xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo Elderhostel Notebook #64 April 12, 2000 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 reviews 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 Editor's Notebook ################################################ With this issue I have caught up with incoming reports and the reserve file is again empty. The next issue will be a short Dialogue issue out next week so if you have comments or queries send them in. ################################################ Program Reviews ################################################ CATCHING THE GREAT MIGRATIONS, Yachats, OR Finland--Cross-Country Skiing in Lapland Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto Silver Penny Farm, Petaluma, California Valley Forge Historical Society, Yellow Springs, PA Winter Park, Baseball- Florida The Lazarus Foundation (Service Program) Baltimore Fulbright Institute EH, Fayetteville, Arkansas CENTRAL ARIZONA COLLEGE, APACHE JUNCTION, AZ CATCHING THE GREAT MIGRATIONS, Yachats, OR, Lane Comm. College March 26-31, 2000 email@example.com This program is devoted to the spring migrations northward of a variety of species of birds and whales. Although some of the participants were experienced birders, no expertise was required or expected of us. Our coordinator, Carol Unser, did an extraordinary job, beginning several weeks before the program took place. Originally we were to be housed and fed at a beachside resort in Florence, OR, but a major landslide closed Highway 101 just north of Florence--a closure which will remain in effect for some months into the future. Since all of our study sites were located north of the slide, it was necessary to make major changes in the program on short notice. Our lodging was moved to a very comfortable and extremely scenic resort in Yachats, OR. During the week we traveled up and down the coast, watching birds and whale spouts. In addition there were two boat trips in Yaquina Bay and the ocean. Our instructors were excellent, especially Eric Horvath, who helped us identify many, many bird species. Carol and her husband Lynn were dynamos of energy, always cheerful, always well organized, making sure that all participants were happy. We give this program the following grades: arrangements and organization A+, classes A, accomodations A, food B-. I recommend it to anyone with even a modest interest in natural history. Lew and Grace Ward firstname.lastname@example.org ________________ Finland--Cross-Country Skiing in Lapland email@example.com If you love cold weather, are at least an intermediate cross-country skier, and physically fit, you will enjoy this program. Three nights are spent in each of three locations in Finnish Lapland, with ski trips and cultural programs each day. The ski treks average ten miles per day. In mid-March we experienced temperature highs of about 25 degrees F and sunlight for about ten hours per day. The accommodations and food are very good. A group of twenty plus two guides makes for a great time. George F. Cole Mansfield Center, CT. firstname.lastname@example.org _______________ Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto March 19-24, 2000 Bill Longman email@example.com If you want to really explore the collections in a major museum, then this is the Elderhostel for you. Although Lifelong Learning Canada is the organizer for this and other EHs, this particular one is capably operated by volunteers of the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. For our week there was a special Egyptian exhibit, but we took in most of the galleries. The thirteen participants in the EH were about evenly divided between Canadian and American. Accomodations were in a convenient Quality Hotel on Bloor St. where the evening meals were served, also continental breakfast. Lunches at the ROM were a little light. The University of Toronto is close to the hotel and I composed this review at a library terminal. Opportunities were given for going to plays or concerts downtown which isn't too far away. Subways, street cars and buses make getting around no problem...and it is a safe even though large and diverse city. But being such a large metropolis means that getting to and from the airport and driving is a hassle. We sometimes combine going to an EH with a visit to family members as was the case here since our daughter now works for the ROM. So we spent a few days ahead of time in Toronto...including a St. Patrick's Day celebration at a pub restaurant. Some of us might want to be more aware of the good offerings in Canada. OK, I did get "museum fatigue" with the walking and standing at the ROM, but hey, I did learn alot. We appreciated the extensive collection of Chinese artifacts and the behind the scenes tour of the paleontology department. Some Canadian EH are challenging outdoor ones. Glad to respond to any questions. Bill and Lee Longman, Springfield, MO ______________________ Silver Penny Farm, Petaluma, California March 26-31, 2000 MHull32@aol.com Spirituality of Major World Religions, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Native American This program was held at the Silver