Elderhostel Notebook #66 May 16, 2000

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

EN is an independent project, appreciative of but not associated
with Elderhostel Inc.          http://www.elderhostel.org

EN has a WWW site at           http://members.aol.com/EHnotebook

To subscribe to the e-mail edition  and/or to submit reviews of
programs taken send an e-mail to the editor, Jim
Olson, at                      EHnotebook@aol.com

Please keep all correspondence in simple e-mail text format.

    From the Editor's Notebook
One of the reports in this issue makes reference to the adjoining
room, two entrance, shared bath arrangement that was common in
many of the earlier programs before host institutions generally
upgraded accommodations (and prices).

In spite of  various ways of organizing these, there was  always
the possibility of being locked out of the facility by a
forgetful previous user from the adjoining room. It is always a
good idea if you run into one of these situations to locate a
nearby emergency facility as our reporter notes in his review.

The next Dialogue issue will be out this week-end if you have
comments or queries to submit.

    Program Reviews

        Philadelphia Flower Show
        Bay Area Classic Learning/Napa Valley
        Historic Yellow Springs, PA
        Philadelphia and the Barnes Foundation
        Little Inn Of Bayfield  Ontario,Canada
        Saint Mary of the Woods College, Terri Haute, IN


Philadelphia Flower Show
Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks
March 5, 2000

There was much confusion at the hotel (best western-citycenter)
as our hosts were trying to coordinate 4 different programs at
the same time. ( The first endeavor to do this!)

We ended up in the bar for our lectures-very smoky from the night
before ( the AC was not on yet !) Lots of coughing etc. even from
the instructors. Our group was the only one in the bar, the
others were in meeting rooms up stairs.

The hotel staff-- especially the dining room was overwhelmed by
the numbers ( i guess close to 200) and were very surly and
frustrated by all the people. Meals were served buffet style and
they were constantly running out of things- even plates and
bowls. Needless to say I ate out a lot ! We were in walking
distance to the Art Museum and they had a cafeteria and a great
restaurant there and there is also a deli type place close.

These were the main down sides to the program !

The lecturers were very knowledgable of their subject matter and
the field trips great. We learned about architecture, Ben
Franklin, Wm. Penn, Philadelphia-Colonial to Present and about
the Quakers.

We had one free afternoon for optional tour to go to Winturher or
Longwood gardens which was around 40 miles away. Again the number
of people were not prepared for and one group had to ride a
trolly with wooden seats on this long trek. Needless to say they
had sore bottoms and backs by the time they returned. The rest of
us opted for a "Walk" in the historical district that was great.
It was led by a person( Ed Mauger )that does this for his living
and was very well done. He took part of the group on another walk
on thursday to a different section of the district. I was
fortunate to be in his group again.

We had special access to the "flower show"-going in at 8 am
before it opened at 10 am. We were taken around in small groups
by docents and this was enjoyable. We were given ticket to return
another day on our own if we so wanted. Most took advantage of

We were kept very busy between the lectures, the flower show and
the field trips.We learned a lot and saw a lot of Philadelphia.

I would recommend this program if you have never been to
Philadelphia. The public transportation is good and picks up
close to the hotel. Seniors with a medicare card ride free
between 10 and 3. They also have a sight seeing trolly that is a
good way to get oriented to the city if you go early as we did.
It had on and off privileges and is narrated.

Hopefully, if the Landmark Society is going to continue to cater
to this number of people they will use a hotel in the future that
is used to these numbers and has sufficent lecture rooms and a
large staff in the dining room. The People Program in New Orleans
has this kind of numbers all the time and runs smoothly.



Bay Area Classic Learning/Napa Valley
April 2-7, 2000

We have just returned from our 14th and very successful
Elderhostel program in Napa, California. We are mostly interested
in the teaching element of each program, and these teachers
were fine. Our Opera class and Duke Ellington class were taught
by superior teachers, and we learned a lot about wine history and
wine making. What better place to learn about wine than the
lovely Napa Valley?

