Elderhostel Notebook #90 July 23,  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
and an index 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.

    From the Editor's Notebook

Time has caught up with me again and I have more reports than I
could use in this issue.

I'll put out #61 next week, giving readers a little time to
digest this one.

    Comments and Queries

From: 	hoke@coxnc.rr.com

We are considering the Discover Nature program at WEST LIBERTY
STATE COLLEGE/OGLEBAY RESORT - West Virginia and would appreciate
comments from anyone who has participated in this program.



Foods and Wines of Provence


My husband and I are considering enrolling in Elderhostel's Foods
and Wines of Provence Program.   We would appreciate any feedback
anyone could give us if they have gone on this particular tour.

Thank you.

Penny O'Malley
Ann Arbor, MI


   France trip


I am interested in taking an Elderhostel trip to France next spring. 
I'm specifically looking at "The Light of Provence: Cezanne and Van 
Gogh.."  I'd like to hear from anyone who's taken this trip to find 
out about the quality of the program, the hotels, and any other 
comments.  Please Reply to MGlaser2@aol.com.Thanks.


Subj: 	Query!

From: 	RDGSonoma1@aol.com

My wife and I have applied for an EH program in Germany next
Spring.  The program is titled "Castles, Wine   Gardens -- The
Spirit of Baroque"  and goes to Tubingen, Wurzburg and Dresden.We
would appreciate hearing from Elder Hostlers who have
participated in this particular program and learn about their

Incidentally, we were on The Aquataine EH trip last Spring to
Bordeaux and Sarlat and contrary to a recent letter in the
EHnotebook, we found this to be a very well run program in a
beautiful section of  France.  We had lots of excursions into the
countryside to wineries, chateaux, caves and small towns.  The
cusine was great and we did have ample free time in both Bordeaux
and Sarlat.  We would highly recommend this program.

Don Graham


From: "Aganita Varkentine" 

Subject: I sympathize with your dilemma of writer in last issue

I have also noticed that Elderhostel does not make many
accommodations for disabled people, which surprises me. I have a
friend with congestive heart failure who cannot walk long
distances. A few years ago we went to an Elderhostel in Ashland,
Oregon, and she was treated almost hostilely when she spoke of
her needs. They said that the classes and meals were next door to
the building where we slept, without mentioning that it was the
equivalent of a block and uphill all the way. It was fortunate
that we had a car with us, so I could drive her back and forth.

I think things will change only if a lot of people let
Elderhostel headquarters know about the problems. We gave
feedback at that Elderhostel but do not know if anyone paid


From: Barley Garzamappes 
Subject: Concerns Voiced in last issue (#89)

Hi, I'm the Director of Elderhostel at Northern Kentucky
University. I have had oxygen dependent participants before. I've
also had participants with a variety of other handicapping
conditions, including blind with a guide dog, walking with canes,
and using wheelchairs. On occasion, They have opted out of a
particular session, but basically they have participated fully. I
run a very busy schedule without much free time, our meals and
classes are within 50 feet of the elevator, there are some steps
at sites but most have elevators, and most of our walking is
docent led within museums and is pretty leisurely, most sites
have wheel chairs available and I always have volunteers willing
to push them. I see few reasons for a disabled person to not
attend an Elderhostel program.  If you have questions,
feel free to call of email.

Barley Garza-Mappes
NKU Elderhostel Director
1401 Dixie Highway
Covington, KY 41011
859 392-2424

    Program Reviews
              Hawaii Trip - Earth Sky and Sea   Intergenerational
              Ashland Shakespeare Elderhostel
              Dixie College Elderhostel
              Bonclarken Conference Center


Hawaii Trip - Earth Sky and Sea (Elderhostel Intergenerational)

The only negative on this whole trip was the length of time on
the plane. We went a day early which I would recommend. We took 3
planes in one day - from St Louis to Houston and then 7 1/2 hours
to Honolulu and the a short flight to the big island of Hawaii.
We had a 5 hour time change and many mornings we were up at 4 or
so. Our first morning we thought we would starve until the
restaurant opened at 7.  At 6 am we went for a walk that day and
discovered a beautiful park on the ocean in Hilo called
Lilioukalani Gardens. .

