Elderhostel Notebook #82 February 25,  2001

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

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

The e-mail Notebook started some five years ago  with the web
site following about a year later. As many of you know five years
on the internet is a long time, but five years of a lifetime at
our age is the blink of an eyelash even though it is an eternity
to our teeny-bopper grandkids.

Enough philosophy- just to note that although I will discontinue
the web archives version of the notebook as I am using that time
for various other projects, I do plan to continue the e-mail
mailings and a simplified version of the web site for some time
to come- maybe even a few more blinks as they take up very little
time- even fleeting time.

    Comments and Queries

From: 	HGlucks@aol.com

Subject:  Editing pictures

California State University/San Bernardino/Desert Hot Springs is
offering an Elderhostel course on editing photos on the computer,
May 13-18.  This looks like an easy way to learn how to edit
pictures before printing, posting on a website, or sending them
in e-mail.  It should be fun to take out the wrinkles and see how
I would look as a blond, ten pounds lighter.  The location looks
very nice from the description.

We would appreciate hearing from anyone who has taken the course
or been there.



From: Mel79g@aol.com

Would appreciate hearing from anyone who took the Rail Adventure
of the American Heartland, Chicago to New Orleans. \ Thanks, Mel
Grais, mel79g@aol.com



From: 	bandbboland@yahoo.com

We recently returned from a trip to Thailand with Elderhostel and
were impressed enough to want others to share in the experience.
The trip was expensive, by Thai monetary standards, since our
dollar is worth so much there. On the other hand we stayed at
wonderful hotels with food to match.

We were very unhappy to learn that forthcoming Elderhostels would
not enjoy the guidance of Pui, the best group leader we have ever
had, and that the University will no longer sponsor the trip. The
trip will now be handled by the Lyons Travel Agency, at a lower
cost so we are not in the position to recommend the trip. The
question in, at a lower price, it is not likely to be the same

From: "Bill Longman" 

Response on Waiver of Liability

Several responded to me about the required signing of a waiver
absolving the trustees of Georgia Southern Univ. of liability. We
did sign it and send it in with dissenting comments since not
doing so would have meant not attending the RV program at
Okefenokee Swamp (see review in this issue). As it happens, GSU
had little to do with the week's program which was in the capable
hands of Stephen Foster St. Pk. staff where we were camping.

We never heard anything from GSU about the rationale. Some of the
EH Notebook readers said that accidents do happen even if not
attributable to a sponsoring organization. Some said don't sign
while others said it is purely routine like those forms kids
signed before a school field trip. Still others said that in any
case you can't sign away beforehand all rights to recover

It does seem much ado about nothing in some sense since GSU's
presence was non existent at the EH except for prior planning. We
still do not think this is a wise or practical requirement and
will only serve to discourage some from participation.

Bill   Lee Longman


From: "Judie Brown" 

In response to IA query of 12/31/00 re Ireland, Scotland  
England: In August we attended the "Three Capitol Cities" program
in Edinburgh, Dublin,   London, which was great!! One week in
each city studying history   culture.

In Edinburgh, we stayed in university dorms, in the other cities,
we stayed in modern hotels. The accommodations   food were quite
good (the dorm food was like all dorm food, nourishing but not
gourmet; the rest was really good).

We attended plays   museums in all cities; and were lucky to be
in Edinburgh during the International Festival (arts   drama) and
had a free evening to attend the military "Tattoo" which was a
special treat. The presenters were top quality. A wonderful
experience I would recommend to anyone. Judie Brown


From: CarolKD@aol.com

Response to questions about programs on food and wine.

I don't know that particular food   wine EH program but I have
spent about 5 happy days in Taormina and the area and loved it
there. It's a charming small town, where I stayed in a very
pleasant family-run hotel in the historic upper town with a
lovely large strolling street where locals and visitors
promenade, shop, show off nice clothes and babies in true Italian
small town fashion.

The road winds down past ocean view hotels and resorts and to the
main road, also lined with hotels and going off to the next town.
By far, my favorite part of Taormina was that charming upper town
of color and folklore and flowers and friendly people. And they
don't know how to cook badly in Taormina! No one ever taught

Good luck; if you enjoyed Sicily before this should be fun again,
even if Trinity isn't running it. By the way, I'd prepare for
quite warm weather in Sicily in June, don't you think? That's
just my guess, but it IS south! Maybe you can find some average
temps on the internet under climate of weather.

You make me want to try the Mondello program which is one of
those run by Trinity that I've missed so far. I went to Sicily
with a friend some years ago -- we did Taormina on our own and
then went by bus across country to Palermo to meet our
AlitaliaTour group. It wasn't nearly as good a program as EH will
run and I'd like to go again.

