Elderhostel Notebook #87 May 18,  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.

   Comments and Queries

From: "Selman, Rae" 

I would like to hear from anyone who took the recent EH
health/education trip to Cuba. I have some logistical concerns I
would like to discuss. Please correspond directly to me. Thanks



From: Judie Brown 

Has anyone done an EH Afloat to Egypt?  We're going in October  
would like info on the trip   weather.... Judie

Subj: 	elderhostel Sicily trip

From: 	Glocurran@aol.com

I am interested in hearing from Elderhostelers who have taken
this trip.  Please let me know how the weather was, what time of
year you visited, your thoughts on the program and the length of
time spent at the various locations.  Thank youin advance for
your help.


From: 	Ronarizona@aol.com

Please share your experiences attending Elderhostels in Japan.

Ron Weintraub, Ronarizona@aol.com


Subj: 	Nutsshell review

From: 	RWi501@aol.com

On the Signature City, Washington DC program in April 2001.  This
is a product of the Close-Up Foundation and was a great
experience.  Good speakers, good accommodations and terrific
explorations of the city.  I would recommend it highly.



From: 	PNestor

I would appreciate any information about the EH program on
Spanish Painting which includes Madrid, Toledo, Cuenca, Bilbao,
and Barcelona.  Has any reader attended this program?  Please
email me at PNestor@aol.com.  Thanks. Pat Nestor


From: 	joyepapa@silcon.com

"Has anyone been to an Eldehostel at Geneva Point Conference
Center near Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire?  How was it? We
plan to go in September."

"We just returned from a great Elderhostel program No.
05023-0422-01 at The Bishop's Ranch in Healdsburg, California.
The site is lovely, food and rooms were fine and the program --
mostly about wine and the wine country - was delightful..  A fine

The McCoys

From: 	mtfolk@frii.com

We would like information from anyone who has attended the
Elderhostels.  Thanks.



Subj: 	Turkey

From: 	Norm15640@aol.com

We're interested in the Jewish Heritage in Turkey Elderhostel and
would appreciate comments from anyone who has been there.  Thanks
Barbara and Norman Wolff norm15640@aol.com

   Program Reviews

           History and Culture in Greater Cincinnati
           Americans in France: from Franklin to Roosevelt
           New Mexico State University at Grants
           Richmond, Virginia - Signature City
           SF Giants Spring training Scottsdale, AZ
           Columbia Gorge Community College- skiing


 History and Culture in Greater Cincinnati
 Treasures to Savor + First Ladies
Program 17501-0408-01

This program  was terrific in every way. The printed program
doesn't begin to describe the quality of the organization,
content, and interest of the week. The program was filled with
informative, entertaining lectures and field trips to local sites
of interest. Accomodations at the Comfort Inn were very nice.
Catered meals were varied and delicious. Restaurant meals were at
intesting and scenic places. (By the way, Cincinnati is WAY more
interesting they originally thought!) We strongly recommend this

Ann and Bill Carter


APRIL 12 TO 19, 2001

BY:  Charles Carruthers, Madison, WI,

We drove to Ft. Collins, CO to attend this program, braving a
late-spring snowstorm in Nebraska en route.  It was well worth
it.  This was the first Birding Elderhostel I have attended where
the participants were all birders, a refreshing change.

Instructor Kevin Cook was excellent.  The first night and last 2
nights were held at the Holiday Inn University Park in Ft.
Collins.  Very nice accomodations.  Four days and nights were
spent on the road, traveling in 2 vans (19 elderhostelers).
Kevin and co-driver John Barber were both very competent in both
driving and birding.

