Elderhostel Notebook #21 Jan 1, 1998

Elderhostel Notebook  is a production of The Senior Group, an
informal group of older netizens.

It provides a place for elderhostlers to share information about
Elderhosteling and other learning experiences related to travel.

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    From the Editors Notebook

    Elderhostel Reviews


    Editor's Notebook

I want to thank all of you who have contributed reviews and
articles this past year and especially Billee Hamm who has
supplied us with photos to illustrate the reports she has
written. We have an upcoming report on her barge trip in France
that will be illustrated.

Just a reminder that the web page edition does have a photo
section and you can send me photos to go with your report. Send
them in a SASE and I will return them after I scan them for the
web page.

You will notice that one (the last one) of the personals in this
issue comes from one of the several forums about elderhostel on
the internet.

There are three such forums that I am aware of (please let me
know if you know of others) :

America On Line Seniornet

If you are a member of America On Line use the keyword
"Seniornet" then when that screen appears click on "forums" and
from there to Arts and Leisure- then to list topics and then
click on "Elderhostel". This is by far the most active of the net
forums on elderhostel, but also the most exclusive as you must be
an AOL member (but not necessarily a SeniorNet member) to use it.

Even though it is accessed by the keyword SeniorNet, you do not
need to be a Seniornet member to use it. The same is true of the
AARP travel forum on AOL which is accessed first by the Keyword
AARP and while not dedicated to Elderhostel does sometimes have
posts relating to it.

Currently in the AOL SeniorNet elderhostel forum posters there
are discussing a special elderhostel program that they have
organized for the San Juan Islands (Puget Sound area) in April.
Although it is not listed in the spring catalog, It is open to
anyone eligible for elderhostel programs. If you are interested
contact me at my AOL address, sierrajimo@aol.com and I can put
you in contact with one or another of the organizers.

SeniorNet RoundTables Elderhostel Forum

SeniorNet also has a web site at http://www.seniornet.org and
from the home page there you can click on RoundTables and go to
the login page for that series of forums. You will have to supply
a name and an-email and create a password. Once done you can use
the same password to access the area. There is no charge for this
and you do not have to be a member of seniornet. Once on the
seniorNet RoundTables welcome page you can click on a master
index and find the Elderhostel forum. It is hosted by Joan Grimes
who would welcome any e-mail enquiries about the forum. Her
e-mail address is  jgrimes@wwisp.com

Thirdage Elderhostel Forum

The web senior site, http://www.thirdage.com,  also has a
sign-in/password entry to the site and a series of forums. The
elderhostel forum is located in the Travel forum section and is
hosted by Karen whose e-mail is  Karen1440@aol.com

There are no newsgroups (usenet) that I know of devoted to
elderhostel although some of the travel and/or senior related
ones do sometimes have elderhostel related posts.

   Elderhostel Reviews

University of South Alabama off campus Gulf Shores, Al.


We attended an University of South Alabama off campus in Gulf
Shores, Al. October 26-31. We were housed in a very nice Quality
Inn on the beach. It had an indoor swiming pool and jacuzzi and
excercise room. The food was very good, the bed comfortable and
the room large with a coffee maker and coffee. The three subjects
were:The art of writing, an author who makes a very amusing and
enjoyable class; The law, presented by a retired judge also and
excellent presentation and very informative;Golf. The two classes
were held in the morning then we went to the Woodlands Golf
Course and had two hours of lessons and practice from 1:00 P.M.
till 3:00 P.M. This was our 16th Elderhostel and we would rate it
as a 10 in all respects on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being high.
There was an optional golf tournament on Thursday afternoon. Also
a trip to Fort Morgan. I am a beginner golfer and enjoyed it very
much. They video tape your swing and then go over the film with
you. Great fun and great people. We liked it so well that we're
going back there in Janurary and do golf again. HHUBB444@aol.com



      7-12 December 1997, Charlie Dolson cdolson@ipa.net

Lodging: We were housed within the park at the state operated
Mather Lodge. The rooms were modern, clean, and quiet. Not all
rooms have bathtubs so if you prefer a tub to a shower, you
should make this known to the coordinators. The dining room and
the classroom were in the same facility.