The program started that afternoon after we were  bussed up to
Volcano National Park.(Earth) We stayed at a marine R  camp.
Nice facility and quite good food.Every place we went they served
rice at every meal. With brown gravy if you wanted it???? Each
morning we had hula and Hawaiian vocabulary classes to start the
day.Fun for kids and adults!!!!  While at this area we went a
major hike across A Crater - down one side and up the other.
Seeing the lava and walking over it was a great experience. I
hope never to do it again however as it was a looooong hike and
at the end it was all uphill with 7 switchbacks which I found out
meant it is Verrrry Steep..... We also went down into a lava
tube, kind of a cave made from lava.  Had to use flashlights.
Fun. When we got to the end we all turned off our flashlights and
did a little chant to the Goddess Pele....

We saw a Hula demonstration by our leader Susan and her Sister.
(traditional style) One night we hiked over lava to hopefully see
some hot lava that is coming out of a site near the sea but we
couldnt get close enough to see it. Still had our evening picnic
sitting on lava rocks and watching the ocean. Next  day  we swam
at a beautiful black sand beach that had large turtles. Made
screen print t shirts ....This was the first five days. There
were 36 people - about 15 kids and 21 adults - some  kids had
both grandparents.  There were 5 boys and 10 girls all ranging
from 9-13.. Saturday we packed and headed for our next location
up in "cowboy" country where we stayed at a boarding school that
of course was not in session for the summer - in a town called
Waimea.(Sky part)   The big adventure there was to bus up to the
9000 ft level of the mountain ( it is 13,700 ft but kids under 16
arent allowed over 9000)  It was chilly and in fact snowing at
the higher elevations. There are 13 observatories up there -
built by many different countries. We did get to see the moon and
mars etc through powerful telescopes and did some "star gazing"
They told the kids to bring extra sox for mittens  - We all
laughed but guess what - they wore them.

The next day was spent swimming in a pool and exploring that
town. Some people went horseback riding (extra fee)  My
granddaughter had several friends by then and they found a
macadamia nut tree and collected nuts and cracked them open etc.
The kids by now were all playing cards in the free time and also
we were allowed to use the school computers so we kept busy.  We
walked to town and got shaved ice cones which are big there - I
know them as Italian Ice.  Ice cream flavors like mango and
ginger and green tea Were available too!!  The fruit at every
location was great. I got to loving papayas.

Our next location was Kona - on the other side of the
mountains.(sea part)  This was the swimming "water" part of the
trip. Another black sand beach  and then to Hapuna Beach which is
white sand - beautiful - rated one of the top 10 beaches in the
world.  We got to our final destination _ "Uncle Billy's" in
Kona.  This was our first place where it was commercial - lots of
gift shops etc - we were across the street from the ocean  - and
the pool was nice there. We did a bit of history - learned about
Hawaiian royalty and saw their palaces and also some statues and
pictures .(Food average)  During the whole two weeks Susan told
the kids about the legends surrounding Pele the goddess of fire
so the kids got in to the history part....

On july 3 we  learned to snorkel ( in the pool) and then went on
to our first try in the ocean.  It was great. I had thought I
wouldnt do it but found it to be great fun to see what was going
on under the water. Turtles and fish and Coral----Nothing nibbled
on us either. Fourth of July arrived and a little Hawaiian parade
(with belly dancers?) Didnt last long. Then our big extra was
that everyone decided, since the afternoon was free, to go on the
"Fairwind" Catamaran - They sailed out to Kealakekua Bay - famous
in song - It is surrounded by huge cliffs - and is a protected
bay - no homes around it or anything. Anyway we spent the
afternoon snorkeling and the kids went off the big slide on the
boat (not Nana) They grilled hamburgers etc and then sailed us
home A different and beautiful 4th.(a group member got us a 20%
discount as there were so many of us... Later there were
fireworks (that lasted 8 minutes)  - A satisfying way to end the
fourth - we were ready for bed.

