Elderhostel Notebook #67 June 1, 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

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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
In sending out my periodic e-mail address check for this issue, I
experienced a "senior moment" and, preoccupied with an
intervening task, omitted the body of the message. Since the
check depends on e-mail "bounces" to determine the accuracy of my
mailing list, the omission did not affect the check. I'll have to
take a program designed to improve short term  memory- if I can
remember to do it.

Just a reminder to readers that our purpose has never been to
produce an up to date comprehensive guide to program selection,
but to give readers some idea of what is happening (or has
happened) at various programs and for some readers to provide a
vicarious Elderhostel program experience.  This issue contains
one program that seems to be no longer offered, and the web site
archive has many more reports of memorable but now defunct
programs. They are part of the lore of Elderhostel program
history now that we are serving in a small way to preserve.

On a personal note- later this summer I'll be putting up a page
of memoirs to document some of my experiences in the 1945-1951
time period, a critical time in my life involving army service in
the last days of the WWII Battle for Okinawa, the first year of
the U.S occupation of Korea, college and courtship, and 1951
service in the Korean War.

I think the internet provides a good place for this kind of
personal sidelight to history- a way to preserve what some might
call oral history- now I suppose it will be called dot-com
history- only there will be no com aspect to it. Maybe "Home Page"
history is a better term. If some of you are doing something
similar, perhaps later we can compare notes and even exchange
links to our respective sites.

    Program Reviews

        SHALOM RETREAT CENTER-Dubuque, Iowa
        Virginia University- 4H Conference Center
        Wilderness Conservancy at Mountain Lake, Virginia
        Western Kentucky U/Mammoth Cave National Park
        Passion Play in Eureka Springs, MO
        Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Park
        CARDINAL STRITCH UNIVERSITY - Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Sept. 1997

SITE: Remodeled old convent/school--Rooms were immaculate and
spacious, but no sink or toilet in room;however, these were
handily nearby.	The entire plant is a self contained
building(with elevator)--good for disabled.

MEALS: Terrific, home-made from scratch by a master-chef (a nun
with many years of experience with excellent recipes) served in a
beautiful relaxing huge dining room N.B. Seconds and thirds,
while they last.

CLASSES: Held in a beautiful and inspiring chapel (stained-glass
windows -- a real treasure)	INSTRUCTORS: Very knowledgeable,
courteous, and delightful women addressing topics on Women in the
Bible, Wholistic Living/Spirituality, Herbs for Healing and
Health (with samples to taste)

FIELD TRIPS: Throughout the City of Dubuque zeroing in on the
Eagles nesting and hovering in the vicinity of the glorious
expanse of the Mississippi River and a most uplifting visit to
the Trappist Monastery in the country for Gregorian Chant

the showstopper was the Master-Chef Nun demonstrating her most
sought after recipe (we couldn't stop laughing)

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Excellent ---I came away refreshed and
inspired and hope to return.

Leonard Rogus e mail

editor's note- since this was a 1997 report I checked to see if
the site is still active as a program host. It is. if you take a
program there or not, stop at Dubuque, Iowa, if you are in the
area. It is a wonderful old Mississippi River City as Leonard


Virginia University- 4H Conference Center, Weston, WV
Advanced Beginning Computers
May 6 to 11, 2000

I know. You are going to ask me "what is an advanced beginner?"
Only our main gurus, Dean Hardman and Franny Mams knew. It was
rumored they could tell by how their students stagger away from
the monitors with eyes that are glassy and dilated, and how long
they remained that way.

Before I ventured as a novice to this marvelous place two years
ago, I thought an A-Drive was something Bonny and Clyde used for
an express withdrawal from a bank. I did not know a dot-com from
a dot-go.

But now, I am cured!! I no longer flip over a floppy, and I don't
hear Beethoven's Fifth as Da Da Da- Daaah any more. It is now Dot
Dot Dot-Caahm!! I open Windows instead of washing them, and I
never call a dog Browser or boot up a shoe. Thank you for an
updated education West Virginia!

