Elderhostel Notebook #84 April 2,  2001

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

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programs taken send an e-mail to the editor, Jim
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Please keep all correspondence in simple e-mail text format.

    From the Editor's Notebook
I did some surfing the other day to take a new look at
elderhostel forum sites on the web and continue to think the
roundtable at Seniornet (the web site) is still the most active
one around.

Yoy can access it by going to the EHnotebook web site and
clicking on discussion. You will then get more specitfic

I think Elderhostel Inc. may eventually set one up on their home

They currently have an experimental one just for disussion of
several new formats they are trying out.

If you are interested you might try accessing it at

I don't know if that will work or not.

    Comments and Queries

Subject: Bad Experience

early but the place was so bad that I did my own thing and left
early Sunday morning. I have written to Elderhostel Boston with
my 10 items of why that place is not up to Eh standards.
comments, but don't go to the place. Also you have to cross a
busy street to get your meals at a restaurant. I have attended 25
elderhostels and never had a problem with any until this trip.
Martha S


Subj: 	California Blackouts?

From: 	gsfarm@netdot.com

We are registered for an Elderhostel in Ventura California
(sponsored by the Center for Studies of the Future) in June,
2001.  One session  is on Digital Cameras, and we were eagerly
looking forward to getting some helpful training in using our
digital camera and computer.  However, we are wondering just what
would happen to such a course if we were caught in the recent
rolling blackouts and the hotel did not have power for the
computers, not to mention for the bedrooms and the kitchen!   We
called the hotel involved to ask whether they were equipped with
a generator but were answered with "I don't really know."  Has
anyone else had second thoughts about summer Elderhostels in
California?  We would appreciate any input.

Our connection with Southern California is Virginia's sister in
Los Angeles, and she maintains that there is a lot of hot air
about power shortages, and no problem, but I have 28 years on the
Board of a rural electric coop, and our information is that
California is in deep trouble now and will get worse long before
it gets better.


Grady and Virginia Singletary

Subject: Novices
  From:  WKosl@aol.com

Here's a comment for a future notebook: I noticed that one person
was frustrated that golfing Elderhostels seem to be populated
with golfing novices needing instruction. I've notice the same
thing with birding Elderhostels. Many attendees (not all) are
newcomers to this activity, and the leaders spend lots of time
with them in basics. I also would appreciate some statement that
a particular trip will be for experienced birders.

Bill Kosloff


Subj: 	New York in Aug/Sept.

From: 	davis55@bellsouth.net

I will be attending the South Street Seaport Museum of New York
City Program  #3285-0830-01 the end of August this year. We will
be staying at the Marriott World Financial Center.  The program
is called Yearning To Breathe Free: A History Of The Immigrant
Experience In New York City.  I would be interested in getting
feed back from anyone who has attended this class or who knows
something about the accommodations. Thank You


Subj: 	Vancouver - Victoria

From: 	gigi1924@webtv.net

I would love to visit Vancouver - Victoria on an Elderhostel
program but need to know what time of year is best for moderate
to warm clilmate. Has anyone been to an Elderhostel in this area.
  Would appreciate feedback.

    Program Reviews
                #66413 THE LITTLE INN OF BAYFIELD (Ontario)
                College of William and Mary (46111-0304-01)
                Mercosur and Iguazu Falls
                New York City:  American Institute of Banking
                Grand Canyon University/Phoenix Valley Elderhostel
                Bay Area Classic Learning/Tiburon  03/11/01
                St Simons Georgia

Culinary and Wine Experience In Bayfield (Ontario Canada)
Program # 66413 - 1029 - 01
October 29 - November 3, 2000


Living the Food and Wine Experience: Italian Style


I have taken the liberty of copying many of the comments made by
Billie Hamm (#66) - (bahamm@webtv.net  or
BAHamm@webtv.net)because our experience was much the same as hers
for our program on Italian Wine and Cooking.

Nineteen of us had a Sunday reception at 6:00 with wine and punch
and sat down for dinner at 6:30. We found out just what we were
in for ---Each meal was a culinary masterpiece. Great
presentation and a different wine served with each course.