Our accomodations in Napa were excellent, and we were lucky
enough to overlook the heated pool from our room. The food at
this program was very tasty, and the quantity and variety
were very satisfactory. This is our second Bay Area/Classic
Learning Elderhostel, and we have been pleased with the quality
of both of them. We highly recommend this program.

Don and Elisabeth Stocker


Gavian @aol.com

This was my 23rd, but I chose it as the first one for my friend
who had been in WWII Army Air Force.  We both loved it!

Springtime in the Arizona Desert....with a chance to study the
planes of WWII Army Air Force, Swing Music, and the ubiquitous
Arizona Desert study.  Who could resist?  We drove onto the base,
past an armed sentry who checked off our names, wondering what to
expect.  What looked like grim Army barracks turned out to house
very comfortable large rooms with private bath and dressing room.
  Food was served cafeteria style, which I don't normally
prefer...but in this case lines were very short, and the choices
excellent, especially an enormous salad bar at both lunch and

We had two of the best instructors I had ever had....Phil Rakoci,
who missed his calling as a stand-up comedian, and made the
desert come alive to us, and John Nemerovski, whose enthusiasm
for music of the 30's and 40's was matched only by our own, and
we outranked him by almost 30 years!  We also had TWO great field
trips...one to the Pinal Air Park, plus a tour of the Pima Air
and Space Museum, and a quick tour down the line of Evergreen
itself.  The other was a trip to the famous Arizona-Sonora Desert
Museum which was worth the whole trip.  This was a most unusual
program, but well suited to our interests and our age.



Historic Yellow Springs, PA
March 2-7 2000

Yellow Springs, near Chester Springs and Exton Pa, had been a
favorite health spa dating from pre-Revolutionary times. After
the Revolutionary War it continued to be used as a spa, and in
later years as a school and home for children orphaned during the
Civil War, and still later, as a movie studio, and art school. It
was also the site of the first army hospital during the
Revolutionary war. Today it serves as a cultural center, library,
and the old Inn serves elegant meals.

During the course of the program we were introduced to the
history of the area, as well as a demonstration of the medical
practices current during the Revolutionary War, the architectural
styles of the farm homes in the area, and the lives of Pearl
Buck, and James Michener, who had been area residents. All of the
lecturers were excellent, and very knowledgeable with regard to
their subject. We even had Pearl Bucks adopted daughter speak to
us. There was an especially good mix of lectures and field trips.
We visited Yellow Springs, of course, but also Longwood Gardens,
the Brandywine Museum, the Michener Museum, and the home of Pearl

The accommodations were superb, in a Best Western Convention
Center complete with an indoor swimming pool, which we made use
of. The food was very good by Elderhostel program standards, but
I would only rate it as satisfactory for such a fine hotel. Most
of our meals were taken at the hotel. We had one outstanding
dinner at the Yellow Springs Inn. This was followed by excellent

As our last lecture on Friday morning we were also entertained by
an accomplished professional magician. Most noteworthy, however,
was the friendliness and helpfulness of the coordinator and the
program hosts. I would recommend this program, and any others
offered by the Yellow Springs Historic Complex.


Philadelphia and the Barnes Foundation
May 07 - May 12 ... # 38690-0507-01

The Barnes Foundation: Interpretation And Contoversy Lectures
focus on the the great post impressionists Matisse, Cezanne,
Renoir, and Picasso, providing an insider view of art, from the
traditional perspective to the interpretations of Dr. Barnes and
John Dewey. A visit to the Barnes is included.

Architecture And Sculpture: Philadelphia To Main Line Travel the
streets of Philadelphia to view outstanding murals and public
sculptures enhancing the architecture of this great city. Explore
the Main Line, legacy of the railroad barons, and visit Wharton
Esherick's famous sculpture studio in Paoli.