This program began with a thorough review of Windows 95/98 and
the nature of a love/hate relationship with a computer. There
were l9 of us in the lab, and there were 20 computers, all set up
for us. The first day was devoted to computer management with
Windows Explorer taught by a very good instructor, Lee Krause.
Lee set the stage. No question was too dumb or left without an
answer. At times, there were assistants who wandered down the
aisles to answer questions.

The learning environment was excellent with individual attention
and a lot of fun. The rest of the program lived up to my highest
expectations. It included Internet searching information, Word
Processing, gadgets and gizmos, and Quicken 2000, as an example
of personal finance software. There was also plenty of free time
in the lab, attended by our patient, knowledgeable instructors
Lee, Dean, Franny, and Marie Burleigh, our Word Processing

Evening programs included an interesting orientation session, a
film and lecture about the early life of Stonewall Jackson, and
an excellent presentation of slides of beautiful West Virginia.
There was plenty of space for hiking, and a historic area
centered on a mill The town of Weston was also worth a visit as
it is a glass and antique center.

We were all spoiled with residence in Jackson Lodge. We had
spacious individual rooms with bathrooms and Cable TV, and maid
service every day. The food service was simply superb with many
choices along a very efficient buffet line. If you go, watch the
waist line!!

This was the first time an "Advanced Beginner" course was offered
at Jackson's Mill and it really "clicked" with me. It is highly
recommended, but not for absolute beginners.now where is my
B-Drive, or is it my E-Drive? Is my computer "crashing" again, or
is it the A-Drive driving me?

With all good wishes for Happy Elderhosteling,

Your friendly Elderholic,

Sid Kessler itisalive@erols.com


Wilderness Conservancy at Mountain Lake, Virginia
Bird Watching

We attended a wonderful program earlier this month at Mountain
Lake, Virginia--a classic three-story stone lodge near
Blacksburg,operated by the Wilderness Conservancy at Mountain

This program was the Conservancy's annual birding Elderhostel,
conducted by Jerry Via, Phylis Spiegel and Bill Akers, three of
the most knowledgeable birders we've  ever encountered  in our l5
years of bird watching. The program consisted of  daily birding
walks on the 2,600-acre property, and classroom instruction.

During the week we observed over 70 species of birds. Mountain
Lake, one of only two natural lakes in Virginia, has an elevation
of 4,000 feet. The  lodge, built in the l930's,  has relaxed
atmosphere rarely found these day, and dedicated professional

The food, served buffet style, was outstanding, from the
standpoint of  both quality and, alas, quantity. The program was
directed by Ruth Lytton, a true professional and a credit to the
Elderhostel Program. There were 38 of us and we left the program
regretting it was over so soon.

  Ken and Carol Senstad


Western Kentucky U/Mammoth Cave National Park
The Underground World: Exploring the World of Caves
Jmernay @aol.com

Experience of a Lifetime -

New Director, Sharon Woodward, and the members of the staff of
the Mammoth Cave National Park have created an entirely new
excellent program for active Elderhostelers.  It is well
organized with varied activities.  We were housed at the Mammoth
Park Hotel.  All motel style rooms with private bath on the first
floor.  Breakfast and lunch were buffet style in the hotel dining
room.  Dinner was a preplanned menu in a private dining room for
just our group at the hotel.  One dinner at the Brass Lantern
restaurant.  All touring was done on National Park buses which
are easy to get on and off.

Our group size was 21 and the maxim group size is 30 for this
program.  We attended in April and had warm spring days and
jacket evenings.

The program consists of several cave tours, hikes, nature walks,
a boat ride and evening programs.  The Historic Cave Tour given
by the National Park to the public consists of 120 people.  Our
group of 21 had our own guide, a geologist and no set time to
complete the tour.  This was the pattern for the entire program.
All our tours were limited to our group.  We toured several
caves, one by lantern light.  Hiked in the park with a botanist
while discussing the plants.  Also visited several sites that
were part of the history of the area.  Only one afternoon of free
time.  There are activities that can be done at the park such as
walking or tennis.  The director also provided a list of many
interesting nearby places that could be visited in an afternoon.
Our excellent director remained with the group the entire
program.  She always made sure that everyone was informed as to
the time and place to meet as well as that day's activities.

