Elderhostel Notebook #83 March 15,  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
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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

The mention of the Tamarisk lining the  Green River in the review
by Kate Killebrew reminded me of one of my most recent net
projects, a newsletter mainly directed at environmental activists
but perhaps of general interest to outdoors elderhostel types
with an environmentalist bent.

It is  a series of periodic personal essays called "ESCOF
Ramblings" and one of the first  issues, #2, dealt with the Grand
Canyon (the club is involved in a hopeless but worthy cause to
decommission the Glen Canyon Dam) and the damage being done by
the Tamarisk trees  along the banks.

The newsletter is a kind of a combination plea for the use  of
common sense in dealing with environmental issues combined with
an occasional burst of activist passion.  The next issue, #4,
will deal with an issue relevant to northern New Mexico and the
Indio-Hispanic culture there.

The first few issues are specific to Sierra Club members in
Wisconsin, but I plan to make it more generic in the future,
dealing with general environmental issues on a global scale.

I mail it from my   sierrajimo@aol.com   e-mail address so if you
want to be on the list e-mail me there.

    Comments and Queries

From: 	HGlucks

Just a note to assure readers that the original index to the
Notebook archives remains available at


I am continuing to keep it updated for those who like having an
index to complete copies of past Elderhostel Notebook issues
(1996-2001).  Although individual reviews are not clickable in
this index, people say they find it very easy to use.


Subj: 	Lost Nation Theatre, anyone ?

From: 	rbranchor@juno.com

Has anyone been to this theatre week in Montpelier, Vermont ?
It's low-priced compared to other July offerings in Maine and
Vermont and I wonder - how bad could it be? Thanks for answering.


All year long, Penn State offers a variety of Elderhostels for
people age 55 and over. Whatever your interest, there's a program
for you.

For information about these elderhostel programs, visit our Web


From: carnells@juno.com

In response to  critical comments in EH Notebook #82 on British
university accommodations, while I cannot speak for any outside
of London I do want to put in a good word for Rosebery Hall, a
residence hall of the London School of Economics (  Political

Last April my husband and I took the "Definitive London" EH that
put our group up there, and it could not have been better
especially when you consider the price. The rooms and bathrooms
were clean and comfortable (although somewhat spartan which is
not surprising in a university setting) and most of the couples
were assigned rooms with private toilet/shower (tiny but
adequate) although the course description had said we would all
be sharing hall bathrooms! Those who had single rooms, and some
of the other pairs who did not have private bathrooms, still were
satisfied because the toilets and showers were quite nearby and
there were enough so that each was shared among only 2 or 3

Our course took place during a university vacation so we shared
the halls and dining room with numerous young people from all
around the world there to study or tour. It was great fun
chatting with them at meals. The food was adequate-to-good and
the staff was extremely pleasant and helpful. There even was a
small bar open in the evenings so we could buy a glass of beer or
wine and carry it to accompany dinner! The Hall is in a quiet
neighborhood but located on major bus lines and a few long blocks
from an Underground station, and gave us very good information on
how to get around London on our own in our free time.

Because of all these "plusses" our group was shocked when told
this was the last EH to be held there at Rosebery Hall! The
coordinators said that most EH-ers now were demanding hotels with
guaranteed private baths, and willing to pay for the privilege.

If and when we go again to London on our own, we would definitely
seek to stay again at Rosebery Hall if rooms were available. I
asked at the desk and the price for people walking in off the
street was about half what we have recently paid for much less
desirable "budget" hotel accommodations in London (which is a
very expensive city).


Cherry Carnell
From:   Rozcole@aol.com

After many disappointing experiences, we have given up on
Elderhostel in

favor of home and car exchanging.

It took me nearly a year, but I arranged 5 back to back home
exchanges in UK, each one for about 3 weeks (we chose to stay in
the one on Isle of Man just one week, which was enough for that
little island), with a total of 3 months. We traveled on frequent
flyer mileage, saving us quite a bundle, and on senior discount
train passes between exchanges. We gladly stayed a few overnights
in B  when we traveled too far to get home easily. I have not
toted it up, but I am sure our entire 3 months cost no more than
one 3 week Elderhostel.

We saw many castles, abbeys, museums, and much more. We had guide
books for information and took a few bus and walking city tours.
We did our own cooking when we felt like it, and had our own
laundry facilities. If we had complaints or disappointments, they
were few, and we knew who to take it up with -- ourselves.

