Elderhostel Notebook #64 April 12, 2000

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compare notes on elderhostel programs.

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    From the Editor's Notebook

With this issue I have caught up with incoming reports and the
reserve file is again empty.

The next issue will be a short Dialogue issue out next week so if
you have comments or queries send them in.

    Program Reviews

      Finland--Cross-Country Skiing in Lapland
      Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto
      Silver Penny Farm, Petaluma, California
      Valley Forge Historical Society, Yellow Springs, PA
      Winter Park, Baseball- Florida
      The Lazarus Foundation  (Service Program) Baltimore
      Fulbright Institute EH, Fayetteville, Arkansas

March 26-31, 2000

This program is devoted to the spring migrations northward of a
variety of species of birds and whales. Although some of the
participants were experienced birders, no expertise was required
or expected of us. Our coordinator, Carol Unser, did an
extraordinary job, beginning several weeks before the program
took place. Originally we were to be housed and fed at a
beachside resort in Florence, OR, but a major landslide closed
Highway 101 just north of Florence--a closure which will remain
in effect for some months into the future. Since all of our study
sites were located north of the slide, it was necessary to make
major changes in the program on short notice. Our lodging was
moved to a very comfortable and extremely scenic resort in
Yachats, OR.

During the week we traveled up and down the coast, watching birds
and whale spouts. In addition there were two boat trips in
Yaquina Bay and the ocean. Our instructors were excellent,
especially Eric Horvath, who helped us identify many, many bird
species. Carol and her husband Lynn were dynamos of energy,
always cheerful, always well organized, making sure that all
participants were happy.

We give this program the following grades: arrangements and
organization A+, classes A, accomodations A, food B-. I recommend
it to anyone with even a modest interest in natural history.

Lew and Grace Ward


Finland--Cross-Country Skiing in Lapland

If you love cold weather, are at least an intermediate
cross-country skier, and physically fit, you will enjoy this
program. Three nights are spent in each of three locations in
Finnish Lapland, with ski trips and cultural programs each day.
The ski treks average ten miles per day.  In mid-March we
experienced temperature highs of about 25 degrees F and sunlight
for about ten hours per day.   The accommodations and food are
very good. A group of twenty plus two guides makes for a great

George F. Cole
Mansfield Center, CT.


Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto
March 19-24, 2000
Bill Longman wlongman@yahoo.com

If you want to really explore the collections in a major museum,
then this is the Elderhostel for you. Although Lifelong Learning
Canada is the organizer for this and other EHs, this particular
one is capably operated by volunteers of the Royal Ontario Museum
in Toronto. For our week there was a special Egyptian exhibit,
but we took in most of the galleries.

The thirteen participants in the EH were about evenly divided
between Canadian and American. Accomodations were in a convenient
Quality Hotel on Bloor St. where the evening meals were served,
also continental breakfast. Lunches at the ROM were a little
light. The University of Toronto is close to the hotel and I
composed this review at a library terminal. Opportunities were
given for going to plays or concerts downtown which isn't too far
away. Subways, street cars and buses make getting around no
problem...and it is a safe even though large and diverse city.
But being such a large metropolis means that getting to and from
the airport and driving is a hassle.

We sometimes combine going to an EH with a visit to family
members as was the case here since our daughter now works for the
ROM. So we spent a few days ahead of time in Toronto...including
a St. Patrick's Day celebration at a pub restaurant.

Some of us might want to be more aware of the good offerings in
Canada. OK, I did get "museum fatigue" with the walking and
standing at the ROM, but hey, I did learn alot. We appreciated
the extensive collection of Chinese artifacts and the behind the
scenes tour of the paleontology department. Some Canadian EH are
challenging outdoor ones.

Glad to respond to any questions.