For those who want the ultimate adventure there is the
opportunity to go cave exploring.  The 12 of us loved every
minute of the spelunking.  We were outfitted with helmets with
lights, knee pads and gloves.  We had two National Park Rangers
as our guides and learned how to crawl, twist and climb through
some mighty small areas.

In addition to our excellent director, the National Park Rangers
that were part of our program were outstanding.  Their knowledge
was only surpassed by their thoughtfulness and kindness.

MIRIAM AND JEROME ERNAY       Jmernay@aol.com


University of Arkansas
Passion Play in Eureka Springs, MO

If you have an interest in the Passion Play in Eureka Springs,
MO, this program is for you. The Passion Play amphitheater is
just part of a large complex revolving around the Bible. In
addition to seeing the play, you are taken behind the sets to
learn what makes the play "tic." You attend other activities in
the complex suck as a Gospel Concert, Parables of Jesus, Bible
Museum, Sacred Art Museum, Church in the Grove, and the New Holy
Land Tour.

The Passion Play complex is just part of this program. You
will attend a country music jamboree, visit a glass-walled
church, visit a active monastery, visit one of the largest
private collections of antique home and farm items, and tour
several houses/hotels of Victorian architecture. While doing all
this, you will learn about Eureka Springs, founded in 1880, on
your own with a free pass that permits riding the four trolleys
that circulate throughout the area. The program could have been
improved by giving us a better appreciation of the economics and
politics of the area.

Most of the time is spent on seeing the points of interest.
Classroom time is a minimum. The visits require some walking but
all the people in our group were able to participate. The
accommodations were at the Best Western Inn of the Ozarks. Both
the rooms and lecture hall were more than adequate. Most meals
were at the Inn. A variety of breakfast menus were available. The
lunches were a soup and salad buffet. The dinners were limited. I
didn't care for the vegetables and some of the entrees were
tasteless. The food volume may have dulled my taste buds after
the first couple of days. The program was well organized by the
University of Arkansas. Everyone in the community was friendly.
All dress was informal at all times -- shorts, jeans, etc.

If you want a minimum of classroom sitting and a maximum of
seeing what's going on, you will enjoy this program. However,
don't go to this beautiful hilly area in June through August.
It's too hot and humid. May 21 to May 26 was great.

Don   Myrle Helfer


Hagerstown Community College, Maryland
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Park;
A Walker's Paradise
April 30-May 5, 2000

Since this is advertised as Paradise, take heart. This Heaven is
within commuting distance of our nation's Capitol. There must be
some political statement here, since this EH is all about men,
mules, canals, and a nostalgic trip to a simpler past.

This celestial EH was sponsored by Hagerstown Community College
(HCC) Maryland, and was held at the Shepherd's Spring Outdoor
Ministries Center of the Church of the Brethren. The setting was
on 220 acres of woods. It is not far from the eerie green
stillness at the Antietam battlefield. HCC also offers EH's on
the Civil War, although, paradoxically, the Church of the
Brethren believes in pacifism.

There were stars in this divine experience, all brought together
by Anne Myers, a saintly coordinator of great soul. Unlike many
academics in charge of adult activities, Anne was utterly devoted
to us, sleeping on the site and always available. She would be an
excellent coordinator-mentor as I have suggested to Boston. Anne,
cheerful, hard-working, with a heart like an engine that says
"Yes we can" Anne brought to this Eden the Shanes, Jan and Alan,
interesting, friendly local volunteers who spoiled us all day,
and an exceptional guide, John Frye. John is a nationally known
canal historian and lecturer who was instrumental in preserving
this l84 mile historic treasure that extends from Georgetown to
Cumberland, MD. John walked with Justice Douglas to lobby for its
preservation and National Park status in l971.