One thing I learned is 3 months is a mite too long. Future trips
will be not more than 6 weeks, and all in one season. Packing for
3 seasons, August thru November, we needed to take too much

If you would like us to tell you more about how we did this and
what we did, please contact me.

We may return to Elderhostel someday, but we will be very

Aloha, Roz Cole



From: 	jgwells@satx.rr.com

Having just read the warm review of our Jewish Community Center
program (#58), I'll share the latest special twist to the
program--New Year's Eve at the Emily Morgan Hotel, overlooking
Alamo Plaza fireworks. Preceded by performance by the San Antonio
Symphony orchestra's "A Night in Old Vienna" in the wonderful
"atmospheric" Majestic Theater two blocks from the hotel. Come on
down (as they day!) Oh, yes--New Year's Day brunch at the Menger

With most kind regards,
Joanne Wells

    Program Reviews
              Jews Spanning The World: One People...Many Faces
              DIXIELAND JAZZ - State College, Pennsylvania
              Bay Area Classic Learning/Napa Valley
              Canyonlands Field Institute Green River trips
              Vintage California:The Ultimate Adventure
              San Pedro Conference Center

Program 09453-0121
Jews Spanning The World: One People...Many Faces
Sarasota, FL



"I've died and gone to heaven," was the first thought I had when
I walked into the Hampton Inn in Sarasota (FL) for the JCC
seminar on "Jews of the World." (#09453-0121). After our one-week
confinement to the sleazy, cheerless "Quality" Inn in Bradenton
(FL) for the JCC Theater seminar (#09650-0114), exchanging a
grudgingly grumpy desk staff and skimpy, dingy linen for
sumptuous accommodations and an eagerly helpful, professional,
courteous and smiling staff was a seminar all by itself --
"Professional Hotel Management 101."

FOOD       The free morning breakfast (from 6 to 10 a m)
presented by the Hampton Inn is downright sinful in its
never-ending variety, and a cheerful and eager-to- please staff
makes it a joy to stuff yourself. (A free copy of USA TODAY is
slipped under your door every morning at 3 a m.)

A combination of high-quality restaurant fare and box lunches was
eminently satisfactory. Included were a formal dinner at the Golf
Club (dancing optional); a trip to a lavish salad, soup and pasta
bar; and dinner theater, where a very fine production of "42nd
Street" was enjoyed by all.

SUBJECT MATTER     The Jewish History
seminar itself (09453-0121) was highly worthwhile and permitted
us to get back to our ancient roots. Under the very able and
delightful guidance of our encyclopedic Melamed Abe Gittelson, we
traced the history of sephardic Jews, Ashkenazim and many other
tribes as they wandered from country to country, exchanging one
oppressor for another, exchanging one opportunity for another.

The second part of the seminar was devoted to a study of the
bible and brought new meaning to the word, "hairsplitting." Even
when the bible is internally contradictory, life-long scholars
and debaters have found a rational explanation for the word of
God as recorded by Moses. Although the concept of examining every
single word for hidden interpretations and questioning "what does
it really mean" was intriguing at first, 7-1/2 hours of niggling
over every sentence can get to be a numbing exercise in

FIELD TRIPS     Among feature items in the program
were a trip to Selby Gardens and a trip to Myakka State Park
where we were treated to an airboat ride to visit the alligators
on the other side of the Lake. They were singularly bored by our

RECOMMENDATION    Well worth doing. A
bit on the expensive side, but you get a lot for the money.


DIXIELAND JAZZ - State College, Pennsylvania

If you like Dixieland jazz, treat yourself to an outstanding
program in State College, Pennsylvania, a lovely college town.
We went last year, and they only give this program once a year.
The downtown hotel is excellent, the food is good, the classes
are superior, the coordinators the best.  I had heard that this
date was also going to coincide with an art festival that week, a
bonus for you, but I'm not sure.  My comments are in bracketts.


July 08 - July 13 ... # 38680-0708-01 ... $585 DOUBLE ROOMS

July 08 - July 13 ... # 38680-0708-21 ... $685 SINGLE ROOMS

(Five Night Program)

The World Of Ragtime, Early Tin Pan Alley, And Dixieland Jazz

Spend a week with Tex Wyndham, one of the country's leading
authorities/performers in the field of ragtime, Dixieland, and
turn-of-the century popular music. Learn where this music came
from, how it works, and who created it.   [He's a marvelous
entertainer as well as knowledgeable.]