We first drove to the grasslands (steppes) of Eastern Colorado
where an evening visit to a lek produced views of Greater Prairie
Chickens.  Our stay at a motel in the town of Yuma was
highlighted  by a nice home-cooked dinner at the community
center.  Next day we traveled to the southeastern corner of the
state to the town of Springfield, stopping at state parks and
other areas en route for more birding.  A walk in the town
produced several Eurasian Collared-doves, a rarity for many of

We departed early the next morning to reach a lek before sunrise,
where we observed several Lesser Prairie Chickens displaying.
Later, a long drive west and up into the mountains at Gunnison
with stops along the way for more birds.  Next day, early
departure again to reach a lek before sunrise to see displaying
Gunnison Sage Grouse.  Then, travel higher into the mountains
where, at Guanella Pass we hiked up a snowfield to see a flock of
White-tailed Ptarmigan, still in  white winter plumage.

A side trip to Loveland Pass in the afternoon produced all three
Rosy-finch species.  Lodging this night at Snow Mountain Ranch,
near Fraser.  Once again, an early check-out and departure for
the North Park area near Walden where we were treated to the
unbelievable sight of over 100 Greater Sage Grouse displaying on
a lek.  Back into Ft. Collins in time for lunch, then a free

 On our last full day we (what else?) depart before
dawn and drive north to Cheyenne, Wyoming, then east to the
grasslands and displaying Sharp-tailed Grouse.  Birded our way
back to Ft. Collins thru the grasslands of both states.


 Americans in France: from Franklin to Roosevelt
 Paris (5 nights), Reims (3 nights), and Bayeux (4 nights)

We consider this program one of our best trips to Europe,
particularly in regard to staffing (leader, guides) and planning.
In Paris, we stayed at Hotel les Jardins de Paris Gobelins, near
Place d'Italie, a safe neighborhood of convenient services.  The
program emphasized the American writers of the 1920's, but also
included a superb guide to the Musee d'Orsay and Giverny.

On route to Reims, we visited Compiegne, site of the 1918
Armistice.  In Reims, Beatrice Ducroix presented convincing
insights into the liturgical and regal history of the Cathedral,
and effectively described the other urban sites, far better than
any guidebook. Leaving Reims, we passed through Chateau Thierry
on our way to the American cemetery and battlefield of Belleau
Wood. At Bayeux, we learned why Andre Heintz is praised by so
many Elderhostel groups.  Having served in the French Resistance,
his narration of the 1944 invasion sites (three days of tours and
lectures) deserves the highest praise.  It was a privilege to
meet him.

Several in our group became ill; our group leader expended
energetic care in assisting them.  I praise Experiment France
(the not-for-profit Program Coordinator) and its staff highly.

New Mexico State University at Grants

There was a previous report on this Elderhostel location that
appeared in Notebook #60.  I completely concur with that report
and its praise of coordinator Barbara Wesley.

Barbara adds a different twist to each program that she runs.
For the program of April 24, 2001, the big feature was the
"Gathering of Nations" Powwow at the UNM PIT (basketball stadium)
in Albuquerque.  There was a steady stream of very colorful
Indian dances.  Also a Grand Entry when they crowded many
hundreds of dancers on the stadium floor, each dressed in an
exciting costume.  The aura of the swirling colors was

There are other trips that Barbara manages to include in many of
her programs.  Chaco Canyon:  This very remote prehistoric site
can only be reached by driving over at least twenty miles of
primitive roads.  Here we find the remains of five story
buildings that were engineered and built out of stone by people
who had no written language, no steel tools and no wheeled
conveyances.  There is evidence that they had some advanced
astronomical knowledge.  The time period was 900 - 1150 AD.

Acoma Sky City:  This ancient Pueblo is built high on a mesa.
This collection of residences is built of mud and stone but at
one time Spanish conquistadors believed it to be one of the
fabled seven cities of gold.  Hear stories of how they were
conquered by the Spanish and how in 1680, they and the other
Indian Pueblos rebelled and drove the Spanish out.  Zuni Pueblo:
Visit another old Spanish Mission, this one has beautiful Kachina
murals painted high on the cathedral walls.  Sample some fresh
baked Indian bread from their special ovens.  Visit Zuni artists.
 We had attended this same site in 1997 so a lot of it was a
repeat for us, but in the mean time we had moved from California
to New Mexico so the repeated visits to locations of important
New Mexican history had a new meaning.

