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.

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