Elderhostel Notebook #85 April 14,  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 don't usually do notebooks this close together, but the reports
and queries have come rolling in so I'll do them as often as
needed to keep up with the volume of incoming.

Elderhostel has opened another forum concerning any interest in
having a photo page on the Elderhostel site. You can participate
in the forum by going to:

I had to crop some reports and comments to fit my 24k goal for
each issue. Usually if I am way over I just hold an entire report
for the next issue, but if I am close to the goal but slightly
over I just trim here and there wily nily. That's what editors

    Comments and Queries

Subj: 	Midway --the turning point

From: 	gfam5@juno.com

Hi,  my husband and I are travelling to Midway on an elderhostel
trip next week and wanted any feedback from anyone who had been
on the trip.  thank you. I did find one notice in the notebook
but was interested in knowing if there were anymore.


Subj: 	Program 52409 - Center for Studies of the Future/Pasadena

From: 	fdben@bellatlantic.net

A recent report indicated   dissatisfaction with the Pasadena
Inn, the site of an elderhostel that was run by the Center for
Studies of the Future at Ventura, CA.  We also attended one there
in January 2001 and also concluded that the Pasadena Inn was very
substandard. However we stayed and attended the program on
museums in the LA area and enjoyed it immensely.

Furthermore, the Inn is in the process of renovation and some of
the rooms  were, we were told by others, quite acceptable.
Hopefully in the near future this excellent program will not have
the same problem.

Pasadena is a fine location, but it is urban, and the ability to
cope with busy streets (well equipped with WALK signals) is
necessary. The nearby restaurant was quite good. The Pasadena Inn
is well located for enjoying the city.

The program was outstanding and very well organized. A single
lecturer, director  of a nearby museum, gave nearly all the talks
and he was informative and entertainig at the same time, giving
us all new insights into the world of museums. The trips to LA
museums were fine.

Frank D. Benedict

From: 	janetpina@earthlink.net

Subject:  TEXAS:  Davis Mountains Education Center/Northern

Any comments about EH offered year-round by this facility?  They
are 9 or 10 night programs which feature culture of West Texas as
well as a train trip in the Copper Canyon of Mexico.  Hoping to
compare EH offering with what commercial tour companies are
selling.  Thanks!


From: "Todd Shetterly" tshetter@frontiernet.net

Despite wide-spread news accounts of California's energy woes and
power outages, we can assure you that Elderhostel programs in
California have been minimally affected by the state's current
energy challenge.

Essential services, such as police, fire protection and medical
care are virtually exempt from planned power outages. In the
event of unplanned outages these essential services will continue
to function normally using auxiliary power sources Airports
continue to operate as usual. Buses, regional transit, light
rail, taxicabs, and other forms of public transportation have not
been affected by the power crisis. Amtrak's passenger train
service in California has not been affected either. Major hotels
have auxiliary power and buildings higher than four floors
generally have at least one elevator powered by an emergency
generator. There have been no reports of negative impacts due to
electrical outages at any National or State Parks.

Specific information is available from each Elderhostel program
Sponsor. You may also receive latest information on the
California energy situation by visiting www.visitcalifornia.com .


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

                   Colonial Williamsburg
                   MAYO  CLINIC PROGRAM
                   US and Mexican Relations
                   Eckerd College/Continuing Education Center
                   Mustang Island
                   San Antonio/ U. of Texas at Austin


Elderhostel at Colonial Williamsburg, March 18 to 23, 2001
#4611-0318-02  $543

Checked into the Ramada Inn at Historic Area on Sunday afternoon.
It was a nice room with two double beds. Before dinner there was
the Elderhostel Registration where we met some of the 36
participants. Each night there was a buffet dinner which always
featured fried chicken, crab legs and carved roast beef or ham.
Our group had its own private dining room. After dinner we
attended the Orientation. We met all of the participants and some
of the faculty. We also received a one year pass to Colonial