William Penn's Green Country Towne The lush countryside enhances
the many arboretea located in and around Philadelphia's Delaware
Valley. Horticultural instructors will be your guide as you
explore this beautiful region, including its many famous pleasure
gardens and rolling meadows. ---- The program was housed at the
Best Western City Center in Philadelphia.  The rooms were quite
comfortable, and the classroom space was good.  Breakfast was
generous and very good.  Lunch was ok and dinner was definitely

The program started on Sunday afternoon with a visit to the
Barnes Foundation museum.  This location is only open Friday,
Saturday and Sunday by reservation.  It is a very different kind
of museum with at least 1100 paintings displayed the way Dr.
Barnes thought would teach you about art. Most of the talks
giving during the program were on various aspects of the
Barnes collection.

All of the presentations we went to were excellent, but we got
tired of a diet that was mainly about this one museum.  We did
have one lecture about two Philadelphia Archectects and our field
trips to the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Tuesday morning and
visits to the Warton Esherick Studio, Waynesborough and the Henry
Foundation on Thursday were extremely interesting.   The three
places visited on Thursday were not locations that one would have
found on their own.  Esherick was a wood sculptor and made both
decorative items and extremely functional but different
furniture. Everyone really enjoyed the tour of his home and

The group had a second visit to the Barnes on Friday morning
which we skipped so we could get home without hitting traffic.

We were disappointed that the program didn't follow the three
courses outlined in the Elderhostel catalog and mainly
concentrated on the Barnes. We had hoped for a more balanced
presentation.  We were also disappointed that all of the dinners
were so poor.


Little Inn Of Bayfield  Ontario,Canada
#66413  April 23, 2000


This trip was a 12 on a scale of 10 !!

Bayfield is located on Lake Huron ( 2 hours above Detroit or 2
hours due west from Toronto) We opted to fly to Toronto and rent
a car there because we wanted to come back to Toronto and spend a
couple of days at end of trip there.

When we arrived in Bayfield and turned on to Main St. we wondered
what we had gotten in to as the street was not paved, full of
ruts etc.!! ( We were to later find out they were doing extensive
road and sewer work and the trucks had torn up the pavement.)
There are no sidewalks nor do they want them. This is a little
resort village of around 800 persons that becomes a lively summer
retreat for the city dwellers. The sunset there is among the best
10 in the world according to National Geographic. Absolutely

Lodging was in a 19th century Inn (1832) that was absolutely
delightful. (Note: very few rooms are on 1st floor and there are
no elevators) Large weeping willow tree out front, veranda that
went all the way around the 2nd floor--great place to people
watch and relax. The rooms were a mixture of antiques and new
furniture and they had the best mattress i have ever had in a
hotel !. ( note: there were tv's and telephones in the rooms
which most inns and /or B   Bs dont have.)

Nineteen of us had a Sunday reception at 6 with wine and punch
and set down for dinner at 6:30. Were we surprised !! We found
out just what we were in for ---Each meal was a culinary
masterpiece. Great presentations and each night at dinner we had
3 different wines served with different courses. ( i took up a
roll of film just snapping the plates as they were served to us
!!) The food surpassed any cruise ship i have been on. We ate
each evening at 7 pm ( not the usual 5:30 that most programs
do-which i hate ) and finished around 9pm. Very leisurely.

Each morning from 9-12 we had lectures on different aspects of
food management, difference and tastings of olive oils and
vinegars etc--by Richard, our formidable host from France, and
/or lectures from Chef Jamie on presentation, breads, recipes
etc. One day someone came from Chateau de Charmes ( a winery from
Niagara district) and told us all about wine making and the
different wines that are from Canada. ( Most of the wines we were
having with dinners were from there.) Note: We drove down to the
falls on sunday and stopped by this winery and toured it on the
way. think a lot of EH did the same thing on way home.

