Elderhostel Notebook #95 November 9,  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 am still behind on getting all submitted reviews into a
notebook. I will put out another issue around Thanksgiving in
hopes of getting caught up.

Many comments came in regarding the apparent shift away from
using campus based facilities for programs. Most of the comments
regretted the shift seeing campus involvement as an important
part of the elderhostel experience for both academic and
non-academic aspects of the programs. One of our more serious
swimmers, for example, does not view the "bath-tub" sized motel
swimming pool as a substitute for the Olympic quality pool on
some campuses. I personally like being on a campus with a first
rate library.

The same attitude is apparent  for the general shared bath issue
where many correspondents see the various other aspects of
programs they want such as nature based experiences in the field,
transcending the accommodation issues.

I think there is a hard core but limited constituency for
programs of the older, rougher edged, elderhostel tradition while
some of the newer elderhostelers (and some of us older ones)
appreciate the move to more up scale digs.

Some of the older limited enrollment,  six to seven day, low
scale accommodation programs, offered elderhostelers unique
experiences that could not be duplicated elsewhere. Many of the
newer maximun enrollment, up-scale accommodation, 4-5 actual
learning day programs continue to be satisfying in many ways but
are also easily replicated by commercial  and institutional

   Comments and Queries

From: Fettig @aol.com

I would appreciate hearing from anyone who has attended or is
familiar with the EH: Center for Studies of the Future/Vintage
California/Los Angeles to San Simeon.

Any comments about (1) program, (2) accomodations and (3)
food---would be welcome.

Thank you,

Lee Fettig

Subj: 	question for notebook
Date: 	Tuesday, November 6, 2001 8:01:34 AM
From: 	jpoirier@nd.edu

I am registered for a program in Spain, "The Greatest Road in
Europe: Camino de Santiago" (66216-0501) commencing May 1, 2002.
I am interested in hearing from anyone who has experienced this
Elderhostel. Thank you. Jule poirier.2@nd.edu


subj	comment and review

From: 	Emlharris@aol.com

I would like to comment on what seems to be the current trend of
upgrading lodging and cost. When I choose an Elderhostel program,
I do so for the course content and not for the lodging and food.
Thus, I would appreciate a variety of choices. Since some people
cannot do without the most comfortable lodging and the best food
available, there should be programs for those people. However,
the main emphasis should remain on the content of the course,
regardless of other considerations. Keep these as simple and
inexpensive as possible.

Appreciating Chincoteague and Assateague Islands

In line with my previous comments, the lodging was modest, but
comfortable, and the food was adequate. When I first set eyes on
our leader, I was immediately skeptical; he looked much too young
to me for a person who was going to conduct a week-long
scientific and historical program. As the old cliche states,
"Don't judge a book by its cover." This was one of the
best-organized and most interesting programs that I have ever
attended. His choice of knowledgeable, fascinating, and fun
lecturers was right on the money. Each one in his/her own way
imparted much valuable information and managed to keep us all
awake and alert.

Our fearless leader, Steve Roth, runs many programs throughout
the year, including many Intergeneratial programs in the summer.
I highly recommend any of his programs to you.

Lew Wilkinson

   Program Reviews

        Rockcraft Center Lodge on Sebago Lake, Maine
        Kayaking and Walking Prince Edward Island-6/01
        Smith Mountain Lake 4H  Conference Center
        National Parks ( Kings Canyon   Sequoia)
        Natural History of the Maine Coast
        Walking in Italy: Historical Treasures of Piemonte
        Queen Charlotte, Island Roamer Trip
        Close Up Foundation, Washington, DC


Turning Memories into Memoirs
Bangor Theological Center sponsor
Rockcraft Center Lodge on Sebago Lake, Maine

Instructor, Denis Ledoux, is highly skilled at helping
participants learn what to write and how to write. He is
incredibly supportive of any effort, yet makes positive
suggestions throughout. Suggestions are consistently practical.
Writing and sharing of writing occupies a major portion of the
time. Participants need no experience with writing but must
expect to write daily.