There is also always a new group of Elderhostelers to get
acquainted with.  The hotel houses all of the Elderhostelers on
the second floor and there is no elevator so you have to be able
to negotiate the stairs.  It's all right to do the stairs slowly.
 If you have trouble moving your luggage up and down the stairs,
you will find someone to help you.  The same hotel is used all
week so you only need to move it up and down once.  This is a
busy program with a bus outing packed into every day.  I
recommend it highly.  Bob   Grace McAllester


 Virginia Commonwealth University "Sincerely Richmond"
Program #46891-0422
Richmond, Virginia
April 22-27, 2001

This excellent 5-night Elderhostel is one of EH's "Signature
City" programs and I think it likely that all those that
concentrate on Richmond and are sponsored by the same
organization probably follow the same curriculum even though they
may have a different title (example -- "Richmond Then and Now: A
Capital City" was given in March).

The entire experience was of very high quality, in
accommodations, instruction and field trips.  We took our most
recent domestic Elderhostel more than 3 years ago so I do not
know if all may have "upgraded" in the interim, but I would say
this hotel and the food we had were at least one or two notches
above the level we have experienced in most of our other 6 EH's
across the U.S.  The instruction was some of the best we have
experienced from EH.  Of course it also helps that we were there
during Richmond's gorgeous spring.

We stayed at the Radisson Hotel on West Franklin Street in
downtown Richmond, where all the staff and management were cheery
and eager to please.  The hotel had previously been a Holiday Inn
but was completely redecorated and updated before opening last
year as a Radisson.  Rooms were large, comfortable, attractive
and clean.  Despite the "city" location it was very quiet.  The
elevators worked quickly, and underground parking was free.

Our meals were taken at the hotel, sometimes in its lobby-level
restaurant (all breakfasts and a few lunches) and sometimes in a
private meeting room on the second floor (most lunches and all
dinners).  All meals were buffet style with a good choice of
fruits, juices, milks, salads and/or cooked vegetables -- at the
appropriate mealtimes for each. Water and iced tea were both
automatically provided at all lunches and dinners. In the evening
there were always at least two entrees -- and enough of each so
most of us had a little of both!

The coordinator, Catherine Dodson, was a soft-spoken native
Richmond charmer who worked hard behind the scenes to make it all
seem effortless. When the AC in our first meeting room conked out
she got the hotel to transfer everything to another room where
the AC did work, and then quietly arranged modifications in the
seating arrangement several times til everyone could see and

The delightful group of students -- 38 in all -- were from
California, Georgia, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Connecticut,
Florida, Tennessee, Maryland, Kentucky, New Jersey, Arizona,
Massachusetts and Virginia.  At least 3 couples were newbies and
partway through the week one of them took me aside after a
particularly excellent presentation, by history professor Lynn
Sims, to say, "This is wonderful!  Are ALL Elderhostels like
this?"  I replied that this was indeed typical, although that
particular instructor was in the top ranks.)

We had class plus a field trip most days and another brief
evening class after dinner. There were no long blocks of free
time but we fitted in walks in the attractive historic
neighborhood including a chance to scope out the beautifully
restored Jefferson Hotel, a 5-star gem just a block and a half
away. (My husband and I had lunch there on our way out of town
and it was superb.)

Our curriculum covered events from the founding of the Virginia
Colony to the present, with, of course, special reference to
Richmond.  The Revolutionary War and the Civil War were given
in-depth treatment. The class enjoyed expertly guided, un-rushed
visits to the State Capitol, Governor's Mansion, St. Paul's
Church, St. John's Church, John Marshall House, Wickham House,
Valentine Museum, Museum of the Confederacy, Confederate White
House, Tredegar Iron Works (now also the National Park Service
center for Richmond's Civil War battles), and the Virginia Museum
of Fine Art.  On the way by bus to and from these destinations we
were shown many examples of different architectural types,
Monument Avenue, Shockoe Slip, Church Hill, the VCU campuses, the
financial district, the James River waterfront, "The Fan"
historic district and many other remarkable sites, all with
commentary by our coordinator.  We also learned all about the new
"Canal Walk" project and even were visited one evening by General
Robert E. Lee himself, in full uniform.