Jazz: An American Creation That Gives Us Pride

Learn about the many different styles of jazz, including the
current revival of Dixieland, from a member of the Tarnished Six.
Course includes video and audio recordings as well as live
demonstrations. [The live demonstration was his terrific band.]

Remembering The Mills Brothers

An up-close look at the greatest vocal group of the 20th century,
as their biographer conducts you through 120 years of Mills
family and musical history. Enjoy the family group's inimitable
harmony and examine their 57-year professional career.  [The
Mills Brothers grew up a few miles from here in Bellefonte.]

We'll gladly answer questions at
judykg@gte.net    Los Angeles.


Bay Area Classic Learning/Napa Valley
#85016-0225-01 Feb 25-Mar 2,2001
Napa, Calif $493.00

Bus transportation from SF airport was available. Most that flew
in,  rented cars so they could drive around Napa Valley. No
for parking. Motel-The Chateau, Meals all at motel-catered and
were average quality.rooms,large,good location.Subjects:The
Dazzling Dames of Broadway,Wine Appreciation,Jazz and Pop songs
1910-1940. Instructors All excellent Jazz:Jerry Frohmader,a
professional musician(keyboard and saxophone),teacher,and
composer of music for television commercials,videos and film. His
program was fast moving and fun to listen to.

Dazzling Dames:Bonnie Weiss,a musical theatre historian and
reviewer.A writer,producer and director for 10 Bay area cabaret
shows. Wonderful film clips of all our favorite Broadway
stars.Delightful program Wine Appreciation:Sandra Barros.teacher
of wine classes,organizer if wine parties for clubs and
businesses.Nice presentation. Field trip - to Mumm Winery and
Barringers Winery. Scenic tour narration by bus driver(very
good)of area we drove through. Free afternoon and time to visit
other winerys on your own.All nearby.

With the moderate price of this program I think it would have
been exciting to include the wine train with lunch on one
day.Cost would increase program but also add one of the high
rated attractions in Napa Valley. Coordinators: Linda and Allen
Misky. Hard working and very attentive to our needs. I was
surprised to see so many first timers and new Elderhostel members
in this group. I was the senior member and I only have attended
20 programs. everyone seemed to enjoy the program Marian Peck


Canyonlands Field Institute Green River trips

My husband and I took a canoe trip down the Green River in Utah
in October, 1999, led by the Canyonlands Field
Institute, based in Moab. There were three such trips listed in
last year's EH fall catalog. The so-called serene and quiet Green
River is managed, ie., not managed by the BLM. It is dirty and
crowded with canoeists, with muddy banks overrun with tamarisk
and has with few good camping sites.

The trip leaders used heavy fiberglass canoes, old heavy army
surplus ammo boxes and other heavy, outmoded and undoubtedly
cheap equipment to haul everything, including a 20 volume
library. We reached a new campsite each night. We had to haul
EVERYTHING,including the library, up the steep, muddy banks EVERY
night, and then had to haul back the next morning. This included
sacks of potatoes, apples, oranges, grapefruit, onions, etc., as
most of the meals were laboriously made from scratch.

This meant getting a late start on the river each morning, where
we remained behind the scores of canoists ahead of us, who then
were able to snatch up the few good camping sites on the river.
At noon every day, we stopped and hauled up
somewhere, and MADE LUNCH (instead of making sandwic
hes at breakfast), which meant another late start in the

We all had to pitch in on chores of course, but somehow the men
evaded the more time-consuming ones, and ended up being able to
listen to the naturalist's tales while the womenfolk ended up
doing most of the unnecessarily elaborate cooking, serving, and
cleaning up.

The trips offered by the Canyonlands Fields Instutute are, to my
mind, more suited to young people studying field biology, who
might not mind cheap, heavy equipment, and poor planning. I, for
myself, would not recommend any of their trips to anyone.

Kate Killebrew


Center for Studies of Future
Vintage California:The Ultimate Adventure

3 nights Woodland Hills,Cal(LA area) - Holiday Inn -
1 night Paso Robles -Paso Robles Inn-
2 nights San Simeon - San Simeon Lodge -
1 night Woodland Hills - Holiday Inn.