Every morning, following the usual Elderhostel buffet breakfast
of juice, cereal, toast etc. at 8:00 am, we went to the Inn's
restaurant across the street that has closed for the season.  The
tables were pulled together into three instructional centers and
from 9-11:30 we had lectures on different aspects of food
management, difference, and tasting of olive oils and vinegars
etc--by Richard, our formidable host and /or lectures from Chef
Jean Jacques Chappuis and Elizabeth Hess Sous Chef on
presentation, breads, recipes etc.

In between the lectures and presentations each team would set
about with the preparation of the various recipes designated for
that day.  As a group we chopped, diced, pealed, pared. roosted,
toasted, braised, fried, baked, and sauted our way through no
less than 36 recipes of -yum-yum- things like Citrus Moose,
Braised Fennel, Red Snapper with Orange   Pepper Crust, Tomato  
Mozzarella Salad, Smoked Salmon Ravioli, Blackberry Cheesecake,
Eggplant Terrine, Veal in Mustard Cream, Octopus in Wine,
Chocolate Pears, Tarragon Chicken, Orange Meringue pie,
Gorgonzola Blue Cheese Pizza, Fresh Tomato   Orange Soup, Pork
with Juniper Sauce --  and much Much more! I ate every one and
each was better than the one before.

We ate each lunch at 12:30 and our evening meal was at 6:30.
Highly skilled serving staff served both. The meals were very
leisurely which would end at 1:30 -2:00 in the afternoon and
8:00-8:30 in the evening. Each afternoon our Elderhostel host had
a different walk or hike planned for us. For the evening he
arranged for 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 after lunch on Friday. All 19 of us were
there!  I don't think that anyone missed a single meal.  Bring
your cameras and video.  Every dish could be a cover of a grommet


Bayfield is located on Lake Huron 2 hours north of Detroit or 2
hours due west from Toronto. 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 beautiful.

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, verandah 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. The accommodations were by far the most luxurious of
any of the more two dozen Elderhostel I have attended. Daily maid
service included straightening the room and fresh towels.

The Elderhostel Host is:
Richard Fitoussi
519 - 565 -2611
800 - 565-1832


I would be happy to correspond with you about this Elderhostel
Richard C. Youngs e mail me at: rcyoungs@ilstu.edu


College of William and Mary (46111-0304-01)

We have just returned from an Elderhostel (46111-0304-01)
sponsored by the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg,
Virginia.  Our group was large, (56 elderhostelers), but it was
so professionally organized that it hardly mattered.  The College
of William and Mary has an Elderhostel Director who puts each
program together.   In our case, a co-ordinator who works under
the Director along with two volunteer assistants were assigned to
our Program.  These three were all enthusiastic and most helpful.
   An emergency situation developed on this Elderhostel.  Both the
Director and our Co-ordinator handled it without missing a step.

On Day 1, we not only received the customary listings of the
week's program and a list of our fellow Elderhostelers, but also,
a weekly listing of meals, maps of sites to be visited, and an
outline from one of the speakers together with a list of
recommended books for further reading.

Most of our fellow Elderhostelers were veterans at
Elderhosteling; and so, recommendations for future ones were
shared when we introduced ourselves at the initial meeting as was
suggested by our Co-ordinator.  This was a group that mixed well
from Day 1...singles were not separated out from couples as I've
seen at other Elderhostels.

What followed was an exciting week with each day beginning with a
full breakfast and daily morning classes followed by a hot
in-hotel buffet lunch, and then, a bus trip to follow up on sites
previewed through slides in the morning lectures.

Historical archeologists discussed recent digs in the first
American settlement at Jamestown as well as the Yorktown
settlement.  These archeologists were quite knowledgeable.  One
of the speakers, Dave Hazzard, is the State archeologist for the
State of Virginia.  One would have had to search far to find a
more enthusiastic and knowledgeable speaker.   We also received a
cursory view of the Revolutionary War and factors leading up to
it...in Virginia, that is.  We even received a handout with a
Bibliography of books for further background readings.  On two of
the five evenings, entertainment was provided at the hotel.  On a
third evening, an organ concert at the Church in Old Williamsburg
was recommended.

