Elderhostel Notebook#27 May 17,1998

Elderhostel Notebook  is a production of The Senior Group, an
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It provides a place for elderhostelers to share information about
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    From the Editors Notebook

    Elderhostel Reviews

       Elderhostel at Henry Horton State Park
       National Park Service- Fredricksburg, Virginia
       Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View, Arkansas
       Oklahoma Elderhostel Ponca City
       Savannah State University, Savannah, Georgia


    Editor's Notebook

I have been updating the Elderhostel Notebook web pages, making
sure the links all work and adding a page of links to regional,
state, and local elderhostel sites. If I have missed some (as I
most certainly have) I would appreciate any urls you might send
me from such a site. I have also focused the page completely on

Later I hope to add an informational section dealing with some
common issues and concerns to supplement the excellent section on
frequently asked questions in the Elderhostel Inc. home pages. It
will include sections on Elderhosteling as a single, the smoking
issues as presented in our last issue, intergenerational
elderhostels, etc. All will be seen from our readers' points of

I've been asked about the Elderhostel experiment with cruise
programs. I don't have any information at present except to note
that that section is no longer on the Elderhostel Inc. web page.

Along this line you could look at the Alaska page in the new
section of the notebook web site where a number of inside passage
land/sea programs are listed.

In the next issue, I'll have an  account of one of those trips by
Dick Monaghan who some of you will recognize as a frequent and
witty contributor to Jean Sansom's "Talespinners," an e-zine that
I also occasionally write for.

   Elderhostel Reviews

             Elderhostel at Henry Horton State Park
       Middle Tennessee State University  April 19-24, 1998

The state parks in Tennessee are more like resorts than the state
parks we were used to in Wisconsin. Henry Horton State Park.
locate about thirty miles south of Nashville, has a lodge, a
restaurant, outdoor swimming pool, and golf course. We
appreciated the resort features but missed some of the extensive
natural features of Wisconsin State Parks

The program consisted of

          Anger and Tears:Civil War's Franklin  - Bob Womack
          Natures Symphony in Song and Flight( bird watching)
   	                            -Mellisa Turrentine
          Spring Wild Flowers -Bertha Chrietzberg

The facilities were above average for an elderhostel with
spacious motel like rooms with private baths and phone service.
The food service was buffet style with a wide selection of
choices and by careful choices most tastes were satisfied
although no one could describe any as gourmet quality.

The Elderhostel was well organized and hosted with a friendly and
supportive atmosphere conducive to the camaraderie that one comes
to expect in elderhostel programs. The Instruction was excellent,
and the evening programs interesting.

The program dealing with the Civil War was exceptional as the
instructor has done a great deal of original research in the area
of collecting letters and diaries from the area dealing with the
human side of that most terrible war. He presented a perspective
on the Civil War in middle Tennessee that one could get nowhere

Maggie and I particularly look for and appreciate programs like
this where the flavor and unique values to be found in the local
community are utilized. All of the instructors are deeply
involved in their topics and their community, an ideal situation
for an elderhostel.

There were two field trips, one to a state natural area to study
the birds and plants there and one to Franklin, Tennessee, to
visit the site of one of the battles discussed in the course.
Both were done with modern well equipped motor coaches.

The bird watching course was well done and covered the basic
material very well. The instructor knew the area and its birds
well, but the course would probably not be suitable for an
intensive birder out to add to a life list. We have found that
you can always tell when you are on one of those when the
instructor routs you out of bed two hours before dawn to go stand
in a swamp up to your a...nkles and watch the sunrise reveal some
rare species. This was not that kind of course.


National Park Service- Fredricksburg, Virginia
Service Elderhostel

Susan Menne -  sumen@stlnet.com

I attended a great EH in Fredericksburg, VA, last October. It was
my first SERVICE Elderhostel. It was a cooperative effort of Mary
Washington College and the National Park Service. Our task was to
assist the Park Service at and around the Fredericksburg National
Park, primarily in the cemetary which holds the remains of the
thousands of Union soldiers who lost their lives during the Civil
War battles at Fredericksburg.

