Elderhostel Notebook #93 October,  2001

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    From the Editor's Notebook
I've combined comments and reports in this issue as it is mainly
aimed at reporting experiences and thoughts related to
elderhosteling and the events of September 11.

I'll return to the regular format with the next issue.

It is probably too early to draw any conclusions about how the
disruptions in airline schedules  will affect Elderhostel
programming in general.

    Comments and Reports

From: BAHamm@webtv.net (Billie A. Hamm)

Comment: I just returned from Bishops Ranch in Sonoma county, Ca.
As there has been a recent critique done of this I just wanted to
add it was truly great ! Accommodations, Food and program were
out standing. The food was consistently great for all three
meals. Home cooked and they were willing to work with diets

I do highly recommend this program if you like good food,a
pleasant setting and good instructors. (A car is helpful if you
want to visit Winerys and do any sight seeing in the area as
Bishops Ranch is located 6 miles out of healdsburg)

Note: we were there when the disaster struck. There are no TVs,
telephones etc in this serene, peaceful retreat center. Most of
us had radios with us for our personal use and thats how we heard
about it --just as we were getting up !

The ranch did locate a tv and set it up for us on wednesday in
the lodge. The channels were limited as no cable was available.
They carried on with the program subject matter but things were
low key and a somber ambiance prevailed.

The ranch was great , allowing us access to the internet in the
office so we could check on flights etc. I do hope everyone got
home OK. Some were going to drive and most of us were concerned
about our flights being cancelled.

We had to end up buying tickets on Southwest ( they were up and
flying as of the Friday afterwards) as American was no help in
getting us home at all. They kept cancelling all the flights to
louisville, ky. Luckily , we had not planned on coming home until
the 17th (monday) and that is when we came home. I am pretty sure
the people that were scheduled out of SF did not make it on
Friday or Saturday of that week.


From: "Ronald Olsen" 

We were in Germany on Elderhostel program Bavarian to Bauhaus
when tragedy occured. EH/IST people and hotel proprietor
extremely helpful and sensitive. Program ended in Berlin on 9/17;
everyone appeared to get on planes for US OK with some minor
re-routing. EH Program scheduled to begin in Berlin on 9/18 - The
Opera of Berlin - cancelled due to participant cancellations but
people on our EH who were continuing on that program decided to
stay and were well taken care of re hotels, opera tickets etc.
and were getting program fee refunded.

Bavarian to Bauhaus program( Munich-Bamberg-Weimar-Berlin,
Germany) probably the best travel/learning experience we've had
and we've toured most of Europe, Latin America and Asia and have
lived overseas.

Hotels excellent, well located with impeccable, caring, friendly
service. Sumptuous buffet breakfasts and good sampling of
local/regional cuisine at lunch and most dinners. Some of the
latter were light wurst /salad buffets when we were pressed for
time, but no one ever went hungry.

The program and quality of instruction were oustanding. Extremely
active and well programmed yet with some nice interludes for
private time. I won't recount the detailed itinerary which is
available in the catalog. Most lectures were "on-site", rather
than in classrooms. Our tours in castles, museums etc. were
virtually private, absent the herd-like sense one gets on so many
commercial tours. Three evening concerts; Renaissance music in
Munich church; private concert of Baroque chamber music ; and
great seats at the Berlin Concert hall.

Truly unique was the quality of instruction. The group leader,
Tom Abbott is a native Minnesotan with graduate degrees in
art/architecture history from universities in Paris and Berlin.
He's lived and worked as a researcher/educator in Berlin for over
15 years. For two weeks Tom "weaved a cloth" of history,
philosophy, literature and geopolitics, art and
architecture...sprinkled with humour. His breadth and depth of
knowledge is uncanny and his passion and enthusiasm boundless. He
was also ( ably assisted by Rosemary,a retired German
schoolteacher) a nurturing shepherd for the group of 37 people.
The group was extremely congenial and caring of each other.

