Elderhostel Notebook #92 September,  2001

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

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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

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: 	marywdj@yahoo.com

Has anyone been on this program?  If so, what were your
impressions?  Would you recommennd it?  We are considering going
November 5th.  Thanks.,Mary - @! marywdj@yahoo.com


Subj: 	Branson Elderhostels
Date: 	Tuesday, August 21, 2001 8:29:03 AM
From: 	cschaub@frontiernet.net

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.

Roz Cole


Subj: 	Hawaii EH

From: 	mattinlw@fea.net

We are considering the"Hawaii: Five Islands, Nine Parks And
Historic Sites" EH. Investigation raises several potential

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   mattinlw@fea.net  as
time is at a premium.  Thanks!!!    Matt and Sylvia


Subj: 	Kenya

From: 	carolt10@att.net

Am planning to take EH trip to Kenya next Jan. or Feb. Any
comments,suggestions, etc. would be much appreciated.


Subj: 	Oaxaca Elderhostel

From: 	rbranchor@juno.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


editor's note- I no longer support an index to back issues of the

   Program Reviews

      Northwest Passages Aboard The Zodiac
      Little Falls NY
      "The Mountain" in Highlands, NC


Northwest Passages Aboard The Zodiac
Intergenerational program
June 15 - 20, 2001 - 47897-0615-1

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


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

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.


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 fmboher@hotmail.com for more information.


AUGUST 5 - 11

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

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



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

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.