xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo Elderhostel Notebook #93 October, 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 and an index at http://members.aol.com/ehindex 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've combined comments and reports in this issue as it is mainly aimed at reporting experiences and thoughts related to elderhosteling and the events of September 11. I'll return to the regular format with the next issue. It is probably too early to draw any conclusions about how the disruptions in airline schedules will affect Elderhostel programming in general. ################################################ Comments and Reports ################################################ From: BAHamm@webtv.net (Billie A. Hamm) Comment: I just returned from Bishops Ranch in Sonoma county, Ca. As there has been a recent critique done of this I just wanted to add it was truly great ! Accommodations, Food and program were out standing. The food was consistently great for all three meals. Home cooked and they were willing to work with diets modifications. I do highly recommend this program if you like good food,a pleasant setting and good instructors. (A car is helpful if you want to visit Winerys and do any sight seeing in the area as Bishops Ranch is located 6 miles out of healdsburg) Note: we were there when the disaster struck. There are no TVs, telephones etc in this serene, peaceful retreat center. Most of us had radios with us for our personal use and thats how we heard about it --just as we were getting up ! The ranch did locate a tv and set it up for us on wednesday in the lodge. The channels were limited as no cable was available. They carried on with the program subject matter but things were low key and a somber ambiance prevailed. The ranch was great , allowing us access to the internet in the office so we could check on flights etc. I do hope everyone got home OK. Some were going to drive and most of us were concerned about our flights being cancelled. We had to end up buying tickets on Southwest ( they were up and flying as of the Friday afterwards) as American was no help in getting us home at all. They kept cancelling all the flights to louisville, ky. Luckily , we had not planned on coming home until the 17th (monday) and that is when we came home. I am pretty sure the people that were scheduled out of SF did not make it on Friday or Saturday of that week. firstname.lastname@example.org ___________________ From: "Ronald Olsen"
We were in Germany on Elderhostel program Bavarian to Bauhaus when tragedy occured. EH/IST people and hotel proprietor extremely helpful and sensitive. Program ended in Berlin on 9/17; everyone appeared to get on planes for US OK with some minor re-routing. EH Program scheduled to begin in Berlin on 9/18 - The Opera of Berlin - cancelled due to participant cancellations but people on our EH who were continuing on that program decided to stay and were well taken care of re hotels, opera tickets etc. and were getting program fee refunded. Bavarian to Bauhaus program( Munich-Bamberg-Weimar-Berlin, Germany) probably the best travel/learning experience we've had and we've toured most of Europe, Latin America and Asia and have lived overseas. Hotels excellent, well located with impeccable, caring, friendly service. Sumptuous buffet breakfasts and good sampling of local/regional cuisine at lunch and most dinners. Some of the latter were light wurst /salad buffets when we were pressed for time, but no one ever went hungry. The program and quality of instruction were oustanding. Extremely active and well programmed yet with some nice interludes for private time. I won't recount the detailed itinerary which is available in the catalog. Most lectures were "on-site", rather than in classrooms. Our tours in castles, museums etc. were virtually private, absent the herd-like sense one gets on so many commercial tours. Three evening concerts; Renaissance music in Munich church; private concert of Baroque chamber music ; and great seats at the Berlin Concert hall. Truly unique was the quality of instruction. The group leader, Tom Abbott is a native Minnesotan with graduate degrees in art/architecture history from universities in Paris and Berlin. He's lived and worked as a researcher/educator in Berlin for over 15 years. For two weeks Tom "weaved a cloth" of history, philosophy, literature and geopolitics, art and architecture...sprinkled with humour. His breadth and depth of knowledge is uncanny and his passion and enthusiasm boundless. He was also ( ably assisted by Rosemary,a retired German schoolteacher) a nurturing shepherd for the group of 37 people. The group was extremely congenial and caring of each other. This was our first International EH (we've done a number in the US) and we are clearly motivated to take more. Fellow EH's on this trip said it was one of, if not the best Int'l EH's they had experienced. PS: The weather during this EH couldn't have been worse; cold and rainy virtually every day. Yet, it did not "dampen" the experience one iota. Ron Olsen - Charlottesville, VA email@example.com _____________ From: ThomasEU@aol.com We decided to postpone our Elderhostel trip to Spain [Food and Wine of Andalucia] since our departure date was one month away. In the Adventures Afloat catalog, we found a trip for next September [Paradors of Spain, Wines of the D'Ouro Valley] which we decided on. Elderhostel was very helpful in our making this change. The cancellation of one program did not depend on the enrollment in the other. Their website explained the procedure very clearly and their representatives on the phone made this change a very easy one. Also, we decided to do something during the week in which we would be gone. There were very few domestic