Elderhostel Notebook #81 February 11,  2001

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

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    From the Editor's Notebook

I have fallen behind a little so will be coming out with #82
fairly soon as the reserve file has grown.

For various reasons I am temporarily suspending work on the web
site archive and it won't be up to date if available at all.

I will, however, always keep the last two issues at the main web

    Comments and Queries

Subject: Disability travel with EH


After so many wonderful EH experiences in past years, my
emphysema has

caught up with me at last -- I need oxygen at night and
occasionally on exertion.

Airlines will provide oxygen but it cannot be carried on aircraft
and needs to be provided at destination. This poses a problem for
overseas travel. Am wondering what Eh has to offer in the way of
information, services, etc,. This is very new to me, as it is
hard to turn on a hair dryer in various countries, so what can
be provided in the way of oxygen services to COPD people, etc.?

My doctor insists that I can return to Italy where I had a
wonderful trip 2 years ago -- I am very active and only have
oxygen at night and occasionally during the day on exertion. I do
not carry it around with me except for an emergency exertion

I would very much appreciate any help, information, resources,
facilities, etc.

Subj: 	Ethiopia

From: 	RLivsey@brobeck.com

Can anyone recommend an Ethiopia trip?  We were in the Peace
Corps there, and would like to return.

We have Ethiopia trip brochures from American Museum of Natural
History, Wilderness Travel. and Journeys.  Anyone have any
experience with any of these companies?

Bob Livsey RLivsey@brobeck.com

  From: "Kay Cornelius" 

Otis VanHorne asks about the programs at Gulf Shores, AL. My
husband and I both attended one there and he went back later
alone for one that was all golf.

Gulf Shores State Park has motel-like lodging (think Super 8
rather than upper end of the scale), with classes and all
buffet-style meals in the lodge. The food was excellent, the same
fare as the regular state park lodgers got, except for the
desserts, which were limited, to say the least. Elderhostel had
its own private dining room. The presenters were all prepared and
the field trip to Fort Morgan went well. I understand that there
was some hurricane damage after we were there, which has been
repaired. You should enjoy your stay at Gulf Shores.

Kay and Don Cornelius

  From: "Carol Shoemaker" 

Does Elderhostel go to Madagascar?? Has anyone been to Madagascar, 
any advice or information would be appreciated.


Subject: Transportation to/from Elderhostel site

The past few years my wife and I have attended several EH
sessions in St. Petersburg , Florida, and used the LIMO, a
service which took us from the Tampa airport to the EH and back
again at the end of the session. The LIMO provides transportation
between the airport and several surrounding counties.

It makes no sense to rent a car unless one wants to use it for
sightseeing in the EH area. We'd love to hear how others have
handled this problem in other areas. Does anyone have any

From: "Rosemary" 

Recently back from a super trip to Maui. Romy Leah our leader is
the most charming and I think the best we have had. She went out
of her way gettin us 'extra curricular' events and tips on local
trades people.

                       Rosemary Wallis


From: SUZIKUKAR@aol.com

I am taking two Elderhostel programs this spring: "Festival
International De Louisiane: French-Speaking World Comes to
Lafayette" and "New Orleans: A City of History Celebration."
Would appreciate hearing from anyone who has participated in
either, regarding activities, April weather, transportation,
food, etc. suzikukar@aol.com

    Program Reviews

                    St Simons Island, Ga
                    Ethnic New York City
                    Berea (KY) College/Boone Tavern Hotel


We stayed at a very nice Best Western Inn and was provided a
plentiful continental breakfast each morning.  Our friendly bus
driver picked us up and delivered us to the Community College
about two miles away where the classes were held in their
well-equipped computer lab.

Our instructor was Bill Hofmeier, proved to be a proficient and
entertaining computer wizard. While the class was for beginners,
a few of us more experienced were able to assist and helped the
class move along smoothly. Everything promised in the class
synopsis was covered thoroughly. Our lunches were provided by the
school cafeteria and were varied and quite good.  Kim Clark, our
coordinator, had the unenviable task of entertaining the group
after classes.

Not much to see in Kingman.  An interesting class by a local
historian filled one evening and trips to various restaurants in
the area, escorted by our amicable bus driver, adequately filled
out the week.  I haven't seen this class in recent catalogs, but
if offered again, I would recommend it.

Carl Larson Ou8j@aol.com


St Simons Island, Ga # 10248-0107-01
Island Hopping: Experience The Thrill Of Exploring Three Barrier Islands

There are three reasons for any hostel trip: (1) new experiences
and insights; (2) meeting interesting people with thoughtful,
challenging ideas and (3) R  Sub-topics of (3) are food and
accommodations. To save your having to read the rest of this
monologue, let me sum up our experiences during our visit to this
seminar: GO !