1917 large summer home on the lake is the site. Main floor is for
meeting and eating amidst oak and rock from the original design.
Sleeping areas are mostly double with single beds. No maid
service. Rather basic but comfortable. Home cooked food is tasty,
varied, but not fancy.

I was so impressed last year I went again this year. Participants
are going to gain some amazing insights into self, I guarantee
it. Group becomes very cohesive because of all of the sharing.

Of the 24 Elderhostels I have attended, this is one of the top

Donald W. Nylin

Kayaking and Walking Prince Edward Island-6/01

This ten day active program was marvelous.  The accommodations
were at the Stanley Bridge Resort (above average).  Most meals
were at the Resort (above average except for the lack variety in
vegetables).  The program included kayaking with very competent,
patient guides and varied walks on the Confedration Trail.  The
evening lectures and musical activities (above average) were
stimulating after a full day out of doors.

Cindy and Peter Blanding, our site/program coordinators, were
delightful, very organized and talented.  I recommend this EH to
anyone who thinks they may be up to an active program at Level 2.
Chris Thompson

BIKING 09/30/01

I highly recommend this for avid and intermediate bicyclists. I
attended at peak foliage season when it was warm, dry, and
beautiful. Lodging was either at the main lodge or at local
country homes nearby.  I stayed at a nearby home in a single
room, and another elderhostler was in another room.  We had the
whole lower floor and every evening when we returned, a fire was
waiting for us in the sitting room.  Breathtaking hills and a
valley river surround the Outdoor Center and other lodgings.

Each morning the group met for a country breakfast cooked by
local women at the main lodge. Choices included hot oatmeal,
cereal, muffins, fruit, and other stuff.  Coffee was always
ready before breakfast.  Sandwich, fruit, and sweets were waiting
to be picked up as we started our day.  Dinner was around 6PM and
we always had more than we needed.

We had several avid bikers in our group of 22 and they were given
options for longer biking tours.  (Hybrid bike rentals available)
Our usual trips seemed to be between 24  32 miles, with much
longer side trips for some.  We biked mainly in Vermont because
the roads were better. Three days, we were driven to a drop area,
and then took off on our own with a map, and picked up at the end
of the day.  A sag wagon was available for those who needed it.
We stopped along the way for snacks at various country stores.
Our biking area was in farm country, little traffic, some dirt
roads, and lots of hills. We were spread out for miles along the
route because everyone seemed to find his or her own pace. Often
I was the only one for a mile or so, then, I would see another EH
biker. I often stopped for an ice cream or coke along the way and
marveled on the beauty of the area.

Our hosts, Stephen and Joy have done this for several years and
have found out what works.  They were always around and ready to
answer our many questions about biking and Quebec. Both are
experienced bikers, hikers, and skiers and enjoy sharing their
interests with elderhostlers. Each evening we had programs or
special happenings after dinner. Bike repairs, sing alongs,
Quebec history

Passports are a must due to border crossings at least twice a
day. I give this course a high rating! Jean Crowley, Maine.

Smith Mountain Lake 4H Educational Conference Center
Wirtz, VA., Sept. 19-14, 2001.
My Elderhostel No. 59.

This was an extraordinary Elderhostel in many ways. It recreated
the feeling, somewhat of wartime London. This time, Edward R.
Murrow might have asked: "Where were you on September 11, 2001?

I was at Smith Mountain Lake, at a 4H Center, in Wirtz, VA.

This Elderhostel was nestled, somewhere, among the green hills
before the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwestern Virginia. Every
day the air, like the lake, was as clear and sparking as fine
crystal. Golden flowers opened to greet the sun at dawn.
September 11th began as morning to be alive. The peace was

David Newton, punster, dark humorist, environmental expert with
38 years of experience, was teaching a course on "Disease,
Epidemics, and Human History." The noun "bioterrorism" was not
yet in common use. He was surrounded by his books on smallpox,
influenza, bubonic plague, anthrax, and other haunting human
horrors. He was strangely entertaining.