Highlights of the program included trips to the Paw Paw Tunnel,
Harpers Ferry, Fort Frederick, the Antietam Iron Works, and a
canal boat ride at Great Falls. Walking was delightful on the
flat towpath. If someone did not want to "toe the line," the bus,
driven by "Darling Bob" followed us everywhere. Four afternoons
were spent on field trips and hikes, all of which included
delicious picnic lunches, accompanied by our stars: Saintly Anne,
the Lovely Shanes, Canal John, and "Darling Bob" as Anne knighted
him. With folks like these, who can ask for anyone more?

Evenings included lectures, videos, slides and films on the Canal
Era, the C and O Canal during the Civil War, Washington County
wildlife, "John Brown's Holy War" and "Canal and Civil War Songs"
at a live concert. At the end of each event, Anne announced
"snack time!" and we enjoyed such things as low-fat popcorn, ice
cream and cookies. Dieters beware!

The food was more than satisfactory; enhanced with tasty baked
goods, plentiful vegetables, and a constant supply of fresh fruit
between meals. The accommodations were in a fairly new lodge,
which contained our private bedroom/bathrooms, dining hall and
classroom. Oddly, there were no dresser drawers, but this did not
bother anyone. This was the first time HCC offered the C and O
Canal as a complete EH. I would rate being a "guinea pig" as a
squealing success. All thirty-six of us left with happy smiles
and good memories.

If you want to float through a superb EH, you should lock on to
this canal experience or you will miss the boat. Bring your bug
spray or the gnats will drive you nuts. Leave your mule footwear
at home and meet the real mules. Finally, SOS or Save Our System.
The next time the White House and Capitol Hill are deadlocked
because of hardening of the arguments, let's "exile" them to the
nearby C and O Canal National Park, and let's not give them any
of Anne's good lunch until they agree!!

Happy Elderhosteling from your friendly elderholic, Sid Kessler

Polish/German Ethnic Programs (1995 and 1996)

SITE:  Excellent, self-contained facility, especially good for
disabled persons.  No need to leave the building; however, for
the outdoor elderhostelers, the campus is very favorable for
outdoor activities.

ACCOMMODATIONS:   Dormitory rooms with sinks--plenty of singles
at no extra charge.   Common bathrooms and showers are very
spacious with good privacy, since there are a good number
available.      MEALS:  In cafeteria with a very wide selection
of items, well prepared (the chef even prepared one ethnic meal
per day) and dining hall is very spacious.

CLASSROOM:  In an auditorium setting with very comfortable seats.

Coordinated with City of Milwaukee's Lakefront Summerfest   plus
a special ethnic neighborhoods tour (about 4 hours) in a very
comfortable bus.  The delightful surprise was the host viz.
FRANK ZEIDLER--the former controversial Mayor of Milwaukee, now
in his 80's who is full of historical tidbits about the city of
Milwaukee's development and growth.

appropriate---Polish wedding band; models modeling costumes;
German music presentation

CLOSING:   Very elegant "graduation" banquet with many surprising
awards.............Coordinator Sister Lourdette  is one of the
best on the circuit------ever present, ever courteously helpful,
and even an accomplished van transportation driver.

INSTRUCTORS: Very knowledgeable in specific ethnic fields.

OVERALL EVALUATION: Even if you are a senior who attends only
facilities with private baths, these programs  will more than
satisfy you.                  If you want more details, e mail me
   ......Leonard Rogus    at lmjr34@yahoo.com
Editors note: This  site hasn't been listed in the last few
catalogs. It may no longer by offering Elderhostel programs.

Dutch Culture
May, 1999

SITE: Almost idyllic on the east shore/bluff/beach of Lake
Michigan--the sunsets are fabulous.

ACCOMMODATIONS: Excellent but no elevator for upper rooms MEALS:
Super home-style buffet

COORDINATOR: Jon Mark Schoon --one of the best on the circuit (he
went out of his way to pick me up at the Greyhound Bus Station
and dropped me off after the program) and was always present to
us for all our needs

CLASSES: Making of the English Bible by Dr. Herb Samworth; Dutch
Historical Sketch by Nella Kennedy Holland, Michigan, Tulip Time
Festival by Andy VanSlot

WAY TO DO IT---Parade and Stage Show were memorable!!!! Jon Mark
transported us to sights in a old fashioned double-decker bus.

Leonard Rogus