The Best Hostel I’ve Ever Stayed At

On Wednesday night my friend Christian said, “I’m going skiing this weekend, wanna come?” When life gives you an opportunity to go skiing… you say yes!

I was told we’d be driving up to Okemo to meet up with his friends Val and Jesse, and that we’d be crashing at a hostel. Seeing as it was a last-minute trip, I did absolutely zero research and just showed up, expecting us to be staying at a hostel similar to the ones I had stayed at while traveling through Europe in college.

Little did I know that his amazing friend Val was a self-confessed “obsessive travel researcher,” and she picked the most incredible place to stay – a newly opened spot in Okemo called “Homestyle Hostel.” When we walked in, I was completely surprised by how warm, cozy, and homey the place was. Forget hostel, it was more like crashing at your really hip friend’s place, plus hand-crafted cocktails, homemade granola, board games, and really awesome people.

The owners, Justin and Eliza, had traveled across South America staying at hostels, and you can definitely tell that they created the space based on their experiences. They were extremely thoughtful about every single detail, down to the outlets next to every bunk (even the top bunks). More than anything, they had really great taste. Everything was deliberate and homemade, to suit their aesthetic and the hostel experience they wanted to create.

We stayed in their 6-bunk dorm, and for $35 a night, it was probably the most affordable place to stay in Okemo Valley. It was also the most comfy bunk I’ve ever slept on.

My favorite spot in the house was their communal kitchen – it’s both beautiful and functional. When I woke up in the morning there was a sweet little sign and homemade granola waiting. Eliza was already cooking for the day’s meals. It was the kind of kitchen table I could sit at for hours just drinking tea, meeting people, and talking.

Beyond the hostel, I really had an awesome time on the trip – it was refreshing to get away from the slushy city snow for a little bit. I wish someone had recorded the conversation Christian and I had on the 4-hour drive from Boston to Okemo, it would have made a hilarious podcast called “Christian and Steph shoot the shit about life.” I think some of the best conversations I’ve had with friends is while on a plane/train/car/bus en route to somewhere else.

Panorama of the pretty river behind the hostel.
Panorama of the pretty river behind the hostel.

The other thing that I really enjoyed on this trip was playing around with my new GoPro! I randomly purchased it second-hand from a Workbar colleague on Thursday. I had no idea how to use it, but this TV production guy staying at the hostel showed me how to set it up, so here’s my first go at playing around with GoPro video. Seeing as I document obsessively, I’m really excited to take this thing with me on hikes, rafting trips, and ski trips.

I’m learning that saying yes to spontaneous trips is pretty amazing (the last time that happened, I ended up in the Galapagos). You go into it with zero expectations so you’re always fully present and excited for whatever happens next. Also, you can pretty much never go wrong with saying yes to skiing :)