Monday morning, after a buffet breakfast we went to our first
morning of lectures. The two lectures that morning were:
Introduction to Colonial Medicine by Burns Jones (excellent) and
an Introduction to Chesapeake Bay by "Mo" who was substituting
for another speaker. Lunch was chicken pot pie, salad and soup.
In the afternoon we took a field trip to Colonial Williamsburg
led by Mac White, who was a wonderful guide. She has lived in the
area all her life and graduated from The College of William and
Mary, the sponsoring institution for our trip. Dinner was the
same buffet. After dinner there was a concert by Sylvia Lee -
"The African-American Legacy: From Slavery to Freedom"

Tuesday morning, there were two lectures. The first lecture was
by Burns Jones again, this time he was dressed in colonial
costume as a doctor. His lecture was: Medicos, Midwives and
Medicine Men which talked about the role of the doctor in
colonial America. Next was Botany and Flower Choices for Varying
Locations (very good) by Martin Mathes, a professor at William
and Mary.  The afternoon was free to visit Colonial Williamsburg
or Jamestown or just settle in. That evening we all went to
Shield's Tavern in Colonial Williamsburg for an authentic dinner.
The dinner choices were Roasted Barnyard Chicken or Salmon with a
butter/caper sauce. These were served with crayfish bisque, red
bliss potatoes, vegetables, salad, bread and hot fruit cobbler
for dessert. The meal was great. There were strolling musicians
and the singer was great and took requests. She sand "Barbary
Allen" for us. And she also led us all in a folk song. The
"original owner" Colonel Shields greeted us in full colonial
attire. What a great time.

Wednesday morning it was pouring rain. The morning lecture was
Burns Jones for the last time and he gave a surgical and medical
procedure demonstration as it would have happened then. It was
called Good for What Ails You, I'm Afraid Not! It was terrific,
if not a bit frightening. Glad I am not that old! The next
presenter was Jerre Johnson who talked about the Geology of the
Chesapeake Bay. He was very good and gave everyone a fossil of a
scallop shell to take home. Lunch was tuna, egg and chicken
salads with potato/leek soup. In the afternoon, Martin Mathes
spoke again about the plantings at the College of William and
Mary. Then we all went on a field trip of the campus and

Thursday morning was a free morning so we slept in and then went
for a drive around the area (and got lost). Made it back for
lunch of pasta with choice of marinara or Alfredo sauce and beef
barley soup. In the afternoon we went to the Virginia Institute
of Marine Science with Dave Niebuhr who is on the faculty there.
Before we left he talked about The Chesapeake Bay and the World
Beneath to get us ready for the trip. Very interesting. Dinner
buffet included Salisbury Steak. Then there was an evening
concert by Dean Shostak of Rare Colonial Instruments. This was
super. He played the violin and fiddle, pocket fiddle,
hurdy-gurdy. He is one of only eight people who play the glass

Friday morning we watched a video of Gloucester Watermen and then
talked some more about the flowers of Colonial Williamsburg.
Martin Mathes even had cuttings of plants for all of us to take
home. Lunch was chicken filet sandwiches with vegetable soup. We
all said our goodbyes and left the hotel at 1pm to start our
journey home.

Thomas and Jean Foran


CLINIC PROGRAM      February 25 to March 2, 2001

SITE:   Centrally located historic Kahler Hotel, in the center of
Mayo Clinic compound......   A good self contained location
connected with the Mayo Clinic compound by underground tunnels
(with scores of gifts shops, restaurants, and various stores) and
skywalks, thus keeping us out of the refreshingly frigid
Minnesota outdoors.   The hotel is one of the most luxuriously
appointed, old remodeled sites on the Elderhostel circuit.   One
of the great features of this hotel was the PENTHOUSE (11th
floor) swimming pool, exercise room, sauna, hot tub facilities,
which a number of us took advantage of at 5:30am to watch the
sunrise before the day's activities began....A REAL TREAT!!!   My
single room was elegantly furnished with more than I needed viz.
cable TV, desk, chairs, ample closet space, comfortable bathroom
with shower, tub, hair dryer, hot light, shampoo, etc. etc. The
hotel had MANY elevators which were very accessible to all parts.