This was our first International EH (we've done a number in the
US) and we are clearly motivated to take more. Fellow EH's on
this trip said it was one of, if not the best Int'l EH's they had
experienced. PS: The weather during this EH couldn't have been
worse; cold and rainy virtually every day. Yet, it did not
"dampen" the experience one iota.

Ron Olsen - Charlottesville, VA


From: ThomasEU@aol.com

We decided to postpone our Elderhostel trip to Spain [Food and
Wine of Andalucia] since our departure date was one month away.
In the Adventures Afloat catalog, we found a trip for next
September [Paradors of Spain, Wines of the D'Ouro Valley] which
we decided on. Elderhostel was very helpful in our making this
change. The cancellation of one program did not depend on the
enrollment in the other. Their website explained the procedure
very clearly and their representatives on the phone made this
change a very easy one. Also, we decided to do something during
the week in which we would be gone. There   were very few
domestic programs still open at this late date. We found a few
and decided on 'Marine Life on the Maine Coast and Sailing One
Morning in Maine/Natural History of the Maine Coast'. Since we
live in Connecticut we will be able to drive to the site in a
day. The site, a coastal Rockland waterfront motor inn, is
available for the night before or after the program at an
additional cost of $50 for a double room. We will take advantage
of this and arrive on Saturday. On the way home we will stay
somewhere along the coast as we drive back. We feel that
Elderhostel handled the situation very well and will remain
traveling with them into the far future.

Thomas and Jean   


From: CNestorjr@aol.com

We received a catalog from Cross-Culture Inc. which features what
appears to be similar foreign travel programs  to those sponsored
by Elderhostel.  The prices are comparable and the accommodations
appear to be a little better.  They also emphasize learning and
"non-tourist" type of experience.  They say they have been in
business for 16 years, and they have some very attractive

Has any of your readers had any experience with any of their
offerings?  If so, would they please communicate with me at the
above email address.

Sibyl Nestor


From: Judie Brown 

We are booked on the Elderhostel Egypt trip in October (Nile:
Gift of the Gods). In light of recent events, we are wondering if
it is safe to go. Is anyone else booked on this trip? Has anyone
canceled? Has anyone gone to Egypt in the last 2-3 months? How
was it? Thanks for the info. Judie

editor's  note:  Late word from Judie is that the program was

Subj: 	Elderhostel policy regarding housing

From: 	wlongman@yahoo.com

Elderhostel policy regarding housing

It was with sadness and disappointment that the 40 people on the
"Irish Heritage and Culture" program learned Elderhostel, Inc.
would no longer use Bellinter House and University of Limerick
for future programs.  We are told that this is due to a new
policy stipulating that facilities must have en suite (private
bath) accomodations.  At both sites we did share bathrooms with a
few of our friends but had sinks in individual rooms.  Bellinter
is a retreat center operated by Sisters of Sion in a lovely rural
setting and ideal for an Elderhostel.  The closeness we developed
as a group because of the Bellinter setting was crucial upon
hearing the terrible news of the terrorist attacks.

At the University of Limerick we were housed in dormitory suites
with breakfast supplies delivered.  We were divided up into three
couples per suite to share shower facilities.  Though scattered
about in the campus village, transportation was provided for all
functions.  Meals were in the university dining room or some nice
hotel.  Again I would say that having shared baths was no problem
and might be expected in European or overseas Elderhostel
offerings.  A big reason is economic which is one reason we
selected this particular program.

Let us say that while many programs in the States are held in
so-so hotels which do indeed have bathrooms, this not a primary
factor to many of us.  What does matter is the content of the
program together with a good coordinator who makes things click.
Yes, food and fellowship are important ingredients, too.  Yes, at
times we will seek out beautiful surroundings. And yes, the price
does matter also. By eliminating all locations that do not have
private baths, meaning in some cases college settings, you are
likely increasing costs.  It is our opinion that Elderhostel
seems to be catering more and more to affluent travelers. We are
aware that many Americans prefer some creaturely comforts,
including us, but are we neglecting the original focus on
academic learning?

