xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo Elderhostel Notebook #92 September, 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. ################################################ Comments and Queries ################################################ From: Suelwright@aol.com I appreciate reading the notebook each time it comes and find it very helpful. I only wish I had read about an Elderhostel we attended this summer before we went. May I please offer the following critique for the Notebook: Sponsored by the Allan Hitchcock College of Performing Arts in Santa Maria, Ca., it was under the aegis of the Grand Canyon University which had sponsored our heretofore least favorite Elderhostel in Phoenix. It was held at the Airport Regency Hotel out in the boondocks with nothing in walking distance. The hotel was undergoing a change in ownership and it was chaotic. The first room we were given had no lamps or reading lights whatsoever. The food was awful. It was worse than standard hotel fare; no vegetables or fresh fruit was served. We could not even get a glass of water at mealtime without an act of congress! The coordinator dismissed our complaints without any action whatsoever. No drinks, snacks, anything was served at any of the class session breaks, nor at the slapdash orientation the first evening. We had come from Texas and friends of ours had come from Wisconsin to meet us and to attend this Elderhostel. We had even checked into the motel a day in advance. To make a long story short, after almost three days of this treatment, we called the Elderhostel office in Boston, voiced our complaints, and they agreed to prorate our fees, which they did, and we left late Tuesday. My husband and I have attended about 15 Elderhostels and this was by far the worst one. Sue Wright Austin, Texas _____________ Subj: Bermuda Program - Bermuda's Island Ecology From: firstname.lastname@example.org Has anyone been on this program? If so, what were your impressions? Would you recommennd it? We are considering going November 5th. Thanks.,Mary - @! email@example.com ______________ Subj: Branson Elderhostels Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 8:29:03 AM From: firstname.lastname@example.org It was very nice to read the recent review of an Elderhostel program hosted at the College of the Ozarks. There is good news and bad news. I will give you the bad news first - College of the Ozarks has decided, after 10 years of wonderful Elderhostel programs, to discontinue hosting Elderhostel. The good news is that the program College of the Ozarks hosted is being picked up by another site, Bittersweet Inc. This includes the excellent main instructor and many of the show biz professionals she has a longstanding relationship with, so participants will have a real "behind the scenes" educational experience, as well as, be able to attend several shows. Most of Bittersweet's programs have focused on the Ozark culture/history and included some of the more traditional shows. Look for their first offering of "Branson Show Biz" in the spring 2002 catalog. Carol Schaub Associate Area Director Elderhostel North Central _______________ From: Rozcole@aol.com Because we will be back east for 5 weeks in October/November and did not want to stay too long in our children's homes (recalling the bit about guests and fish after 3 days...), even though our last few experiences with Elderhostel were below average and we were not going to do it anymore, we bit the bullet and registered for 2 Elderhostels. If anyone has tried them, I would appreciate some positive feedback or forewarning. They are: Peabody Institute in Baltimore, Alfred Hitchcock, Music of the Macbre, and Those Villainous Baritones; and Historic Yellow Springs in Chester Springs, PA, Bucks County Artists, Brandwine Valley, Yellow Springs History. Aloha, Roz Cole _______ Subj: Hawaii EH From: email@example.com We are considering the"Hawaii: Five Islands, Nine Parks And Historic Sites" EH. Investigation raises several potential problems: 1) flight schedule in order to meet the shuttle pickup at Hilo seems to require arriving a day early and overnighting in Honolulu and flying into Hilo the next day or flying into Hilo the day before, taxiing to a motel and then taxiing back to the airport for shuttle pickup, adding both inconvenience and additional expense; 2) rudimentary accommodations at the KMC barracks; 3) hiking over steep and rough terrain. We would appreciate input from all EHers who have done this trip. Don't hesitate to