Elderhostel Notebook #22 Feb. 1, 1998

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    From the Editors Notebook

    Elderhostel Reviews


    Editor's Notebook

Maggie and I have been Snowbirding (all too brief a flight) in
Arizona this January, and while we didn't attend any
elderhostels, we did scope out one site,the White Stallion Ranch,
near Tucson adjacent to the National Saguaro Monument, a
beautiful setting. We went to lunch there as you can have a
meal there as a special guest if you make a reservation.

It hosts a type of Elderhostel that I call "edge of the season
elderhostel" These are elderhostels that are held in seasonal
resort areas where the resort takes a few weeks either at the
beginning, or the end of the regular tourist season and makes the
facility available for elderhostels.

This can be a good deal both for the resort and the
elderhosteler. The resort gets to stretch its normal season and
the elderhosteler gets a bargain in terms of excellent
accommodations and setting. You can identify them by the dates
programs are held in relation to the setting.

While there we asked about the elderhostel programs that the
University of Arizona hosts there  and learned they are usually
held during May (can be very hot then) and September and early
October as well as  between Thanksgiving and Christmas when
regular tourist business is slow.

We have been to several elderhostels of the "edge of the season"
type, both  north and south and were happy with the result. If you choose
an "edge of the season," you must remember to take warm or cool weather
clothing depending on which season you are edging.

   Elderhostel Reviews

Big Sky - Western Montana College
December 14-20, 1997   Jack and Anne Schlaefli jslaf@cyberramp.net
Cross-country Skiing, Grizzlies of Yellowstone and History of Montana

Coordinator:  Jackie Zadau of Western Montana College set up the
perfect schedule for our small group of eleven. She participated
in our activities and was very personable and outgoing.  We had
classes each morning, lunch, then cross-country skiing each
afternoon at Lone Mountain and West Yellowstone (with free time
if your chose). We also had an hour of class after dinner.

Classes:  We had outstanding instructors.  Cross country skiing
was taught in a professional manner and adapted to the level of
the participants.  The grizzlies of Yellowstone are fascinating
and the firsthand experiences with the bears provided
entertaining learning.  A comprehensive discussion of the
reintroduction of the wolf into Yellowstone was an unexpected and
delightful addition.  The History of Montana was presented in a
monologue by a well qualified historian.  This complex subject
was addressed in a way that made us want to learn more.

Lodging:  We stayed at Buck's T-4 Lodge - Best Western.  It had a
rustic log décor with a beautiful, massive stone fireplace in the
lobby.  Rooms were spacious motel-type with a place for skis.
The staff was very friendly and helpful.  It was obvious that the
coordinator had them well prepared to serve the Elderhostel

Meals:  The food was very good!  Since we were a small group, we
were served our dinner.  A hardy breakfast and lunch was buffet
style.  We were surprised to have spring salads and a variety of
vegetables in the midst of winter in Montana.  The T-4 restaurant
has a reputation of being one of the best in the area which we
agree with after eating there on our stay over.

Summary:  This was our first Elderhostel and it won't be our
last!   We obviously enjoyed the program and the coordinator.  We
also enjoyed meeting and  being with all the members of our small


Ancient People of Chaco Canyon: Their Mysteries Revealed

This was our first ever Elderhostel back in May 1995.  We had
submitted our applications in time for the lottery and were
rather disappointed when we were notified that we were 17th and
18th on the waiting list with chances "fair to poor" that we
would get into the program.  Several weeks later we were notified
that we had moved up to second and third on the list.  Then a
week or two before the start of the program, we received a note
asking if we would be willing to go on the "standby" list,
meaning that we might have less than 48 hours notice in which to
get to the Elderhostel.  Since we live only a day's drive from
Albuquerque, we said yes.  The following day we got word that we
were in!

Sunday, Monday, Thursday and Friday nights were spent in a hotel
in Albuquerque -- clean and comfortable but unpretentious.
Breakfasts and dinners were at the hotel; lunches were at
mediocre restaurants near the UNM campus.  Tuesday and Wedesday
nights we camped at Chaco Cultural National Historic Park, a
small and rather remote campground about three hours northwest of
Albuquerque. There are flush toilets and running water (no
showers), but the water is unpotable.  The Park Service does not
intend to improve the area too much so as to discourage too many
visitors to this very fragile area.

