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View Full Version : New Hostel N Woodstock NH - The Notch Hostel



peakbagger
05-23-2015, 04:35
I saw this on VFTT.org, though tit may be of interest
The Notch Hostel

When up in the Whites, I sometimes prefer the hostel option to camping on one end of the spectrum or motels at the other end. When hiking near Gorham or Conway, I'm all set with some great hostels. However, I haven't come up with interesting hostel options in the Lincoln area --

-- until now. While hiking the Mt. Kinsman Trail yesterday, I ran into Serena Walsh. On talking, I learned that she and her husband-to-be Justin just moved up to N.Woodstock, and are in the process of opening a hostel on Rt.112, less than a mile W of the town center), called The Notch Hostel (notchhostel.com). It looks and sounds great: 15 bunks, 2 private rooms, copious indoor and outdoor common space, wifi and coffee, warm hospitality, dog friendly.

I very much enjoyed meeting Serena, and wish her and Justin the best as they get established. Check them out!

Alex

Gray Bear
05-23-2015, 08:01
Looks interesting. I didn't see any pricing though (other that the $5 a night for dogs)

TJ aka Teej
05-23-2015, 11:20
Not open til mid-July - they'll miss a huge chunk of northbounders.

rickb
05-26-2015, 22:09
Looks interesting. I didn't see any pricing though (other that the $5 a night for dogs)

Drove by over the weekend and turned around in their lot-- place looks great from the outside.

Pricing comes up if you click the reservation links.

I think this place could be a big success with a wide variety of outdoors people. In addition to the bunk space -- something like $30 with make your own breakfast -- they have a couple private rooms, too. I hope they are open in the fall and winter.

From all all apearances they are doing this right.

peakbagger
05-27-2015, 06:32
There is quite a demand for a clean year round hostel in that area. If they also do shuttles, they will have plenty of business. There is bus service from Boston that goes to Lincoln but other than the AMC shuttle which only heads to the AMC hut lots, the only other option is the Shuttle Connection in Lincoln which is pricey.

TomN
05-27-2015, 07:41
Doesn't look like they will come pick you up in the notch, that would be nice since most of the hotels I am looking at in Franconia and Lincoln will do that.

jj_dubs
05-27-2015, 13:51
Hey!

My name is Justin and this summer my fiancee Serena and I will be opening up the Notch Hostel! It's incredible how fast word travels in the hiking community- Serena and I have just started telling people about our hostel and we've already received such great support and interest (including several drop in visitors!). I'll try and answer your questions to the best of my ability but you're always welcome to email us (Serena@NotchHostel.com) or contact us through Facebook or our website (NotchHostel.com)

Gray Bear: "Looks interesting. I didn't see any pricing though (other that the $5 a night for dogs)"
Justin: Prices are not currently displayed on the website but can be seen if you do a sample booking. Rates are $30 for a bunk and include breakfast supplies, laundry service, some shuttling, etc. We are listed in AWOL's 2015 guide and our full policies can be found on our website.

TJ: "Not open til mid-July - they'll miss a huge chunk of northbounders.
Justin: We know :( I've already seen quite a few hikers in town. We wish we could be open sooner but it's been a lot of effort getting this place off the ground and our marriage / honeymoon plans are dictating our opening date. We plan to be open year-round so this will not be a problem for future AT classes.

RickB: I think this place could be a big success with a wide variety of outdoors people. In addition to the bunk space -- something like $30 with make your own breakfast -- they have a couple private rooms, too. I hope they are open in the fall and winter
Justin: Thanks for your kind words and for taking the time to stop in. We will be open year-round (with the possible exception of brief off-season vacations for Serena and I)

TomN: Doesn't look like they will come pick you up in the notch, that would be nice since most of the hotels I am looking at in Franconia and Lincoln will do that
Justin: As of right now our policy is to offer pickups from town and AM drop offs at both Kinsman and Franconia Notch trail heads. Serena is our only day-time staff member. We hope to be successful enough to hire an additional helper and expand our shuttle services but it's too daunting to promise for now.

When we got the idea to start a hostel we spent quite a bit of time consulting with AWOL and Jeff Tausig about rates, policies, etc and arrived at what we hope is a good starting point. I'm sure it will be a learning experience for us and future seasons will bring about change. We are really excited to open and hope to catch some of the 2015 crowd. Please don't hesitate to contact us with any questions!

ExNihilo
05-27-2015, 14:20
I noticed this under the Thru-Hiker section on the site. Free fuel and they wash your clothes?? Do other hostels offer that?