Excellent assortment of knowledgeable, enthusiastic lecturers and
tour guides; a polyglot group of cheerful, good-natured (watch
out for the pun) seniors with a range of  experience in wildlife
and marine creepy things; (3a) Generous portions of good food
prepared by a caring caterer and imaginative chef, Greg Smith;
and (3b) An extremely pleasant stay at the Island Inn, managed
generously and with great care for the comfort and contentment of
the guests by Susan Garwood, for whom even outrageous demands by
a fussy senior citizen (yours truly) were met with aplomb and
good cheer.


Speakers were of either one or two persuasions: (1) naturalists,
who know a great deal about sea animals and wildlife; and (2)
historians of the South, especially as it pertains to three of
the Outer Banks Islands: St Simons, Jekyll and Sapolo. Each of
these Islands was covered thoroughly in detailed lectures,
followed by field trips to visit and investigate them in detail.
Visits to two historic light houses were part of the trips, one
of which led to a rather nerve-wracking experience.

The tone of the entire week was set by the lead-off speaker,
Trish Buie, St Simon's historian and voluble firebrand. Her
graceful, enthusiastic lecture held us all spellbound. She was
followed by a deadpan comedienne, Elaine Young, who had the
audience in stitches while letting us make the acquaintance of
her freeze-dried bird collection. Ann Ditmar was third in this
talented triumvirate, as she divulged the infinite mysteries of
aquatic predators and their natural food supplies. For instance,
did YOU know that a conch is male for the first seven years of
its life, then changes into a female? How delightful for the
female of the species: always a younger man !

The field trips did NOT lack for their hilarious as well as some
anxious moments. On Jekyll Island, for instance, we visited the
"cottages" of the high and mighty (J P Morgan, R J Reynolds,
other giants of industry), making the tour on an open-sided
Toonerville Trolley. Despite being bundled up for N Y Winter
weather, we froze our *** off as we passed along the sea shore
with the wind howling through. We were glad that we had "gone
south" for the winter. Right.

The Reynolds place, incidentally can he rented for $125 per
night, including all the servants necessary to run it. Minimum
size of party: 140 persons. Good for a bar mitzvah to outdo the

My wife was charmed by a delightful 19th century baby carriage in
the sun room, with a tiny little umbrella clamped to the handle
bar. She loved the cushion on the seat, so she examined it a
little more closely. The label on it said ... Wal-Mart, Chenille
WC, retail $10.88, style 1812. Well, at least the style number
was right for the period.

Now for the exciting part of the trip: the bus ride to the
lighthouse on Sapelo Island. Shortly before we reached it, our
tour guide said, "hang on, this may get bumpy!" And it sure did.
Thump! Whap! Thumpppppppppppp .... and a screaming tire. She
backed up, tried again. And again. And with each attempt, much as
you would do in deep snow, she dug the bus in deeper, until the
rear axle was resting on the beach sand. We got out and walked to
the lighthouse, which was all of maybe 100 yards away.

When the driver couldn't extricate the tour bus, she phoned for
the school bus. It arrived fairly quickly, and a very competent
driver turned it around without a whimper and we were on our way
back to the boat we needed to return us to St Simons Island.
Suddenly he headed for a strange parking lot, stopped and told us
... "everybody out the BACK!" I was in no mood to jump off a 4-ft
high platform so I waited till everyone had gone, then calmly
walked out the front exit. That's when I smelled the smoke and
was told the engine was on fire.

Fortunately, the bus never really started to burn. An oil leak
had sprayed oil on the hot engine which caused the smoke. Several
vans were ultimately commandeered from the Reynolds estate, and
they brought all of us back to the island boat in time to get
back to our hotel for dinner. It was truly wonderful to notice
how totally calm the group was in taking this little contretemps
in stride. I guess expecting the unexpected comes with being an


If you're at all interested in the history and living conditions
of animal life (including homo sapiens) in the South before the
Civil War and the sea creatures so abundant in this area,  GO to
this seminar.


Ethnic New York City
September 3 - 8, 2000

My objective was to eventually take grandchildren to New York
City and feel comfortable showing them the sites. I  took  this
program to familiarize myself with the area  and accomplished
that goal.  We took public transportation everywhere - a piece of
cake on Manhattan Island.  If you spotted someone without a
camera they were a New Yorker and more than willing to give
directions, even show you the way.

You walk, boy do you walk.  I told one New Yorker we met that I
walked every morning at home and still felt like my feet were
falling off.  Told her we had yet to meet an overweight New
Yorker.  She was very polite and waited before she responded,
"You haven't met all of us."