The next day a visit to Pu'unonua O Honaunau National Historic
Park - a beautiful area with lots of historic buildings (grass
shacks) and yet another swim. Kona was warm and somewhat humid so
we appreciated the swimming time. Our last day - Went to a flower
farm to pick plumeria blossoms to make leis. Acres of beautiful
flowers. The owner gave us a bag of white orchids to use too -
back to the hotel to "sew" our leis. The girls made wrist leis
and hair leis in addition to the necklaces.

That evening we had a BBQ at a state park by the ocean. A
fabulous beautiful place -you can get permits for picnic areas -
Rob  cooked fresh salmon (or hot dogs for kids that didnt like
fish.) Fruit salad with ?  fruits and poi to taste. I tasted
lychee nuts which are quite good and some other white fruit? and
also some raw fish thing in herbs?  My granddaughter stuck to the
hot dog. We were all dressed alike in our hand screened tshirts
and leis and the kids did a hula for us on the beach and then a
"class photo" ended the day. Home to pack.

It was fun to see the kids make friends and enjoy the wonders of
Hawaii. And of course the grandparents not only enjoyed the
Hawaii part , but the fun of seeing the grandkids having fun.
Many of the grandparents lived far away from their grandchildren
and do this to get to see them each summer- away from their
family and friends.  This was a magical trip for us both.

What made the whole experience so great was the leaders, Susan
and Rob McGovern. She is Chinese and born and raised in Hawaii ,
he is Irish and has been all over the world. He knew almost every
plant and animal and bird we saw and she knew the history and was
also a musician and wonderful story teller.  A great combination.
The kids loved them. There were many people there from the East
Coast, Long Island, Boston, Delware - Some from the midwest and
Texas and Arizona and California.  It was a diverse group - My
grand daughter is on the shy side but did well making friends. Of
course i met some nice adults too. A few couples were there with
a grandchild but mainly Grandmas - even with boys.

Most everyone overpacked - Each facility has a laundry so if you
decide to go, pack light and bring a bit of laundry soap. And
dont forget those D battery flashlights as you must have the big
ones. And a back pack is a must too.   You NEVER  need to get
dressed up on this trip - casual shorts and slacks plus raingear
and a few warm things (and swimsuits) and you are READY FOR
FUN...My granddaughter (age 10) kept a journal which was a big
help when we got home - We did so much and saw so many different
things that otherwise it would have been hard to keep track of
all those pictures we took.   So Aloha and  Mahalo (thank you)

Pat Gould   pjgould@juno.com


Ashland Shakespeare Elderhostel

This was our 12th Elderhostel program.

We were housed in the Siskiyou building which was previously
student dorms. The bathroom was down the hall. Very clean and
neat. We ate in the student cafeteria-all we wanted with the
Elderhostel badge showing. The food was outstanding, and there
were many selections. We also could use the Library and their
internet terminals.

The program consisted of two or three 1-1/4 hour lectures unless
there was a play or a free afternoon. All together, we went to
six plays, had 29 lectures, and a tour. The plays were:

Troilus and Cressida, Enter the Guardsman, The Merchant of
Venice, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Life is a dream, and The
Tempest. Many of us went to other plays on our free time.

The lectures were given by Shakespeare experts/professors,
actors, a director, a producer, The Oregon Shakespeare Festival
(OSF) stage lighting manager, the OSF Music director/composer,
costume designer, stage sanager, artistic director, voice and
text director. These were all top actors and support staff in the

We had lectures on the plays themselves, their background, the
themes, the characters, the language, and the controversies. We
also had lectures on stage managing, makeup, lighting, music,
directing, managing, costuming, hiring practices, the life of an
actor, and the OSF history.

The discussions added a great amount of enjoyment to the plays.
The background on Shakespeare's most controversial play, The
Merchant of Venice, was essential to an understanding of the
play. The OSF prepared the Ashland community by having discussion
groups in advance of the play which were held in the community
and at the local synagogue. This helped to quell angry reactions
to the play, and provided a venue for those who maintain that the
play should not be presented.

