xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo Elderhostel Notebook #84 April 2, 2001 oxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox 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 http://members.aol.com/EHnotebook 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 ################################################ 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 directions. I think Elderhostel Inc. may eventually set one up on their home page, 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 http://elderhostel.cq0.net/r/default.asp?R=0000104dd0000025d I don't know if that will work or not. ################################################ Comments and Queries ################################################ Subject: Bad Experience From:
I HOPE THIS IS THE RIGHT PLACE TO POST, BUT I TOOK A TRIP TO PASADENA TO ATTEND AN EH AT THE PASADENA INN RUN BY THE CENTER FOR STUDIES OF THE FUTURE OF VENTURA, CA AND LEFT. I arrived 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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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. Thanks. Grady and Virginia Singletary email@example.com ________________ 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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org TOPIC: Living the Food and Wine Experience: Italian Style PROGRAM MEALS: I have taken the liberty of copying many of the comments made by Billie Hamm (#66) - (email@example.com 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 magazine. ACCOMMODATIONS 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 www.littleinn.com firstname.lastname@example.org QUESTIONS: I would be happy to correspond with you about this Elderhostel Richard C. Youngs e mail me at: email@example.com _________________ College of William and Mary (46111-0304-01) firstname.lastname@example.org 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 Brazil email@example.com - 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 : email@example.com ____________________ 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 Gittleman. (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 interviews. 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 country. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 - - email@example.com _________________ St Simons Island, Ga # 10248-0107-01 ... $412 Island Hopping: Exploring Three Barrier Islands firstname.lastname@example.org 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 safari. 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 elderhosteler. 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.