Let's don't eliminate some excellent places for having
Elderhostel programs.  Forty of us in the Irish one do object to
eliminating Bellinter House and University of Limerick where we
were treated so well.  We hope that the matter will be
reconsidered. Are we a minority about this concern?

Bill   Lee Longman, Springfield, MO


Subj: 	Elderhostel, Island Roamer, 9/8 - 9/14.

The trip was all we looked forward to and more.  The crew was
fantastic and worked together transparently under the direction
of the Skipper, Neal.  They took real good care of us grey hairs.
The weather was super.  Our webpage has a few of the photographs
of the trip.  By the way, we were not on the Orcas too long, as
suggested by the people at the Orca lab----Neal and Doreen are
very conscientious environmentalists and naturalists.

We made it a three week vacation, spending most of it on
Vancouver Island and meeting the ketch in Port McNeil.  Our only
hitch at all was getting back through U.S. Customs and that was

Our next Elderhostel will probably be in Scottsdale, Arizona in
February, listening to good music.

David and Betty Buck
Parachute, Colorado
Pine Grove Ridge Craft pages
The Bucks personal website
SHS Class of 1951


Subj: 	New York

From: 	davis55@bellsouth.net

I was wondering if anyone had information on Southstreet Seaport
museum and personell from Elderhostel in New York.  I had just
attended the Elderhostel program there a week before the
disaster. Sandra

editor's note- That location is close to the events of Sept 11.
  see next item

From: "Tom Guthrie" 
Subject: New York City Elderhostel

When the New York attack occurred we were in Western Kentucky and
going over to Louisville for an Elderhostel on Sept. 16th. We
arrived in Louisville on the 15th and found out that the
Elderhostel had been canceled. We contacted Delta Airline and
were able to leave the hotel at 5:00 AM the next day and arrived
in Portland, OR before 11:00 AM. For the last several years we
have flown Delta and after this I am thinking that I will never
fly with anyone other than Delta. I certainly appreciate the way
we were handled.

When we were told that the Elderhostel had been canceled, my
first thought was "we will never go to Elderhostel again". But
after a period of time I realized that what had happened was not
something that Elderhostel had done. I guess I can understand why
it was canceled.

The memory that I am having problems with is related to a couple
of years ago when we attended the South Street Seaport Museum
Elderhostel in lower New York City. The hotel we stayed in was
about two blocks away from the World Trade Center and was the
best hotel we have experienced with Elderhostel. Having once gone
to the South Street Seaport Elderhostel I have always thought I
would go again because it was the best Elderhostel I had been in.

When I got home I checked the Elderhostel catalog and sure
enough, the South Street Seaport had an Elderhostel that quit on
the day when the World Trade Center was destroyed. I wonder what
has happened to them.

After what has happened to New York City I still love New York
City and will be traveling there in the future. I hope the South
Street Seaport will still be doing Elderhostel so I can do it

Tom Guthrie
1303 S.E. 53rd Ave
Portland, OR 97215-2648

Subj: 	Peabody- Baltimore

In EH Notebook #92  rozcole@aol.com asks for feedback on the
Peabody Institute in Baltimore. I am replying directly to her,
but also to the Notebook because others may be interested.

My wife and I attended Peabody for the first time the week of
September 9. Terror struck New York and Washington on Sept 11.
Because of Peabody's location near Annapolis and Washington, and
its affiliation with Johns Hopkins University the administration
took great pains to secure the facility. The Elderhostel staff
was fantastic.  They carried on with the courses and at the same
time were very solicitous of our concerns, our well being and our
desire for news and information regarding travel conditions.