Penny Farm a 17 acre farm in Petaluma, California which also serves as a renewal, retreat for the Archdiocese of San Francisco. It was handicapped accessible except for a few sleeping rooms. Our sessions were held in a large meeting room adjacent to the Main House. Five of the guest rooms in the main house had private baths and three shared baths. Cottages were spread out through the grounds. There is a large dining room where buffet breakfasts and lunches were shared, with sit-down served meals at the dinner hour. A large living room served our communal social needs. The food was in the gourmet class, home-cooked with a wide variety of fresh vegetables and herbs from the garden at the farm. Classes were held in the morning, with free afternoons. Classes in the evening after dinner were continuations of the morning classes. Religious presentations were given by a Jewish Rabbi, a Buddhist Bhikshu (monk), a Native American professor, a Muslim, a Palestinian Christian and a Catholic Priest who was the Director of Silver Penny Farms. Most of the audience were mesmerized by the speakers and the knowledge of their subject matter as well as their charismatic personalities. The common thread throughout all the lectures/seminars was to give back to make this world a better place for all of us. I would recommend this program highly for the intellectual stimulation, the accommodations, the location, and the terrific food. Mary Hull, firstname.lastname@example.org ______________ Valley Forge Historical Society, Yellow Springs, PA March 19-24, 2000 email@example.com Topics: Planning Your Spring Garden The American Revolution: The Road to Valley Forge Art and Nature: Audobon and Wyeth Art Tour The Brandywine Valley has a diversity of interesting resources and coordinator Jennifer Brehm took full advantage of these opportunities. She engaged 10 different speakers including a gardening expert who had been a judge at the Philadelphia Flower Show, an actor from Philadelphia who portrayed James Wilson, signer of the Declaration of Independence, and an re-enactor who gave an entertaining presentation on clothing of the middling sort. Some of our field trips were to the Brandywine River Museum to view art of the Wyeth family, a catered lunch at Birmingham Meeting House where a Quaker explained his religion, a tour of Longwood Gardens, and a tour of the Valley Forge Historical Park. My wife and I also took advantage of two optional tours: Hagley Museum, original home and gunpowder factory of the duPont family (excellent), and Winterthur, mansion of Henry duPont which houses one of the largest collections of early American furnishings. There are many other museums and attractions to visit in your free time. Our lodging, meals, and lectures were in a new Microtel where the management and staff were very accomodating and friendly. The meals were catered and more than adequate. John and Elaine Sherwood firstname.lastname@example.org ________ Winter Park, Baseball- Florida GMC email@example.com Have just returned from a delightful week at the San Pedro Center, Winter Park, FL. Subject: Atlanta Braves Spring Training Camp. There was a "Music Appreciation" group there at the same time, so we met them, had meals with them, etc. If ever you are tempted by one of SPC's Elderhostels, be assured of Wonderful Food! And most pleasant friendly staff and beautiful surroundings. A pristine Florida "jungle" lies behind the buildings, with a comfortable boardwalk through it, to the shores of a lake. All sorts of tropical wildlife to be seen. Take binoculars! The baseball speakers were interesting -- especially one woman, Karen Kunkel, who had played in the old 1940's-50's Women's Professional League! The first evening we were shown their movie, "A League of Their Own." Then Karen gave several lectures, one of which was entirely on the making of the movie. She had been the "technical adviser" to see that Madonna, Gina Davis and the others, held the bats correctly, acted in character, etc. She explained how some of the stunts and shots were done. Madonna, unlike most of the others, insisted on doing her own sliding at bases and other such potentially damaging exploits. We were taken by bus on the hour's drive from Winter Park to Kissimee, where Disney built the Braves a spring training field to the exact proportions of Turner Field. However, the stadium itself is much smaller, so our seats were as close to third base as from here to there. (My computer room to my living room.) My favorite, John Smolz (the Handsomest Man in All of Baseball) was out with his elbow surgery, but we did see Chipper Jones hit a homer, saw Galarraga, Andruw Jones, a lot of other favorites. Greg Maddux pitched one of the games, Millwood the other. One afternoon we had a boat ride on three of Winter Park's six lakes. They are connected by old logging canals. One of them, "the Venetian Canal," winds at length between back yards of lovely homes beneath beautiful overhanging trees and tropical flowers. The lakes are lined with mansions of the Rich and Famous.... some splendid and imposing, some handsome Victorian concoctions, some sprawling and modern. On a free couple