email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org as time is at a premium. Thanks!!! Matt and Sylvia ______________ Subj: Kenya From: email@example.com Am planning to take EH trip to Kenya next Jan. or Feb. Any comments,suggestions, etc. would be much appreciated. firstname.lastname@example.org ______________ Subj: Oaxaca Elderhostel From: email@example.com Question ! Has anyone been to a Spanish Language and Culture Elderhostel based in Oaxaca , Mexico, and run by Southern Illinois University? It's being offered mid-february and I wonder how the creature comforts are - hotel, food- and also the expertise of the on-site coordinator and lecturers. __________ Subj: request for info on Walking with New Zealanders From: lbowman@MIT.EDU I'd like to hear from anyone who has taken the Walking with New Zealanders a 3-week course. I've signed up for it (Oct. 30-Nov. 20) and would appreciate reviews, comments, suggestions, advice. ___________ From: Grannie237@aol.com I am planning on taking the Elderhostel to Stetson Univ./Splendid China--Orlando in November. Has anyone else taken this trip and if so any comments would be appreciated. Evelyn ________________ From: "Bill and Kay Jones"
I haven't used your website in a long, long time, but went to the index and can find only Alaska and Arizona indexed. Is there a (temporary) problem? We are looking for Tunisia and Birding and Mayan Ruins in Yucatan. Thanks. editor's note- I no longer support an index to back issues of the notebook. ################################################ Program Reviews ################################################ Northwest Passages Aboard The Zodiac GENEVA BAY CENTER, LAKE GENEVA, WISCONSIN KANSAS HERITAGE CENTER Little Falls NY "The Mountain" in Highlands, NC _____________ Northwest Passages Aboard The Zodiac Intergenerational program June 15 - 20, 2001 - 47897-0615-1 firstname.lastname@example.org 127 foot Wooden Schooner sailing out of Bellingham, WA through the San Juan Islands Captain Tim Mehrer Crew: John Jamison, Sean Bull and Ms. Leslie Mulcahy Volunteer Crew: Jim Wyrik, Brad Scudder, Rocky Stone, Glen Sherry Krivosheev Participants from 11 states: 7 Grandfathers (3 had gone on previous adult Zodiac trips) 7 Grandmothers 5 Granddaughters and 7 Grandsons, ages 13-16 What a wonderful trip! We can't wait until our 9 year old grandson is old enough so that we can go again. Don't miss this one. A great bonding experience with your family. No television, internet or hand held electronic toys to interrupt. Hoisting the main sail with your Grandparent is a once in a life time experience for both. Classes included ship handling under sail, seamanship and navigation, traditions of the sea, classic wooden boat restoration, knot tying, and navigation. All participants had a day time watch several times during the trip. The watches lasted for 2 hours, broken down into 30 minutes segments of: · chart watch and ring the ship's bell to change the watches on deck · helm watch when you steer the ship · bow watch when you sit at the front of the ship to watch for other vessels or debris · messenger on the quarterdeck to carry messages and relieve any on watch In addition, all participants were assigned to one of three Sailing Station Crews who were responsible for and learned about: · main sheet · main topping lifts · main preventer · foresheet · fore topping lifts · fore preventer · staysail sheet · jib sheets Every day these three crews rotated also through the following duties: · galley (everyone wanted to help Leslie) · sea duty (put the kayaks and small sail boat and motor boat in and out of the water, plus keep them clean) · deck wash No one was expected to work beyond their comfort level and everyone seemed to have fun. As we wended our way through the San Juan Islands we would stop at night in a protected area near an island and drop anchor. The small craft were available to enjoy as well as trips to the nearby island for hiking. When there was no wind the crew got the teens involved in kayak races amid much laughing and shouting. Some teens even took a short "swim" in the cold water. Only one stop, at Friday Island, involved docking and commercial establishments. Our group made a long line at the nearest ice cream stands. There are pay showers at the dock. One of the high points of the trip was the whale watching. On a day with little wind, Captain Tim took us among the largest pod of whales. They seemed interested in the Zodiac and came quite close. Meals: Cook, Leslie Mulcahy, prepared excellent family style