Our coordinator, Dennis Crowley, who greeted every guest as
though they were a long lost friend at a high school reunion, sat
in the back of every class. His walk to the front of the room was
not rushed. He told David to "Stop now." David, amused, said: "I
have only two diseases to cover before the break." Dennis
insisted: "Stop right now" and introduced the camp director.

"I have an announcement to make" said the director: "The United
States is Under Attack!!"

These words could have been rolled up and shot out of a rifle. It
had the same effect. "The World Trade Center is down, and an
airplane has crashed into the Pentagon!"

After this, freeze-frame for all 22 of us. Television: Peter
Jennings was in my nightmares for days. But Dennis, calm and
reasoned, took control, telling us we could leave if we wanted
to, and his personal computer was at our disposal. Of course I
took advantage of his kind email offer. Family is so important at
a time of crisis. Two of the elderhostelers left immediately.
Tension reigned. There were local rumors that gasoline had shot
up to $5.00 a gallon in Frederick MD. Dennis assured us that the
Elderhostel would continue, but with an altered schedule so that
we could spend the day contacting loved ones or watching the

The next day, Wednesday, we were offered the choices of leaving,
sailing on a boat on the vast Smith Mountain Lake, or visiting
the new D-Day Museum at Bedford. I chose to relax on the boat
ride, navigated by that lovely Elderhostel sailor, Anne Harrison.

Meanwhile, our excellent courses continued, despite the tragedy
of terror.

Dr. Conrad Lane, who was fascinated with the movies at the age of
3, was a veritable walking encyclopedia of American film. His
course, "100 Years of the Movies" projected his life's enthusiasm
with anecdotes, visual aids of various kinds, and a great sense
of humor. He was extremely well prepared and very interesting.

Marjorie and Art Miller taught "Trails Across America",
reflecting their most recent book that describes the nation's 19
national scenic and historic trails. They were a wonderful team
and made us live the beauty, wonder and history of the United
States through the glorious outdoors of our country. They also
guided us through a field trip on the Appalachian Trail.

This Elderhostel was truly outstanding. Although the individual
accommodations were lacking in television, they were clean, with
private facilities. The tasty food was supervised by Carol Jean
and friends, who gave us their personal home-baked goodies. The
entertainment, on the last night of our adventure, was provided
by Second Wynde, a band of mountain musicians, which included a
Scottish dancer. Round and round of applause was heaped on them!!

This would have been an unusually good Elderhostel under normal
conditions. But the circumstances of the terroristic attack
against our beloved country made it even more extraordinary . Our
Elderhostel coordinator, Dennis Crowley, a natural leader,
reminded me of my old Battery Commander, who never demanded
anything of anyone he would not carry out himself. It was a very
emotional experience for me^Êdespondency over the civilian lives
lost in the terror attack, yes, but also the support and comfort
of family, and the warm and wonderful world of Elderhostel
teachers and friends.

Your friendly Elderholic, Sid Kessler itisalive@erols.com


National Parks ( Kings Canyon   Sequoia)
Fresno, CA

Our trip to the National Parks ( Kings canyon   Sequoia) from
Sept. 9-14  was superb in accomodations, informed retired rangers
leading us on trips through these awesome trees and the food
prepared by the Mexican family at the dude ranch. We had
opportunities during our free time to swim at their outdoor pool
and to walk around the ranch.

Impersonation of John Muir by  a teacher was so authentic that we
were thinking he was a recreated John Muir of 21st century....his
dress and accent were convincing.  On the last day of the program
we had a resident from the local area describe and show different
ways Indians transported their babes as well as stories of
outlaws   some gold seekers.

Since this program occured during the terrorist attack we were
delayed a day in returning to Michigan; security was tight at the
Fresno airport but we felt safe with the extra searches of our
luggage. Highly recommended trip to those who are interested in
National Parks.