At Chaco, we slept in our own sleeping bags on air mattresses and
in tents provided by the university.  The description in the
Elderhostel catalog indicated that men and women would sleep in
separate tents, but enough people brought their own tents that
married couples were able to have tents to themselves.  Breakfast
and dinner at Chaco were prepared by the Elderhostel staff --
good and plenty of it.  Lunches were of the brown bag variety.

Classes in Albuquerque were held on the UNM campus; Chaco classes
were held at various sites within the national park and the hikes
to get to them were sometimes a bit challenging.  All classes
were taught by Tom Windes who has been an archaeologist the the
National Park Service for over 25 years, working at the Pueblo
Bonito and Pueblo Alto digs at Chaco Canyon.  Tom, we decided, is
a national treasure!  Since Chaco has been his second home all
these years, there isn't anything he doesn't know about it.  (I
don't know whether he still teaches this Elderhostel.  He was
starting to talk about retirement when we were there three years

On the return trip to Albuquerque, a couple of vanloads of us
stopped at Acoma, or Sky City, which has been continuously
inhabited for some 850 years and is located atop a 350' mesa.  It
was an interesting stop, but seemed quite "touristy" compared to
what we had just left.

One unfortunate incident in this Elderhostel was that the van of
one of our couples was broken into in the hotel parking lot while
we were at Chaco and several hundred dollars worth of their
possessions were stolen.  Aside from that, this still ranks as
one of our favorite Elderhostels.  Highly recommended for those
of an adventurous spirit.

Dick and Marion Steade Msteade@aol.com



A bonus provided by this elderhostel was its proximity to major
attractions in the Arizona/New Mexico area. On our own we visited
Carlsbad Caverns, Albuquerque's OLD TOWN, attended Laguna's
Pueblo Harvest Celebration, Indian museums, the Painted Desert
and Petrified Forest, Grand Canyon, Boynton Canyon's Enchantment
Resort, Sedona's Arts Festival and rode from Flagstaff  to
Cottonwood thru beautiful Oak Creek Canyon.

COUNTRY HERITAGE was well planned. Food and accommodations at a
Quality Inn were adequate (you wouldn't expect an Elderhostel to
afford the posh Sedona locations.) The program itself was
top-notch. Historic presentations included demonstrations and
musical entertainment  Never dry or boring, the lecturer, you
felt, had "been there"  A HOPI Indian, E. J. Satala,   presented
a particularly realistic picture of his heritage. Randy
Greenwood-Miller, our Coordinator, was himself reminiscent of a
character out of the old west: a rugged, knowledgeable outdoors

Visits to prehistoric pueblo sites, to an old mining town, and a
part-open- air-coach  train ride thru Verde Canyon added to our
understanding of Indian culture and appreciation of the
breathtaking views in the area. The one cold afternoon on the
streets of Jerome dragged a bit for me, "shopping" not being my
favorite thing to do, but that was my only complaint. Be sure to
bring your camera!

Teel Moon - Jasper, GA


University of Texas at Austin
Galveston Island Elderhostel
October 12, 1997

This program was based out of Galveston Best Western Beachfront
Inn on Seawall Boulevard, with a lovely view of the Gulf of
Mexico.  At Registration and Orientation on Sunday we met our
Coordinator and Guest Host and other Hostelers (only 24 at this
program made it very easy to interact).  Hotel was comfortable,
food was catered (poor, all agreed), but the program was

Some lectures were held at the hotel, one a humorous overview of
Texas, another one called "Squids and Things" was much more
interesting than the title indicates.  Most of the week we were
bused to various sites - historic Galveston (narrated), Moody
Mansion, Queen Laura's Bordello (where we had our last supper),
Rosenberg Library, Texas Seaport Museum, boat trip to see
dolphins.  All agreed that this program was well-designed, and
all-inclusive (except for our visit to the Space Center in
Houston, which was a minimal charge at group rate).

The lecturers and narrators were first-rate, especially the young
man who showed us through the Moody Gardens
[www.moodygardens.com].  Some of us enjoyed that so much we went
back the next day after the program was over.

All of us agreed that this was an outstanding program, but there
were complaints about the food, even the restaurant outings (no
selection for included meals).  After this program, we were told,
the meals arrangements would be changed.

Having a car to see the surrounding area on your own was helpful,
although the program covered just about everything.  The Guest
Host was excellent (the Coordinator had a serious family illness
and could not be with us as much as she would have liked).  All
events were started promptly and the bus was always on time.

Galveston is a charming place - I recommend this Elderhostel.