While this Elderhostel does not appear to be inexpensive, several
of us concurred that it was good value when one considers that we
had three field trips by buses on three afternoons (including 20+
miles to a plantation), evening entertainment, a special gourmet
evening meal at Shields Tavern in Old Williamsburg on the last
evening, and a year pass to Old Williamsburg and adjoining sites
plus meals, hotel, and classes by specialists in their fields.

Quality of hotel:  average...not within walking distance to the
downtown Meals:  above average for Elderhostels.

If you select this Elderhostel, bring or rent a car and reserve
closer to the 'in season' when the weather will be better and
more of Colonial Williamsburg's facilities will be open.  Also,
the College of William and Mary offers a multitude of programs
with different emphases.  Just because a program is in
Williamsburg does not mean that it will include much about the
historical village of Old Williamsburg.   With its emphasis on
archeology and on the earlier settlements, our Elderhostel
offered only a brief walk on the main thoroughfare of Old
Williamsburg...all visits to its buildings were done on one's own
time in the one free afternoon or by spending a couple days
before or after the program...with access via a car.  On the
other hand, we were able to see more of the surrounding areas on
our bus trips.

Mary Bankston


Program #25065 - Mercosur and Iguazu Falls

- I know this is an old program but my kids just gave me this
computer for Christmas and I am enjoying reading your notebook
reviews.  This program (in '99) was so outstanding that I cannot
recommend it too highly.  We had excellent accommodations -
especially the Hotel Colonial Iguacu in Brazil.  We were in four
different countries and had two wonderful women coordinators.  If
you love the semi-tropical flora and fauna you will love this!


New York City:  American Institute of Banking
South Street Seaport Museum

Dear Elderhosteler,  We've just returned from the most wonderful
trip of all  in New York City:  American Institute of
Banking/South Street Seaport Museum a 5 day trip delving into the
financial district of NY City  We stayed in the Marriott
Financial Hotel right in the center of Wall Street for 5 nights.
The room was a $345.00 per night room but the Elderhostel program
  included all 5 nights lodging, ALL meals, ALL classes and
marvelous field trips.  WE MUST WARN YOU HOWEVER.  IT REQUIRES
EXTENSIVE WALKING.  We only rode the subway once and everything
else was walking and there was plenty of it.

Before our 3 field trips to the New York Stock Exchange, the
Commodities market and the gold in the Federal Reserve Bank we
had classes explaining what we were about to see.  It was
fascinating.  Where does the gold come from?  We're not going to
tell.  Wait until you witness the buying and selling of billions
of dollars worth of oil and natural gas in a day at the
Commodities market?  You won't believe the bedlam.

And there was a great deal of history too.  Commerce in New York
began along the waterfront where the ships arrived and we spent
time in the Seaport Museum in and on ships.  All in all, it was 5
wondrous days.  If you can stand the walking, plan on doing it.
The tour guide, Jack Putnam, was perfect.  The program is offered
again in September so watch your catalog.  Don't miss it.  E-mail
us if you have questions or comments.

Betty   Jim Wright : bwphoto@fidalgo.net

Grand Canyon University/Phoenix Valley Elderhostel

 From March 4-9, I attended the Grand Canyon University/Phoenix
Valley Elderhostel, held at the Quality Hotel/Resort in downtown
Phoenix. The courses were: A Century of Song: One Hundred Years
of Broadway Instructor: Paul Bridgeman, teacher, scene designer
and technical director at GCU - also a performer in musicals.
Field Trip: Performance by three Broadway performers singing
songs from history of Broadway Musicals.