Mary Bissonette


Natural History of the Maine Coast
$476 per person double occupancy October 14 to 19, 2001
Thomas and Jean Foran thomaseu@aol.com


Trade Winds Motor Inn in Rockland, Maine standard ocean
front 'limited view' doubles

Group Coordinator: Joe Gray

Joe Gray is well organized and group sensitive. He does an
excellent job (with the help of his wife, Carolyn) of keeping
everything going according to the weather.


As advertised were healthy and nutritious. All meals with two
exceptions were served in the motor inn dining room. Breakfast
alternated between a cold and hot buffet. Lunches were of the
sandwich and soup or salad types. Dinners were served as a set
course: Yankee Pot Roast, Shrimp Scampi, Chicken with Broccoli,
broiled Haddock and for our Farewell Dinner - Lobster and
Mussels. There was a Chinese buffet all-you-can-eat lunch in a
restaurant in town. This was a popular meal. On Wednesday, there
was an excellent bag lunch, prepared by Carolyn Gray. This was
for the free afternoon.


There was a good mixture of lectures, field trips, slides and
videos. The classes were held in a conference room in the motor
inn. The room was of appropriate size but the view of the
projection screen was sometimes difficult. Ample break time was
given and snacks were provided. Some topics were: Marine Life,
Wildlife of Forests, Fields and Wetlands, Fisheries Around the
World, Hypothermia. Fieldtrips on a school bus took us to
Tanglewood Park for an excellent interpretive walk through the
forest with Joe Gray, a visit with Kris Parrish to a pocket
beach, an emerging forest and the top of Mount Battie. We all had
a chance to sail with Captain Bob Pratt on his ketch, Morning in
Maine. This was a great experience being out in the Penobscot Bay
on a beautiful autumn morning. All of the videos were of
excellent quality and fit the theme of the program very well.

Evening programs:

Videos and movies were shown in the conference room each evening
(except Wednesday which coincided with our free afternoon) while
the Get Together room was open for visiting and sharing ideas and
experiences. After the Farewell Dinner, the Dream Weavers, a
female Barbershop Quartet, performed. This was an enjoyable
experience especially since Carolyn Gray was one of the



We were comfortably lodged at the historic Irma Hotel built by
Buffalo Bill in 1902 and provided excellent meals in the hotel
dining room throughout the week.

A very stimulating program was kicked-off by Dr. Kathy Raven who
gave an in depth lecture on biogenetics and the role the thermo
pools in Yellowstone played in the development of DNA research.
Equally stimulating talks were given by Mr. Jerry Fick, an expert
on Plains Indians, Mr. Ray Hall on Yellowstone history and
sights, and Dr. Paul Fees on Buffalo Bill - Life and Legends.

We had field trips to the Tecumseh Trading Post to see a
fascinating "History of the West in Miniature", Old Trail Town,
and the Buffalo Bill Historical Center housing the world's
largest collection of firearms, The Whitney Gallery, an exquisite
western art collection, a unique Plains Indian display and of
course the Buffalo Bill exhibit. Our group was also given a tour
of the nearly completed Draper Museum of Natural History.

Other events included an interesting trolley tour of Cody and a
stimulating one-man portrayal by Joe Dresson of the events of
Custer's Last Stand. Ms. Marianne Pickering coordinated the
program and kept a tight rein on the activities. She was
responsible for a very enjoyable week.

Carl Larson


Walking in Italy: Historical Treasures of Piemonte
Program #66186-0904

My wife and I returned last week from this elderhostel, our third
international adventure with elderhostel. It was great! The
Piemonte area is lovely and largely undiscovered.  We spent one
week in the village of Castiglione Falletto, two hours south of
Turin, and one week in Turin itself.  The village sits atop a
hill surrounded by vineyards, as it is in the Barolo wine area.
Turin is a lovely city.  I was expecting industry and grime, but
saw none of that.  Many of the avenues and streets are
reminiscent of Paris.

This was the third of this elderhostel series, hosted by European
Walking Tours.  Excellent Coordinator and group leader.  Some of
the days were much more vigorous than advertised in the catalog,
and the Coordinator said she was trying to impress that fact on
elderhostel. A little too much was crammed into some days; too
few rest periods, but those are minor complaints. This is a
lovely section of Italy with a lot of history and nice people.
The events of September 11 were, of course, devastating to the
point of making the rest of the trip trivial, but nonetheless, we
forged on. I highly recommend it.