We worked at tuckpointing the brick wall surrounding the
cemetary. The wall was erected soon after 1865. Another chore was
painting cannon, both in the cemetary and on site at the
battlefield. Lastly, we undertook the cleaning of tombstones,
both in the national cemetery and in a pre-Civil War cemetery on
land the NPS recently acquired. The Park Service people were
wonderful instructors, teaching us much about restoration.

We stayed at a motel and ate every meal at an adjoining Shoney's.
The food was quite good, but paled somewhat by about the third
day. We were transported in college vans to the work sites every
day and worked about five hours daily. There were many field
trips to historical Civil War sites and through the town of
Fredericksburg. In closing ceremonies the night before we left,
the Park Ranger told us that we had been his first experience
with Elderhostel volunteers, and that his entire staff had been
amazed at the quantity and quality of our work. They had, in
fact, not really planned enough work to keep us busy. Though he
didn't say it in so many words, I think the reason for this was
the assumption that we would all fall over with heart attacks if
we had to work hard.

The group was great, and working together kind of bonded us in a
way that non-service EH's can't. Don't be afraid that the work on
a service project will be too strenuous. They make adjustments. I
can't kneel because of an artificial knee, so when the group was
assigned to tuckpoint the bottom eight brick layers on the
cemetary wall, I was reassigned to the top eight layers. Go for it.


Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View, Arkansas


Topic: Yesterday's Castoffs, Tomorrow's Treasures (Antiques)

This was a repeat Elderhostel for us as we liked it so much four
years ago, we decided to return April 26th this year.

From the moment of Registration where we were greeted warmly by
Susan Ketchum, our coordinator for the week, we knew we were in
for another wonderful experience. A tray of fresh fruit and
cheese, crackers and punch was a delightful welcome after the
long, twisting drive through the mountains.

Food: It was not only tasty, but presented in an artful manner.
It was not the usual institutional fare. There was always fruit,
cookies or cheese and crackers at the morning and afternoon
breaks, also. A nice touch.

Because this program covered all areas of antiques and
collecting, it's difficult to single out any one presenter. All
were experts in their field and did a professional job. We were
told how to identify reproductions from the originals and learned
how to "recycle" broken china (make pendants). The days were
filled with samples of art glass, beads, buttons, badges, guns,
musical instruments and herbal uses and remedies. The evenings
were spent in the 1000 seat theater with good old folk songs by
the mountain musicians and/or singers, or in the small 200 seat
auditorium for our own private concert. After fun-filled days, we
returned to our nicely appointed rooms with private bath.

The craft village held the interest of us all and when you
weren't in class you could freely wander through the site and
enjoy the mountain crafts, music and folklore. There were school
groups who frequently visit the Folk Center as it is dedicated to
the preservation and perpetuation of traditional mountain ways.

This was our 66th Elderhostel and we rank it as one of the best.
The toughest part is getting there, but well worth the effort.


Oklahoma Elderhostel Ponca City No. 36240-0426-1
North Central Oklahoma Historical Association/ Rose Stone Inn

This elderhostel was a disappointment. We had heard that there
was a good elderhostel in Ponca City, OK, but it was evidently
the one sponsored by Oklahoma State University. Ours was
sponsored (in name only) by the North Central Oklahoma Historical
Association. In actuality, it was sponsored by the Rose Stone
Inn. The Inn furnished the lodging, the meals, and the owner of
the Inn was the coordinator and the instructor for all of the
classes except for one hour on Friday morning.

When we visited a restored theater, we had to wait under an
awning in the cold rain for 30 or more minutes because the
manager of the theater wasn't told when we were coming so he
hadn't opened the theater. On visits to a local museum, an
historical site, and a library, the guides there were not aware
of our coming so they weren't prepared for the group. The Rose
Stone Inn is located in an old bank building but by no means is
it a luxury Bed   Breakfast in a historic bank building as stated
in the elderhostel catalog. And the food, contrary to what was
stated in the elderhostel catalog as healthy, home-cooked meals,
was just average at best.