CLASSES:   The major classroom also served as our lunchroom with
white table-cloths (not enough room to spread our notebooks);
pitchers of water often went dry fast;  sound system was problem
at times;  visual aid-projecter was also a problem at times....
MAYO CLINIC STAFF MEMBERS.   Since our group of 50 had a great
variety of experienced members (including retired nurses, vitamin
store proprieter, and many who experienced various health
situations)  the questions from the group were very valuable and
were handled by the facilitators extremely well. FOOD:
Breakfast at the adjoining Methodist Hospital cafeteria was
GREAT.   There was a great nutritious-conscious menu and you
could help yourself. Lunch was usually soup and cold cut
sandwiches in the hotel classrom.  Evening meal was typically
supper club type (cocktails, at extra charge were available once
at a very  scenic supper club outside of town on Rochester's
Zumbro River). FIELD TRIPS:    A visit to Rochester's Carillon
Tower, with the actual performer of noon-time concerts (he's been
at it for many many years) who not only preceded the concert
with a short historical lecture, but we were also able to be in
the tower with him as he played his concert.   Another field trip
was WALLY'S personally narrated bus (very comfortably luxurious
one)tour at sunset  of the Mayo Clinic neighborhood, the Canadian
Goose refuge (with thousands of geese on an open---even in
winter---waterway, St. Mary's hospital area, the snow-covered
glistening countryside).

COORDINATOR:  Our concscietious coordinator  M.J. Wagenson (from
the Rochester Community College), along with Mary and John Kotek
(senior hosts in residence), were always present to attend to our
whims and needs. They did a GREAT JOB!!!! BONUS MAYO CLINIC
FEATURES:   You were able to schedule an appointment for
examination;  two Mayo Libraries had a wealth of health
information (pamphlets) as well as computers to access not only
health information, but also personal e mail.

TRANSPORTATION TO ROCHESTER: Most (out of Midwest participants)
flew into Minneapolis/St. Paul with extra charge shuttles
available from the Twin Ciities to the Kahler Hotel); Minnesota,
Wisconsin, Michigan participants drove (there were many public
parking areas ----with daily charges);  I made the mistake of
taking GREYHOUND from Chicago (I was dumped in Winona,
Minnesota-45 miles from Rochester--the taxi was $50.00 one way)
and on my return trip, there was only 1 departure from Rochester
(via a contracted busline) which dumped me off in Tomah,
Wisconsin, which necessitated an overnight motel stay.   AVOID

to return to this experience in 5 years, when more updated
information will be available. Elderhostelers with physical
limitations are well taken care of while in the Kahler Hotel/Mayo
Clinic Compound.  The coordinator, M.J. Wagenson, is very
sensitive to your needs.

lmjr34@yahoo.com    Communications welcome!!!


US and Mexican Relations - the University of Arizona and the
American Foreign Service Association

We spent the week of February 12-17 at the Clarion Santa Rita
hotel in downtown Tucson at the most interesting, well planned
and exciting Elderhostel. Most of the lecturers were retired
members of the Foreign Service including 4 ambassadors, who
volunteered their time. Below is a detailed description of our
experience, to give you a flavor of this Elderhostel. The program
coordinator, Helen Macdonald and her staff were just top notch.
Next year they will give this program twice, with only 45 people
per session.

Mon. Feb. 12th was the beginning of our Elderhostel classes. It
began with a Keynote address by Ambassador Bill DePree. He served
in Egypt, Cyrus, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Mozambique, Bangladesh and
Washington. He coordinated the program and had hundreds of
stories to tell. His address focused on the American Foreign
Service and the duties and responsibilities of Ambassadors.
Ambassadors generally serve 2-3 years at a post and then return
to Washington until they are assigned to their next post.