We found that plays have an enormous range of ways of being
presented, depending on the director. We found everyone,
especially the actors, to be dedicated, sensitive, intelligent,
witty, entertaining, and hard working. One might think that 2
weeks of this would be saturating, but several of the 24
participants come to the same Elderhostel program every year and
say that they learn many new things each time they come.

Our group had many who were very dedicated to the theater arts
and were well informed and able to discourse with the instructors
about various directors and actors all over the world.

We found that our time was exciting and very well spent and will
probably be attending again in the future.


  Dixie College Elderhostel
  June 2001

On a hot 110-deg. Sunday afternoon Dorothy and I drove to St.
George, Utah (known as Dixie to the residents because the early
settlers grew cotton and they found the weather to be similar to
that of the South.) Our Elderhostel program, titled Moving
Theater, was sponsored by Dixie College. Forty enthusiastic
theatergoing participants, representing 10 states and Canada,

During the almost six full days, we attended three professional
performances: Julius Caesar, Pirates of Penzance, and Oklahoma.
Julius Caesar was Dorothy's and my first live Shakespeare play.
It was held in an outdoor Globe style theater at the Shakespeare
Festival in Cedar City, about an hour's bus ride north of St.
George. The Festival attracts people from all over the country
and is widely recognized as one of the principal Shakespeare
venues. The play was just as we remembered it from high school
English class, complete with Et Tu Brute', Yon Cassius and his
lean and hungry look, and Marcus Antonius asking Friends, Romans,
and Countrymen to lend him their ears. The murder scene was very

Our group overnighted in a Cedar City motel. The morning after
the play, the director spoke to our group and we learned how he
chose to interpret the play. He had many problems to solve, such
as his Brutus being leaner and hungrier looking than his Cassius.
The director had been directing in major theaters for 40 years;
it was fascinating to hear him speak.

Next we saw Pirates of Penzance in an indoor theater at Cedar
City. Who cannot love Gilbert   Sullivan! The play featured a
distinguished Major General, who breezed through the "I am the
Very Model of a Modern Major General" and we could actually hear
and understand the words! Penzance also has the very funny
Keystone Kops type of bobbies singing "A Policeman's Lot is not a
Happy One." That catchy song keeps running through my head.
Superb acting of a great G 

Our hostelers returned then to St. George. At the Tuacahn, a
large outdoor amphitheater on the outskirts of St. George, we saw
an evening performance of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma.
Before the evening show, our group had a private tour of the
theater, which is nicknamed Broadway in the Desert. The theater
seats 2,000, and it has a backdrop that rises perpendicularly
behind the stage 1500 ft. creating a most unusual and spectacular
setting. The director and choreographer had lots of talent at
their disposal--professional actors and dancers. The ballet dance
scene where the heroine is dreaming, and the square dance scene
"The Farmers and the Cowboys Should be Friends" were beautifully
staged. You can't beat those lovely Oklahoma songs! With the huge
natural amphitheater things could be done that can't be done on
Broadway--such as coming on stage with a real "surrey with the
fringe on top" pulled by a real live horse. Several cowboys were
playing a game of horseshoes in the background. Seeing Oklahoma
in this amphitheater was one of the highlights of the week.

As part of the theater study, our group heard brilliant lectures
by Richard Hill, a man who has spent many years in professional
theater, both acting and directing.

After an outstanding lecture on the geology of Zion by Janice
Higgins, a professor from Brigham Young University, we were taken
to Zion National Park on a bus outing (Zion is an hour's drive
from St. George). Once again we enjoyed traveling the Elderhostel
way. We made new friends, saw new sights and learned a bit more
about our world.


Bonclarken Conference Center
April 29-May 4, 2001
  My Elderhostel #57

Bonclarken, located in Flat Rock, near Asheville in Western North
Carolina, is operated by the Associate Reformed Presbyterian
Church. It means, in Scottish, "Clear Vision." The Blue Ridge
Community College sponsored this excellent program with
efficiency and insight.

We were housed in a lovely lodge amid an eyeful of towering white
pines, hemlock, spruce, and blossoming rhododendron. Vistas
included a private lake for fishing, and many walking paths.