Bill and Lee Longman, Springfield, MO


Silver Penny Farm, Petaluma, California
March 26-31, 2000

Spirituality of Major World Religions, Judaism, Christianity,
Islam, Buddhism and Native American

This program was held at the Silver Penny Farm a 17 acre farm in
Petaluma, California which also serves as a renewal, retreat for
the Archdiocese of San Francisco. It was handicapped accessible
except for a few sleeping rooms. Our sessions were held in a
large meeting room adjacent to the Main House.  Five of the guest
rooms in the main house had private baths and three shared baths.
  Cottages were spread out through the grounds.  There is a large
dining room where buffet breakfasts and lunches were shared, with
sit-down served meals at the dinner hour. A large living room
served our communal social needs. The food was in the gourmet
class, home-cooked with a wide variety of fresh vegetables and
herbs from the garden at the farm. Classes were held in the
morning, with free afternoons. Classes in the evening after
dinner were continuations of the morning classes. Religious
presentations were given by a Jewish Rabbi, a Buddhist Bhikshu
(monk), a Native American professor, a Muslim, a Palestinian
Christian and a Catholic Priest who was the Director of Silver
Penny Farms. Most of the audience were mesmerized by the speakers
and the knowledge of their subject matter as well as their
charismatic personalities.  The common thread throughout all the
lectures/seminars was to give back to make this world a better
place for all of us. I would recommend this program highly for
the intellectual stimulation, the accommodations, the location,
and the terrific food.

Mary Hull, mhull32@aol.com


Valley Forge Historical Society, Yellow Springs, PA
March 19-24, 2000

Topics: Planning Your Spring Garden
              The American Revolution: The Road to Valley Forge
              Art and Nature: Audobon and Wyeth Art Tour

The Brandywine Valley has a diversity of interesting resources
and coordinator Jennifer Brehm took full advantage of these
opportunities. She engaged 10 different speakers including a
gardening expert who had been a judge at the Philadelphia Flower
Show, an actor from Philadelphia who portrayed James Wilson,
signer of the Declaration of Independence, and an re-enactor who
gave an entertaining presentation on clothing of the middling

Some of our field trips were to the Brandywine River Museum to
view art of the Wyeth family, a catered lunch at Birmingham
Meeting House where a Quaker explained his religion, a tour of
Longwood Gardens, and a tour of the Valley Forge Historical Park.

My wife and I also took advantage of two optional tours: Hagley
Museum, original home and gunpowder factory of the duPont family
(excellent), and Winterthur, mansion of Henry duPont which houses
one of the largest collections of early American furnishings.
There are many other museums and attractions to visit in your
free time.

Our lodging, meals, and lectures were in a new Microtel where the
management and staff were very accomodating and friendly. The
meals were catered and more than adequate.

John and Elaine Sherwood   jacks@netsync.net


Winter Park, Baseball- Florida

GMC 14@aol.com

Have just returned from a delightful week at the San Pedro
Center, Winter Park, FL. Subject: Atlanta Braves Spring Training
Camp. There was a "Music Appreciation" group there at the same
time, so we met them, had meals with them, etc. If ever you are
tempted by one of SPC's Elderhostels, be assured of Wonderful
Food! And most pleasant friendly staff and beautiful
surroundings.  A pristine Florida "jungle" lies behind the
buildings, with a comfortable boardwalk through it, to the shores
of a lake.  All sorts of tropical wildlife to be seen.  Take

The baseball speakers were interesting -- especially one woman,
Karen Kunkel, who had played in the old 1940's-50's Women's
Professional League!  The first evening we were shown their
movie, "A League of Their Own."  Then Karen gave several
lectures, one of which was entirely on the making of the movie.
She had been the "technical adviser" to see that Madonna, Gina
Davis and the others, held the bats correctly, acted in
character, etc. She explained how some of the stunts and shots
were done. Madonna, unlike most of the others, insisted on doing
her own sliding at bases and other such potentially damaging

We were taken by bus on the hour's drive from Winter Park to
Kissimee, where Disney built the Braves a spring training field
to the exact proportions of Turner Field. However, the stadium
itself is much smaller, so our seats were as close to third base
as from here to there. (My computer room to my living room.)  My
favorite, John Smolz (the Handsomest Man in All of Baseball) was
out with his elbow surgery, but we did see Chipper Jones hit a
homer, saw Galarraga, Andruw Jones, a lot of other favorites.
Greg Maddux pitched one of the games, Millwood the other.

One afternoon we had a boat ride on three of Winter Park's six
lakes. They are connected by old logging canals. One of them,
"the Venetian Canal," winds at length between back yards of
lovely homes beneath beautiful overhanging trees and tropical
flowers. The lakes are lined with mansions of the Rich and
Famous.... some splendid and imposing, some handsome Victorian
concoctions, some sprawling and modern.