Ellie Clark

editors note- this program has had mixed reviews in the past. We are happy
to see this recent positive review.

Astronaut Training - Senior Style
Emporia State University/Kansas
Cosmosphere/Hutchinson, Kansas
October 26-31, 1997
Jamie Tonkinson (tbpn27a@prodigy.com)

This was my second Elderhostel class and it was great class.  It
was held at the Kansas Cosmosphere   Space Center in Hutchinson,
KS. Lodging was at the Comfort Inn and meals were at the
cafeteria of Hutchinson Community College.  Both were excellent.
Staff couldn't have been better - attentive, knowledgeable, and
helpful.  Class ran like clock work.  Very little free time but
it really wasn't needed. Transportation was provided between the
motel and the Cosmosphere.

Various activities were included.  Each participant took part in
an unnervingly realist simulated Shuttle flight to launch a
satellite (4 members per team).

We had a field trip to Space Works.  It is a company (wholly
owned subsidiary of the Cosmosphere) that restores space
artifacts and also builds replicas.  Space Works built 80% of the
space hardware seen in the movie "Apollo 13".  Their warehouse
contains a multitude of space artifacts/memorabilia.  The
Cosmosphere, with support of Space Works, is just finishing
refurbishing the Apollo 13 Command Module "Odyssey" and it is on

Each of us built and flew our own rocket.

Helen Unruh (class coordinator) and Sue Franko were the primary
class instructors.  Several other Cosmosphere staff members and
volunteers assisted with many of the activities.

The Cosmosphere has an IMAX and a planetarium which was made use
of in the class.  The Cosmosphere has artifact from the former
Soviet Union as well as from the U.S.

One evening the staff set up telescopes to view the planets.
There is an actual SR-71 hanging from the ceiling of the lobby of
the Cosmosphere.

In my opinion, the Cosmosphere   Space Center has displays second
only to the Smithsonian Air and Space museum in Washington DC.


Michigan Copper Country
Michigan Technological University
Houghton, Michigan
July 13-19, 1997
Jamie Tonkinson (tbpn27a@prodigy.com)

This was my first Elderhostel class.  Of course I was
apprehensive by not knowing just what to expect.  I needn't have
been.  It was a very good experience.  I went to the area a few
days before the class and camped while I did some sight seeing.
I checked into the dorm a day early.

The room was in Wadsworth Hall on the University campus.  Two
rooms shared a bathroom - no problem.  The rooms were not air
conditioned but the class staff made sure we all had fans.  The
meals were served in a private room in the dorm.  The food was
very good; specially the pasties we had one night.  There were no
complaints about the food.

The primary reason I selected this Elderhostel was the class
"Everyday Life on the Mining Frontier - 1840-1875".  Houghton is
located on the Keweenaw Peninsula.  This is copper mining
country. My great-grand parents lived in the area and ran a
boarding house. This class was all I had hoped it would be.  It
was quite an education.  It was taught by Larry Lankton,
professor of History at Michigan Tech.  He has written books on
the history of the area.

Another class was "Copper Country Rocks and Minerals" taught by
Stan Dyl II, curator of the Seaman Mineralogical Museum on the
MTU campus.

The last day of that class was a field trip to the Quincy mine
where we toured one of the tunnels and then did some rock
hounding on the slag pile.

The last class was "Hemingway's Michigan" taught by Jack Jobst,
professor of Humanities at MTU.  He has worked on Hemingway
materials since his PhD dissertation.

Thursday evening we sailed on a National Park Service ship from
Houghton through Portage Lake and the waterway into Lake

The experience with this class has hooked me on Elderhostel.  I
highly recommend this class.


Peabody Conservatory  in Baltimore, MD.

This was my first elderhostel experience.  It was a program
dealing with the Beethoven sonatas, concertos and symphonies. We
were given excellent directions for getting to Peabody.  On
arrival at the garage (I went by car), I was greeted by a student
who handled my luggage and took me to Registration. That was
quickly accomplished and armed with a packet of relevant
information I was shown to my room. All rooms are double
occupancy with private bath.  My experience told me that room
mates are chosen carefully.  I was very pleased with mine. The
rooms vary in size from average to very large and are assigned, I
would think, on a random basis.  I feel sure that anyone with a
physical handicap would have been assigned to a lower rather than
an upper floor. An elevator served all floors.