Due to the great weather we were having (sunny-65-75 degrees )
each afternoon Richard had a different walk or hike planned for
us. ( Which we needed to get rid of the calories !) We did a town
walk, Hullett wild life preserve, Bannock Burn and to Tiger
Dunlop's tomb. These were easy hikes, the longest lasting 1 1 /2

Chef Jamie even catered our lunch to Bannock Burn and we ate
there that day.

Richard arranged for some local people to come and speak on a
variety of subjects after dinner. They usually were invited to
eat with us and spoke as soon as they finished eating. These were
informative and interesting.

The program was over with at noon on Friday and i think this was
the first EH i have been on where every one stayed for the
morning lectures and lunch !!

They do not have this program during the "season"--next one will
be in the fall-which would be a great times as trees would be
changing then.

(Note: I turned my ankle and fell as we were finishing up the
long hike. Chipped a tooth, punctured my lip -in general busted
my mouth up good !! This is isolated as far as MDs, Hospitals
etc.--there are no medical facilities at Bayfield-closest one 20
min away. Very frustrating as we are spoiled by having UTC etc on
every corner. You don't miss these things until you need them !!
On a lighter note-my lip was punctured to the outside so it
slowed me down eating some what but would have really been a
disaster if it had been inside ! )

If you are interested in cooking, good food and wine try this
program. I guarantee you will come away with a smile on your face



Saint Mary of the Woods College, Terri Haute, IN,
March 26-31, 2000

For years, I have been looking at the EH catalogue for this
college, the oldest Catholic Women's College in the country,
because of its programs. The offerings specialize in an entire
week with one country and its history, culture, cuisine, art and
so forth. Since I was already in Kentucky, a mere 350 miles away,
I thought I would try this EH all about France.

I felt an ominous foreshadowing from the beginning. I had
reserved a room for the night before the EH began, on March 25th,
and this was easy enough to arrange by phone. However, when I
arrived, after a long drive from KY, there was no key to my room
at the guesthouse as promised. There was nobody in charge, not
even a concierge, so, tired as I was from my journey, I walked
about a half mile to the guardhouse, and told my plight to the
security people. I took this walk three times. First, the
coordinator had to be called to get the proper key. Then, the key
did not fit the trick lock.

Then, I was locked out of the bathroom, which opened to an
adjoining room and was locked inside the bathroom on each
adjoining door. On the other hand, I did make the acquaintance of
two nice security people named Harold and Tom. Be warned, if you
are going there, to make a treaty with the person in the next
room so you will not be locked out of the bathroom! Still, the
guesthouse is a very pleasant place. The rooms are large, there
is a lounge for guests on each of the two floors, and there is a
device on the bulletin board if you are shut out of the bathroom.
The guards are available if you are locked out in the middle of
the night. You might want to dress accordingly before going to
bed. No problem, as everyone is quite friendly.

More on Accommodations: The guesthouse is very clean and
home-like if you can get a key to your room. There is a
comfortable lounge downstairs with a color TV set without cable,
and a kitchen. A powder room can be used in emergencies if you
are shut out of your bathroom and the bulletin board tool is
missing. The grounds are very well kept and pleasant. On the
other hand, most of the entrances to the buildings are littered
with ancient cigarette butts. It was rumored that none of the
buildings are air conditioned, although this place is in Southern

Food: Lunch and Dinner can be considered fair to good. There were
plenty of fresh vegetables at the salad bar. There was also a
sandwich bar, so the buffet line went smoothly. These two meals
were held in a very spacious large hall.

Breakfast, on the other hand, was very strange. Breakfast was in
a swollen closet in a dormitory building.  If you go there, bring
three hands for breakfast, and do squeeze the bagels, some of
which are artifacts from Paleolithic times Would you expect
French toast at a French program? Hah! You have to bring your
own hot food such as oatmeal, grits, eggs, or pancakes or meat.
Breakfast was very cold, brittle, and unsatisfying. On the other
hand, it was very sociable, as many of us kept bumping into each
other in that oversized closet, and because there were no trays,
I almost learned to juggle.