Another great program is the food and wine EH in Verona. I did
the very first one about 3 years ago with Michael and Inez Campo
running it. We had a wonderful time on that. In March I'm trying
a new 8-day program, the Jewish Community in Rome which should be
interesting. Trinity will run that, too.

It's fun thinking back on all these; I think the Trinity Italian
programs are the most consistently fine overseas trips that EH
does, and Michael Campo who put them together originally is
responsible. He used to quietly drop by each one of them at some
point as they took place. Consequently, they ran like a dream and
had great people in charge or changes were quickly.

Good luck,	Ciao,	Carol Doctor, Wilmette, IL

Subject: Br. Isles EH

From: "Matt Schwartz" 

We agree generally with Carol Doctor"s comments. We EH'd in
England (three university sites) and did Ireland and Scotland on
our own. All 3 countries are appealing with the latter 2 just
lovely. Our EH was in England and Wales. Food was fair to poor
but we didn't expect gourmet fare and surely didn't get it.

No matter what you hear, BEWARE THE COLLEGE DORMITORIES. We had
iron framed army type cots in one facility and the others were
hardly an improvement. No individual toileting facilities; Some
were inadequate for the number of people using them, others were
inconveniently located ON ANOTHER FLOOR .

One thing was consistent in all facilities: cleanliness of
toilets was woefully lacking and room and hall attention was a
close second. Please remember that this applies only to the
colleges in the EH program.


    Program Reviews
               The Sante Fe Trail by Motor Coach
               Bradenton, FL- Theatre
               Central Arizona College  Golf/Jazz program
               Tybee Island, Georgia
               Okefenokee Swamp Critters   Creatures

The Sante Fe Trail by Motor Coach

"Peter E. Abresch Sr." 

In the last issue some mention, in regard to Island Hopping--
"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

For me there always a fourth, research for the Jim Dandy
Elderhostel Mysteries. And so it was that I set forth the Sante
Fe Trail, from Denver to La Junta to Trinidad to Sante Fe by
motor coach with My wife Annemarie.

Wayne Sundberg and his wife, Joan Day, were the coordinators who
were informative and pleasant, and we had a great time. The
brochure said that we had to be able to hike a mile over rough
terrain, but I think that was a bit overkill for what we
encountered. More that the walking the heat one day, an
unseasonable high ninety degree day that might have set a record
for September in La Junta, but only God can control the weather.

The thing about it was that I learned so much about the history
of the Southwest that had never even occurred to me, and I was a
History Major. We visited Bent's Fort which, again, I had never
heard about, but was a trading post out on the plains twenty some
odd year before army moved out there. And the Sante Fe Trail was
a commercial trail, not a pioneering trail, starting out in the
1820's and continuing on until the railroad replaced it in the
1880's, and while it lasted the trade across the trail probably
rivaled that of the Great Sild Road in Asia.

The accommodations were all in good motels except for in Sante Fe
where we stayed at a Presbyterian Center where we had to rough it
in that, while we all had private bathrooms, some of us had the
showers down the hall. The meals were from good to outstanding,
and we had box lunches along the trail. I personally had no
quibbles about the meals, but a couple of people on the trip
compared it to other this and found it wanting. My feeling is
that if I wanted gourmet meals I would have gone to a five star
hotel, and paid according. And in Sante Fe, a few of us went out
on our own for dinner, Wayne and Joan included, and we had a
fantastic meal.

Everyone on the Elderhostel knew I was the author of the
Elderhostel mysteries and kept suggesting places where a body
might be found, who it might be nice to bump off. Finally, on the
last night, at the end of a scrumptious meal, and everyone was
mentioning things that had impressing them along the trail, I
stood up and said, "I want you to know it was great meeting you
all, but I'm the only one left alive." It took a few seconds
before it sank in and then they started to laugh. It was great
meeting them all which goes back to reason number 2 at the top of
this report, meeting interesting people.

Finally, Tip A Canoe has just been published to great
reviews--check it out at http://www.elderhostelmysteries.com The
book is based on View From a Canoe, a canoeing Elderhostel
through the swamps of South Carolina, where we also had a ball. I
am twenty-six chapters into a first draft of the one based on the
Sante Fe Trail to be called Painted Lady. I will tell you there
is a bit of oooOOOooo in this one in that a woman shaman who
plunges to her death from a Denver Hotel, keep showing up in the
paintings of artist Dodee Swisher, Jim Dandy's love life. I
recommend both of these Elderhostels. And the books as well.

Peter Abresch


Bradenton, FL- Theatre
# 09650-0114-01 ... $572
  The Historic Asolo Theater:  Three LivePerformances

We will NEVER forget our Bradenton (FL) Elderhostel experience.
Never.  What with Delta Airlines foul-ups and the "reception" we
were treated to at the sleaze accommodations selected by Flanzer
JCC for the Theater Seminar, the whole affair was clearly "a
consumption devoutly to be wished." NOTTT.