Moreso the three courses we attended on opera were the  best
ever. The room facilities varied at the Peabody Inn (I don't why,
but we were assigned a huge room, large enough to hold a dance.)
  The food served in the student cafeteria, just a short walk away
was well above "standard" fare.  There was a wide and ample
variety of hot and cold foods, salads, sandwiches, drinks,
desserts.   The afternoons were full with  tours of museums in
the neighborhood, and the evenings full of student recital.s
About the only forewarning I can give is that the rooms (your
room, the classrooms, and the recital halls) are either too hot
ot too cold.

We have attended 18 Elderhostels and visited Peabody because we
were told it is one of the greatest.  It lived up to its

Wallace Lepkin

Subject: Millersville University Ehostel

I don't know if you have received any comments about the Amish
elderhostel at Millersville U in PA, but it was absolutely
sensational. The couple who managed it -- Rich and Marsha
Frerichs -- were the perfect hosts: from the opening hug to the
end on Friday, they were so hospitable, and did not overlook an
opportunity to present a rich program and all the extras to make
this group of 41 people truly intrigued by the Amish and their
religion and culture in Lancaster County PA, one of the largest
Amish communities in the country.

--Dick Beach, Dayton OH


From: WKosl@aol.com

For some time now, I've felt that EH pricing for foreign trips is
quite high, so I agree with your assesment as far as foreign
trips are involved. I use Saga where the costs are more
reasonable. Further, Saga does not charge a single supplement for
many of their all inclusive "stays" trips, wereas EH single costs
can be prohibitive. (Example- I once tried to sign up for a trip
to England, and was advised that the single adder was 30 pounds
per day! That would add $500 to a two week trip.) As for US
trips, I still think EH is a bargain, even with a single

William Kosloff


Subj: 	Travel Plans

From: 	jsjovall1@home.com

Dear Jim and Others,

I am uncertain about my travel plans this winter.  That is the
season when I pack my bag and go.  I had planned to stay in the
States this time for I went abroad last January.  Flying has
never been completely enjoyable for me and I do love trains.  So
now, more than ever, I will look for Elderhostel sites that are
accessible by train or bus.  No desire to drive a car any
distance, especially by myself.

At this point, it's wait and see.  No planning in advance.
Whatever I do, if I do, will probably be "last minute." But I
have been longing to see New Orleans and the January and February
programs tempt.

And there's much comfort and joy to be found in the company of
fellow Elderhostelers.

Jeanne Sjovall
Providence, RI


From: Sheila 

Subject: Wild Africa:Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe

We participated in this spectacular program between July 10 and
26. It was, without question, the finest EH we've ever done.

I've created a website, describing our experiences and including
some of our best photographs. The first two pages, Zurich and
Interlaken, reflect the 5-day trip we did on our own before
joining the EH flight to Johannesburg.

I invite you to take a look at this EH via the website. I'd be
happy to answer any questions you may have.

The website URL is: http://www.execpc.com/~babaskp/

Sheila Plotkin

Subj: 	Safe in New York City. So far.

From: 	rbranchor@juno.com

I was booked on United Airlines for a flight from La Guardia in
New York to O'Hare in Chicago, but not on Tuesday, the day it all
happened.  I'd reserved my flight a month ago, so that I could
attend the Bat Mitzvah of my granddaugher Robin, age 13.  And a
whole weekend of festivities had been planned  - with family
supposed to fly in from the west coast and the south as well as
New York. Well, the festivities went on as planned - but not
exactly - not with the aunts and uncles and  grandparents who had
hoped to attend but couldn't .Still, our extended family feels
fortunate. Because our flights were'nt on Tuesday, the day it ll
happened, but two days later. And we didn't even have to cancel.
The airlines did.



Right now, I'm looking forward to my annual trip to Chicago for
Thanksgiving and I expect to  fly.  I don't believe the
terrorists will try the same terror again - the element of
surprise will be gone and hopefully the security will be there.