Bernstein's Classical Connections Instructor: Brian Gordon,
assistant principal flute and piccolo with the Phoenix Symphony.
Field Trip: Phoenix Symphony performance of three Leonard
Bernstein compositions - with talk by guest conductor, Neil

(Both performances were in the Orpheum Theatre, a restored 1920's
movie house - very elaborate)

Hollywood's Golden Era and Empire Instructor: Julian Reveles,
film historian and college instructor - also a freelance writer
and radio interviewer. We all enjoyed his stories about celebrity

Other speaker was Eric Manuelito, a full blood Navajo flutist,
singer and lecturer, who spoke about his culture and music.

Other Field Trips: Heard Museum for a docent-led tour - AZ Native
American exhibits and the Barry Goldwater kachina doll collection
Phoenix Museum of Art for a self-guided tour (audio) of The
Norman Rockwell Exhibit, currently touring six cities across the

Everything about the Quality Hotel was fine except the food,
which was the same every meal; one lunch was leftovers from the
night before. Our feisty east Texas transplant coordinator
immediately scheduled a meeting with her director and the hotel.
Things improved a little, but there were only three meals after
that! Fortunately, we had a wonderful Chinese lunch at Yang
Dynasty in Christown Mall and a delicious Italian dinner at
Lombardi's in the Arizona Center Mall.

Hope this isn't too long a report. This was my fourth Elderhostel
and a very very nice break from the loooong Oklahoma winter!


Bay Area Classic Learning/Tiburon  03/11/01

BACL operates many, excellent Elderhostels at four different
locations in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Each is held at a first
class hotel and the programs are well administered.  Their
faculty is well qualified and very diversified in the subject
matter that they teach.  As a result, no two programs will
present the same combination of courses.  The problem is to
select the particular program that looks most interesting to you.
  If you don't find enough information in the Elderhostel catalog,
you can explore the BACL website at www.bacl.com.  This was our
third exposure to BACL and each was very satisfying.  Our
teachers this time around were:

Joe Marchi - Golden Age of American Musical Joe has an infectious
personality.  You can't help but sing along and feel like you are
there as he presents the composers and their music of the
twentieth century.  This is the second course that we have taken
from Joe and we enjoyed it just as much as the first one.

Charles Fracchia - SF's Wild Early Days This course is primarily
about the effect of the California Gold Rush on San Francisco.
It also gives the image of the scattered villages that already
existed when the Spanish arrived and how the lives of those first
residents were affected by the Spanish and the following waves of
immigrants.  After the Gold Rush, we looked briefly at the
railroad era and finally at the modern technology era which might
be considered as hectic as the gold rush.

John Rothmann - Great First Ladies John was a member of the White
House staff of Richard Nixon.  He is well versed in the US
Presidency.  He is also well versed on Middle Eastern conflicts
and on the former Soviet Union.  His presentations are very
forceful, too forceful for some people, but we love it.  He is
the primary reason that we keep coming back to BACL Elderhostels.

This program was listed on the Elderhostel web site as being
limited to 50 people but as it filled up, they simply created a
second section.  When a program is expanded beyond it's original
dimensions, there are often some compromises that must be made
but this worked pretty well.  There were separate conference
rooms and dining rooms for the two groups.  In the morning
sessions, Joe Marchi and Charles Fracchia simply switched to the
other conference room and repeated their presentations.

It wasn't as easy to schedule John Rothmann's evening
presentations.  It looked as if each section was only going to
have two sessions with John instead of the usual three.  That
meant that he would not be able to cover the First Ladies of the
nineteenth century.   Suddenly, after the first evening, there
was a change in the schedule and John's last two presentations
were to a joint session of the two sections and he was able to
cover all of the first ladies.  It would have been a shame to
miss the stories of the nineteenth century ladies, there were
some great stories there.  Also, John's volume and manner of
presentation lends itself very well to a larger group.

We are fans and I'll bet that we find our way back to the Bay
Area for more.

Grace and Bob McAllester
- - rmcallester@earthlink.net


St Simons Island, Ga
# 10248-0107-01 ... $412
Island Hopping:  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.

SUBJECT MATTER ------------------------ 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

RECOMMENDATION --------------------------- 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.