We left the preceding St Simons Island Seminar (#10248), where we
had a wonderful time, at 3 p.m. on Friday for Sarasota, some 300
miles away. Shortly before midnight, frustrated and weary, we
finally arrived at the Quality Inn in Bradenton, FL. Quality?
Well, yes. But don't ask what KIND of quality. Located next to
two porno establishments on busy Interstate 41, the instant
impression we had when we finally got to our smelly room was "hot
sheets" motel. And the way we got to this dingy room didn't help.

The hotel was locked tighter than a drum when we arrived. Despite
the fact that we had telephoned ahead to advise the desk of our
late arrival, we were greeted by a surly, angry crew that made us
stand in a little cubicle like "The Man in the Glass Booth,"
while we passed papers back and forth through a little slot. The
bed sheets were a tattletale grey, and one of them had a big spot
on it. The smelly room made us think it hadn't been aired for
weeks. Not an auspicious beginning.

The situation seemed brighter the next morning after a decent
breakfast (included in the $65 room rate) and a trip to the
nearby flea market where we spent most of Saturday morning. A
reunion with a long-lost friend on Sunday morning revived our
spirits considerably, especially after a superb lunch at the
nearby Crab Trap restaurant. And once the official Elderhostel
proceedings got under way under the charming and very
professional guidance of Shirley Tatar and Sidney Shapiro, the
choice of this seminar became more palatable.

A major portion of our time was spent on lectures by Sharon
Ohrenstein, a very gracious and knowledgeable professional.  The
lectures, largely based on quotes from books, took place in a
cheerless, airless, claustrophoic little room didn't help at all
and may explain why we decided to skip some parts of the program
in favor of sitting at the pool to read our own books and partake
of Florida's freezing sunshine.

Caveat! This seminar is NOT for Elderhostelers who don't have
"Sitzfleisch." (Sitting endurance.) Because that's ALL we did.
Sit in the lecture room, sit in the dining room, sit in the bus
on the way to the theater, sit IN the Asolo Theater, and sit in
the bus on the way back. Not a single field trip to ANY place
that would have required exercising ANY muscles other than those
associated with the teeth. Combine this lack of physical activity
with constant (and more than adequate) food supplies, and you
will need a month of gym workouts to get back to normal.


To be fair, let me say this, right off: all the presenters were
highly professional and competent, familiar with their material
and the intricacies of theater life. Their offerings were well
received by most of the hostelers present. MY only cavil (my wife
agrees with it) is that a lot of the lecture material was
straight out of Theater 101. Therefore, so that our snoring would
not disturb the tranquility of others, we played hooky from some
of the sessions and enjoyed the (COLD !) Florida sunshine
instead. The windowless, cheerless, claustrophobic lecture room
made this an easy choice.

Lest this be considered a negative review, let me now switch to
some of the enjoyable highlights of the Bradenton Theater

Jackie LeClaire, the clown - In a word: Delightful! He provided a
most memorable insight into "The Life of a Clown," and gave us a
totally new slant on what it means to be "circus folk." He even
convinced us to share his opinion that to call the Florida
election "a circus" is a gross insult to the dedicated
professional circus troupers who work so hard to make life worth
living for the rest of us.

Vickie Holden, in charge of costumes at the Asolo Theater, where
we saw three productions (more on this later) - A totally
delightful lady who knew whereof she spake. She not only gave us
a deeper appreciation of the effort entailed in dressing actors
effectively, but kept us royally entertained by her salty and
forthright language skills. A very honest, imaginative and gentle

David Peterson. scenic construction  - Another gem who explained
the difficulties of transforming one person's  ideas on paper
into a real-life set that is manageable and adaptable within the
limits of a specific theater. He was even gracious enough to
offer us a guided tour of his shop facilities, but time
constraints prevented us from accepting his generous opportunity.


If you know nothing about the ins and outs of Theater life and
work, by all means, GO. Otherwise, pass it by, especially if
Flanzer JCC - despite loud howls of protest last year - continues
to think that the Quality Inn Motel on Route 41 in Bradenton
provides suitable accommodations for discerning Seniors.


Central Arizona College  Golf/Jazz program  -
  Tucson Arizona....January 21-26, 2001

Accommodations were at Ramada Inn.  Rooms were nice - It was a
large complex with a pool and several hot tubs. It was actually
too cool to swim the week we were there (high 60')  but good golf
weather.  Phil, the coordinator was genial and helpful - The golf
course was nearby and those without cars were transported in a
van.  Mainly the golf lesson was comprised of everyone lining up
and hitting a few and suggestions were made.

This is not a program for a non-golfer to come and learn to play.
The courses (2) were nice and everyone seemed to have fun during
the week. When on the course all day , delicious box lunches were
provided. All other meals were at a restaurant at Ramada.  Food
was good and the staff was very nice. The only complaint was
breakfast -we were given tickets and a choice of eggs/bacon/hash
browns or a continental breakfast. Anything else you paid for.
Many of the group would have liked cereal as a choice.