The food was delicious and nutritious. It featured a fresh fruit
and salad bar. Maid service was provided daily with a view toward
spoiling us all. This was successful.

One course, "Inside Old Ironsides" was skillfully navigated by
one of her former captains, Cdr. Tyrone Martin, USN, (Ret). Ty
was the skipper of the famous USS Constitution, during her recent
restoration for The Bicentennial Celebration. Cdr. Martin was a
talented teacher and an acclaimed scholar. After 17 years of
research, the Naval Institute Press published his 400 page
definitive study in l997: "Most Fortunate Ship: A Narrative
History of Old Ironsides."

This "old salt" peppered his remarks with tales of US Navy lore
and shared a sea bag full of memories from 25 years of service He
piloted us through the creation, history, personnel, and life
aboard this American icon. Commissioned in 1798, she participated
in the undeclared war with France, the Barbary Coast War, and the
War of 1812. Ty never left us at sea with any questions. We not
only studied this grand old ship; Ty let us inhabit it!

The visual aids were unusual.

There was the affable Ty himself, brilliant in his 18th Century
uniform as a Commander in the US Navy. There were sketches of
naval construction as well as films and slides. And there was a
large photograph of Ty, the proud product of democratic America,
standing next to Queen Elizabeth the Second Herself! No doubt
there was a nostalgic discussion of the time when the USS
Constitution blew the British warship Guerriere out of the water,
and captured the royal frigate Java.

After Ty finished with us, many were ready to enlist in the Navy,
but the sailors today are too young. Instead, we wished him:
"Fair winds and following seas", and hoped we would meet again.

As if that were not enough, there was also a course on Carl
Sandburg, (1878-l967) Pulitzer Prize winning poet, Lincoln
biographer and a major light in 20th Century American literature.
With foresight, this was arranged so that National Park Service
Rangers enlightened us. Featured was a fascinating trip to the
Sandburg home, Connemara, which is a National Historic Site. This
included the goat farm maintained by Mrs. Sandburg.

Ironically, this Lincoln admirer bought a farm first owned by
Christopher Memminger, who built the main residence about l838.
Memminger served as Secretary of the Treasury in Jefferson Davis'
revolving door cabinet of the Confederacy from l861 to l864.

In addition, several Rangers illuminated various aspects of
Sandburg's talents: his poetry, his "Songbag," his home, and the
very interesting life of this "people's poet."

We even had the opportunity to write poetry ourselves, a la
Sandburg! Who knows, there might have been a future Pulitzer
Prize poet among us, and no one knew it at the time!

And if that was not enough, there was the enlightenment of "Blue
Ridge Mountains: Culture and Folklore" by a local legend, Mr.
Frank FitzSimons, Jr. who told us what the area was like "in the
old days." We became acquainted with the customs, traditions,
oral history, tall tales, music, and folklore of this part of the
southern Appalachian region, as told by a long-time resident.

This was supplemented by optional field trips to Hendersonville,
a local town filled with delightful crafts. Also, a visit to a
local church was very interesting, St. John in the Wilderness, an
Episcopal Church. This reflected the Southerners, who, before the
Civil War, summered here. There were the graves of the Draytons,
the Middletons, and other great Charleston area plantation
owners. Their slaves were buried here too--separate and in the
back. Menninger's gravestone was decorated with a recently
planted Confederate flag. As Jefferson Davis said: "I have not
repented!" This seemed to be the case here too in this den of the
rebellious Confederacy!

Evening entertainment included "Dickens" the juggling clown,
otherwise known as one of our volunteer genial hosts, "Sandburg
and Segovia,"a fine guitar concert, Mountain Music and Dance, a
singing female duo, "The Pearls", and a hilarious,
belly-clutching analysis of "How to Talk Southern" by Wanda Neal,
Director of Services at Bonclarken She initiated us, along with
other insights, as to the subtle distinction between "Y'all" and

In hindsight, Bonclarken, or "clear vision" was true to its name.
Hope to see Y'unns there someday!

 From your friendly Elderholic, Sid Kessler. Itisalive@erols.com