Elderhostel Notebook #98 February 3,  2002

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

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    From the Editor's Notebook

We wish the new management team well as they take over the
elderhostel helm and face many problems including a five million
dollar deficit.

All institutions change and evolve.  We hope Elderhostel as it
evolves will use the best of the new concepts to forge a fiscally
viable organization. May it return to some of the basic concepts
of the past service to seniors that captured many of us oldtimers
who were children of the depression; infused with values of
social expansion and fiscal contraction or put another way,
friendly tightwads.

    Comments and Queries

From: Frances Harden 

Is there anyone out there who is registered for the Adventures
Afloat in Alaska, beginning July 9th?


Subj: 	Comments Requested about "Christmas in Oaxaca"

From: 	dbhearn@attglobal.net

My wife and I have just signed up for this program. We would
appreciate hearing from anyone who may have done this program. I
know it usually fills up fast. My web address is


Subj: 	Ecoventures/Central Vancouver Island

From: 	dustin200@mediaone.net

I am visiting central Vancouver Island at Duncan, BC in the
spring. Can anyone tell me about this Program #61396-0421-01
called "Ecoventures/Central Vancouver Island"?

Donald Dustin dustin200@mediaone.net


Subj: 	Erie Canal   Saguenay River

From: 	mglaser3@optonline.net

I am considering taking the Erie Canal   Saguenay River cruise in
June.  I'd love to hear from anyone who has taken it and can
evaluate it for me.  Thanks.  Mglaser3@optonline.net.

Incidentally, in looking through the cruise package, I notice
that most of them specify "extensive walking."  How about more
for people who can't put in 3 miles a day plus standing for
hours?  Elderhostel, you're missing the boat!.


Subj: 	Galveston TX Elderhostel

From: 	rbranchor@juno.com

In two weeks (Feb 14) I'm leaving for a Texas  break including 5
days in Galveston and it doesn't sound too good from the initial
flyer I received . Apparently, this Elderhostel has a program
that ends at 3 PM daily and they haul you back to the hotel  for
resting until 6.30.  The hotel has no restaurant and only offers
a continental breakfast. It sounds very sparse and I wonder
whether anyone who's been to Galveston has suggestions for
sightseeing on one's own to implement the program. This
Elderhostel is run by a very local college - not University of
Texas- which may explain a lot , Thanks a lot for IMMEDIATE


From: 	W Ohaver@AOL.COM

I am interested in the review of the Elderhostel program Voyage
of Discovery; Marquesas and Easter Island Adventure Study Program
# 13427.  Please respond to Wanda Ohaver e-mail wohaver@aol.com
or phone information to 309-245-2210. I am especially interested
in the accommodations aboard ship,The Aranui



From: "Peter E. Abresch Sr." 

Tip A Canoe, the third Jim Dandy Elderhostel Mystery , just came
out in paperback.

Peter Abresch
Author of Bloody Bonsai, Killing Thyme, Tip A Canoe


New Orleans /People Program is offering a new program on New
Orleans Jazz--there will be 5 programs in 2002. Great New Orleans
Jazz musicians play just for Elderhostel. Tom Piazza, Jasson
Berry, Bruce Raeburn and George Schmidt teach the classes. Dates
for five night programs are: 2/24, 3/17, 4/21, 10/20, 11/17.

We are considering going to Portland, Oregon June 9-14 for the
Oregon Wonder Program sponsored by Elderhostel West. We would
love to receive some information about Elderhostel West and or
the program "Oregon Wonder." Any information is greatly

Hilda and Bernie Edwards

    Program Reviews

       Sailing in the Netherlands
       Eckerd College, computer skills
       Russia; United Methodist Church, Asheville, N.C
       Natural Wonders of New Zealand
       Phoenix:  Signature City
       Rome Christmas trip
       Armstrong Atlantic State University, Savannah, GA

Sailing in the Netherlands

We attended the post 9/11 Elderhostel by this name.
There is also a June one that is wait-listed for 2002.   This
year the Eenhoorn ship we sailed on will again be used:  the beds
are comfortable long bunks in a pretty narrow room with private
washbasin   shared bathroom with adjoining cabins.  Luggage has
to be kept light, for it goes under the bottom bunk or in a small
stowage open space at the end of each bunk.   Outer jackets and
rain gear can be hung in the hallway outside your cabin.   The
main cabin where we ate, had sessions to learn about Holland's
Golden Years, navigation, or other topics, is cozy and reached by
a short ladder with several smaller steps from there down into
the passenger cabins.

Availability of hot water for showers depended upon whether the
cook was calling upon the boiler to supply his needs or the
generator was busy providing engine power (going into or out of
harbors or when there wasn't time to sail or enough wind
available.  You soon learned to be flexible.