Program: The program promised the following: French opera,
language, cinema, history, architecture, rare books,
horsemanship, views of France, literature, virtual visit to Paris
and the Louvre, a musical evening, France in America, aquatics,
wine, and a farewell dinner. Maybe I skipped something, as the
promises were not all kept.

The two-hour class on French opera conducted by Fr. Bernie was
nothing short of brilliant.but it was too short in view of the
whole program. More! Bravo! This class was well organized,
informative, and full of fun. Fr. Bernie is a very talented
teacher. Would that more hours were spent this way! This was the
first presentation, and it led me to expect a continued high
standard at SMWC.

Chris Salmon was excellent in introducing us to some simple
French phrases and customs as well as a survey of outstanding
French classical literature. On the other hand, she also was in
charge of an evening of French cinema.  I can assure all of you
that a silent film made in France is very much like a silent film
made anywhere else!

Three and a half-hours of French History were guillotined by a
very boring teacher who handed us a sheet titled Highlights of
French History and droned out fact after fact from the
Cro-Magnons to the Fifth Republic.  In my opinion, French history
was murdered. There was no humor, no context, no interpretation,
no demography, psychology, biography or geography. Not one decent
map of France was presented. Oh, yes, France could be seen inside
several world history maps mounted on a tripod, but these kept
falling down, just as the French Empire did.

Other parts of the program can be considered as "Also in France."
It was pleasant to know, for example, that the French appreciate
good horsemanship, and the horses respond to French training, but
I could not tell a French horse from a Kentucky one. The folk
singer was very talented. He was connected to French culture
through his father, who was French Canadian, but he knew not any
French songs. On the other hand, his rendition of Kentucky miners
songs was excellent. And so it went with architecture, a nature
walk, a walk around the campus, an interesting display of the
history of the religious order, and a tour of the hundred-year
old church But I missed the French Connection quite frequently,
and had the impression these presentations were given merely to
fill in the program.

The final day was supposed to be the climax to our
program, the piece de resistance, if you will. It began with a
monotone lecture on French-Canadian History, featuring the
professor's attempt at a class discussion: "Who knows who
discovered the Saint Lawrence River?" Then we boarded buses for
our only field trip. The first stop was the exciting promise of
"Inland Aquatics" and of course, adolescent that I am, I had
visions of skimpy French bathing suits, perhaps with Brigitte
Bardot squeezing into one of them. No such luck, as this turned
out to be a tropical fish store. I tried hard to look at one of
the colorful fish and see Charles De Gaulle, but again I failed
at the French Connection. Next, we went to the Terre Vin Winery,
which sounded like a Gallic delight because of its name. This
winery, however, was devoted to the glories of Indiana wine,
which we did sample.

The Farewell Dinner, Thursday night was our last chance to
exchange pleasantries and addresses. We were crammed into a small
conference room so that some chairs were back to back, and the
poor waitresses had to reach across some noses to elbow their way
to the dirty dishes. The food was fairly good and featured cordon
bleu, French onion soup, and a demonstration of how French crepes
were made. All went well, until the Senior Coordinator, who was
absent most of the time, interrupted each table with the
announcement "this is a commercial!" and tried to peddle SMWC
T-shirts! The French might say c'est tres. gauche.. And we might
say.how tacky!! There is more savoir-faire in any Jersey diner,
where it is pronounced as savvy.

The announcement was made at the Farewell Dinner that we had to
evacuate the premises by 9:30 AM the next morning, Friday, March
31st to make way for another group. There would be only a
"Continental Breakfast" which is what I thought we were having
all along, so what could be less than that? I did not stay to
find out. There was no Farewell Lunch, as offered in other
programs and no box lunch to take along, as I have enjoyed
from many other places.

For a single accommodation, SMWC costs less than other
programs. On the other hand..

 From your friendly Elderholic,

Sid Kessler, email. Itisalive@erols.com