The jazz program was interesting.  The instructor had records and
videos of the artists discussed.  He also had a good sense of
humor - I think there were about 36 people at this program -
mainly married couples but also single women/ father and son.  A
congenial group.

We were given Wednesday afternoon off and there is plenty to see
and do.

Many visited the Sonoran Desert Museum -an interesting and
worthwhile exhibit of desert plants and animals.




After driving into the remote Sierra Nevada Mountains a new
church sitting high in the foothills leads you to St Nicholas.
Cozy rooms, an abundance of tasty Greek style meals and the
affable coordinator Eleni Tsagaris were all part of the
hospitality ascribed to the Centers namesake.  Drs. Victor
Hansen, Bruce Helling and Harry Costis thoroughly led us on a
very interesting journey through Greek Mythology and the Golden
Age of Classics. Dave McFadden lectured on the flora and fauna in
the area and Frank Helling presented an equally entertaining
monologue on the life of John Muir. Evening were filled with
slide presentations and movies of Greece, Greek dancing
demonstrations and a visit to the women's monastery. This was a
well orchestrated program and a must for anyone contemplating a
trip to Greece.

Carl Larson


Tybee Island, Georgia

I recently attended an Elderhostel hosted by Armstrong Atlantic
State University and held on Tybee Island, GA. We stayed at the
Ocean Plaza Beach Resort which speaks for itself. Meals were at
the Sunrise Restaurant, a

couple of blocks away. Meals were buffet style and quite good.
There were three very interesting courses.

- Basin to 52nd Street explored jazz and ended on Thursday
evening with a live 2 hour concert by a 5 piece combo.

- Savannah's Streets and Squares included a day in Savannah's
historic district.

- Forts, Flags, and Generals was presented by "Robert E. Lee" in
authentic costume followed by a tour of historic forts in the
area. We had a terrific coordinator with a delightful sense of
humor. I would highly recommend this Elderhostel.




We stayed at the rustic Lake Quinault Lodge on the southern edge
of the Olympia National Forest.

The buffet style food was very good.  In our room was a
complimentary rain poncho and we had ample opportunity to use it.
Maybe that's why it's called a rain forest? We were introduced to
the surrounding environment by a number of local experts on and
were given the opportunity to observe first hand on our trail

On Wednesday, after a trip to a fish hatchery, we moved to the
Kalaloch Lodge on the Pacific Ocean.  We had nice cozy cabins
over looking the beach. After a couple of lectures, one from a
Danish expert on mosses and lichens, we walked the tide pools
along the coast.

Our young coordinators Justine Chorley and Ian Miller went out of
their way to be informative and helpful. It was a very
interesting experience.

Carl Larson


Okefenokee Swamp Critters   Creatures
Georgia Southern Univ. RV Elderhostel
Feb. 4-9, 2001

Want to see alligators sunning on the bank nearby and swimming
alongside your boat? How about spotting a pileated woodpecker on
a day bird hike and a barred owl above you on a night boat trip?
Or seeing a fox loping across the road with deer grazing nearby?
Want to visit Billy's Island where settlers once lived deep in
the midst of the swamp and later in the week hear shape note
singing by some descendants of pioneers?

This and more was experienced in the RV Elderhostel Feb. 4-9
which we recommend to others. Held in the Okefenokee National
Wildlife Refuge our campsite was in the Stephen Foster State Park
on one of the islands in the swamp. Although EH sponsor was
Georgia Southern Univ. in charge of basic planning, state park
interpreter Jackie Clay was the host and in effect the
coordinator. We learned about the critters and creatures and also
the history of the Okefenokee. Don Berryhill of Valdosta State
was a principle teacher about the plant and animal wildlife being
protected in the Refuge. Other presentations were made by Jackie
and other staff members on bee keeping, forest management, Indian
habitation, endangered species, alligators, etc.

Fortunately the weather was perfect: cool nights with warm sunny
days. So it was a great week for exploring the biodiversity in
the swamp by hiking and boating and just camping in the oak-pine
forest. Each of the fourteen participants ate breakfast in their
own RV rigs. Lunch was limited sandwich fixings. But dinners were
home cooked and delicious. We've got copies of Lila's recipes for
sweet potato souffle, blueberry crunch, zucchini relish, key lime

We hope that more EH programs will be developed for those who
enjoy camping in their trailers, vans, and motor homes. This is
the 3rd such RV one of our 16 Elderhostels. Glad to answer any

BTW, we've signed up for the EH on "Ireland: Heritage and
Culture" in early September. Any suggestions on extra travel

(Please see comments elsewhere about the liability waiver issue)

Bill   Lee Longman, Springfield, MO