Meals: We ordered, without any restrictions, from the lodge
dining room menu. However, we had an unusually small class - only
nine participants - and larger groups would probably be handled
differently. The only complaint about the meals was that there
were no vegetables offered.

Classes: The classes will vary at each future Elderhostel. Ours
were uniformly excellent with outstanding instructors. The
coordinators obviously take great care in selecting instructors
and it certainly shows. I think you can safely assume that the
same high standard will be met at future Elderhostels. Our
classes and, very likely, future classes were strongly oriented
to Arkansas specifics (geology, Civil War history, wildlife).

Free Time: There were a couple of intermissions each day - about
an hour and a half each, sometimes a little more. You could get
in a short hike but there was not time for the longer walks. It's
a beautiful location and I would have preferred some longer
breaks - others (not hiking types) did not concur.

Coordinators: Both Karen Westcamp and Steve Dunlap are employees
of the Arkansas Parks Department currently assigned at Petit
Jean. Both were always available, always helpful, always
courteous. They organized several short hikes and were very
knowledgeable of the local flora, fauna, and history. Each did an
excellent job.

Summary: This is a surprisingly good Elderhostel. The outdoor
activities are pleasant in the mild winter weather; there are no
bugs; and, with the leaves down, you can easily see lay of the





This was our first Elderhostel experience and the bottom line
seems to be that we are anxious to try it again -- despite some
disappointments with the first choice that we made.

This Elderhostel is held at the Saxony Hotel in Miami Beach --
strictly kosher food, strictly kosher environment, right on the
beach although none of us, not unexpectedly, had oceanfront
accommodations.  The hotel is quite seedy and in need of repair
and refurbishment dating back to World War II or thereabouts
without having had much in the way of loving care since then.
Despite that, for the amount of time we spent in the admittedly
shabby rooms, we slept well and we had all the necessary
accoutrements -- good showers, private baths, etc.  The food was
kosher, simple and plentiful.

In terms of the courses, the course on the Constitution was
taught by a Dr. Jack Lippman, a brilliant emeritus professor from
Vassar and SUNY who challenged us during the classes and was
endlessly available to discourse with great wit and unlimited
knowledge on every subject with which he was confronted.  We
cannot recommend Dr. Lippman too highly in terms of his grasp of
the subject matter but even more importantly in terms of the new
way of looking at many things with which he left us and from
which we will reap advantages for many years to come.

The second course on Jewish musical comedy songwriters was taught
by an earnest and very pleasant amateur actor and scholar of the
subject.  He was difficult to compare with Dr. Lippman (as anyone
would be) in that he read his course which detracted to some
extent from the subject matter.  He did play some great tapes but
seemed to think that the group was more interested in salacious
gossip about these personalities rather than the substantive
issues involved.  We thought he was wrong.

The third course, which had the greatest promise of being
interesting and challenging, concerned the sometimes cooperative
and sometimes stormy relationships between Black and Jewish
Americans.  Unfortunately, it was taught by a lady with an
academic ax to grind, who also read endless facts from index
cards (rather than discussing the intricacies of this endlessly
fascinating subject).  She failed, in our opinion, to mine the
possibilities with which this topic was bursting at the seams.

Despite all of the above, we would recommend attending this
course to anyone who has any interest in these subjects.  If
there are any further questions that we could answer, we would be
pleased to do so.  We can be reached at: sakafish@aol.com.


College of the Atlantic on the Ketch Angelique.