Savannah State University, Savannah, Georgia
 Program Number 10500-05030-1	Date: 05/03/98


Savannah State University is a state-supported school of
approximately 2800 coeducational students. All but the Friday
morning class were held at the school, with Friday's session
being held where we were housed, the Days Inn on Savannah's
historic river front.

The topics for this program were a) Savannah - A Look into
Colonial Times b) The Gullah Culture, Language, and a People of
Ancestral Roots				 c) Jazz Styles and Listening

Our look into historic Savannah was led marvelously by Westley W.
Law, who brought us from Savannah's founding and early struggles
to the modern day. His bus and walking tour of the historic area
provided keen insight into the living in colonial times. We were
privileged to tour the interiors of several marvelous homes on
the beautiful town squares. Mr. Law, a leading civil rights
activist and the former long-term director of Savannah's NAACP,
also led an excellent tour of the Black Heritage Museum, which he
helped found.

Adjunct professor Janie Fowles introduced us to the Gullah
language, a mixture of English and African words spoken to this
day by descendants of former slaves living on the islands off the
coast of Georgia and South Carolina. Ms. Fowles described the
culture of the approximate 100,000 people living on the
relatively isolated barrier islands who still speak the language.
Ms. Fowles beautifully illuminated the language with her readings
of short stories, essays and poems written in Gullah. It brought
to mind and added more significance to "The Water is Wide", Pat
Conroy's novel describing his year as a school teacher on one of
those islands, encountering what was, to him, a very foreign
language and culture.

Our jazz class was headed by the enormously talented Teddy Adams,
who said, "I'm going to teach you in five days what I teach my
students in a semester!" I'm not sure he did that, but he did
instill in us an increased appreciation of that truly American
art form. He reviewed the major jazz periods from its beginnings
in spirituals, through gospel, rhythm and blues, Dixieland, the
big band era, be-bop and fusion. He stressed constantly that
improvisation is the essence of jazz, making it the highest art

Most meals were at the school cafeteria and are best described as
"institutional". A large variety of items at each meal, however,
did insure that everyone would find something palatable. The
cafeteria staff provided excellent service, always with a smile.
That same goal to please the Elderhostelers also was evident from
Edna Jackson, the coordinator, and her superb staff. Lou
Corsetti's publication and delivery of a 12-page paper, complete
with many photographs of the attendees, surprised us and capped
off an excellent week with wonderful people.

Harvey Batleman


From : Susan Menne   sumen@stlnet.com

Just returned from an EH on Ireland. It was held at St. Mary's of
the Woods College outside of Terre Haute, IN. Lovely campus. Not
so lovely program. The speakers were very uneven. We had four
sessions on Irish music and one on Irish history. With the
complexity of that island's history, it should have been the
other way around. There was far too much free time, only one
off-campus field trip. The food was satisfactory. We ate in the
student dining facilities. But I noted on my evaluation that if
this had been my first Elderhostel it would also be my last.
Fortunately it was my fourth. In fairness I add that many people
thought the program very good. Maybe it was me.

From: SRAM86 

We just got back from an Elderhostel at Carlsbad Caverns in NM,
sorry I don't have the course number with me. The instructors
were all excellent -- four of them, all very well qualified, well
prepared, good speakers. The Elderhostel coordinators, a husband
and wife, were also very good, considerate, tried to help in any
way they could. Two field trips were well done and we were
prepared for them.

The last night a group of young Hispanic children danced
traditional Spanish dances for us, and we all loved it. The food
was good with a nice variety. We drove down for a "bat watch" one
evening but the bats didn't come out. Guess I can't blame that on
Elderhostel though! The facilities are very spartan. My husband
and I had a small dorm room to ourselves, with five beds in it.
No TV in the room, or phone, etc. That was okay with us. What was
NOT okay, and the only thing wrong with the trip, was that the
facilities were simply not clean enough. The manager even joked
he didn't like cleaning. That didn't go over so well with many of
us. My bedspread was obviously soiled and smelled. We received
only two sets of towels for the week. The floors needed to be
swept and vacuumed. The bath rooms were so-so, and needed to be
scrubbed with Lysol. Would I recommend this trip to others? Only
if Elderhostel changes facilities or cleans up the present one.

editors note: This post touches on some real issues involving
housekeeping in some facilities. At one elderhostel Maggie looked
under the bed after a couple of days and found a ladies soiled
undergarment- (quite large). It wasn't hers and she looked
askance at me. I was innocent.