They hire a cook each time,   so can't speak to who you'll
have--but the two that fed us were very good.   And you are right
there as the great smells emerge from the cook's efforts.   They
kept us so full we scarcely bought anything to eat when on-shore.
  The final night we were treated to a very fancy seafood buffet!

We loved our friendly cheerful Captain--but alas,  he will have
been replaced, having bought a boat of his own for this year.
(And to our inquiries,  said his boat doesn't have enough
bathroom facilities to satisfy Elderhostel requirement!)  He was
assisted by a tall classic blonde Dutch First Mate who tolerated
our amateur efforts at being sailors with good humour.  We
learned that on the 2001 June sailing,  not enough able-bodied
willing sailors were aboard,   so they could only use two sails!
  Sad to miss the thrill of whipping along with all 7 sails
unfurled as we did with an abundance of people willing and able
to help. This part is voluntary, and instruction is provided.
Sails go up or down with MAN OR WOMAN-POWER doing the winching.
Our guys would cooperate and trade off when one got winded,  and
that worked fine.

The IJsselmeer (former Zuider Zee) where you visit the many small
seaports is relatively shallow,   and the boat is rounded broadly
making it quite a painless sail for landlubbers.  The harbors put
you right up next to the little villages where you can explore
and get in lots of walking--sometimes visiting several in one
day.   Topside there is a well-like rectangular seating area
where you can watch the scenery and enjoy outdoors.   Caveat--we
had lots of rain in September--but only one really miserable stay
inside day.  Just put on your slicker and go off on shore
explorations as the Dutch do!

Just a marvelous peaceful way to visit this delightful area--like
living in another era of time.

Vel (  Bill) Dysart

This is an active type of Elderhostel.   We walked for nearly
three hours one time and nearly two another in Amsterdam on fine
guided walks,  but keeping up with a 6+ foot Dutch guide who did
a splendid job.


Eckerd College, computer skills

For the third time, we attended an Elderhostel at Eckerd College
main campus in St. Petersburg, FL, Dec. 16-23. The subject was
Computers, a program will be repeated in January with the same
instructor, Jim Wikoff. Each of the 20 participants had our own
computer to use in the lab where most of the instruction took
place. There was also time for exploring the Internet, checking
our e-mail, etc. each day.

Jim is a patient and kind teacher, using humor and good nature
with even the most dense novices, while providing help and advice
for more advanced users. Entertainment was provided on four
nights, and on Friday afternoon we were taken downtown to explore
and visit museums.

The accommodations are new and only steps away from the
Marriott-run cafeteria (excellent food) and classrooms. With
cable television and a telephone with free local calls in each
room, Eckerd gives a lot to its participants. We were also
provided opportunities for vigorous campus walks three mornings
during the week and a tai-chi session one night. We all agreed we
should have had that each day after being in the lab.

Eckerd offers a variety of programs both in St. Petersburg and
other campuses, including a city experience of St. Augustine
which several of our group had attended and highly recommended.
If you want warm weather (it was in the low eighties and pleasant
seventies) in the winter time, this is the place for you.

Don and Kay Cornelius

"Russia; Nation of Turmoil and a Rich Cultural Heritage."
United Methodist Church, Asheville, N.C
My Elderhostel No. 60.

After the demise of the Soviet Union, which country contains the
greatest landmass in the world? If your answer is Russia, and you
feel this is an important subject, then this Elderhostel should
attract your attention.

This was a study of Russia without tears, as we were housed in a
large mountain lodge on a hill overlooking a lovely lake. The
private rooms and bathrooms were luxurious. Any of the buffet
meals could have fed several Russian large families. Featured
were fresh vegetables, several main courses, and a dessert table
that inspired "oohs" and "aahs."

It was also a week of Russia without vodka, as it was sponsored
by the educational agency of the United Methodist Church.

The beautiful grounds, 40 minutes west of Asheville, N.C.
featured hiking trails, a mountain nature center, golf course,
museums, and a bookstore. It was difficult to leave.

This well-organized Elderhostel involved a thousand-year panorama
of Russia's development, its history, culture and politics, as
well as its art and music. Each of the three instructors had
lived in Russia and gave us interesting personal perspectives on
that complex nation Patricia Cowen, Perry Kelly, and Dick
Trevarthen gave us their full attention and socialized with us
after class. I am sure that everyone appreciated his or her
teaching skills and friendship as much as I did.

In addition, there were walking tours of the grounds, and
entertainment every evening, including photography of the Smoky
Mountains participatory games during a "Halloween Surprise" and
the one and only Gary Cardin, a unique mountain raconteur who was
belly-clutching funny.

