xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo Elderhostel Notebook #81 February 11, 2001 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 ################################################ I have fallen behind a little so will be coming out with #82 fairly soon as the reserve file has grown. For various reasons I am temporarily suspending work on the web site archive and it won't be up to date if available at all. I will, however, always keep the last two issues at the main web http://members.aol.com/EHnotebook ################################################ Comments and Queries ################################################ Subject: Disability travel with EH From:
After so many wonderful EH experiences in past years, my emphysema has caught up with me at last -- I need oxygen at night and occasionally on exertion. Airlines will provide oxygen but it cannot be carried on aircraft and needs to be provided at destination. This poses a problem for overseas travel. Am wondering what Eh has to offer in the way of information, services, etc,. This is very new to me, as it is hard to turn on a hair dryer in various countries, so what can be provided in the way of oxygen services to COPD people, etc.? My doctor insists that I can return to Italy where I had a wonderful trip 2 years ago -- I am very active and only have oxygen at night and occasionally during the day on exertion. I do not carry it around with me except for an emergency exertion episode. I would very much appreciate any help, information, resources, facilities, etc. _________________ Subj: Ethiopia From: RLivsey@brobeck.com Can anyone recommend an Ethiopia trip? We were in the Peace Corps there, and would like to return. We have Ethiopia trip brochures from American Museum of Natural History, Wilderness Travel. and Journeys. Anyone have any experience with any of these companies? Bob Livsey RLivsey@brobeck.com ____________________ From: "Kay Cornelius" Otis VanHorne asks about the programs at Gulf Shores, AL. My husband and I both attended one there and he went back later alone for one that was all golf. Gulf Shores State Park has motel-like lodging (think Super 8 rather than upper end of the scale), with classes and all buffet-style meals in the lodge. The food was excellent, the same fare as the regular state park lodgers got, except for the desserts, which were limited, to say the least. Elderhostel had its own private dining room. The presenters were all prepared and the field trip to Fort Morgan went well. I understand that there was some hurricane damage after we were there, which has been repaired. You should enjoy your stay at Gulf Shores. Kay and Don Cornelius ___________________ From: "Carol Shoemaker" Does Elderhostel go to Madagascar?? Has anyone been to Madagascar, any advice or information would be appreciated. Carol ____________ Subject: Transportation to/from Elderhostel site email@example.com The past few years my wife and I have attended several EH sessions in St. Petersburg , Florida, and used the LIMO, a service which took us from the Tampa airport to the EH and back again at the end of the session. The LIMO provides transportation between the airport and several surrounding counties. It makes no sense to rent a car unless one wants to use it for sightseeing in the EH area. We'd love to hear how others have handled this problem in other areas. Does anyone have any recommendations? ________________ From: "Rosemary" Recently back from a super trip to Maui. Romy Leah our leader is the most charming and I think the best we have had. She went out of her way gettin us 'extra curricular' events and tips on local trades people. Rosemary Wallis ____________ From: SUZIKUKAR@aol.com I am taking two Elderhostel programs this spring: "Festival International De Louisiane: French-Speaking World Comes to Lafayette" and "New Orleans: A City of History Celebration." Would appreciate hearing from anyone who has participated in either, regarding activities, April weather, transportation, food, etc. firstname.lastname@example.org ################################################ Program Reviews ################################################ MOHAVE COMMUNITY COLLEGE/KINGMAN St Simons Island, Ga Ethnic New York City Berea (KY) College/Boone Tavern Hotel PALM SPRINGS CALIFORNIA-- FILM FESTIVAL ______ MOHAVE COMMUNITY COLLEGE/KINGMAN 03540-0606/1999 COMPUTER SAFARI We stayed at a very nice Best Western Inn and was provided a plentiful continental breakfast each morning. Our friendly bus driver picked us up and delivered us to the Community College about two miles away where the classes were held in their well-equipped computer lab. Our instructor was Bill Hofmeier, proved to be a proficient and entertaining computer wizard. While the class was for beginners, a few of us more experienced were able to assist and helped the class move along smoothly. Everything promised in the class synopsis was covered thoroughly. Our lunches were provided by the school cafeteria and were varied and quite good. Kim Clark, our coordinator, had the unenviable task of entertaining the group after classes. Not much to see in Kingman. An interesting class by a local historian filled one evening and trips to various restaurants in the area, escorted by our amicable bus driver, adequately filled out the week. I haven't seen this class in recent catalogs, but if offered again, I would recommend it. Carl Larson Ou8j@aol.com _________________________ St Simons Island, Ga # 10248-0107-01 email@example.com Island Hopping: Experience The Thrill Of Exploring Three Barrier Islands There are three reasons for any hostel trip: (1) new experiences and insights; (2) meeting interesting people with thoughtful, challenging ideas and (3) R Sub-topics of (3) are food and accommodations. To save your having to read the rest of this monologue, let me sum up our experiences during our visit to this seminar: GO ! Excellent assortment of knowledgeable, enthusiastic lecturers and tour guides; a polyglot group of cheerful, good-natured (watch out for the pun) seniors with a range of experience in wildlife and marine creepy things; (3a) Generous portions of good food prepared by a caring caterer and imaginative chef, Greg Smith; and (3b) An extremely pleasant stay at the Island Inn, managed generously and with great care for the comfort and contentment of the guests by Susan Garwood, for whom even outrageous demands by a fussy senior citizen (yours truly) were met with aplomb and good cheer. SUBJECT MATTER Speakers were of either one or two persuasions: (1) naturalists, who know a great deal about sea animals and wildlife; and (2) historians of the South, especially as it pertains to three of the Outer Banks Islands: St Simons, Jekyll and Sapolo. Each of these Islands was covered thoroughly in detailed lectures, followed by field trips to visit and investigate them in detail. Visits to two historic light houses were part of the trips, one of which led to a rather nerve-wracking experience. The tone of the entire week was set by the lead-off speaker, Trish Buie, St Simon's historian and voluble firebrand. Her graceful, enthusiastic lecture held us all spellbound. She was followed by a deadpan comedienne, Elaine Young, who had the audience in stitches while letting us make the acquaintance of her freeze-dried bird collection. Ann Ditmar was third in this talented triumvirate, as she divulged the infinite mysteries of aquatic predators and their natural food supplies. For instance, did YOU know that a conch is male for the first seven years of its life, then changes into a female? How delightful for the female of the species: always a younger man ! The field trips did NOT lack for their hilarious as well as some anxious moments. On Jekyll Island, for instance, we visited the "cottages" of the high and mighty (J P Morgan, R J Reynolds, other giants of industry), making the tour on an open-sided Toonerville Trolley. Despite being bundled up for N Y Winter weather, we froze our *** off as we passed along the sea shore with the wind howling through. We were glad that we had "gone south" for the winter. Right. The Reynolds place, incidentally can he rented for $125 per night, including all the servants necessary to run it. Minimum size of party: 140 persons. Good for a bar mitzvah to outdo the safari. My wife was charmed by a delightful 19th century baby carriage in the sun room, with a tiny little umbrella clamped to the handle bar. She loved the cushion on the seat, so she examined it a little more closely. The label on it said ... Wal-Mart, Chenille WC, retail $10.88, style 1812. Well, at least the style number was right for the period. Now for the exciting part of the trip: the bus ride to the lighthouse on Sapelo Island. Shortly before we reached it, our tour guide said, "hang on, this may get bumpy!" And it sure did. Thump! Whap! Thumpppppppppppp .... and a screaming tire. She backed up, tried again. And again. And with each attempt, much as you would do in deep snow, she dug the bus in deeper, until the rear axle was resting on the beach sand. We got out and walked to the lighthouse, which was all of maybe 100 yards away. When the driver couldn't extricate the tour bus, she phoned for the school bus. It arrived fairly quickly, and a very competent driver turned it around without a whimper and we were on our way back to the boat we needed to return us to St Simons Island. Suddenly he headed for a strange parking lot, stopped and told us ... "everybody out the BACK!" I was in no mood to jump off a 4-ft high platform so I waited till everyone had gone, then calmly walked out the front exit. That's when I smelled the smoke and was told the engine was on fire. Fortunately, the bus never really started to burn. An oil leak had sprayed oil on the hot engine which caused the smoke. Several vans were ultimately commandeered from the Reynolds estate, and they brought all of us back to the island boat in time to get back to our hotel for dinner. It was truly wonderful to notice how totally calm the group was in taking this little contretemps in stride. I guess expecting the unexpected comes with being an elderhosteler. RECOMMENDATION If you're at all interested in the history and living conditions of animal life (including homo sapiens) in the South before the Civil War and the sea creatures so abundant in this area, GO to this seminar. ______________________ Ethnic New York City Kkgoldner@aol.com September 3 - 8, 2000 My objective was to eventually take grandchildren to New York City and feel comfortable showing them the sites. I took this program to familiarize myself with the area and accomplished that goal. We took public transportation everywhere - a piece of cake on Manhattan Island. If you spotted someone without a camera they were a New Yorker and more than willing to give directions, even show you the way. You walk, boy do you walk. I told one New Yorker we met that I walked every morning at home and still felt like my feet were falling off. Told her we had yet to meet an overweight New Yorker. She was