of hours, we went to the Charles Hosmer Morse museum of American art (and crafts.) He collected Tiffany glass -- windows, lamps, etc. and also loved Maxfield Parrish's work. His daughter continued the love and collection, then his granddaughter, Jeannette McKean, started the museum and named it for him The most astonishing exhibit among all the other lovely things, was a chapel which Tiffany designed for the Chicago Exposition of 1893. Words can scarcely describe the dazzling creation of brilliant be-jeweled arches, columns, reredos, step risers, three-dimensional cruciform chandelier, orb-shaped font. Even King Ludwig of Bavaria (of Neuschwanstein Castle and the other two) never dreamed of anything like this! After the exposition, the chapel suffered a sad history until in nearly ruined condition it was "rescued" by Mrs. McKean and brought to the museum here. For a few years it had languished in the crypt of St. John the Divine in New York City. This is a definite "Don't Miss!!" next time you're in Winter Park! ________ The Lazarus Foundation (Service Program) Baltimore # 20177-0326-01 The Art of Computer Recycling firstname.lastname@example.org After attending many Elderhostel programs for our own enjoyment, we decided to look for a service program where we could make a contribution that would benefit others. Aware of our own physical limitations, we realized that we might be more hindrance than help by volunteering to build houses or clear brush, despite our good intentions. When we learned about the Lazarus Foundation, we knew we had found the appropriate service program for us. The Foundation repairs and upgrades computers and then donates them to schools and nonprofit organizations. Like most of the other program participants, our prior experience upgrading computers had been limited primarily to installing and upgrading software. Many of us had done little hardware installation beyond adding memory, or perhaps a new CD-RW drive or modem. However, the people at Lazarus made everyone feel very welcome, patiently guiding and instructing us in the necessary procedures. During the course of the week we installed, connected and tested memory, power supplies, video cards and monitors, controller cards, floppy drives, hard drives, CD-ROM drives, modems, sound cards and speakers. We formatted hard drives, installed system files, Windows 95, and drivers for the various peripherals, connected and disconnected cables, ran several diagnostic utilities, changed jumper settings and screen settings. Most of the computers upgraded by our group were donated to schools in North Carolina that were flooded during a hurricane and to a rehabilitation hospital for stroke victims in Western Maryland. Many of the Elderhostelers who attended took a refurbished computer back with them at the end of the week to donate to a nonprofit organization in their own community. One computer was presented to the daughter of a program participant, a young woman who runs an animal rescue shelter. Some local Elderhostelers from the Baltimore-Washington area who had already attended previous sessions came back to assist as volunteer Lazarus associates during our program. The volunteer associates who worked with us throughout the week represented a wide range of ages and backgrounds, from local high school students to professionals holding advanced degrees in a variety of subjects. The program was held at a motel in Laurel, Maryland, between Baltimore and Washington. The standard continental breakfast provided by the motel each day was more than adequate for the majority of us. Although the motel does not have a restaurant, several are conveniently located nearby so any people wanting a full, hot breakfast can get one on their own. A catering service provided us with box lunches on the premises each day, as well as two dinners. The rest of the dinners were eaten out at various surrounding restaurants. We enjoyed being able to order whatever we liked for those meals. Our box lunch choices were limited, but there were few complaints. None of us had come there for the food. Since the guest rooms are equipped with refrigerators and microwave ovens, even those on highly restricted diets would have no problem supplementing the meals to suit their own requirements. The motel is well located between two nearby shopping malls, each less than a 10 minute walk away. There is a nice jogging/walking path behind the motel that circles a small lake. We had no need for a car. The motel van provides transportation to and from BWI airport for $5 per person each way. A great deal of organization and hard work by many dedicated people went into planning and running this program. Computers and parts were continually being moved in and out of the building as needed throughout the week. The Lazarus President and Administrative Director are hands-on types who put in long hours each day, setting up the facilities for the next session, moving equipment, supervising, instructing and actively participating in the work activities, all while simultaneously performing the usual functions of Elderhostel coordinators. No evening activities were officially planned