 From your friendly Elderholic, Sid Sid Kessler

Natural Wonders of New Zealand

This was 16 October/6 November 2001 - Natural Wonders of New
Zealand. The program was in conjunction with Experiment in
International Living, and included a 5-day home stay. We chose
this particular program because of the home-stay component.

Overall, this is a wonderful program. It is exceptionally well
managed. Ian and Val Anthony, the coordinators of the first part
of the program, and Sheila Copas and her sister Maureen,
coordinators of the second part, were wonderful. They all did a
great job, and left us feeling like we were old friends, too.
They were able to handle the various problems that invariably
arise with speed and effectiveness.

There were 23 in the program, from all over the US. Two other
couples were scheduled - one couple cancelled because of a family
illness, and I don't know about the other. Of course, there was
concern because of its being so soon after 9/11, but other than
some long security checks, there were no problems. The 12-hour
flight from LA to Auckland seemed even longer, but we acclimated
to the time change quickly.

We spent two days in Auckland, North Island, in a small motel. We
toured several museums, parks, and overlooks in the city. We were
also took a ferry ride to a small town across the harbor to walk
around and get some flavor of the country.

 From Auckland, we took a bus south to the small city of Taupo,
situated on Lake Taupo. Our motel in Taupo was a very nice
family-owned motel overlooking Lake Taupo with Mount Ruapehu
(volcano) visible on the far side of the lake. While in Taupo (5
days), we were able to see geothermal areas, a Maori village
built in a thermal field and a Maori ceremony while we were
there. We had a trip to the National Park and volcano area near
town. We visited a bungee-jumping area, waterfalls, a sheep farm
demonstration, a botanical garden with amazing rhododendrons,
swimming in a hot-spring pool. One evening, we were paired up to
have dinner with a local couple/family/person. This was a
delightful evening, and we were able to visit with "our" folks
again at our farewell dinner.

 From Taupo, we took our bus to Napier to begin our home-stay.
Napier has a large original art-deco area which we toured. Our
home-stay families were amazingly well matched - we were with a
delightful couple in their 70s, very active, hikers, gardeners.
They fed us, entertained us, showed us "real" life in NZ, and
left us alone occasionally, too. A wonderful experience for us.
Also in the area, as a group, we toured a working sheep station,
and a very large gannet nesting colony nearby.

 From Napier, we flew to Wellington (the capital) for the day,
touring the city, visiting Parliament, etc. In the afternoon, we
flew to
Christchurch, South Island, for the last part of our program.
Here we stayed in a YMCA - spare, but comfortable rooms, private
baths, elevators. There was a small cafeteria and a coffee shop.
Meals were either at the YMCA, or we were given an allowance to
eat on our own.  While in Christchurch, we did some city tours,
went to a nearby area of Akaroa - a seaside French settlement,
and a train/bus tour to the mountains that divide the South
Island. Prior to leaving the program, we spent a morning at the
Antarctic Centre - a wonderful facility. (NB - almost all the
ships and planes that go to Antarctica to McMurdo, etc., leave
from Christchurch, and the area is full of scientists, etc., from
all over the world for that purpose.

The food was always good - especially if you like lamb and
seafood. The group was very congenial. The Kiwis are great! They
went out of their way to be hospitable. And as soon as we were
found out to be Yanks, people made a point of offering their
sympathy and warm feelings about 9/11. Our feelings were still
raw, and their kindnesses were greatly appreciated.

We would definitely recommend this program on all counts. I'll be
glad to answer any questions you might have.



Phoenix:  Signature City

I happened to find this program online since it wasn't listed in
the Arizona section of the catalog.  It would be helpful if the
signature city programs were included in the state listings as
well as at the front of the catalog.

This was an excellent program sponsored by Grand Canyon
University.  We stayed at a Ramada Inn located in downtown
Phoenix within walking distance of the sports arenas, shopping
areas and many good restaurants.  The facilities were pleasant
and quiet at night and safe for walking, unusual for a downtown

Our coordinators were a married couple who were enthusiastic and
good company.  There were some glitches with time schedules when
we were either rushed or had to wait for the bus. But these were
minor and can easily be fine-tuned by the sponsoring institution.

Every day of this Elderhostel program was excellent.  We heard
from a botanist, an archaeologist and an architect who lectured
in the morning and also accompanied us on a field trip after
lunch.   Each was knowledgeable and entertaining and prepared us
well for the afternoon excursion.  These included the extensive
botanical gardens, American Indian digging sites, the Heard
Museum and the state capitol building.  A tour of Frank Lloyd
Wright's Taliesin West was outstanding.  We were accompanied by
an architect who had studied with Wright and who teaches at the
school of architecture now based there.

Evening programs included the trip to the symphony where we
attended a post-performance chat with the conductor, tickets to
"My Fair Lady," and a very enjoyable presentation by a young
Navaho who makes and plays several kinds of flutes and drums.

The weather in January was perfect, sunny and in the 70s and we
were lucky to have such a congenial group of traveling
companions. We recommend this program highly and plan to visit
another "signature city" soon.

Tom and Gail Scullion
Greensboro, NC

Rome Christmas trip

I was in Rome on the Christmas/New Year Festive Holiday trip. I
discovered that Rome is such a delightful place to go. It's a
walking city, both day and night, on tour, or alone. There was
much to see, not possible to see, as you probably all know. The
Elderhostel part of the trip is what I need to talk about. The
flight arrangements were perfect for me.

The location of the hotel was fine. I was able to walk everywhere
I wanted to go. The hotel was so-so. Spartan is a good word to
describe it. It was clean, and I was warm enough. Some weren't.
The food was the worst I've ever had on an Elderhostel. The same
breakfast everymorning, cornflakes, tang, yogurt, hard rolls,
coffee, period. I didn't like any of the other food either.
(Oops, forgot a couple of pastas were okay). Some of us took
turns buying pannetone and having that for breakfast. We lunched
and dined out when we could.

Last minute arrangements were made to attend midnight mass at St
Peter's and it was all messed up. Taxi's arrived in midst of
dinner, etc. New Years Eve celebration was poorly planned as
well. Some of us chose to go out for a nice dinner and watch
fireworks from hotel roof.

Some of the lecturers and guides were outstanding.And we did tour
some fine places. And, of course,the people in our group were one
of the best parts of the trip. We made our own fun. I guess my
disappointments were the food/hotel and the holiday
entertainment.My excitement was being in Rome. I'm sure I'll go
back there again...with or without Elderhostel.


Armstrong Atlantic State University, Savannah, GA
Program #10112-1104-01
November 4 - 9, 2001

Savannah's Historical Journey
Historical Beaufort: Small Town Southern Charm
Popular Songs in America: Colonial Music's Influence Over the

The accommodations for this session were at the Towne Place
Suites, approximately one mile from the campus.  One could walk
the distance in about 35 minutes, otherwise a shuttle went
between locations; but most participants used their own cars.
The facility received high praise for its amenities: kitchenette
facilities, comfortable, roomy space.  Food was served in the
college cafeteria and was typical of that type of cuisine.  An
unbruised banana was difficult to find, and often there was no
skim milk.

Coordinator Sheila Meredith matched her enthusiasm with her
efficiency.  She was attuned to our needs and had a
well-developed and planned program.

David Noble led us through the history of Savannah with a short
slide introduction and a bus trip to and around the city, with
stops to walk through neighborhoods, squares, a cemetery, and
into two homes.  The trip lasted from 10 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with a
stop for a picnic lunch by the Savannah River.  David shared a
wealth of information that made our trip very meaningful.

Liesl Noble, David's wife, took over the next day with a bus trip
to Beaufort Island, SC, and we compared and contrasted the
architecture between Savannah and Beaufort.  Liesl led us at a
good pace and her knowledge was extensive.  We went into the
Verdier House led by docents who told us about the furnishings
and lifestyle of the period.  We had picnic lunches by the
Beaufort River and had an added bonus of having local musicians
perform as part of a community noontime gathering.  After lunch
we had the option of browsing/shopping on our own or join Liesl
to another section of the town. I chose to follow Liesl and we
saw more lovely homes and gardens.

One thing we noticed was that Beaufort homes had larger gardens.
As we were admiring a particular bush and wondering what it was,
the owner of the home drove in and told us it was a Sasanqua
camellia,  then invited us into his garden. It was very lovely
with lush green foliage and beautifully landscaped. There was a
pool and he obligingly turned on the power so that water flowed
from the spigots into the pool. It was a full day, leaving at
9:00 a.m. and getting back to the campus at 5:00 p.m.

Jamie Keena led the session on the music portion by chronicling
the way music has evolved from the Revolutionary War until the
present.  He used a guitar, banjo, concertina and ukulele to
accompany himself, singing lyrics that reflected not only the
musical taste of the day, but how the music led troupes into
battle.  His presentation complemented the historical background
we had been hearing about the previous sessions.

Also included in our program was a talk by Dr. Chris Neal, who
showed slides and talked about the art of Andrew Wyeth whose
works were part of a traveling exhibition at the Telfair Museum
of Arts and Sciences in Savannah. On another day we had a visit
by "Robert E. Lee" portrayed by Jim Adams, who told us of his
days following the Civil War and some reminiscences of the war.

This was my fifteen EH and compared well to the others I
attended.  I would highly recommend it.

Marcia Zientek