On a free couple of hours, we went to the Charles Hosmer Morse
museum of American art (and crafts.) He collected Tiffany glass
-- windows, lamps, etc. and also loved Maxfield Parrish's work.
His daughter continued the love and collection, then his
granddaughter, Jeannette McKean,  started the museum and named it
for him  The most astonishing exhibit among all the other lovely
things, was a chapel which Tiffany designed for the Chicago
Exposition of 1893. Words can scarcely describe the dazzling
creation of brilliant be-jeweled arches, columns, reredos, step
risers, three-dimensional cruciform chandelier, orb-shaped font.
Even King Ludwig of Bavaria (of Neuschwanstein Castle and the
other two) never dreamed of anything like this!   After the
exposition, the chapel suffered a sad history until in nearly
ruined condition it was "rescued" by Mrs. McKean  and brought to
the museum here.   For a few years it had languished in the crypt
of St. John the Divine in New York City. This is a definite
"Don't Miss!!" next time you're in Winter Park!


The Lazarus Foundation  (Service Program) Baltimore
# 20177-0326-01
The Art of Computer Recycling


After attending many Elderhostel programs for our own enjoyment,
we decided to look for a service program where we could make a
contribution that would benefit others.  Aware of our own
physical limitations, we realized that we might be more hindrance
than help by volunteering to build houses or clear brush, despite
our good intentions.  When we learned about the Lazarus
Foundation, we knew we had found the appropriate service program
for us.

The Foundation repairs and upgrades computers and then donates
them to schools and nonprofit organizations.  Like most of the
other program participants, our prior experience upgrading
computers had been limited primarily to installing and upgrading
software.  Many of us had done little hardware installation
beyond adding memory, or perhaps a new CD-RW drive or modem.
However, the people at Lazarus made everyone feel very welcome,
patiently guiding and instructing us in the necessary procedures.

During the course of the week we installed, connected and tested
memory, power supplies, video cards and monitors, controller
cards, floppy drives, hard drives, CD-ROM drives, modems, sound
cards and speakers.  We formatted hard drives, installed system
files, Windows 95, and drivers for the various peripherals,
connected and disconnected cables, ran several diagnostic
utilities, changed jumper settings and screen settings.

Most of the computers upgraded by our group were donated to
schools in North Carolina that were flooded during a hurricane
and to a rehabilitation hospital for stroke victims in Western
Maryland.  Many of the Elderhostelers who attended took a
refurbished computer back with them at the end of the week to
donate to a nonprofit organization in their own community.  One
computer was presented to the daughter of a program participant,
a young woman who runs an animal rescue shelter.

Some local Elderhostelers from the Baltimore-Washington area who
had already attended previous sessions came back to assist as
volunteer Lazarus associates during our program.  The volunteer
associates who worked with us throughout the week represented a
wide range of ages and backgrounds, from local high school
students to professionals holding advanced degrees in a variety
of subjects.

The program was held at a motel in Laurel, Maryland, between
Baltimore and Washington.  The standard continental breakfast
provided by the motel each day was more than adequate for the
majority of us.  Although the motel does not have a restaurant,
several are conveniently located nearby so any people wanting a
full, hot breakfast can get one on their own.  A catering service
provided us with box lunches on the premises each day, as well as
two dinners.  The rest of the dinners were eaten out at various
surrounding restaurants.  We enjoyed being able to order whatever
we liked for those meals.  Our box lunch choices were limited,
but there were few complaints.  None of us had come there for the
food.  Since the guest rooms are equipped with refrigerators and
microwave ovens, even those on highly restricted diets would have
no problem supplementing the meals to suit their own
requirements.  The motel is well located between two nearby
shopping malls, each less than a 10 minute walk away. There is a
nice jogging/walking path behind the motel that circles a small
lake. We had no need for a car.  The motel van provides
transportation to and from BWI airport for $5 per person each

A great deal of organization and hard work by many dedicated
people went into planning and running this program.  Computers
and parts were continually being moved in and out of the building
as needed throughout the week.  The Lazarus President and
Administrative Director are hands-on types who put in long hours
each day, setting up the facilities for the next session, moving
equipment, supervising, instructing and actively participating in
the work activities, all while simultaneously performing the
usual functions of Elderhostel coordinators.  No evening
activities were officially planned for the group because most of
the people preferred to come back and continue working on the
computers after dinner.  But one night an astrophysicist, one of
the Lazarus associates, entertained us with a fascinating talk
about his work tracking asteroids.