The YMCA has a great little cafeteria that serves excellent food.
  You are half a block from Lincoln Center and half a block from
Central Park.  Central Park during the day is a Mecca for New
Yorkers jogging, biking and walking and musicians add to the
atmosphere on the weekends - a flute player had excellent
acoustics under one of the bridges by the lake.  Our second son
thought I was crazy to go to New York City and have lunch in
Chinatown, Harlem and Little Italy.  He said, "You know Mom, part
of the money they charge is for protection."  Not the case.  They
do say not to go into Central Park at night, but everything else
is first class.  New Yorkers are proud of their city and it

The tour leaders were very considerate and efficient.  We called
ourselves 'Elder Hostages' and enjoyed the adventure.  Harlem was
very nice, the City College where Colin Powell graduated rises
above the streets and is a beautiful sight.  The Apollo Theater
tour was excellent as the guide broke into the signature song for
each of the 'stars' discovered at Amateur Night.  A must see are
the tenements that people had to lived in when they immigrated .
. . that is in the shrinking Little Italy area.

I could go on and on, can send an itemized journal with the
extras that we squeezed in if you like.  Do recommend buying half
price tickets in Times Square for a Broadway show and seeing the
Statue of Liberty at night.  Eager to return with those
grandchildren and climb those stairs to the crown of the Statue
of Liberty while I still can - I think I still can, I think I
still can.

Recommend the over all experience - I was really apprehensive
about going to the Big Apple.  So very glad I did.



Berea (KY) College/Boone Tavern Hotel  (17060-1008-01)
October 8-13, 2000

"A Taste of Berea", "Experience the Folk Arts", "Berea's Early

PROGRAM: A taste of Berea (the town), Berea College and life in
Appalachia.  All of our instructors were very knowledgeable and
were either former students and/or on the faculty of Berea
College.  Our hosts, Bob and Liz Menefee, were as gracious and
outgoing as if we were guests in their own home.  Coordinator
Sherry Bosch was on the scene most of the time (or got subs when
she was unable to be with us) and did a very good job,
considering that this was the first EH program she had done solo
-- and was about three months pregnant at the time.

An hour-long folk dancing class was held every morning right
after breakfast, but only about half of the group chose to attend
these sessions.  Another hour-long class before lunch, two after
lunch and one after dinner filled out the day.  The evening
sessions were usually some sort of entertainment (musicians,
singers, dancers, etc.) rather than classes, per se. We had only
two field trips, which may account for the relatively low cost of
this EH.  On a scale of 10.0, I'd give the Program 9.0.

ACCOMMODATIONS: We stayed at the historic Boone Tavern Hotel,
which is owned by Berea College and is located right across the
street from the main campus.  It's name notwithstanding, Daniel
Boone never set foot in the place, nor has liquor ever been
served there.  (The word "tavern" originally meant "inn".)  The
rooms probably were technically clean, but our room had stained
carpeting, the walls were dingy, and some of the furniture was in
need of repair.  Unlike most other EH accommodations, we had
daily maid service.

We had the only handicapped accessible room in the hotel, and it
was just barely accessible.  Located on the third floor where one
would have to use the stairs in the event of a fire, the room was
small and crowded, and the bed (while in keeping with the period
furnishings) would have been too high for me to get into without
help even without a disability.  The bathroom did have grab bars
and a wheelchair accessible shower, but the mirror above the
basin was too high for me even when I was standing.  We heard no
complaints from others about their rooms.  Accommodations get

FOOD: Prior to this EH, we had heard many glowing reports about
the food in the Boone Tavern restaurant but, sadly, it did not
live up to its reputation.  Breakfast was probably the best meal
of the day, a buffet filled with everything from fresh fruits and
pastries to grits and biscuits n' gravy.  Lunch each day was a
"make-it-yerself" sandwich line, usually accompanied by fresh
fruit or a small salad.  I think they tried hard but dinner just
didn't cut it.  One evening our dinner consisted of meat and
potatoes -- that's all!  Very good meat and potatoes, granted,
but no gravy, no veggies, no salads.  (To be fair, I think the
college was in the midst of transferring it's management of the
restaurant to the Marriott Corp., so things may have improved.
Let's hope!)

The student servers were delightful to talk to but needed better
training.  They did things like forgetting to put the rolls on
the table until we were nearly through with our meals, and trying
to tell us that the cod we had eaten for dinner was really
salmon.  I think it was probably the fault of the kitchen, but we
often had to wait so long for our meals that we had to rush to
make it to our next session on time.

I realize that this was a different situation, but I missed the
"munchies" that you can usually find between meals at most EHs.
And except for the breakfast buffet, there were no seconds at
mealtime.  Food gets 5.0 at best.