Meals were served in the student cafeteria and were of the
institutional variety. Food was plentiful and varied with much
choice.  There was always soup and fresh inviting salads in
addition to entrees served at lunch and dinner. The students were
on vacation the week I was there so I cannot speak of average
length of time spent in line. We found that if we staggered the
times we went, we were served with very little delay. The
coordinators were skilled, pleasant and unfailingly helpful. We
always felt safe and well cared for. The lecturers were scholars
of the highest order and each of them a talented musician.

The course of study was taught in a classroom at Peabody Inn
where we lodged. Each lecture lasted for about an hour and twenty
minutes.  The schedule was very well arranged with three lectures
a day.  In the evenings, there were recitals given by highly
accomplished students at the Masters' or Doctoral level. Tours of
Mount Vernon Place, walks to the harbor in Baltimore, and visits
to historic sites were led by the coordinators.  We were supplied
with information about local restaurants, tours, shops and

There was spare time when we were able to do whatever we wanted.
There is a fine museum right across the road--and not too far
away (and reached via a free shuttle), the incomparable Baltimore
Museum of Art. The lobby of the Inn provided an additional
meeting place for the residents. There was hot coffee, regular
and decaffeinated, available all day till 10 pm, after which
there was always hot water for tea (also regular and decaf) in
the lobby. There was a bookstore at which many, but not all, of
the books recommended in the courses were available.  Also a post

I thought it would be an improvement if the music discussed in
the courses had been available in the bookshop.  However, we were
given complete lists of recommended reading and listening.
Peabody is known as a super site because it hosts about 42
"double" programs each year. We were the Beethoven group. The
other group studied various forms of Israeli music.  Each group
numbered about 50 people. I would absolutely recommend Peabody to
anyone with an interest in music of whatever nature.  The
programs offered cover a wide area and most people will find
something to their taste. I hope this may be of some help to you.

Sincerely, Katharine M. Pegg


From: BHall55 
Date: Thu, 22 Jan 1998 15:01:54 EST

We went to the Center For Coastal Studies/Provincetown (MA) in
September. The programs were primarily about Provincetown, its
history, the surrounding area of Cape Cod and the marine life of
the area. The programs were excellent and very well presented. We
stayed at the Provincetown Inn, which was described as an "aging
queen of the cape". It is a very old hotel, but was clean. The
meals were served in the dining room and were better than the
average Elderhostel catered buffet.  The highlights of the trip
were visits to the lighthouses and different points around the
area and the whale watch. If you enjoy the coast and marine life,
I would hightly recommend this Elderhostel.

Bud Hall


From: Passhunt 
Date: Sun, 4 Jan 1998 23:27:41 EST

Would like any information/tips on the Philadelphia Society for
the Preservation of Landmarks/Barnes Foundation Elderhostel and
any of the golf Elderhostels at Lake Placid NY.


Date: Tue, 27 Jan 1998 21:25:01 -0600
From: Joy Steincross 

We just returned from a great elderhostel - our first - in Utah.
We skied at Sundance (as in Robert Redford's place) Ski Resort.
We stayed 2+miles up the mountain at Aspen Grove. We; watched
selected film videos on which our guest lecturers presented
material on the history of film making. They were humorous and
very well-versed in their subject matter. We attended 1 screening
in Park Cities of a Sundance film festival film ( a neat
experience.); Also, we were able to purchase additional tickets
to films ($7). It was beautiful, fun, enlightening, healthy, and
just downright delightful.

Dub and Joy Steincross

Liberty, MO  dubjoy@sky.net


More information on the Seniornet Elderhostel.

This Elderhostel program lives, eats and studies at the Inn at
Friday Harbor situated in the town. There is easy walking to
enjoy the boats and ferries, art galleries, boutiques and other
fun shops. The Historical Museum and the Whale Museum are within
walking distance. Friday Harbor is unique in that it is the only
incorporated town in the whole county. There are around 1,200
living in the town with about 5,500 total on the island. The
island is about 15 miles long by 8 miles wide. Hard to get lost!

You can drive your car on the ferry or park at the Anacortes
ferry parking lot and walk on the ferry. There will be a day long
tour of the island with lecture stops along the way during the
program week.

Your room at the inn has two queen beds and private bath. You can
reserve a private room for an additional cost of $120.

Our program, this week April 5-11, includes San Juan Natural
History. Learn about some invertbrates in the surrounding water,
orca whales, oyster farming and other animals of the San Juans
and the rehabilitation of wild animals at Wolf Hollow.

Editors note- although unlisted in the catalog, this program is
open to all elderhostelers. For details and more info e-mail