programs still open at this late date. We found a few and decided on 'Marine Life on the Maine Coast and Sailing One Morning in Maine/Natural History of the Maine Coast'. Since we live in Connecticut we will be able to drive to the site in a day. The site, a coastal Rockland waterfront motor inn, is available for the night before or after the program at an additional cost of $50 for a double room. We will take advantage of this and arrive on Saturday. On the way home we will stay somewhere along the coast as we drive back. We feel that Elderhostel handled the situation very well and will remain traveling with them into the far future. Thomas and Jean _______________ From: CNestorjr@aol.com We received a catalog from Cross-Culture Inc. which features what appears to be similar foreign travel programs to those sponsored by Elderhostel. The prices are comparable and the accommodations appear to be a little better. They also emphasize learning and "non-tourist" type of experience. They say they have been in business for 16 years, and they have some very attractive programs. Has any of your readers had any experience with any of their offerings? If so, would they please communicate with me at the above email address. Sibyl Nestor ____________ From: Judie Brown We are booked on the Elderhostel Egypt trip in October (Nile: Gift of the Gods). In light of recent events, we are wondering if it is safe to go. Is anyone else booked on this trip? Has anyone canceled? Has anyone gone to Egypt in the last 2-3 months? How was it? Thanks for the info. Judie editor's note: Late word from Judie is that the program was cancelled _____________ Subj: Elderhostel policy regarding housing From: firstname.lastname@example.org Elderhostel policy regarding housing It was with sadness and disappointment that the 40 people on the "Irish Heritage and Culture" program learned Elderhostel, Inc. would no longer use Bellinter House and University of Limerick for future programs. We are told that this is due to a new policy stipulating that facilities must have en suite (private bath) accomodations. At both sites we did share bathrooms with a few of our friends but had sinks in individual rooms. Bellinter is a retreat center operated by Sisters of Sion in a lovely rural setting and ideal for an Elderhostel. The closeness we developed as a group because of the Bellinter setting was crucial upon hearing the terrible news of the terrorist attacks. At the University of Limerick we were housed in dormitory suites with breakfast supplies delivered. We were divided up into three couples per suite to share shower facilities. Though scattered about in the campus village, transportation was provided for all functions. Meals were in the university dining room or some nice hotel. Again I would say that having shared baths was no problem and might be expected in European or overseas Elderhostel offerings. A big reason is economic which is one reason we selected this particular program. Let us say that while many programs in the States are held in so-so hotels which do indeed have bathrooms, this not a primary factor to many of us. What does matter is the content of the program together with a good coordinator who makes things click. Yes, food and fellowship are important ingredients, too. Yes, at times we will seek out beautiful surroundings. And yes, the price does matter also. By eliminating all locations that do not have private baths, meaning in some cases college settings, you are likely increasing costs. It is our opinion that Elderhostel seems to be catering more and more to affluent travelers. We are aware that many Americans prefer some creaturely comforts, including us, but are we neglecting the original focus on academic learning? Let's don't eliminate some excellent places for having Elderhostel programs. Forty of us in the Irish one do object to eliminating Bellinter House and University of Limerick where we were treated so well. We hope that the matter will be reconsidered. Are we a minority about this concern? Bill Lee Longman, Springfield, MO email@example.com ____________________ Subj: Elderhostel, Island Roamer, 9/8 - 9/14. The trip was all we looked forward to and more. The crew was fantastic and worked together transparently under the direction of the Skipper, Neal. They took real good care of us grey hairs. The weather was super. Our webpage has a few of the photographs of the trip. By the way, we were not on the Orcas too long, as suggested by the people at the Orca lab----Neal and Doreen are very conscientious environmentalists and naturalists. We made it a three week vacation, spending most of it on Vancouver Island and meeting the ketch in Port McNeil. Our only hitch at all was getting back through U.S. Customs and that was miserable. Our next Elderhostel will probably be in Scottsdale, Arizona in February, listening to good music. David and Betty Buck Parachute, Colorado Pine Grove Ridge Craft pages The Bucks personal website SHS Class of 1951 ________________________ Subj: New York From: firstname.lastname@example.org I was wondering if anyone had information on Southstreet Seaport museum and personell from Elderhostel in New York. I had just attended the Elderhostel program there a week before the disaster. Sandra editor's note- That location is close to the events of Sept 11. see next item _______________ From: "Tom Guthrie" Subject: New York City Elderhostel When the New York attack occurred we were in Western Kentucky and going over to Louisville for an Elderhostel on Sept. 16th. We arrived in Louisville on the 15th and found out that the Elderhostel had been canceled. We contacted Delta Airline and were able to leave the hotel at 5:00 AM the next day and arrived in Portland, OR before 11:00 AM. For the last several years we have