A Road Scholar Ambassador Website Adventures in Life Long Learning while you're having fun!
The first Elderhostel programs were originated at five colleges and universities in New Hampshire in 1975. The "hostel" lodging of more than 35 years ago has given way to today's comfortable hotels, inns and other more luxurious yet affordable accommodations. Our new look under the Road Scholar name provides extraordinary programs which now include many topics in locations in every state in the U.S.A. and 150 countries. Many of our programs are aboard ships and sailing vessels, and on waterways throughout the world. At the heart of today’s organization are participants such as you, who are lifelong learners engaged in programs that foster camaraderie and a sense of community.
Elderhostel, Inc. Renamed Road Scholar - history
Elderhostel was founded by two unlikely collaborators - Marty Knowlton, a world-traveling, free-spirited social activist and former educator, and David Bianco, a highly organized university administrator. Knowlton had recently returned from a four-year walking tour of Europe, carrying only a backpack of bare essentials and staying in youth hostels. He was impressed by the youth hostel concept, with its safe, inexpensive lodgings and opportunities to meet fellow travelers. He envisioned a program were older adults would hand down age-old traditions - folk art, music, lore and dance - to the younger generation.
Once in the U.S., Knowlton shared stories of his travels with Bianco, then director of residential life at the University of New Hampshire. Why should older Americans be expected to disappear quietly into a mundane retirement? Bianco, after hearing about Knowlton's experiences, said, in a burst of enthusiasm, "This campus ought to develop a hostel program and it ought to be called "elder-hostel". The name was born, and a learning program was conceived that combined stimulating, non-credit classes on a wide variety of subjects with comfortable, inexpensive lodgings. Thus, in the summer of 1975, five colleges and universities in New Hampshire offered the first Elderhostel programs to 220 “pioneer” participants. In 1980, based almost entirely on word-of-mouth promotion, more than 20,000 participated in programs in all 50 states and most Canadian provinces. Riding this growing wave of enthusiasm, Elderhostel offered its first international programs in 1981 in Mexico, Great Britain, and Scandinavia. These first International programs were a breakthrough for Elderhostel. Combining education with travel to foster exceptional learning, they afforded participants the opportunity to discover the people, culture, environment, and history of the countries visited through in-depth lectures, course-related field trips, cultural excursions, and extracurricular activities.
Road Scholar is the name for today's programs developed and offered by Elderhostel, Inc. The “Not-for-profit Road Scholar programs inspires adults to learn, discover and travel. Its learning adventures engage expert instructors, provide extraordinary access, and stimulate discourse and friendship among people for whom learning is the journey of a lifetime. It offers more than 5,500 educational adventures around the globe to extraordinary people who share a passion for knowledge and new experiences.” The following pages are our Road Scholar trips from this year's Northwest Waterways to our first Canyons Program. Elderhostel, Inc. Timeline 1974-2014