The group consisted of 88 hostlers and so we were two groups for
some of the sessions and we had 2 busses for all of our
excursions. Everyone was very nice and friendly, but we couldn't
get to know everyone who was there. We then heard Jane Gray, who
was the U.S. Counsel for Nogales, Mexico. We learned about some
of the problems that exist on the border. Then we had a session
by Ambassador David Dunford, telling us about how it was in Saudi
Arabia during the Gulf War. Then there was a talk about Public
Diplomacy. We had dinner at Pinnacle Peak which is a western
steak house situated in a replicated western village. That was
lots of fun.

Tues. Feb. 13 our Keynote speaker was Ambassador Herman Nickel.
He had lots to share with us about is assignment to South Africa.
We then heard Ted Wilkinson, who was a minister of Political
Affairs. He served in Mexico City from 1991-1994 and was
extremely knowledgeable about U.S. Mexican relations. In all of
the sessions, there was ample time for questions and our group
posed many poignant questions to our speakers. Since all of the
speakers were so knowledgeable, these sessions were so
stimulating. We then had a session about the elections for
Democracy in Honduras by Ambassador Jack Binnis. He gave us an
article which was an excerpt from a book that he wrote to read
before the class. Therefore, we had a good understanding of what
had occurred and we had a wonderful discussion.

Wed. Feb. 14 on trip to Nogales. We boarded the bus at 8:00 a.m.
For our trip south. We had a presentation by the Council General
of Mexico. He painted a very bleak picture. After an early lunch
we went to the Nogales, AZ, High School and were entertained by
their Mariachi Band. These kids were just wonderful. Then we went
to Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. We visited a Maquiladora factory
where Mexican workers assemble parts for companies in the US. The
working conditions were good and the workers receive free
breakfast and lunch. However, they are only paid $1.50/hour.
Therefore, the turnover is very large and Mexicans are constantly
attempting to come to the US. We had an early Mexican dinner
where high school students danced for us.

Thurs. Feb. 15. We boarded the bus by 8:00 a.m. to go to the
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. It was such a gorgeous place will
all kinds of flora and fauna. There were volunteers stationed
throughout the museum and gave wonderful explanations of what
species were in their area. We ate lunch at the museum and then
visited the San Xavier del Bac Mission. We had a good lecture
about the mission and had some time to explore the area. We did
had 1 and 1/2 hour to rest before we left for the Triple C
Chuckwagon for dinner. There were more than 700 people in this
hall and we were fed chuckwagon style, complete with tin plates.
We were entertained by the "Sons of the Pioneers" and "Rex Allen,
Jr." They sang all of the cowboy songs and it was great fun. We
were back at the hotel by around 11:00 p.m.

Fri. Feb. 16 was our last full day. Our scheduled speaker was
detained in Washington, so Bill DePress filled in and told us all
about his experience as the first ambassador to Mozambique. He
was assigned to Mozambique and had some interesting experiences
working with a communist country. We then went to the Tanque
Verde guest ranch. We had the very best meal at this ranch and it
was relaxing after our hectic week. We had a final dinner and
wrap up session with Bill DePree and Ted Wilkinson that night.

Of the 18 Elderhostels that we have attended, we rate this as #1.

Bernie and Hilda Edwards


Eckerd College/Continuing Education Center, Program #09250,
"Dolphins and Manatees: Gaining A Window To Their World,"
St.Petersburg, FL, March 18 - 24, 2001.

