
REQUIRED water safety program by Suanne Pyle, Red Cross Water
Safety Instructor. Each child swam across the pool several times,
using various strokes, to demonstrate their proficiency. The
children also practiced with the life jackets they were required
to wear when on the boats. Swimming and bonding followed. By the
time the kids spent 2 hours in the pool with Suanne and Judy they
were all buddies and ready for the week's adventures together.

Monday: Class on Introduction to Marsh Ecology. Next a school bus
field trip to the marsh for seining, collection and
identification of specimens. When they tell you to wear grubbies
and bring a towel they mean it! Pool shoes are the best shoe for
the activity. No bare feet due to crabs. After lunch a class on
Whales and Dolphins of the Gulf of Mexico. This was followed by a
simulated Code 1 Live Stranding of a dolphin on "our" beach. Judy
provided a huge inflated dolphin. This was make believe but the
kids couldn't have been more serious. Dinner. From 7P-9P it was
back to beach to make sand candles. Paraffin was melted over a
wood bon fire, tinted with melted crayons and poured into the
individual "molds" the kids made in the sand. These became
precious mementos.

Tuesday: School bus to boat dock for trip to San Jose Island.
Scavenger hunt, seining, identification of specimens. This was a
chance to compare the specimens found in the marsh as contrasted
to those found in the Gulf. No shade here. One grandfather
brought a golf umbrella and was the envy of many. After lunch a
class on the Technology of Kites. These are big competition
kites. Ralph Pyle, the kite expert is also a yo yo fan and
entertained the kids with yo yo feats. After our evening pizza
party it was back to beach to fly Ralph's kites. He was most
patient. Lots of fun. The grandfathers had to help keep their
granddaughters earthbound. Of course the grandfathers got to fly
the kites too.

Wednesday: Air conditioned deluxe coach to Corpus Christi for a
field trip to the Museum and the State Aquarium. Both are
excellent. Dinner at Pelican's Landing. Back to the beach for
lessons in sand sculptor by Captain Steve Zarych a master sand
sculptor. The kids loved this! The grandparents who drove to the
beach were begged to turn on their car lights so the kids could
sculpt longer.

Thursday: School bus to UTMSI for a cruise on the R/V Katy. Judy
divided us into two groups as the boat is small. One group had
free time to explore Port Aransas while the other group was on
the Katy. Both groups enjoyed lunch together at the UTMSI
cafeteria. Dinner was a shrimp boil (hot dogs available). Suanne
and Neal supervised a kids only swim from 7P - 9P. This gave the
grandparents time to pack, launder, rest, etc.

Friday: After breakfast a packing break. Some swam "one more
time" in either the ocean or the pool. Then the fun began: Dinah
Bowman and artist/Marine Biologist taught us the art of fish
printing. The pre-visit instructions had told us to bring a white
or light tee shirt. Dinah had an assortment of fish, sting rays,
etc. which she taught us to coat with fabric paint and then print
the image on our shirts. There were also some plastic replicas of
the real thing for those who didn't want to touch a dead fish.
(The fish are frozen between classes.) The grandparents had as
much fun as their grandchildren. All the kids used fabric pens to
sign each other's shirt for a lasting treasure. Lunch was a
"Mexican fiesta" buffet.

Fred and Mary Ann Boher


Elderhostel - People Program - New Orleans:
Oct. 24th/30th.

This was a great elderhostel - one of the best I have attended.
The theme was New Orleans in all its aspects. The People Program
is a community service program originally started by the Sisters
of St. Joseph back in the 70s - they had a novitiate there, and
when they had no need for the buildings -as the applicants for
the order had fallen off - they developed this program - they
wanted to use the facilities in a way that would benefit the
people of the community.

There were about 240 people, split up into 5 groups.  Each group
had its own coordinator, and these people did a fantastic job -
since the same subjects were being presented to all the groups,
with each group having a  different scheduling of the subject
matter from the other groups, the logistics of arranging bus
schedules, restaurant meals, etc. must have been daunting.

The motel we stayed in was about 7 miles outside the French
Quarter, and the center of New Orleans .  It was clean and
comfortable, but somewhat old and shabby. Its location was
determined by the high prices of hotels in the French Quarter.
We had no meals there, except for breakfasts - we had breakfast
in the hotel, had a morning lecture on some aspect of  N.O. --the
cooking, architecture, literature, etc. then got in a bus and
went into the city to have lunch at a restaurant there. We had
lunch and dinner in different restaurants each day, giving us
quite a variety of meals. The food ranged from " very good" to

In the afternoon we had a site visit which related to what we had
heard in the morning - with a lecturer on the bus to elaborate.
We visited the Garden District, the famous cemetaries, the Mardi
Gras Museum, etc.   We were then brought to the French Quarter
-each day - and given about 2 to 3 hours of free time.  Late in
the afternoon we met at the pre-arranged bus pickup point - right
on the edge of the French Quarter - and went to our evening

At night we had a lecture a couple of nights, and a trip to Pete
Fountain's another night.  But I notice most people headed right
back to the French Quarter once dinner was over. There were two
optional tours, Pete Fountains one night, and a trip to two very
different plantations, Laura Plantation which was a Creole one,
and Nottaway, a huge white plantation that looks like Gone With
The Wind.

The leaders were wonderful, friendly, with great humor, and laid
back - I don't think I could have been as calm as they managed to
be, given the logistics involved.  Two of them were actresses at
some point in their lives, along with their professional careers
- among the group  there was an author, an architect, an
anthropologist/art history teacher, an editorial associate for a
literary magazine, etc. etc. They were all a joy to listen to,
and very very easy to talk to.

I have heard this is the most popular elderhostel at this time.
  I can see why.  Everything about it was great, good people in
the elderhostel group, great subjects ranging from jazz and
creole cooking to literature and architecture, to the Mardi Gras
and its history,etc good group leaders, and of course, the French
Quarter. As I said to somebody, if there's anything to
reincarnation, I think I'd like to come back as a citizen of "Nu
Awlins" (as we were told it is pronounced).  If you want a great
time, this is the elderhostel for you.

Louise Harrigan


Chinese Elderhostel cooking course
"Robert J. Levine" rjl@gurus.com

Last Spring my wife Diane and I attended the first Chinese
Elderhostel cooking course. It was superbly well done but you can
get a better idea of at least what the cooking part and the great
wall visit was like by accessing the Web page I set up. You can
see it at:


Bob   Diane Levine