I attended an Elderhostel in June on a windjammer out of Camden
Maine. It was run by the College of the Atlantic on the Ketch
Angelique. The accomodations were very cramped, but that was to
be expected on a small ship. However everyone knew what to expect
and I think all enjoyed it. The food was excellent. The cook did
a marvelous job in a tiny galley. The topic was Maine coastal
history and  natural history. The historian/coordinator on board
was excellent. The naturalist was not very good. I think he was a
last minute replacement. He had not met the coordinator before
the trip. It was the 3rd Elderhostel of the season, so that was
surprising. However Bill the historian filled in a lot of the
gaps. He was very knowledgeable. Incidently he was a retired
National Park service ranger who did the Elderhostels for a
little extra money.

We cruised from Camden to Bar Harbor among the islands and
anchored in coves at night. Some nights we went ashore to explore
a bit. We spent about a half day at Bar Harbor at COA. Some
people walked into town. The weather was a bit chilly except for
the day in Bar Harbor which was hot. The waters off Maine stay
pretty chilly all summer, so this is normal.

I would recommend this to anyone who likes the water and doesn't
mind the close quarters that are necessary on a small ship.


California State University San Marcos San Diego
 "Wild Animals"

April l,l995   BAHamm@webtv.net (Billie A. Hamm)

Lodging:  In a highrise hotel with a great view of city and  bay.
Rooms-usual Quality Court. type.    Located maybe 2 blocks from
center of town and 1 mile from airport.  easy walk downtown.

Food:  catered motel food ( served in class room areaj)  not a
very imiganitive menu and not any selection to speak of.  very

Program itself very heavy on lectures but quality speakers (
Aminal psychologists, Marty, the founder of Elderhostel, and
others of te same caliber)  two lectures in AM ( starting at
8:30) and two after lunch. Had two feild trips, San Diego Zoo and
the Wild Animal Park.  Well done and got to see and go behind
scenes at these two places.

Must admit, we played hookey several afternoons as had not been
to this area before.  So many sights to see !  Best overview of
whats there is the Trolley ride thats narrated and allows on and
offs.  Plan on 3-4 hours for this. Great seafood resturants in
the area and we ate out a couple of nights. Excellent!!!  Also
spent one afternoon at Balboa Park-Museums, IMAX etc.  very
worthwhile and inteesting place.

We flew in to city  and picked up a rental car which you need if
you want to see more than you  can from the trolley.  Free
parking at the hotel.

It is my understanding that this program has since moved closer
to the bay area (right on it) and the sister program on
"Dolphins" is now staying where we stayed. Lots of people had
done Dolphins first and some were staying for one that started
the week following.  They complement each other and if you lhave
the time and the money that would be the thing to do.

Our first elderhostel experience and it was a great one.  Only
negative was they did not have enough free time to do the city
and too many hours of lectures for my liking.  also not much
planned for evening activities-actually practically nothing.  Not
a good one to go on as a single person unless you get a really
compatable roommate.

feel free to inquire about this if any more questions.

note- In the web page edition of Elderhostel Notebook This report
is illustrated with photos taken by Billee Hamm


From:  Desertbil@aol.com

Just returned from a delightful week in Carmel Valley -- Hidden
Valley Performing Arts Center.  The two major topics were Scott
Joplin-The man and his music, and Mozart, the man and his music.
Also Natural History of Monterey Peninsula.  Unfortunately, the
Scott Joplin expert fell ill. Peter Meckel, the Coordinator,
found some substitutes who were good, but not of the same caliber
as the other staff.  The other two courses were outstanding.  An
added attraction was a dance/exercise class which was very
expertly handled. Accomodations were comfortable but not
luxurious.  Food was good and plentiful.


Indiana University   Purdue


The main topic was architecture and even tho that was not the
reason for my going I found it very interesting.  They have
several buildings by famous architects in that town....churches,
library, firestations,schools and others that I can't think of.
We visited several and had very interesting lectures by the
University Staff.  Cummins Engineering is there and they were a
big sponsor too.