meals that were enjoyed by both age groups. She had plenty of peanut butter and jelly available for any who might not enjoy the meal. We have been to 13 EH programs and this food was the best. Every meal was different. Between meals there was always something available to snack on, plus coffee, tea and hot chocolate. Transportation from Seattle. We flew from St. Louis to Seattle, rented a car, and spent 4 days sightseeing prior to driving the 80 miles north to Bellingham. Some participants took the shuttle from the Seattle Airport and 3 took the Greyhound Bus to Bellingham. The Zodiac docks at the Fairhaven Cruise Terminal. Apparently Amtrak serves the terminal from Seattle but none of the group used Amtrak. There is a fenced-in pay parking lot ($5/night) at the terminal. We felt quite safe leaving our suitcases containing "City" and "Travel" clothes in the vehicle while we were on the boat. You really only want to take duffels on board as your bunk is your storage area. We simply took our sleeping bags out of their sacks and used the sacks to transport our clothes and gear on board. The Zodiac docks at the modern Fairhaven Cruise Terminal. terminal building with plenty of rest room space to change clothes. No shower facilities. The terminal is used by ships going to Alaska. It was fun seeing all the gear of the Alaska-bound plus watching them pitch their tents on the deck before the ship left harbor. Accommodations: To quote the Zodiac literature, "Shipboard accommodations are in the style of the old days of sail; there are no private cabins available. Coed dormitory-style bunks with comfortable mattresses are arranged in tiers of two or three. You must bring a sleeping bag; pillows, cases and extra blankets are provided." Our foursome was in the fo^Òc^Òsle (the forward part of the ship) with 8 others. My husband is 6^Ò5" and the bunks were long enough. Our mattresses were very spacious and comfortable. Everything was clean. There are shelves in the bunk to hold small "stuff" like paperbacks and glasses. There was a sink with running water in the fo^Òc^Òsle plus a separate head with a full sized sink, toilet and shower. By following the rules outlined the first night by Captain Tim, gaining access to the heads or having enough hot water was rarely a problem. (Both girls were back to their "hour showers" when they reached home.) The remainder of the group were in triple high bunks lining the walls of the salon/library/meeting room. The two remaining heads were in this area of the ship. Some teens chose to take their sleeping bags up on deck to sleep. There was always a member of crew on watch during the night. The accommodations seem to be the thing that the Grandmothers find most daunting so I need to tell you until my husband and I went to an EH in Nepal October, 2000 I had never slept in a sleeping bag. We had to buy ours for this trip. It was really okay..like a big slumber party. You had the head to change in and all the adults had to get up during the night. Our Granddaughters were happy to find out that most grandparents (both sexes) snore so their grandfather was not singled out. Weather Clothing: We were blessed with sunny days and cooler nights, however, you need foul weather gear as this is the Northwest. The Zodiac will send you a comprehensive equipment and clothing list prior to the trip. It is warm and dry down below with cozy central heating! Contact information: The Zodiac has a web site: www.schoonerzodiac.com which will give you historical and other details about this historical vessel built in 1924. You may contact us at email@example.com for more information. _________________ GENEVA BAY CENTER, LAKE GENEVA, WISCONSIN AUGUST 5 - 11 firstname.lastname@example.org Program -- the soviet collapse and the new russia/ music from Russia/American musical theatre This was my 5th appearance at this site; another participant was there for the 18th time and I'm told that some elderhostelers have attended there over 20 times.. Site: continues to be one of the best on the circuit...... Excellent self contained, immaculate lodge in a gorgeous shaded forest overlooking beautiful Lake Geneva. Accommodations: very comfortable, luxurious, spacious rooms (separate area for vanity, separate inclosed area for toilet, separate inclosed area for shower)with amenities; daily room service if you want it; self controlled air/heat--i opened my windows every night to benefit from the fresh, exhilirating forest air; views from the windows are spectacular and relaxing. Classroom: very comfortable (somewhat cool, but sweaters or jackets solve the problem); comfortable, movable chairs and separate spacious table desks (plenty of room to spread out your notes); liquids (coffee, hot water for tea, ice water) always available in classroom; very well equipped room for all kinds of av equipment and good viewing from adjustable angles Instructors: very well qualified, capable of projecting effectively (they were very sensitive about this)........Chuck Wiberg was extremely well prepared with russian history; Greg Athnos (an instructor our age) is one of the best personable ones on the circuit with his presentations of russian classical music (hope he stays put at this site)and of course, the inimitable---- Linda Bachand--- with her continuing excellent presentations of american musicals ---her self piano accompaniment and singing seem to be getting better with each appearance (hope she stays at this site forever)------ Coordinator: Toni Jooss (in her 10th year) is definitely one of the best, if not the best, on the circuit; she is super conscientious and sensitive to all of our needs and plans programs very effectively (no wonder there are so many programs and participants throughout the course of the year here) Field trips: stage production of titanic (at a nearby lunch/theater complex) was very well adapted from the movie; boat cruise with ice cream social is always a treat; daily lakeshore walks (viewing fabulous mansions) as well as walks throughout the camp provide great change of pace and exercise entertainment: Charlie Edmonds - guitar/lecture --history of the blues; Charlotte Peterson's history of lake geneva; historical fashion show (staff members from a Wisconsin outdoor ethnic museum); piano (forte piano) performance by very gifted trevor stephenson; wild bird (hawks, owls) rehabilitation --- all provided a good variety on an optional basis Food: continues to be some of the best----all meals buffet, home style cooking (one meal consisted of wisconsin's famous door county fish boil), variety of fruit and vegetables and desserts, home made breads .......And all of the lodge based features are handicapped accessible (one participant ....Wheel-chair limited.... Thought this was all perfect) Overall evaluation: No wonder elderhostelers keep repeatedly coming here I can go on and on......... Communications welcome........Your junkie elderhosteler Leonard lmjr34@yahoo.Com _________ KANSAS HERITAGE CENTER 16400-0729-01/2001 DODGE CITY: "QUEEN OF THE COWTOWNS" LarsonCA@efdsw.navfac.navy.mil All you would ever want to know about the history of Dodge City and the Texas cattle drives of the old west was squeezed into an exciting week. Jim Sherer, Kansas Heritage Center Coordinator, led our group from a chuck wagon barbeque, a wild west show, western gun fight, Long Branch Saloon Varity Show and capped off the week with a top flight RCA sanctioned Rodeo. Tours were provided to the Boot Hill Museum, Fort Larned, the Santa Fe Trail Museum, Carnegie Center for the Arts, and a number of other local attractions. Classes were given on such topics as; Life of the Plains Indians and the Santa Fe Trail, History of Early Dodge City and the Rodeo, and Kansas and the Cowboy including a performance by Dr. Jim Hoy of Cowboy Poetry and Music. The highlight of the program for most was a demonstration of watercolor painting given by nationally known western artist Gary Hawk. Not only did he hold the group spellbound with his talent and accompanying commentaries, five lucky elderhostelers received his original paintings. We were housed in comfortable dorm rooms at the local community college and ate our meals at the college cafeteria. The meals were varied and plentiful, topped off by an excellent Kansas prime rib dinner. Jim Sherer provide a very active and interesting week which would appeal to most anyone. Carl Larson Ou8j@aol.com ________________ Little Falls NY 32070-090901, Sept9-14, 2001 Trains, Boats, And Great Camps Of The Adirondacks email@example.com This Elderhostel was held at the Best Western of Little Falls, NY. The rooms were very comfortable; the food was middle of the road, but well prepared. Breakfast always had raisin bran and some other flakes, plus cut up melon and 1%milk. There was also hot cereal and either eggs, pancakes, or French toast. In addition there were muffins and toast. There was always a salad at supper, with the garnishes separate from the lettuce so you could pick the vegetables you preferred. The meals were nutritious, the vegetables well cooked with minimal