I’ve never been to the Hostel in the Forest in Brunswick — and for no good reason. Since I moved here, I’ve been listening to friends, acquaintances, and travelers rhapsodize about the now 36-year old hostel.
I’ve stayed in relatively few hostels in America, but in a few dozen in Europe I think. I’ve met some amazing people and had some memorable experiences in them — in London, in Rotterdam, in Florence, and on and on. Especially when one is traveling alone, the hostel experience can be incredibly enriching.
Even in the sometimes-under-the-radar world of hostels, Brunswick’s Hostel in the Forest occupies a special place. The NYT profiles it today: A Home in a Tree, at Least for a Night.
The piece reads in part:
Hostels are often stopovers. Travelers endure the snoring bunkmates, the dirty bathrooms, the cold breakfasts — then check out quickly and get down to sightseeing.
But in the swampy forests of south Georgia is a hostel that is a destination unto itself, where some guests stay for weeks, swimming, cooking and hiking beneath the Spanish moss and a canopy of giant oaks, off the beaten track from nearby tourist destinations like Sea Island.
Don’t search for a travel brochure; this place, Hostel in the Forest, does not advertise and discourages publicity. But generations of backpackers have been lured here by a tantalizing promise: guests can sleep in treehouses, eat freshly grown food and, in countless other ways, avoid a humdrum, big-city hostel experience.
From the Hostel in the Forest website:
The Hostel in the Forest has operated as an International Youth Hostel for 35 years. We are world renowned for our geodesic domes and 9 tree houses, which were built and have been sustained entirely by volunteers. Hundreds of loving hands have gone into making the Hostel what it is today, a fact that is evident as soon as one steps on the property.
The Hostel sits on 133 acres of forest and wetlands, 2 miles from H.W.95 in Brunswick, Georgia.