New home for Peabody Elderhostel

June 25, 1993

With little local fanfare, the Peabody Institute has quietly become one of the preferred destinations for couples and individuals participating in the Elderhostel program for adults ages 60 and older. The Peabody's intensive, week-long, music and dance courses are regularly packed. Long waiting lists are not unusual.

This popularity among studious seniors led Peabody officials to undertake an ambitious expansion project that included the total renovation of four large town houses on Mount Vernon Place as the new Elderhostel headquarters. It will be known as the Peabody Inn.

With 45 double rooms and six singles, the inn will accommodate Elderhostel students who sign up for the Peabody courses. For a fee of $345 per person, the students will spend six nights at the inn, receive meals at the Peabody cafeteria and sit in on 22 1/2 hours of music and cultural lecturers and discussions. As part of the deal, they also receive guided tours of the city and tickets to musical performances around town, especially those at the Peabody itself.

The inn includes two large classrooms, offices and an impressive top-floor meeting space. Architecturally, the redesigned buildings maintain their Italianate townhouse appearance from the Mount Vernon Place side, while a new courtyard entrance has been created off Centre Street. It is a brand-new inn housed in the finely restored shell of four 1850-era buildings.

Money from the students not only pays for presenting the program, but also provides ample cash to pay off the interest and principle on the $2.4 million renovation. Now that Peabody has its own Elderhostel center, it intends to increase the program from 29 weeks to 44 weeks. This should mean a rise in the number of seniors signing up for the Peabody program from the current 2,600 to over 4,000.

Elderhostel activities provide low-cost educational programs for seniors through a network of 2,000 academic and cultural institutions in this country, Canada and 47 other countries. The Peabody Institute has been a participating institution for the past 15 years, using the nearby Comfort Inn to lodge these students. With the rise in the number of seniors in this country, Elderhostel is likely to continue to expand. Peabody is now in a position to take advantage of this favorable development.

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