salt, and the main courses generally good. On two of the field trips we enjoyed good box lunches with a choice of sandwiches. On Monday we started with a lecture on the history of the Erie Canal and the 3 or 4 changes in routes, up until the current barge canal that goes from Lake Erie to Albany. After lunch we went on a field trip to Fort Stanwix, where we saw a video about the history of the fort and then toured the grounds. After dinner we saw a video about the great "camps" of the Adirondacks in preparation for our Tuesday program. Tuesday was our busiest day; we left on a bus at 7:30Am for breakfast at Union Station in Utica. This allowed us to see the marvelous renovations that the station has undergone. Then we were off to Thendara for a ride on the Adirondack Scenic Railroad. After the train ride we had a lovely lunch at the nearby Knotty Pine Inn. Then we were back on the bus to go to our boat excursion on Raquette Lake. This was followed by a tour of Camp Sagamore, the summer luxury camp of the Vanderbilts. We then had a nice dinner at the Buffalo Head Restaurant in Forresport. The day was marred by the bombing of the World Trade Center in NYC, and we listened to the news on the radio as we traveled from place to place. Wednesday was also pretty busy. We had an optional walking tour of Little Falls with volunteers from the local History Museum. Then we went on a boat ride on the Erie Barge Canal and went through Lock 17, which has a 40.5-foot drop. This was a first for many of us. We ended up at the General Herkimer home, where we ate our box lunch, learned the history of the location from an educator and then toured the facility. However our day was not over; next we went to Fort Klock, a fortified homestead. The period one-room school on the grounds was a highlight. Thursday we boarded the bus for Schoharie Valley Crossing, a NY State historic sight which has part of an aqueduct for boats from the early Erie Canal and three original double canal locks. We took a mile walk on a level tow path to view the locks. We had a box lunch at a picnic ground at another lock and then visited the Canajoharie Library and Art Gallery. On Friday morning we visited the Little Falls Masonic Temple now owned by a local potter. We had a pottery making demonstration and also toured the building. She has renovated the second floor into her living space and the upper two floors have an auditorium and the Masonic Temple meeting space. After lunch we all departed for home. I would highly recommend this program. The field trips and lectures were extremely good and our coordinators Saul and Katherine Ritterman were excellent. ___________ "The Mountain" in Highlands, NC Program #33272 Nils and Susie Hokansson" We attended this program on June 10, 2001. We enjoyed the week because we are active outdoor people and enjoy being with others who share that interest. The site is at the top of Little Scaly Mountain (4200 feet) which is reached via a one lane, two way road with 6 switchbacks. The good part was once we were there, our car stayed put and transportation to activities was provided. The program consisted of 2 days of white water rafting and 2 days of hiking. Although the weather cannot be attributed to the program, it was nearly perfect: warm sunny days and pleasant nights. The only rain came when it didn't really matter - we were at our lunch stop on the second rafting trip and were either wet or would be later on. The food was typical camp fare, abundant and wholesome, if not very creative, with a single entrée choice, served buffet style. Happy hour fare was provided, the cost of which we all shared. Accommodations were either in a lodge or in duplex cabins all with private bathrooms. Evening programs consisted of music/tales by a folk singer, a site history/music program and a campfire. Criticisms: 1. The water was low and one raft trip consisted mainly of the guides pulling us off rocks - a different section of the river should have been used; 2. A guide shortage meant some of our group had to self-guide which was unfortunate as well as unsafe, in our opinion; 3 The rustic cabins would have been fine except every sound and word from the folks next door could be heard clearly. The hikes were supposed to be nature studies but since we were on single file trails, the guide could not be heard unless one happened to be very close to her. I would recommend the program to others but feel that these comments (which were included in our evaluations of the program) may be helpful in making choices.