Nestled in the marshlands and towering pines sits Hostel in the Forest, a collectively run, sustainable oriented get away.
We had the joy and privilege of staying for free. The hostel has a new " play for trade" program where musicians stay for free in exchange for a playing a concert for the guests. We arrived just after sunset and fumbled our way in the new moonlight through the forest paths. Someone had taken the time to draw hearts and messages in the path using pine leaves and sticks.
We got a dark tour of the grounds and the. We were taken to our room, a towering wooden box on stilts.
The commune style staff can only all live there for six months at a time, in order to keep the energy in constant fluctuation.
I, accidentally, sat in on a staff meeting one night, the main order of business being to name the rooster. No one really agreed on a name, so everyone scribbled on some paper their vote and placed it in a hat, from which I, being the neutral party, selected the roosters name. His name is now Jesus, which they all agreed was the best name, seeing as they planned to kill and eat him sometime in the spring.
Along with the roosters there are many many chickens. They roam free in the forest eating grubs from kicked up leaves. Next to the chicken coop is the outdoor cob kitchen where two guest baked a mountain of bread our first night. It was delicious and sweet, covered in sunflower seeds and raisins. You eat like a god at the hostel in the forest. The indoor kitchen is stocked with herbs an fruit. Every night, all the guests gather together and eat a feast of lentils and root vegetables and greens from the garden. Before dinner everyone gets in a circle and talks about what they are grateful for, then they stomp their feet and yell "CHOMP!" This tradition goes back to the beginning of this hostels inception, sometime in the early 1970's
When we were not feasting and playing music we were exploring. The hostel is situated on a ton of land with all sorts of hidden nooks and cranny's. We spent a good hour, our first morning, sitting on a swing by the lake. Walking around the lake's perimeter we found a teepee, sweat lodge, fire circle, and tons of fruit trees. As we walked back to the main house along the weaving wooden boardwalk we passes an screened area with a big bathtub and candles all around it. There is nothing like sitting in a hot tub and staring at the tree tops and stars.
It's amazing how one can create such luxury in a sustainable way. Other notable parts of the hostel are the enormous stone labyrinth wrapping itself around an ancient oak tree, as well at a glass house situated right over a lake, a perfect place for yoga and meditation.
Time just melts away at the hostel in the forest. The days pass with no consideration of the outside world. It's a beautiful place to lose (or find) yourself. We Are so grateful to have found this hidden gem in the backwoods of the Georgia coast and we will visit as often as we can.