for the group because most of the people preferred to come back and continue working on the computers after dinner. But one night an astrophysicist, one of the Lazarus associates, entertained us with a fascinating talk about his work tracking asteroids. This was a very rewarding program, one I would highly recommend to the many Elderhostel computer enthusiasts who truly enjoy spending hour after hour working with computers. It is especially suitable for those who like to take machines apart and tinker with them -- the type who thrive on challenge and do not become easily frustrated when things don't work right away. (This is definitely not an introductory course for beginners who want to learn how to use a computer. Elderhostel offers lots of other programs for that purpose.) We left at the end of the week with the good feeling you get when you know you have spent your time accomplishing something worthwhile that will help someone else. As at most Elderhostels, we were privileged to meet some wonderful people. __________ Fulbright Institute EH, Fayetteville, Arkansas Europe in the 21st Century Fulbright Symposium Elderhostel April 2-6, 2000 Bill Lee Longman email@example.com Who would have thought that long time enemies Germany and France would form along with other countries a European Union of fifteen democratic nations working in harmony economically and politically. That is what we learned about in this Elderhostel held in conjunction with the 18th annual Fulbright Symposium which was about Europe this year. If anyone is interested, I am in the process of writing up a summary of notes from the excellent lectures which I hope to have on line. Major problems faced by the EU are whether to enlarge membership, how to deal with immigration problems, ways of competing in a high tech economy, launching a common currency. Every morning our group of 45 were bussed down to the auditorium on the University of Arkansas campus. We constituted a large bulk of the audience and posed some of the sharpest questions! Indeed this was among the most astute EH groups we've been with...a number who had been at previous Fulbright Symposiums. Most evenings were free and a few wished plans might have been made as a group to attend some concerts. There was a group activity of a walking tour of downtown Fayetteville plus a museum. We stayed at the Ramada some distance north of the University. Except for a few glitches, this worked out fine. Meals at various places were by and large very tastey with good variety. Final night was a delicious dinner of German dishes at the hotel. And we did have a full breakfast buffet at the motel. We'd recommend this one for you senior scholars. You will remember that Senator Fulbright initiated the program of scholarships and cultural exchanges that is still going strong, and thus is honored by these Symposiums on international relations. Although we drove the winding roads from nearby Springfield, MO, and stopped off to visit friends in that unique village Eureka Springs, let it be known that they do have air service to the Ozarks! firstname.lastname@example.org _______________ CENTRAL ARIZONA COLLEGE, APACHE JUNCTION, AZ #03178 email@example.com We attended this program in March (2000) and would give it a 4 on a scale of 1 to 10. The subjects were Desert Cornucopia, Story of Arizona Through Art, and The Great American Cowboy. Housing was at a resort called King's Ranch, in small efficiency apartments, with two units to each "casita". The new owners are in the process of improving the furnishings, but hadn't gotten to our bed yet, which really sagged. Food was buffet style, (cold breakfasts), no selection, flavorful and adequate. Fresh fruit, lemonade and iced tea were available all day. The coordinators were a mother and daughter who were rarely in evidence. There were no introductions among the Elderhostelers or of teachers, no staff biographies, no suggestions of what to do during free time. In fact they were nowhere to be seen from Thursday noon on. There was one field trip on a bus so old the driver couldn't get it started at first. The program on Arizona art was done with slides which were out of focus. The cowboy class spent two of its three sessions on the evolution of the horse and the Spanish period in Arizona. A real live cowboy would have added a lot to this class. For the desert study we had a classroom session, a walk near the casitas, and the bus trip to the Boyce Thompson Southwest Arboretum. Two evenings were spent with David Morris, half-Choctaw, on Arizona Native American culture. This was the best part of the week. Another evening Greg Hansen, as Swedish as his name but an honorary member of several Indian tribes, demonstrated powwow drums and chants. The art teacher was unavailable for her second class so the desert specialist told us of his trek into the Superstitions in search of the Lost Dutchman mine. Arizona certainly did its part to impress us. The setting and changing colors of the nearby mountains and the glorious sunrises and sunsets will be forever in my memory. But the EH classes and program were the most unimaginative of the seventeen we've attended.