This was a very rewarding program, one I would highly recommend
to the many Elderhostel computer enthusiasts who truly enjoy
spending hour after hour working with computers. It is especially
suitable for those who like to take machines apart and tinker
with them -- the type who thrive on challenge and do not become
easily frustrated when things don't work right away.  (This is
definitely not an introductory course for beginners who want to
learn how to use a computer.  Elderhostel offers lots of other
programs for that purpose.)

We left at the end of the week with the good feeling you get when
you know you have spent your time accomplishing something
worthwhile that will help someone else.  As at most Elderhostels,
we were privileged to meet some wonderful people.


Fulbright Institute EH, Fayetteville, Arkansas
Europe in the 21st Century Fulbright Symposium Elderhostel
April 2-6, 2000

Bill   Lee Longman  wlongman@yahoo.com

Who would have thought that long time enemies Germany and France
would form along with other countries a European Union of fifteen
democratic nations working in harmony economically and
politically.  That is what we learned about in this Elderhostel
held in conjunction with the 18th annual Fulbright Symposium
which was about Europe this year.  If anyone is interested, I am
in the process of writing up a summary of notes from the
excellent lectures which I hope to have on line.  Major problems
faced by the EU are whether to enlarge membership, how to deal
with immigration problems, ways of competing in a high tech
economy, launching a common currency.

Every morning our group of 45 were bussed down to the auditorium
on the University of Arkansas campus.  We constituted a large
bulk of the audience and posed some of the sharpest questions!
Indeed this was among the most astute EH groups we've been
with...a number who had been at previous Fulbright Symposiums.
Most evenings were free and a few wished plans might have been
made as a group to attend some concerts.  There was a group
activity of a walking tour of downtown Fayetteville plus a

We stayed at the Ramada some distance north of the University.
Except for a few glitches, this worked out fine.  Meals at
various places were by and large very tastey with good variety.
Final night was a delicious dinner of German dishes at the hotel.
And we did have a full breakfast buffet at the motel.

We'd recommend this one for you senior scholars. You will
remember that Senator Fulbright initiated the program of
scholarships and cultural exchanges that is still going strong,
and thus is honored by these Symposiums on international
relations.  Although we drove the winding roads from nearby
Springfield, MO, and stopped off to visit friends in that unique
village Eureka Springs, let it be known that they do have air
service to the Ozarks!




We attended this program in March (2000) and would give it a 4 on
a scale of 1 to 10.  The subjects were Desert Cornucopia, Story
of Arizona Through Art, and The Great American Cowboy.

Housing was at a resort called King's Ranch, in small efficiency
apartments, with two units to each "casita".  The new owners are
in the process of improving the furnishings, but hadn't gotten to
our bed yet, which really sagged.  Food was buffet style, (cold
breakfasts), no selection, flavorful and adequate.  Fresh fruit,
lemonade and iced tea were available all day.

The coordinators were a mother and daughter who were rarely in
evidence. There were no introductions among the Elderhostelers or
of teachers, no staff biographies, no suggestions of what to do
during free time.  In fact they were nowhere to be seen from
Thursday noon on.  There was one field trip on a bus so old the
driver couldn't get it started at first.

The program on Arizona art was done with slides which were out of
focus. The cowboy class spent two of its three sessions on the
evolution of the horse and the Spanish period in Arizona.  A real
live cowboy would have added a lot to this class.  For the desert
study we had a classroom session, a walk near the casitas, and
the bus trip to the Boyce Thompson Southwest Arboretum.  Two
evenings were spent with David Morris, half-Choctaw, on Arizona
Native American culture.  This was the best part of the week.
Another evening Greg Hansen, as Swedish as his name but an
honorary member of several Indian tribes, demonstrated powwow
drums and chants.  The art teacher was unavailable for her second
class so the desert specialist told us of his trek into the
Superstitions in search of the Lost Dutchman mine.

Arizona certainly did its part to impress us.  The setting and
changing colors of the nearby mountains and the glorious sunrises
and sunsets will be forever in my memory.  But the EH classes and
program were the most unimaginative of the seventeen we've