OTHER: What saved the day at this EH was the PEOPLE, both
Hostelers and staff.  This was my first EH since I began using a
wheelchair, and my husband and I were determined not to be an
imposition on anyone.  Well, nobody even gave us the chance to be
an imposition!  We always had more help than we needed even
before we knew we needed it.  Several people had parents or other
older relatives who use wheelchairs and they gladly shared their
"tricks of the trade" with us.  10.0+ for the People!


  (Center for Extended Learning for Seniors)
  January 14-19, 2001

NOTE; This was to be my "warm weather" winter trip but a cold
front moved through california the week end before we got there
and it was unseasonably cool. Highs in the 60s lows in the 30s.
Just a friendly tip-don't go to "warm" weather spots with out a
jacket, gloves etc. Many were caught with out proper clothes and
had to head for stores to by sweat shirts etc. to keep warm!

At orientation on Sunday nite-we realized we were not the only
hotel housing the Elderhostel group. There were four hotels with
(get this) 600 attendees.!! There were 200 staying at our hotel
and we were divided into color groups (4) some what the New
Orleans program. We were at the Ramada Resort-others were at the
Doral, Octillo Lodge and over in Desert Hot Springs at Miracle
Spring Lodge. We did have the largest group tho.

PROGRAM; we attended two films (some with subtitles) a day. One
screening at 9 am and another at 1 pm. CELS had arranged for us
to have our own "private" screenings at an auditorium that held
900 persons. The festival people picked the films we were to see.
It was a good mix of foreign and english speaking films. After
the films were over, either the director, star or someone
connected to film were there for Q and A's. (Rob Morrow was the
only star that was there ) All in all we saw 9 movies. This was
part of the cost of the program. They did make ticket to other
movies available to us at a discount. Movies were playing all
over town starting early am until midnight. Some attendees saw as
many as 20 or more in the week they were there !

Afterwards we had a "critiquing" of films at our respective
hotels with the EH group.

Buses were provided to take you to and from the auditorium if you
needed transportation. The site was only 1 mile from the Ramada
so a lot walked there and back. (Much needed exercise as we were
sitting all day !)

LODGING; Unfortunately the Ramada- (which housed the largest
number of EH's) -- had signed a contract with the electric
company to get a cheaper rate on their electricity. This meant
turning off electricity when ever they were called on to do so.
(Seems like this had happened already 2 0 times in january) but
CELS did not seem to deem it necessary to move the location of
this program-so from Tuesday on we woke up in the dark and went
to bed in the dark most of the time.! This meant NO HOT WATER, NO
use of hot tubs or swimming pools, NO tv, NO lights to read by
and worse of all No elevators (there were 3 floors) for the
seniors that were unfortunate enough to be on the upper floors !!

Note: All of the other Hotels being used were having no problems
and had use of the full amenities there.

We did go out and buy some candles and the hotel "graciously"
gave every one a flash light on wednesday.! It was pitch dark in
the parking lots etc.- Rather disconcerting to look across the
street and see the lights on at shopping center etc--seems like
Ramada was only one close by that had signed this contract.

FOOD; Bad to say the least. They were trying to feed us with
emergency power to cook with. Breakfast would be cold sweet
rolls, (NO toast or bread), watery Oatmeal, eggs, bacon on
occasion.( A diabetic did not stand a chance ) Guess menu
depended on what time the lights were turned off ! Dinners were
some what better--all 200 of us ate in the same room at the same
time and needless to say the noise level was very annoying. Hard
to talk to your own table even. LUNCH--what can i say-it was
delivered to the auditorium where we were seeing movies and was
"catered" by Meals On Wheels ! It was a dry sandwich on white
bread with cheap lunch meat, chips , apple and drink. ( We went
up street to shopping ctr. and ate lunch after seeing what
mondays was !) You were out of luck if you didn't have a car.!

I will give CELS credit to organize such a big undertaking but i
do consider it their fault in picking the Ramada as a site and
myself along with many others feel we were short changed. ( this
was an expensive program-$570) and are due a refund of some
sort.! CELS informed us at orientation that sometimes , but
rarely, the Ramada did have to turn off the electricity but
HOPEFULLY it wouldn't happen to us !! Thats the JOKE of the week.
The other sites got their moneys worth and we certainly did not.

I would go back for a repeat of this program as it was great=just
making sure i am staying at a different hotel !! Its not fun
trying to dress in the dark each morning or trying to read a bit
before bed time with a flashlight hanging off your shoulder. !!

we did rent a car as my roommate had problems with
walking--unfortunately we were on second floor tho so that
involved lots of steps during the outages. ( and i didnt mention
it but the dining room was up two flights of steps also.) Lots of
people ate in coffee shop and paid extra for this as they were
unable to climb steps.

Any other questions concerning this program just e mail me at