I spent a few days at a beautiful, old hostel in Truro, MA, this summer. The view surrounding the hostel was breathtaking and the peace and serenity, inspiring. It was built in the 1930's and was originally a Coast Guard Station. It's a five minute walk to the ocean. Truro's beaches are part of the Cape Cod National Seashore, a 40-mile (43,500 acres) stretch of unspoiled sandy beaches on the Outer Cape. The National Seashore spans Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro, Provincetown and parts of Orleans and Chatham. The beach we discovered was a vast stretch of white sand with large spectacular dunes and few people. It was the perfect place to get away from it all and write.
Years ago, hostels were filled with college students looking for a cheap way to see the world. Hostels are still an inexpensive and unique way to travel, but now it's not just for young people. This was my second trip to a hostel in two years and I am struck by how many retired folk and families vacation at hostels. It's a fun way to meet other travelers from all over the world from all sorts of vocations. I've met a family from England, a nonfiction writer, teachers, retired professors, young lovers, a German grandmother and on and on. In my experience, these people are quiet and respectful, intelligent and inquisitive, and open for adventure.
If you're expecting a luxury hotel, you won't find it here. But if you don't mind sharing a room or sleeping on a bunkbed. If you don't mind eating in a communal kitchen, or having a delightful breakfast (much better than most continentals you find at a hotel), then staying in a hostel might be something you want to explore. Think of it as part of the adventure of traveling. You'll meet lots of interesting people, find lots of nooks and crannies to explore, as most people love to share the places they have found, and it's cheap.
There are hostels all over the country from Maine to California. Try it, you might like it. For more information, go to http://www.hiusa.org/.
(The gorgeous photos were taken by my hostel cohort, Betsy Taylor Dever.)