Excellent planning was evident throughout.  I think anyone could
take an EH at any of Virginia Commonwealth University's 3
locations and receive similarly high quality accommodations,
curriculum and instruction.

Cherry Carnell


SF Giants Spring training Scottsdale, AZ
week of March 18th.

The weather was grand, the motel was excellent (Comfort Inn) and
we were able to see our National League Champion Giants in three
games. The catered food was good, the El Torito buffet was poor
and the barbeque in the desert was disappointing.  Overcooked
food and no coffee!  (A cowboy cookout without coffee,

The programs were ok but not specific to the Giants, which we
considered odd as this was a program  tailored to them.
Strangest of all was the last night where our experience with EH
(11) was usually a final nice dinner.  Instead we went to a local
theatre and were given ten dollars worth of coupons to spend at
the counter for hot dogs and popcorn??  Then there was a program
where the local ALS foundation was given a check from EH.  Our
coordinator knew nothing of this and we all wondered why we were
there.  This was followed by a showing of 'The Pride of the
Yankees,' which I believe has been seen by more people than The
Wizard of OZ and The Sound of Music put together.

So, it was a week of contrasts and I would be interested in
hearing from others who attended Spring Training Baseball to
compare experiences.  If the coordination from EH to this program
was greater and more specific to the teams it would be a much
better week.

Sincerely, Ken   Anne Nelson  travel31@aol.com


Alpine Skiing at Timberline Lodge   Mt. Hood Meadows
Columbia Gorge Community College
Program # 37087-0304001
"Barbara Fay" 

This EH program is inaptly named! It should be A Dining Adventure
and Alpine Skiing at Timberline Lodge   Mt. Hood Meadows. What a
treat this program was in all ways!

The Setting:

The beautiful Timberline Lodge, a National Historic Building set
on Oregon^Òs scenic Mt. Hood. Built in 1937 by the WPA the lodge
has been carefully restored and maintained in its original state.


The rooms were quite small but very adequate. Closet space was
limited and held an ironing board and fan which took up some of
the room. The rooms could be very noisy as the lodge was built
before sound proofing was available but the lodge thoughtfully
provided ear plugs! Lockers were provided on the ground floor for
skis, etc. Ski boots were not allowed outside of the main lobby
entrance because of damage to wooden floors and the sound factor.

The Skiing:

Left a little to be desired for upper intermediate/expert skiers.
Part of this was due to the low snow pack (only half the usual
amount in 2001) and warm temperatures. Many of the black diamond
runs were not open. The green and blue runs were well groomed and
quite gentle. These were a fine training ground for the two hours
of instruction we received each morning in basic techniques and
for practicing and fine tuning these techniques during the free
ski in the afternoon, but they lacked any challenge and
excitement for an advanced skier.

Several skiers took advantage of a snow tractor ride, which was
generously offered free of charge by the Timberline Area, to the
Palmer Run which was not serviced at this time of the year by a
lift and was not groomed. Though we were warned that conditions
would be difficult and they would be skiing at their own risk,
several skiers skied down and reported it was not difficult.
Others took the ride for the spectacular view from the top of the
run and rode down in the tractor.

The day trip to Hood Meadows for free skiing offered more
challenge but unfortunately the weather did not cooperate. The
new snow that fell during the night was great but fog and
snowstorms enshrouded most of the mountain for most of the day
and we were confined to skiing the lower lifts. Ski hosts eased
the situation by shepherding us around the mountain but the
groups were large and much time was spent standing around. We
were transported from Timberline to Hood Meadows and back in
small, comfortable vans.