The food was outstanding and at a different place most every
evening altho we were housed at a nice motel.  The classes were
held at several locations as well as the university site on the
edge of town.  I was very impressed with the hospitality.....it
was great.  I would have to get my info out to refresh my memory
because I attended one since then at the University of Akron in
Ohio since then.  It was good too. Sincerely, Bea Black  (a
displaced Buckeye in Missouri)


From: Marta s773 

Hilton Head Island Elderhostel

I just completed a great EH at Hilton Head Island.  We stayed at
the Holiday Inn Ocean side.  I enjoyed wonderful walks on the
beach.  The program was Ecology of the area,  Plantations, and
the books of Pat Conroy.  We discussed four of his books and saw
two movies.  This southern writer is well crafted in his art and
you get a good picture of  the south in the early 60's.  We had a
chance to visit Savannah and Beaufort, where the author taught in
a one room black school.  The instructors were excellent and the
one who did the PLantations was a great story teller and used no
notes.   I would recommend highly.   Marta S773@AOL.com


From: Roz Cole 

There is an intergenerational EH at Pence Springs in West
Virginia that sounds great. The program includes magic and
rafting. If anyone has tried that one I'd love to hear about it.
We tried to get into it last year, but were too far down the
waitlist. We are trying again this year.

Aloha, Roz Cole


From:  SUSU3374@aol.com

I am considering an intergenerational elderhostel in June in
Chatanooga at the aquarium--would take my 8 year old grandson..
Any input for me?

Thanks Susan


From:  JanClyde @aol.com

We attended the University of Texas/Brownsville in January, 1994.
 Perhaps I shouldn't even discuss this one, because surely they
have "cleaned up their act" by now.  This is the only EH we have
attended that we didn't throughly enjoy.  Facility was fine, food
okay, but the program left a lot to be desired.  They were
repeating this program every week at the time we were there.

It was a one topic program on the history of Texas and Mexico -
local members of the Brownsville Historic Assn. were the
instructors and some of them were quite good.  The coordinator,
however, was disorganized and not in the least enthusiastic.  She
had several friends ( local college students) who were always
around, but didn't seem to have a real role in the scheme of
things, other than to act as meal companions for the coordinator.
Our orientation/get acquainted session that Sunday night was
extremely brief when she realized it was Super Bowl Sunday and
told us she knew we would rather be in our rooms watching that.

The weather was dismal, except for one day and apparently this is
very unusual in that area in January.  It rained almost
constantly and as a consequence many field trips were cancelled.
A lot of free time scheduled and, believe me, there is nothing to
do in Brownsville when it rains.  We did venture over the border
to Matamooras  to dinner and to dinner in Brownsville one night
on our own.  Also drove to South Padre Island for a look around
(but too foggy to see). The one nice day was one of scheduled
free time and no effort was made to have a field trip at that
time since we couldn't have them earlier.

Altogether a disappointment, doubly so because we had two close
friends with us experiencing their first Elderhostel.  Needless
to say, they haven't been to another although I have finally
talked them into giving it another try - this time the Peoples'
Program in New Orleans - bound to be one they will really enjoy.
We went this past November and absolutely loved it.  Sorry to be
so negative about Brownsville, but unless changes have been made
I'd hate to see anyone else waste their time and money.


editors note, I believe some of the conditions mentioned here
have been corrected- would appreciate any more recent reports on
this elderhostel.



From:  an unhappy camper

typing with one finger left hand.  right arm in sling. went to
elderhostel in ventura.  arrived early- could not register at
hotel till register at EH. put car in garage. walking back to
hotel, fell and broke elbow. called elderhostile.  they said no
show. i complained...they said get a doctors verification and i
might get a part of deposit back.


if you go---- read all the fine print and check with your lawyer
to avoid penalties and pain!

editor's note: This post taken from one of the several internet
forums on elderhostel raises several issues about Elderhostel
Inc. policy regarding check-in and  deposit and program fee
refunds. While we have some sympathy with the writer we feel he
did not fully understand the elderhostel policy or the reasons
for it. This is a topic we will be exploring in a feature article
in an upcoming issue of the notebook