Sometimes we have experienced motel facilities used for the week
where the rooms are cleaned daily but linen changed twice- others
changed linen once- towels daily- others on demand- others
cleaned rooms, changed linen and towels daily- the practice
varies. But certainly basic cleanliness should be demanded of


From: SantaFe812 
Subject: Galveston

We have been looking at the Texas A   M University/Galveston
Island trip. I just noticed that there is also an
intergenerational week included. Has anyone been on this trip?
How was it either with or without grandchildren? Do you know what
the age limits are for grandchildren? Ours is 7 years old.

Are there other intergenerational trips that are recommended by
the Elderhostel Notebook readers?


Bob and Georgia Honeyfield


From: vorbdysart@juno.com (wilson d dysart)

We two lovers of singing are attending a June 14 - 20th so-called
"intensive" Elderhostel at Purdue U. in Lafayette, Ind.--a choral
workshop. ( Since this is HIS place of advanced learning, it
holds old memories for us both. ) But the very intriguing thing I
learned from the advance literature is that there are at the same
date a number of Elderhostel groups there AND it is possible,
should you not both want to sing, to split your duo and attend
one of the alternate groups on nature, etc. What a marvelous
arrangement !


From: "Dick Vandergrift" 

My husband   I will be going on our first Elder. in June to
Bentley College outside of Boston. Would love to hear of anyone
who has taken this trip.




Would like to know if anyone has been to Montreat Conference
Center near Asheville NC.  We are scheduled to go in September
and would like to have an opinion about it if any of you have
been there.  Thank you.

Patricia Bensch


From: SaulRho 

We are going to the Bay Area Elderhostel in July at Tiburon
California and preceeding that a program at Union Square San

Would love to hear from anyone who has attended these summer
venues with any suggestions that one has.

Thank you
Rhoda Lesser


I just wanted to report on 2 Elderhostels in the San Francisco
Area. The first one is run by the Bay Area Classic Learning
Center. They run programs at 2 locations, one at Pacifica and one
in Tiburon. I was at the Pacifica location. We stayed at a lovely^¿
hotel right on the beach. Food was decent ( a little salty for
Seniors)and served Buffet. The classes were on Jewish Immigration
from the spanish inquisition days until after WW II, The Middle
East Conflict, and Jewish comedians on the radio. Ken Blady who
had amazing knowledge of his subject. John Rothman taught the
Middle East Conflict and was terrific. He presented both sides of
the problem very even handedly. John Stanley taught the radio
course and was quite interesting.

The only problem with Pacifica, was that aside from scenery,
there was not much to do, but the coordinators tried to arrange
things to keep us busy. The second elderhostel was in the heart
of the City and was at a motel. It was run by the San Francisco
Arts   Humanities Seminar. Classes and meals were all held in the
motel. Food was good and buffet style. The hosts arranged for us
to go out for a Dim Sum Luncheon in Chinatown and also for a
night at the Theater for very little extra money. The classes
were one on the First Ladies taught by the same John Rothman we
had in Pacifica. The man is amazing and teaches many different
courses. He doesn't travel far, because he has a new baby, but if
you can find him, it is worth going. The second course was on
Constitutional law as it applies to criminals. The teacher here
was Prof. James Curtin, another winner. He is so interesting you
don't want the class to end. The third course was on comedy and
was not what I had expected and I did not attend all the classes.
But all in all it too was a great elderhostel and I would
recommend both Host groups.


From:  robert levine 

Do you have any information on and/or do you know of anyone who
has gone to the elderhostel in vietnam?