Skiers were placed in groups according to their abilities for the
ski instruction. None of the groups was larger than eight. Ski
rentals were available for an extra charge. The rentals included
parabolic skis and many who did not already have them took
advantage of the opportunity to try them out.

The Food:

Was one of the highlights of the program and made up for the less
than exciting skiing. It was by far the best food of any of the
12 Elderhostels I have attended previously, including one to a
cooking school in Lyon, France. Timberline^Òs head chef,	is
world class and no effort was spared by the lodge in giving
Elderhostelers a memorable dining experience.

Breakfast each morning was a bountiful buffet served in the
Cascade Room, the main dining room, and shared with regular
Timberline guests. Beautifully laid out, the choices were many
including special Timberline scrambled eggs, potatoes in a
delicious sauce, cold and hot cereal or special Timberline
granola and freshly baked pastries made in-house. Yogurt appeared
in a large shallow bowl with raspberry sauce knifed into a
lattice pattern.

For lunch we were given an $8.00 coupon for each day which we
could use in the Day Lodge for usual day lodge fare (chili,
hamburgers, or a special Timberline Burrito etc.), or in the ^Óski
in café^Ô which served a hot lunch for $7.95. We opted to use them
in the Cascade Dining Room for a relaxing white tablecloth, fine
china lunch. Entrees here were more than $8.00 but were HUGE and
came with a salad and fragrant rosemary bread. Three of us shared
one entrée and the bread and bought two extra salads. We still
had enough of our $24 pool to buy one of the decadent Timberline

A buffet lunch (construct your own sandwich from a wide variety
of ingredients and/or chili and fruit) was served one day on the
mountain in Silcox Lodge, the original Timberline Wheelhouse, now
a facility for small group accommodations. Elderhostlers who were
non-skiers or who did not have the skills to ski down were
transported by snow tractor. Another very tasty and more than
generous buffet lunch was served in the Sahallie Room in the
South Lodge on the day we skied at Hood Meadows.

Dinners were private Elderhostel affairs served in a different
dining room each evening. In the Ramshead Bar and in the 60^Òs
Room they were served buffet style. In the Raven^Òs Nest, Mt.
Jefferson and Mt. Hood Rooms they were elegant sit-down dinners
with white tablecloths, fine china and glassware and very
attentive service. Each of these rooms offered a different view
of the mountain. The menus were haute cuisine, featuring
Northwest food specialties, beautifully plated. More fabulous
Timberline desserts and coffee were served in the Barlow Room as
a prelude to the evening presentations.


The History of Timberline Lodge   WPA Projects and a walking tour
of the lodge was given by Linny Adamson, Curator of the
Timberline Lodge the first afternoon from 4:00-5:30. Linny^Òs love
for the lodge and its preservation as a National Historical Site
was very evident in her very excellent presentation.

A film on the 10th Mountain Division whose members eventually
started many of the ski areas in US was given one night and a
talk, with slides on Northwest Volcanoes by Ed Klimasauskas of
the USGA were interesting and informative.

A unique, living history presentation on the Barlow Road, a part
of the Oregon Trail, done by Beth Kirschofer of the USFS, was
great fun. With some props the Elderhostelers assumed the roles
of pioneers traveling the Oregon trail and had to solve problems
that came up during their journey. A Fireside Chat and Quiz with
Michelle Franulovich of the USFS also required audience
participation and was a fine review of the information presented
during the week.

The pre program information sent was very complete: our
coordinator, Susan Burd, very friendly and efficient. An
unfortunate accident (a broken arm) suffered by a participant on
her first run was very expeditiously handled by sending her by
van to Portland where she was taken care of and back at
Timberline within a few hours.

Unless you are particularly looking for a skiing challenge I
would highly recommend this program. Staying at Timberline Lodge
is a unique experience, the staff could not have been more
helpful and accommodating, the presentations interesting and
informative and the food, outstanding!