flown Delta and after this I am thinking that I will never fly with anyone other than Delta. I certainly appreciate the way we were handled. When we were told that the Elderhostel had been canceled, my first thought was "we will never go to Elderhostel again". But after a period of time I realized that what had happened was not something that Elderhostel had done. I guess I can understand why it was canceled. The memory that I am having problems with is related to a couple of years ago when we attended the South Street Seaport Museum Elderhostel in lower New York City. The hotel we stayed in was about two blocks away from the World Trade Center and was the best hotel we have experienced with Elderhostel. Having once gone to the South Street Seaport Elderhostel I have always thought I would go again because it was the best Elderhostel I had been in. When I got home I checked the Elderhostel catalog and sure enough, the South Street Seaport had an Elderhostel that quit on the day when the World Trade Center was destroyed. I wonder what has happened to them. After what has happened to New York City I still love New York City and will be traveling there in the future. I hope the South Street Seaport will still be doing Elderhostel so I can do it again. Tom Guthrie 1303 S.E. 53rd Ave Portland, OR 97215-2648 ______________ Subj: Peabody- Baltimore In EH Notebook #92 email@example.com asks for feedback on the Peabody Institute in Baltimore. I am replying directly to her, but also to the Notebook because others may be interested. My wife and I attended Peabody for the first time the week of September 9. Terror struck New York and Washington on Sept 11. Because of Peabody's location near Annapolis and Washington, and its affiliation with Johns Hopkins University the administration took great pains to secure the facility. The Elderhostel staff was fantastic. They carried on with the courses and at the same time were very solicitous of our concerns, our well being and our desire for news and information regarding travel conditions. Moreso the three courses we attended on opera were the best ever. The room facilities varied at the Peabody Inn (I don't why, but we were assigned a huge room, large enough to hold a dance.) The food served in the student cafeteria, just a short walk away was well above "standard" fare. There was a wide and ample variety of hot and cold foods, salads, sandwiches, drinks, desserts. The afternoons were full with tours of museums in the neighborhood, and the evenings full of student recital.s About the only forewarning I can give is that the rooms (your room, the classrooms, and the recital halls) are either too hot ot too cold. We have attended 18 Elderhostels and visited Peabody because we were told it is one of the greatest. It lived up to its expectations. Wallace Lepkin Wallace171@aol.com _______________________ Subject: Millersville University Ehostel I don't know if you have received any comments about the Amish elderhostel at Millersville U in PA, but it was absolutely sensational. The couple who managed it -- Rich and Marsha Frerichs -- were the perfect hosts: from the opening hug to the end on Friday, they were so hospitable, and did not overlook an opportunity to present a rich program and all the extras to make this group of 41 people truly intrigued by the Amish and their religion and culture in Lancaster County PA, one of the largest Amish communities in the country. --Dick Beach, Dayton OH ____________ From: WKosl@aol.com For some time now, I've felt that EH pricing for foreign trips is quite high, so I agree with your assesment as far as foreign trips are involved. I use Saga where the costs are more reasonable. Further, Saga does not charge a single supplement for many of their all inclusive "stays" trips, wereas EH single costs can be prohibitive. (Example- I once tried to sign up for a trip to England, and was advised that the single adder was 30 pounds per day! That would add $500 to a two week trip.) As for US trips, I still think EH is a bargain, even with a single supplement. William Kosloff __________ Subj: Travel Plans From: firstname.lastname@example.org Dear Jim and Others, I am uncertain about my travel plans this winter. That is the season when I pack my bag and go. I had planned to stay in the States this time for I went abroad last January. Flying has never been completely enjoyable for me and I do love trains. So now, more than ever, I will look for Elderhostel sites that are accessible by train or bus. No desire to drive a car any distance, especially by myself. At this point, it's wait and see. No planning in advance. Whatever I do, if I do, will probably be "last minute." But I have been longing to see New Orleans and the January and February programs tempt. And there's much comfort and joy to be found in the company of fellow Elderhostelers. Jeanne Sjovall Providence, RI ______________ From: Sheila Subject: Wild Africa:Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe We participated in this spectacular program between July 10 and 26. It was, without question, the finest EH we've ever done. I've created a website, describing our experiences and including some of our best photographs. The first two pages, Zurich and Interlaken, reflect the 5-day trip we did on our own before joining the EH flight to Johannesburg. I invite you to take a look at this EH via the website. I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have. The website URL is: http://www.execpc.com/~babaskp/ Sheila Plotkin email@example.com _______ Subj: Safe in New York City. So far. From: firstname.lastname@example.org I was booked on United Airlines for a flight from La Guardia in New York to O'Hare in Chicago, but not on Tuesday, the day it all happened. I'd reserved my flight a