Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Deer Isle Hostel

In a catch-up post awhile ago, I mentioned our rustic stay at the Deer Isle Hostel in Maine. A highlight of our summer was our trip to the east coast. We spent time in both Boston and Maine--Boston because it was a city neither Robin nor I had ever explored and Maine because Robin's cousin Daniel married his wife Beth there on a beautiful island on the coast. When it came time to make our reservations, Robin and I explored the options and discovered the Deer Isle Hostel. We were intrigued; a house built by hand, a garden, communal meals, and a private room for a very affordable price! The Deer Isle Hostel it was. We made our reservations and didn't think much of it. As our trip approached, we confirmed our reservations and looked into our accommodations more closely. What's that? No hot water? A shower in which water needs to be heated on the stove? A composting toilet in an outhouse? All electronics were discouraged by musical instruments were very welcome? I began to have the feeling that we were getting more than we bargained for, but at this point, reservations elsewhere were non-existent and our travel budget had been exhausted. I comforted myself knowing that we would be able to use the shower at Robin's parents hotel room and decided our only option was to make the best of it.

While this was not the ideal location for this trip--we had to look presentable for several events during our stay, and the no-shower situation was tricky--the hostel was really interesting. Their garden was massive, and the couple that owned and ran the site live almost completely off the grid. They use solar panels for electricity, have a small gas stove, and in the winter, they close down everything but one room that they heat by wood fire. It was a total reality check on the resources we use daily--when you have to pump your water, heat it up, then carry it to a shower tank, a shower seems like a luxury rather than a given. The hostel also provided some entertainment in the form of overheard conversations that were worthy of Portlandia, one of our favorite TV shows, and for those who are wondering the composting toilet was actually kind of amazing.

All in all, I would probably opt for different accommodations next time, but I was glad to have a chance to learn and reflect on the way we live. 

Lyds woke up VERY early on our first morning at the hostel.

One of the owners built the main building following traditional construction--by hand. All of the lumber was milled from trees onsite--again, by hand, by the owner himself.

This trail was just down the road and provided beautiful morning walks.

A Birthday Party

Yesterday marked what I thought was a milestone--Lydia's first birthday party for a friend whose parents are not family friends of ours. Lydia spends every Tuesday with my parents, and one Tuesday, they took her to the wading pool near our old apartment. At the pool, Lydia began playing with another little girl named Marit. Lydia shared her kickboard, Marit shared her princess toys, and a friendship was born. Since then, my mom has organized several playdates with Marit's mom on Tuesdays, but we had yet to meet Marit or her parents. When Lydia was invited to celebrate Marit's 4th birthday, I was excited to finally connect with her family!

Lydia was SO excited about this birthday party. She started thinking about gifts immediately, and for once, we had our gifts purchased weeks in advance. This past week, she started planning her birthday party outfit, putting articles of clothing into a designated drawer. We knew she was excited, but we didn't realize just how important her outfit was to her until Wednesday night when she woke up crying due to a "bad dream." In the morning, we finally got her to tell us what happened in the bad dream, and we tried to stifle our smiles when she said, "In my dream, I went to my drawer to get my outfit for Marit's birthday party, and I couldn't find it!" Because Lyds was so enthusiastic about the outfit, I promised myself I would do as little "gentle redirecting" as possible, and I have to say, Lydia did pretty well. (The wings were put into place when we arrived at Marit's house.)

Lydia had a lot of fun at the party! Marit's parents, Peter and Katie, did a great job planning a party that was fun for the kids but didn't feel over the top. Lydia was so excited to see Marit and watch her open her gift. The only blip was when Lydia became upset that another boy was playing with the yarn we'd used to decorate the wrapped present. Some tears ensued, and then all was right again. I'm hoping that we will reconnect with Marit's family; they were very nice people, and Lydia LOVES her friend Marit!