A sourcebook of workshops, seminars for the thinking vacationer

If you are looking for an African safari that leaves from Springfield, Ill., or an archaelogical exploration in Scotland that lasts only a week, or a place that will teach the whole family folk dancing during yuur vacation, help is on the way from "Learning Vacations." This unique catalog is for those who think that all play and no work makes vacations very dull stuff. It lits nearly 800 all-season vacation-length programs and trips sponsored by 350 museums, naturalist groups, performing and visual art schools, and colleges and universities in the United States and in several other countries.

Vacation possibilities range in cost from less than $100 a week, plus the cost of dormitory housing, to several thousand dollars for two to three weeks of unusual travel-study abroad. While most of the programs described are sponsored by organizations based in the continental US, nearly 50 percent of the book's entries are travel programs.

"'Learning Vacations' is a labor of love," say the author, Gerson Eisenberg, and his wife, Sandy. They have sampled more than 40 of the programs now listed in his book and they've come back to some six or sevent times. In fact, Mr. Eisenberg, who started his learning vacationing shortly after college graduation in 1930, first got the idea for his book when friends began to ask him for more and more information about his trips. "I telephoned the [former] Department of Health, Education, and Welfare and the National Education Association. Each said there was no central source for programs of this type," he says. So he decided to make up his own sourcebook for the thinking vacationer.

That was 1977. The book is now in its fourth edition; each new edition has expanded its coverage of sponsors and programs. The 1980- 81 edition, published last July, contains 10 chapters -- each devoted to a special group of programs. For example, the reader can choose from chapters on the "great out- doors," "the world of gastronomy," writers conferences, music, dance, and folk festivals, arts and crafts, and travel, as well as college and museum programs. Each program entry lists names of contacts in the sponsoring organization and costs of the program, capsules the events, subjects, and activities, comments on living arrangements either on location or close at hand, and describes recreational facilities and any unusual aspects of the programs.

"Learning Vacations" is by no means exhaustive."We could not list all the programs offered by each of the sponsoring groups and institutions, so we have only chosen representative samples," Mr. Eisenberg said. "We'd have to issue an encyclopedia if we noted all the programs available."

"By sending a dozen or so postcards to sponsors whose programs seem to have interest, a person can come up with many more programs," added Mrs. Eisenberg. "And the book really won't go out of date, because while the program may change from year to year, the dates remain about the same, and you still have the name of someone to contact to find out the new offerings."

The book is available in some bookstores; it may also be obtained from its special distributor, Peterson's Guides, in Princeton, N.J., and the publisher, Eisenberg Educational Enterprises, 2 Hamill Road No. 327, Baltimore, Md. 21210. It costs $6.95. (If ordered, add $1 for postage a nd handling.)

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