Karl Smith Camp Hill, PA

Queen Charlotte, Island Roamer Trip

We went on a trip aboard the Island Roamer of the Bluewater
Adventures through the Elderhostel organization, thinking that it
would be all Elderhostellers. It was not. There were just two
other Americans who had enrolled through the Elderhostel
organization. While we were not expecting this, we were not

My husband and I were absolutely thrilled with our adventure
aboard the Island Roamer, a 68 foot sailboat. The crew was so
accommodating, the food was delicious and it is hard to describe
the sights that we experienced. Living on the sailboat for 10
days was a great experience and one that we thoroughly enjoyed.
We went on land in Zodiacs and walked where few people have the
privilege to walk, in moss covered forests, viewing decaying
villages and totem poles, trying to imagine a village in the
breathtaking spots that the Haida people had led their lives. We
had gone with the hopes of seeing the totem poles before they
return to the land and were not disappointed.

The other part of this trip that was so great was the wild life.
We saw many,many whales, sea lions, unusual birds, tidal pools
filled with unusual life, eagles, a bear and sat from 11;00p.m.
until 2;00a.m. trying to catch Ancient Murrelet chicks that were
to be banded and weighed before sending them on their way to
their parents who were calling in the Hecata Straight.

It was an adventure of a life time and we would highly recommend
it to any one who likes high adventure and a bit of the unusual.

Close Up Foundation

We were attending the Close Up Foundation Elderhostel in
Washington,DC, the week of the terrorist attack. The staff of the
foundation is to be commended for being flexible enough to be
able to fit the program into the situation as it was happening.

Food and Accomodations

The Quality Hotel in Arlington was where we were staying. The
rooms were about the nicest we have had on an Elderhostel. Very
large and well equipped. Only problem was the fact that the pool
was closed for the season.

We had breakfast in the hotel-it was above the average hotel
buffet. We had a couple of dinners in the hotel. They, too, were
above the average Elderhostel fare. We went out to a couple of
restaurants for lunch and/or dinner. They were very good
restaurants and usually gave us a choice of three items.


The program was very well planned. The first day we met with two
lobbyist groups and visited several of the monuments. The
lobbyist presentations made me aware that I had the wrong
stereotype of lobbyists and that they provided a useful function
in our government. The staff had very good knowledge of the
history and meaning of the monuments. It made for an exceptional
trip. The second day was essentially wiped out because of the
attack on the Pentagon. The staff worked hard to make sure that
everyone was safe and accounted for. The hotel came up with some
very good meals on short notice. The next day was to be our visit
to the Capital. Naturally, this was cancelled due to increased
security. The staff quickly arranged a visit to Mt. Vernon,
Alexandria and the Newseum. Again, they were very well versed on
the places we visited. The Newseum was a very worthwhile addition
to the program.

The last day of the Elderhostel we had a presentation by a person
from a "think tank". This was probably one of the better
presentations we heard during the week. He reviewed several of
the policies involving governmental actions, including what was
logical in retaliation for the terrorist attacks. Next we went to
the Saudi Arabian Cultural center and had a presentation on the
culture of the country. It was very well done. After that we went
to a couple of the Smithsonian museums and were "turned loose"
for a few hours. We got back to the hotel in time to change
clothes and get on the bus to go to a very nice dinner and a
play. However, traffic was so badly jammed up that it took two
hours to get to dinner and we missed the play. Again, the staff
came up with an alternative-a night time tour of Washington. It
was probably better than the play!

All in all, this was one of the more informative Elderhostels we
have attended. It was not just a "tourist" Elderhostel and still
provided us with some of the highlights of Washington. I highly
recommend the Close Up Foundation programs and again commend the
staff for being so flexible. It was a very informative experience
under less than desirable conditions.

Bud Hall