month ago, so that I could attend the Bat Mitzvah of my granddaugher Robin, age 13. And a whole weekend of festivities had been planned - with family supposed to fly in from the west coast and the south as well as New York. Well, the festivities went on as planned - but not exactly - not with the aunts and uncles and grandparents who had hoped to attend but couldn't .Still, our extended family feels fortunate. Because our flights were'nt on Tuesday, the day it ll happened, but two days later. And we didn't even have to cancel. The airlines did. Ruth PS Right now, I'm looking forward to my annual trip to Chicago for Thanksgiving and I expect to fly. I don't believe the terrorists will try the same terror again - the element of surprise will be gone and hopefully the security will be there. _______________ Subj: Tahoe Elderhostel From: RMcAllester@earthlink.net Nevada - Zephyr Point Presbyterian Conference Center - Sept 9, 2001 This is a magnificently beautiful conference center overlooking the clear blue waters of Lake Tahoe. A very quiet, restful setting for an Elderhostel. The buildings used by the group had a rustic appearance that snuggled into the setting. In spite of the rustic appearance, they were modern and accessible. One of those hillside buildings where you enter from the street on the third floor, walk or take the elevator down to the first floor, where the meeting rooms and the dining room overlook the lawn with the lake beyond that, reflecting the varied skies and sunsets. These buildings were at the bottom of a long, steep driveway and there was no room to park cars near the conference center. They had to be parked near the entrance to the grounds, up the driveway or a flight of 140 steps. If you are not able to negotiate that, get someone else to fetch your car for you. There was at least two hours free time each afternoon, great for those who wanted to sit overlooking the lake with a good book. Not much room for walking unless you wanted to negotiate that steep driveway. If you had a car and the energy to get to it, you could drive the four miles to Stateline to visit the stores or the casinos. The rooms have no telephones or television so on Tuesday morning when news of the New York / Washington disasters reached us, people gathered around portable radios and took their turns on the pay phones. Classes went on as usual. The manager of the conference center made announcements to give us some idea of what was happening. During the rest of the week, he also got on the Internet to help people find out if their flights home were going to go. We had driven, so we don't know what kind of confusion they faced at the Reno airport on Friday when the Elderhostel ended. Tuesday afternoon we had a four hour free period when most of us carpooled to a boat landing to take a ride across the lake to Emerald Bay and back on a stern wheeler. It was a great escape from the events of the day. The food was excellent. There was always a great salad bar. The beautiful dining hall was three stories high. COURSES: Japanese-American Confinement During WWII: Our instructor, Daniel Ogata, was a retired Presbyterian minister, a Japanese-American who had grown up in an agricultural community near Stockton, CA. He had been sent to high school in Japan, then at age 21 was suddenly rounded up with all other Japanese-Americans on the west coast and confined to an Internment (Concentration) Camp. His family was sent to a camp in Arkansas, in a swampy area that was subject to flooding. Most of the camps, in California, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and Colorado, were in extremely arid desert environments. All were kept behind barbed wire with armed guard stations, in very inadequate barracks. He related his own story in detail and the experiences of many others as they were confined and then the stories of the conditions they found as they tried to return to normal lives. Daniel and many others chose to settle in other parts of the country. Most had no homes left to return to and had to start over. Storytelling in the Bible: Another retired Presbyterian Minister taught this class. Most of the selected stories were from the Old Testament. They were presented as stories from their time, compared with fables of more recent eras or oral histories of other cultures. Anyone who insists on a very literal interpretation of the bible would have been very unhappy. At the same time, it made some of us feel like we were in a church camp instead of an Elderhostel. Lake Tahoe's Growing Pains: This was taught by a collection of teachers. We were visited by a Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) impersonator. He told us of his visits to Lake Tahoe and his other experiences in the world. It was if we were talking to Mark Twain. A member of the Washoe Tribe told us how, prior to the coming of the white man, her tribe had used the Lake Tahoe basin as a summer residence. She also gave us some in depth feeling for the lives of the tribe during that era. A program director from the US Forest Service told us of the diversified programs that are run by the Forest Service in the basin. A representative of the Tahoe Regional Protection Agency was unable to come because of the tragedy of the week but our leaders gave us a good overview of the measures that are being taken to protect the extremely clear waters of the lake. We also enjoyed a field trip the Tahoe Heritage Center where we had a guided tour of the Pope House, a home that was owned by the very wealthy of the roaring twenties as a summer retreat. Some of the great names in the entertainment world of that era came to play, ie. Rudolph Valentino. Had the September 11 tragedy not taken place, this would have been a truly idyllic Elderhostel. Bob Grace McAllester