very polite and waited before she responded, "You haven't met all of us." The YMCA has a great little cafeteria that serves excellent food. You are half a block from Lincoln Center and half a block from Central Park. Central Park during the day is a Mecca for New Yorkers jogging, biking and walking and musicians add to the atmosphere on the weekends - a flute player had excellent acoustics under one of the bridges by the lake. Our second son thought I was crazy to go to New York City and have lunch in Chinatown, Harlem and Little Italy. He said, "You know Mom, part of the money they charge is for protection." Not the case. They do say not to go into Central Park at night, but everything else is first class. New Yorkers are proud of their city and it shows. The tour leaders were very considerate and efficient. We called ourselves 'Elder Hostages' and enjoyed the adventure. Harlem was very nice, the City College where Colin Powell graduated rises above the streets and is a beautiful sight. The Apollo Theater tour was excellent as the guide broke into the signature song for each of the 'stars' discovered at Amateur Night. A must see are the tenements that people had to lived in when they immigrated . . . that is in the shrinking Little Italy area. I could go on and on, can send an itemized journal with the extras that we squeezed in if you like. Do recommend buying half price tickets in Times Square for a Broadway show and seeing the Statue of Liberty at night. Eager to return with those grandchildren and climb those stairs to the crown of the Statue of Liberty while I still can - I think I still can, I think I still can. Recommend the over all experience - I was really apprehensive about going to the Big Apple. So very glad I did. firstname.lastname@example.org ______________________ Berea (KY) College/Boone Tavern Hotel (17060-1008-01) Msteade@aol.com October 8-13, 2000 "A Taste of Berea", "Experience the Folk Arts", "Berea's Early Days" PROGRAM: A taste of Berea (the town), Berea College and life in Appalachia. All of our instructors were very knowledgeable and were either former students and/or on the faculty of Berea College. Our hosts, Bob and Liz Menefee, were as gracious and outgoing as if we were guests in their own home. Coordinator Sherry Bosch was on the scene most of the time (or got subs when she was unable to be with us) and did a very good job, considering that this was the first EH program she had done solo -- and was about three months pregnant at the time. An hour-long folk dancing class was held every morning right after breakfast, but only about half of the group chose to attend these sessions. Another hour-long class before lunch, two after lunch and one after dinner filled out the day. The evening sessions were usually some sort of entertainment (musicians, singers, dancers, etc.) rather than classes, per se. We had only two field trips, which may account for the relatively low cost of this EH. On a scale of 10.0, I'd give the Program 9.0. ACCOMMODATIONS: We stayed at the historic Boone Tavern Hotel, which is owned by Berea College and is located right across the street from the main campus. It's name notwithstanding, Daniel Boone never set foot in the place, nor has liquor ever been served there. (The word "tavern" originally meant "inn".) The rooms probably were technically clean, but our room had stained carpeting, the walls were dingy, and some of the furniture was in need of repair. Unlike most other EH accommodations, we had daily maid service. We had the only handicapped accessible room in the hotel, and it was just barely accessible. Located on the third floor where one would have to use the stairs in the event of a fire, the room was small and crowded, and the bed (while in keeping with the period furnishings) would have been too high for me to get into without help even without a disability. The bathroom did have grab bars and a wheelchair accessible shower, but the mirror above the basin was too high for me even when I was standing. We heard no complaints from others about their rooms. Accommodations get 7.0. FOOD: Prior to this EH, we had heard many glowing reports about the food in the Boone Tavern restaurant but, sadly, it did not live up to its reputation. Breakfast was probably the best meal of the day, a buffet filled with everything from fresh fruits and pastries to grits and biscuits n' gravy. Lunch each day was a "make-it-yerself" sandwich line, usually accompanied by fresh fruit or a small salad. I think they tried hard but dinner just didn't cut it. One evening our dinner consisted of meat and potatoes -- that's all! Very good meat and potatoes, granted, but no gravy, no veggies, no salads. (To be fair, I think the college was in the midst of transferring it's management of the restaurant to the Marriott Corp., so things may have improved. Let's hope!) The student servers were delightful to talk to but needed better training. They did things like forgetting to put the rolls on the table until we were nearly through with our meals, and trying to tell us that the cod we had eaten for dinner was really salmon. I think it was probably the fault of the kitchen, but we often had to wait so long for our meals that we had to rush to make it to our next session on time. I realize that this was a different situation, but I missed the "munchies" that you can usually find between meals at most EHs. And except for the breakfast buffet, there were no seconds at mealtime. Food gets 5.0 at best. OTHER: What saved the day at this EH was