Subj: 	Tahoe Elderhostel

From: 	RMcAllester@earthlink.net

Nevada - Zephyr Point Presbyterian Conference Center - Sept 9,

This is a magnificently beautiful conference center overlooking
the clear blue waters of Lake Tahoe.  A very quiet, restful
setting for an Elderhostel.  The buildings used by the group had
a rustic appearance that snuggled into the setting.  In spite of
the rustic appearance, they were modern and accessible.  One of
those hillside buildings where you enter from the street on the
third floor, walk or take the elevator down to the first floor,
where the meeting rooms and the dining room overlook the lawn
with the lake beyond that, reflecting the varied skies and

These buildings were at the bottom of a long, steep driveway and
there was no room to park cars near the conference center.  They
had to be parked near the entrance to the grounds, up the
driveway or a flight of 140 steps.  If you are not able to
negotiate that, get someone else to fetch your car for you.

There was at least two hours free time each afternoon, great for
those who wanted to sit overlooking the lake with a good book.
Not much room for walking unless you wanted to negotiate that
steep driveway.  If you had a car and the energy to get to it,
you could drive the four miles to Stateline to visit the stores
or the casinos.

The rooms have no telephones or television so on Tuesday morning
when news of the New York / Washington disasters reached us,
people gathered around portable radios and took their turns on
the pay phones.  Classes went on as usual.  The manager of the
conference center made announcements to give us some idea of what
was happening.  During the rest of the week, he also got on the
Internet to help people find out if their flights home were going
to go.  We had driven, so we don't know what kind of confusion
they faced at the Reno airport on Friday when the Elderhostel

Tuesday afternoon we had a four hour free period when most of us
carpooled to a boat landing to take a ride across the lake to
Emerald Bay and back on a stern wheeler.  It was a great escape
from the events of the day.

The food was excellent.  There was always a great salad bar. The
beautiful dining hall was three stories high.


Japanese-American Confinement During WWII:

Our instructor, Daniel Ogata, was a retired Presbyterian
minister, a Japanese-American who had grown up in an agricultural
community near Stockton, CA.  He had been sent to high school in
Japan, then at age 21 was suddenly rounded up with all other
Japanese-Americans on the west coast and confined to an
Internment (Concentration) Camp.

His family was sent to a camp in Arkansas, in a swampy area that
was subject to flooding.  Most of the camps, in California,
Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and Colorado, were in extremely
arid desert environments.  All were kept behind barbed wire with
armed guard stations, in very inadequate barracks.

He related his own story in detail and the experiences of many
others as they were confined and then the stories of the
conditions they found as they tried to return to normal lives.
Daniel and many others chose to settle in other parts of the
country.  Most had no homes left to return to and had to start

Storytelling in the Bible:

Another retired Presbyterian Minister taught this class.  Most of
the selected stories were from the Old Testament.  They were
presented as stories from their time, compared with fables of
more recent eras or oral histories of other cultures.  Anyone who
insists on a very literal interpretation of the bible would have
been very unhappy.  At the same time, it made some of us feel
like we were in a church camp instead of an Elderhostel.

Lake Tahoe's Growing Pains:

This was taught by a collection of teachers.

We were visited by a Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) impersonator. He
told us of his visits to Lake Tahoe and his other experiences in
the world.  It was if we were talking to Mark Twain.

A member of the Washoe Tribe told us how, prior to the coming of
the white man, her tribe had used the Lake Tahoe basin as a
summer residence.  She also gave us some in depth feeling for the
lives of the tribe during that era.

A program director from the US Forest Service told us of the
diversified programs that are run by the Forest Service in the

A representative of the Tahoe Regional Protection Agency was
unable to come because of the tragedy of the week but our leaders
gave us a good overview of the measures that are being taken to
protect the extremely clear waters of the lake.

We also enjoyed a field trip the Tahoe Heritage Center where we
had a guided tour of the Pope House, a home that was owned by the
very wealthy of the roaring twenties as a summer retreat. Some of
the great names in the entertainment world of that era came to
play, ie. Rudolph Valentino.

Had the September 11 tragedy not taken place, this would have
been a truly idyllic Elderhostel.

Bob   Grace McAllester