This was the first offering of this program and it proved to be
an excellent educational experience but one that contained lots
of classroom lectures.  We felt that the program would be greatly
enhanced by additional field trips for studying the subject

Housing was in a recently built, two-story, motel-like setting
with a comfortable and fully equipped room and bath (both
accessable for the physically-challenged).  There was a lounge
for games and a big screen TV (plus one in each room).  Meals
were served cafeteria style with at least two choices at each
setting and a good salad bar at lunch and dinner.  Meals were
ample and tasty.  The coordinator, Barbara McIntyre, ran a good

Dr. John E. Reynolds, a noted marine mammal biologist and Chair
of US Marine Mammal Commission, was the primary presenter and
covered the full spectrum of Dolphins and Manatees, their
lifestyle, adaptation, conservation and other issues affecting
marine mammals.  His material was supplemented by Marine Mammal
Pathologists, Tom Pitchford and Butch Rommel, who concentrated on
the biology of these mammals.  A highlight was the presentation
of Dr. Randall S. Wells of the Mott Marine Center on his work in
studying these mammals in their native habitate.  A sociological
presentation by Dr. Rick Wallace of the Eckard faculty on
"Managing Humans Who Manage Marine Mammals" was stimulating.
These main presenters were top-noch, knew their material and gave
very interesting and informative lectures.  There were four other

Unfortunately, there was only one marine mammal related field
trip.  This was a boat trip in Sarasota bay (were a few dolphins
were sighted) and a viewing of captive manatees at the Mott
Center.  The rest of the time was spent in lectures and viewing
slides in a darkened room.  On two afternoons there were two-hour
breaks and on the last day an four-hour site-seeing visit to
downtown St. Petersburg.

Pete   Norma Bellaria


U. of Texas/ Marine Science Institute
Mustang Island
Elderhostel Program #43912
March 3 -16, 2001


The endangered Whooping Crane and other Gulf coast water birds
were observed at various sites, and also by boat, at the Aransas
National Wildlife Refuge. A very knowledgeable ornithologist, Ray
Little, was a constant source of insights, facts and humor.

The fragile ecosystem was explored aboard a research vessel which
conducted a plankton tow and used microscopes to see all the
little critters. An afternoon of beach combing with Judy Reynolds
found lots of expected and unexpected items.

One day was spent in Corpus Christi at the wonderful Museum of
Science and History learning about Texas fossils and how to
preserve them, climate cycles, and prehistoric Texas.


Modern motel, which was listed as new but had seen better days -
it was clean and well located. Continental breakfast left use all
board and hungry. Lunches out - sometimes box lunches and
sometimes hot, were generally very good. The dinners were really
great for a sea food lover like myself, always with a choice of
entrees - something for everyone!

All in all a very good Elderhostel. Only negative note was the
lack of evening activities. After dinner, not much going on in
sleepy little Port Aransas - so after an evening beach stroll,
the TV got a work out. Pictures at:


San Antonio/ U. of Texas at Austin
Elderhostel Program #43905
March 18 - 23, 2001


With so much to see in this beautiful area, we were very busy.
Most mornings were taken up with one or two interesting lectures
- Lone Star Tales, Architecture, Cowboy Traditions, and Folk
Medicine were some of the highlights. A guided tour of the famous
River Walk, the Alamo, the Edmonds Home, a Stock Yard and
Auction, the Institute of Texas Cultures at Hemisfair Park, and
visiting some sites on the Mission Trail, and Fort Houston.  On
our last evening we were entertained with Mexican dances by Image
Dance Company. There was a lot of walking, but at a nice pace.
Some people skipped out when they got tired. Wednesday evening
and Thursday afternoon were free to explore some of the many
places of interest. There is no lack of things to see and places
to go. Transportation was easy with the city trolley system which
cost us 25 cents.


A very good hotel, with wonderful rooms and well located with
reference to River Walk, and other locations of interest.
Trolleys near by. Good Continental breakfast. Lunches sometimes
box lunch and sometimes hot - several very good. Dinners out and
not so interesting, which was disappointing, because their are
some very interesting looking restaurants in the area.

Lots of new knowledge-  a very good week. A few pictures at: