Hostel News

Our Little Hostel By the Sea Closes

After nearly 23 years welcoming travelers from across the globe, the Redwood Hostel bid farewell to its final hosteller on the morning of January 18th.

And so we say goodbye…and thanks for the memories.

Kaci, Ryan, Rory & Kailen on the hostel’s final night, January 17th. Rory’s art is a drawing of the hostel and reads, “I love you hostel!” Thanks to longtime Redwood Hosteller, Giovanni Amadeo, for taking this photo.

But we’re not quite done. As the hostel’s final managers, we can’t say goodbye, not just yet. We are going to maintain this blog for the time being, to catch up on posting photos and video from recent times…and, as well, to continue blogging our thoughts until what needs to be said, has been said. The to-do list, thus far, includes: posting photos from our Closure Celebration, a video clip of the Goodbye Ceremony (hosted by Rory) on our final morning, other photos taken by Giovanni Amadeo on his last visit here, a backlog of photos taken over the years that couldn’t be posted from the hostel’s dial-up Internet connection, thoughts on packing up/tearing down/transitions, other thoughts, and, lastly, news of any reopening possibilities.

Our blog is currently hosted by Squarespace, yet we may transition to a free blog service and, if so, will let y’all know. [update: we’re now at]

This post began with a photo of the hostel’s final managers, Kaci and Ryan (who met at a hostel, fell in love and married). Let’s sign off with a photo of the hostel’s first managers, Joe and Christina (who also met at the hostel, fell in love and married!):

Categories: About Redwood Hostel, Hostel News

Bookstore closed

It hadn’t really sunk in that we would be leaving our home of 4 years, until earlier tonight when I started taking down the bookstore.  Soon after we arrived, Kaci and I decided the hostel needed a bookstore.  We just didn’t know where to begin.  How do we get the books?

One day while perusing the books up at the Jedediah Smith visitor center, we mentioned our plan to the man working there.  Turns out Jeff ran the many state park bookstores up here on behalf of a local nonprofit, the North Coast Redwood Interpretive Association.  And he said he’d be happy to set us up.

Within a few weeks, the hostel had a bookstore, essentially a satellite store for the NCRIA, offering over 50 titles most of them relating to the natural and cultural history of the area.  For the next few years, Jeff dropped off whatever books we asked for and returned to pick up the deposit. Sure, the hostel never made a penny on the sales, but it supported a local nonprofit, it was a great service for our hostellers, and we got to thumb through the books and guides on the occasional slow night.

Since the hostel is closing we talked to Jeff about the plan for the remaining books.  January 17 is our last night, but for his association’s annual inventory, he noted it would be better to have those books back before the end of the year. And so, earlier tonight I started boxing them up.  Out of curiosity, I decided to count up what I saw on the sales record.  In about 3 1/2 years, we sold approximately 170 books and 120 trail maps.  And yes, there were many more people who just enjoyed being able to peruse.

But now the bookshelves are empty. The books are the first to go, but soon they will be followed by everything else: disassembled bunkbeds and other assorted furniture, boxes of old files, tools, sheets and pillows, et cetera.  And then us.

I guess you could consider starting up the bookstore and closing it down the bookends to our time here.

Categories: About Redwood Hostel, Hostel News

Walking in Our Final Winterwonderland

Winter is descending again. This morning I scuttled about the frosty hostel, cranking up the space heaters and feeding pellets to the wood stove. My fingertips are still numb, but the sun is out, so hope persists.

May hope also persist with the future of Redwood Hostel.

As many of our blog readers know, the hostel is closing indefinitely next month. Our beloved building has worn her foundation down to her seismically unfit bones, and our friends at Redwood National and State Parks–who own the hostel building–are unable to fund repairs. So we close.

Guests are, naturally, despairing. This little hostel by the sea has served many travellers with a warm and cozy respite for two decades and each year, it seems, more people are drawn to the Redwood Hostel. It fills them up.

Our final day is January 18, Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Until then, we are open limited nights: December 3-5; December 10-12, December 17-January 2, January 7-9 and January 14-17. We are planning a Goodbye Celebration in late January, so please check back for more details as they become available (it will be after our closing date, so sadly, we can’t offer overnight accommodations to the public).

We’re optimistic the hostel will re-open sometime in the future, either at this location or nearby. If you happen to find $2 million beneath your couch pillows, or lying on the sidewalk, or wadded in your backpocket and you just don’t know what to do with it…think of us.

And if you would like to stay abreast of Redwood Hostel news, please contact us at 707-482-8265 or

We’ll miss you all! Keep this little hostel in your thoughts during the coming chill.


Categories: Hostel News | Leave a comment

Welcome to the Redwood Hostel, Kailen Reil!

We welcome with love the birth of Kailen Reil on September 26.

He was born at our home, a.k.a. the Redwood Hostel, upstairs in the staff kitchen. It was late afternoon when active labor really took hold and, being a warm day, the window facing the hostel’s entrance was open. Arriving hostellers were greeted with inexplicable screaming–but all was soon explained by my dad and our eldest son Rory, who passed the laboring time in the Common Room putting together puzzles and telling everyone that mommy was having a baby.

Kailen, Rory and Ryan & I stayed upstairs within the warm cozy of our staff apartment for a few days, happily sequestered, and I didn’t get the chance to introduce him to the hostellers who’d been partially privy to one of the most intimate, dearest moments of our life. Thank you, Redwood Hostellers of Saturday September 26th! We felt your warmth from below.

Categories: Hostel News, Local Information

Hostelling Turns One Hundred

Many of you ask, “What is a hostel?”

Our answer usually focuses on the present-moment details: what you need to know about hostels to decide whether they work for you: They’re affordable. They’re about sharing. They’re a great way to build community with other travelers.

When you ask, and when we answer, you and we don’t usually reach beyond these basic details and scrape under the skin of the Hostelling International logo, to get at the origins of this thing called “hostelling.”

Well, as it turns out, hostelling has a history worth celebrating.

100 years ago the movement began. Its first impulse was to reconnect children with nature in a rapidly industrialized culture. Its second impulse was to promote international peace. Its current impulse? Our mission statement sums it well: “To help all, especially the young, gain a greater understanding of the world and its people through hostelling.”

We’re celebrating the 100th anniversary milestone in August, along with the 75th anniversary of hostelling in the USA, with an Open House on Sunday August 23. We’ll also have a Travel Writing Workshop (Tuesday August 25), “World Travel 101” educational travel workshop (Thursday August 27), Documentary Screenings of Hostel- and Travel-related Films (Friday August 28), and a Family-Friendly Hike to a hidden beach (Saturday August 29).

Let’s get back to the history with an interesting recap, as shared by our beloved Barbara Wein, the Anniversary Coodinator for Hostelling International-USA (and the former head of our council, the Golden Gate Council based in San Francisco, who spearheaded the creation of Redwood Hostel more than 20 years ago!):

* * * *

Celebrating Hostelling’s Proud History

2009 marks two milestone anniversaries: the 75th Anniversary of Hostelling International USA (formerly American Youth Hostels) and the 100th Anniversary of the international hostelling movement. Following is a short history about the early beginnings of these inspirational non-profit organizations.

The idea of “Hostelling” began at the turn of the century in Germany, when Richard Schirrmann, a school teacher, began taking his students on multi-day hiking excursions in the countryside. Emphasizing simplicity with just knapsacks and some provisions, the students were housed in empty school rooms and farm buildings. Schirrmann instilled in them a healthy lifestyle and a new-found appreciation of the natural world. A visionary with great energy, on one such outing in 1909, Richard Schirrmann conceived of the idea to create a system of simple overnight student accommodations using empty classrooms each a day’s walk from the next. In 1912, his town of Altena allowed him to furnish some rooms of their 12th Century castle as inexpensive dormitories. Altena Castle thus became the first permanent “youth hostel” and the start of a growing hostel network. Beginning in Europe, hostelling soon spread around the world, and with an expanded mission, from just dormitories to include common rooms where people of different countries could meet, exchange ideas, and become friends, leading to broader international understanding.

Hostelling spread to the United States through Isabel and Monroe Smith, school teachers and scout leaders, who discovered youth hostels while leading a tour of Europe with their students in 1933. Impressed by the simplicity and idealism of the European hostels, Isabel and Monroe worked tirelessly to open the first American youth hostel in Northfield, Massachusetts in 1934 and to found the American Youth Hostels organization.

The hostelling movement has grown in the United States and around the world. Today, there are more than 4,000 hostels in 80 countries around the globe, which provide more than 35 million overnights annually. Like its early beginnings, the hostelling movement is still based on high ideals of promoting world peace, international understanding, and environmental stewardship.

Categories: Events, Hostel News | Leave a comment

The return of ‘Those summer private rooms are fillin’ up’

Most of the phone calls we get these days begin with “Do you have a private room on…”  And we know how the conversation will end up.

As of this very moment, between today and September 18, we have one room on each of August 26, September 2, 3, and 10.  That is 4 out of 150 (2 private rooms for each of 75 days).  So we’re sorry, but the answer is yes, we have no private rooms today.

Categories: Hostel News

Those summer private rooms are fillin’ up

Our last post was of our Frequently Asked Questions, but I think we neglected the most frequently asked question these days: “Do you have a private room available on ____ ?”  We only have 2 private couple’s rooms (each with a queen bed, though one of them also has a single loft bunk above the queen making it perfect for a family of three), so they tend to go fast.

We will get the occasional cancellation, but as of this minute, we have booked over 2/3 of the rooms for summer.   Just to give you a sense, here are the days between now and the end of August, for which we have at least one of our private rooms:

April 23

May 4, 6, 9, 13

June 1, 2, 3, 4, 7

July 1, 5, 8, 9, 11, 17, 18, 20, 28

August 2, 11, 12, 14, 23, 24, 25, 26

Keep in mind we will get the occasional cancellation, so even if your date is not listed now, it might be available in a few weeks.  But then again, I seem to recall that last year we had sold virtually all of the private rooms for June, July, and August, by mid-to-late May.  So it may depend on when you’re reading this on just how hopeful you should be.

But hey–there’s always the dorm rooms.*



*By this, I don’t mean that we always have beds available in our dorms–those fill up too.  Just not as fast.

Categories: Hostel News

In case you missed it…

We’re open!

After a few months of being open on weekends and holidays (November-December) and a few months of being closed altogether (January-February), we’ve been getting the occasional call asking “So, are you open?”

Yes, as of March 1, we’re now open every day. Office hours are 8am to 11am and 4pm to 10pm daily (between 11am and 4pm we’re off cleaning the hostel, making it nice for when you show up).

And just an FYI, those summer private rooms are starting to go fast.  I’d estimate that right now a little more than half are booked.  So if you want a private room between Memorial Day and Labor Day, we suggest you make your plans soon.

Categories: Hostel News

Hiring happening again

Yes, it’s that time of year again.  Hiring for the March-October season.  We’ve posted on Craigslist and in  the Del Norte Triplicate, but for those of you who check this space, here’s the scoop:

Hostelling International-Redwood National Park is a 30-bed hostel on the coast in Redwood National & State Parks, 13 miles south of Crescent City.

We are hiring 2 seasonal staff people to work 17-25 hours/week from March through October (closer to 25 June-August; closer to 17 the other months). At least one position will require overnight stays Friday and/or Saturday nights. The starting wage is $9 per hour. Please note: Housing is not provided, nor are health benefits. Staff members do receive complimentary Hostelling International membership and free stays at HI hostels throughout the United States.

The ideal candidate is familiar with Redwood National & State Parks—or is enthusiastic to learn—and enjoys working with the public. As well, s/he can confidently handle a computerized reservation and cash register system, is creative and has a tolerance for cleaning and frequently answering the frequently asked questions. Light maintenance skills preferred, or at least a willingness to learn. Prior hostelling experience and bilingual skills are recommended. This job is ideal for social nature lovers!


-Take reservations by phone, e-mail and an online system

-Orient guests to the hostel and local area; help guests plan their hiking itineraries

-Become familiar with hostelling, its history and mission

-Collect and accurately record overnight fees and sales of goods

-Provide a safe and enjoyable atmosphere for guests

-Clean the hostel (approx. 1 shift/week)

-Help with special events, educational programs, maintenance work and other hostel projects

-Other duties as assigned by the Hostel Manager

Send a letter of interest and resume to:


And do please note that last line (a few people so far have not sent resumes–just a phone number for us to call them–they probably won’t be getting interviews).


Categories: Hostel News

Knee Deep in Winter Closure

Yes, the hostel is still closed for construction!

We will re-open March 1, just in time for spring’s rains, and be open daily through October 31.

fyi: We’re making plans for our next fiscal year, which starts April 1. These economically tenuous days have everyone a bit nervous, and we’re trying to find creative ways to keep our high standards without major rate increases or cutting back on services. If you’ve stayed at the Redwood Hostel–or another hostel– and have 2 cents to toss, please share your thoughts by emailing We count on our guests to give honest feedback and bold suggestions! 


Thanks y’all

~Kaci, Ryan and Ro

Categories: Hostel News

Blog at