Free Parking - shuttle from LAX to hotel - price seemed to vary
between 22.00 to 30.00 Day 1,2,3,dinner and breakfast at hotel
was fine - buffet style Monday - Instructor Stuart Tower - on
Hollywood - very good - followed by bus tour of Hollywood
narrated by Stuart - lunch at Farmers Market. We were give $26.00
in cash to purchase 3 lunches that were not going to be as a
group. We liked this method as gave us a chance to try different
locations and meet with friends. That evening a video on Getty

Tuesday - orientation of Getty by Mary Ackerman - very
informative - lunch at Hotel followed by bus to Getty - we had
about 4 hours - enough to get an overall view.Dinner at Hotel -
video on San Lus Opispo Train.

Wednesday - Luggage out for them to transport to Paso Robles - we
boarded bus for Union Station(lovely art deco) All seats were
reserved. Lunch on train(we used lunch money for this) It was a
wonderful experience and Dan Krieger narrated on the train as we
went over the pass. Arrival in Paso Robles and walk short few
blocks to Inn.(very nice) That nights dinner was featuring wines
by Martin and Weyrich Winery and was OUTSATANDING. Filet Mignon
with all the trimmings.

Thursday - breakfast at Inn - very good. coupon used for choice
in coffee shop- then walking tour of town and board bus for
Eberle Winery. Tour of winery and a wonderful lunch in he cave
where they store their vats. It was all decorated with twinkle
lights and beautiful. Good buffet lunch - on to San Simeon and
San Simeon Lodge - nice view of the ocean. dinner that night was
pre selected meal and it was very poor. after dinner slides and
program on Elephant Seals - very good.

Friday after breakfast (ok) we boarded bus for Hearst Castle and
Imax Thearte. This was great - our guide Bob Doyle has been with
the castle for many years and had so much information. after the
tour we left for viewing of Elephant Seals. I am sure no one
expected to be so close and see so many. It was exciting and all
of us could have stayed on the banks and watched them for several
hours. We even saw a pup born. It was one of the highlights of
the tour. But off to Camberia for lunch -using our lunch money. A
quaint little town with lots of nice restaurants. Back to San
Simeon Lodge for another poor dinner(restaurant was not at the
lodge but across the street from it)

Saturday left San Simeon for Woodland Hills with stops at San
Luis Obispo Mission - very interesting - lunch at Homemtown
Buffet- a great choice for us and then Mission La Purisima.
Closing program at Wooodland Hills Holiday Inn - very nice

Sunday left for home Our coordinators Jim and Janet Tanner were
very good. Stayed right with us at all times - checked to see
everything was OK. I would surely recommend this Elderhostel. It
was my 20th and one of the best.


San Pedro Conference Center

We just returned from a week at the San Pedro Conference and
Retreat Center, located on 500 acres in Winter Park, north of
Orlando, FL. My husband's program was "Golfing Just for the Fun
of It," while mine had Plants and Animals (and Ecology) of
Florida and an Epcot Adventure.

We had lectures on the history of Italy, England, Germany and
France and then spent a memorable nine hours at Epcot in the
middle of the week. My other program was on music. The
description didn't match the content, but the instructor was
young, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable.

This was the first "split" Elderhostel we have attended, where
one spouse has a different program from the other. We stayed in
the same room, of course, and ate the same food, although not
always at the same time, and had different extra-curricular
activities. The food was good, although those used to having many
choices of entrees could have been disappointed. We had a very
congenial group (some 80 in all), but I think everyone had the
same complaint of not having enough "free" time. The
co-ordinators were extremely laid-back; we seldom saw them in the
classes, but they were there in case we had any questions. These
folks have run over 100 Elderhsotels, and they know how it is

A note about the golf: My husband has been on several of these
golfing Elderhostels and he says this is his last unless someone
has one that is limited to experienced golfers. The instructors
(rightly) spend all their time working with the beginners, of
whom there are always a plethora. He thought these instructors
were especially good and would highly recommend San Pedro's
program for the beginning golfer. If anyone knows of a site that
offers advanced golf OR offers some opportunity to play a round
at a nice course, we'd like to have that informaton.

Don and Kay Cornelius