the PEOPLE, both Hostelers and staff. This was my first EH since I began using a wheelchair, and my husband and I were determined not to be an imposition on anyone. Well, nobody even gave us the chance to be an imposition! We always had more help than we needed even before we knew we needed it. Several people had parents or other older relatives who use wheelchairs and they gladly shared their "tricks of the trade" with us. 10.0+ for the People! _____________ PALM SPRINGS CALIFORNIA--INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (Center for Extended Learning for Seniors) January 14-19, 2001 BAHamm@webtv.net NOTE; This was to be my "warm weather" winter trip but a cold front moved through california the week end before we got there and it was unseasonably cool. Highs in the 60s lows in the 30s. Just a friendly tip-don't go to "warm" weather spots with out a jacket, gloves etc. Many were caught with out proper clothes and had to head for stores to by sweat shirts etc. to keep warm! At orientation on Sunday nite-we realized we were not the only hotel housing the Elderhostel group. There were four hotels with (get this) 600 attendees.!! There were 200 staying at our hotel and we were divided into color groups (4) some what the New Orleans program. We were at the Ramada Resort-others were at the Doral, Octillo Lodge and over in Desert Hot Springs at Miracle Spring Lodge. We did have the largest group tho. PROGRAM; we attended two films (some with subtitles) a day. One screening at 9 am and another at 1 pm. CELS had arranged for us to have our own "private" screenings at an auditorium that held 900 persons. The festival people picked the films we were to see. It was a good mix of foreign and english speaking films. After the films were over, either the director, star or someone connected to film were there for Q and A's. (Rob Morrow was the only star that was there ) All in all we saw 9 movies. This was part of the cost of the program. They did make ticket to other movies available to us at a discount. Movies were playing all over town starting early am until midnight. Some attendees saw as many as 20 or more in the week they were there ! Afterwards we had a "critiquing" of films at our respective hotels with the EH group. Buses were provided to take you to and from the auditorium if you needed transportation. The site was only 1 mile from the Ramada so a lot walked there and back. (Much needed exercise as we were sitting all day !) LODGING; Unfortunately the Ramada- (which housed the largest number of EH's) -- had signed a contract with the electric company to get a cheaper rate on their electricity. This meant turning off electricity when ever they were called on to do so. (Seems like this had happened already 2 0 times in january) but CELS did not seem to deem it necessary to move the location of this program-so from Tuesday on we woke up in the dark and went to bed in the dark most of the time.! This meant NO HOT WATER, NO use of hot tubs or swimming pools, NO tv, NO lights to read by and worse of all No elevators (there were 3 floors) for the seniors that were unfortunate enough to be on the upper floors !! Note: All of the other Hotels being used were having no problems and had use of the full amenities there. We did go out and buy some candles and the hotel "graciously" gave every one a flash light on wednesday.! It was pitch dark in the parking lots etc.- Rather disconcerting to look across the street and see the lights on at shopping center etc--seems like Ramada was only one close by that had signed this contract. FOOD; Bad to say the least. They were trying to feed us with emergency power to cook with. Breakfast would be cold sweet rolls, (NO toast or bread), watery Oatmeal, eggs, bacon on occasion.( A diabetic did not stand a chance ) Guess menu depended on what time the lights were turned off ! Dinners were some what better--all 200 of us ate in the same room at the same time and needless to say the noise level was very annoying. Hard to talk to your own table even. LUNCH--what can i say-it was delivered to the auditorium where we were seeing movies and was "catered" by Meals On Wheels ! It was a dry sandwich on white bread with cheap lunch meat, chips , apple and drink. ( We went up street to shopping ctr. and ate lunch after seeing what mondays was !) You were out of luck if you didn't have a car.! I will give CELS credit to organize such a big undertaking but i do consider it their fault in picking the Ramada as a site and myself along with many others feel we were short changed. ( this was an expensive program-$570) and are due a refund of some sort.! CELS informed us at orientation that sometimes , but rarely, the Ramada did have to turn off the electricity but HOPEFULLY it wouldn't happen to us !! Thats the JOKE of the week. The other sites got their moneys worth and we certainly did not. I would go back for a repeat of this program as it was great=just making sure i am staying at a different hotel !! Its not fun trying to dress in the dark each morning or trying to read a bit before bed time with a flashlight hanging off your shoulder. !! we did rent a car as my roommate had problems with walking--unfortunately we were on second floor tho so that involved lots of steps during the outages. ( and i didnt mention it but the dining room was up two flights of steps also.) Lots of people ate in coffee shop and paid extra for this as they were unable to climb steps. Any other questions concerning this program just e mail me at email@example.com.