Included with your stay

Bunk, fresh linens, towel.
Showers (soap provided)
Laundry service — we wash all your laundry upon your arrival with non-toxic, fragrance-free laundry detergent. A shower and spare clean clothes are provided while you wait for your laundry.
12oz denatured alcohol
Unlimited make-your-own breakfast items
Some bikes available for town trips
All other amenities listed on our amenities page (http://notchhostel.com/amenities/)

jj_dubs
05-27-2015, 14:38
Hey ExNihilo,

Our laundry policy is borrowed from Marny's "White Mountains Lodge and Hostel" in Shelburne NH. We stayed there last summer and decided her policy was great. We picked up TONS of free good-will clothes to loan out to thru hikers so that upon arrival, you can change, toss your clothes in a communal laundry basket, and take a shower. Every night we'll run the laundry and rely on hikers to sort through for their own gear. Laundry service is only available during the summer and to the AT crowd.

Our decision to offer free denatured alcohol was based on some advice from AWOL. We do have a small camp store but wanted to include as much as possible in our base price. We realize that $30 is on the high end for AT hostels but wanted to have an all-inclusive price rather than nickle and diming for every little thing. It's easier for us and hopefully a better overall deal for you as well

Justin

peakbagger
05-27-2015, 15:44
Glad I started the thread.

Start slow and learn your way, don't overpromise and realize that on occasion you will have to deal with the 1% that ruins things for the rest of the hiking public. Hopefully the 99% will compensate.

Crazy Larry #1
05-27-2015, 16:41
Not open til mid-July - they'll miss a huge chunk of northbounders.
Not this year they won't, biggest and continuous bubble's roiling through Damascus for the last 2 1/2 months............

Jeff
05-27-2015, 18:40
These folks have done tons of research and will do everything to make a hiker feel welcome.

Gray Bear
05-28-2015, 05:39
Hey ExNihilo,

Our laundry policy is borrowed from Marny's "White Mountains Lodge and Hostel" in Shelburne NH. We stayed there last summer and decided her policy was great. We picked up TONS of free good-will clothes to loan out to thru hikers so that upon arrival, you can change, toss your clothes in a communal laundry basket, and take a shower. Every night we'll run the laundry and rely on hikers to sort through for their own gear. Laundry service is only available during the summer and to the AT crowd.

Our decision to offer free denatured alcohol was based on some advice from AWOL. We do have a small camp store but wanted to include as much as possible in our base price. We realize that $30 is on the high end for AT hostels but wanted to have an all-inclusive price rather than nickle and diming for every little thing. It's easier for us and hopefully a better overall deal for you as well

Justin

Sounds awesome JJ! I wish you and your wife great success! Sounds like you've done your homework. I'm only an hour south of you. I'll make it a point to stop by and check things out. I grew up skiing at Loon and stayed right down the street from your location for Christmas vacation for many years. You have a great location for anyone Hiking off the Kank or the Franconia Notch.

ExNihilo
05-28-2015, 10:33
Hey ExNihilo,

Our laundry policy is borrowed from Marny's "White Mountains Lodge and Hostel" in Shelburne NH. We stayed there last summer and decided her policy was great. We picked up TONS of free good-will clothes to loan out to thru hikers so that upon arrival, you can change, toss your clothes in a communal laundry basket, and take a shower. Every night we'll run the laundry and rely on hikers to sort through for their own gear. Laundry service is only available during the summer and to the AT crowd.

Our decision to offer free denatured alcohol was based on some advice from AWOL. We do have a small camp store but wanted to include as much as possible in our base price. We realize that $30 is on the high end for AT hostels but wanted to have an all-inclusive price rather than nickle and diming for every little thing. It's easier for us and hopefully a better overall deal for you as well

Justin

Thanks for your reply! This looks great. I look forward to staying there if ever in the area.

Scrum
05-28-2015, 11:02
Hey ExNihilo,

Our laundry policy is borrowed from Marny's "White Mountains Lodge and Hostel" in Shelburne NH. We stayed there last summer and decided her policy was great.

Justin - great to see this place opening. Looks like a great location and will address a real need for an affordable place to stay in the North Woodstock/Lincoln area. Doing your homework by visiting other successful hostels will pay off. Marny runs a wonderful place at the White Mountain Lodge and Hostel and it seems you guys are picking up best practices from her and others. A receipt for success.

jj_dubs
05-28-2015, 13:18
Thank you!

It means a lot to be getting such positive feedback. We've had to deal with the internal "What if no one shows up?" question quite a bit and it's a huge relief to hear people in the community who believe our hostel will meet the needs of hikers and travelers in the area. Serena and I would both love to hear feedback on our policies and advice for us moving forward, too. The best way to stay connected or contact us is through our new website NotchHostel.com (http://NotchHostel.com)

Justin

Jeff
05-28-2015, 14:23
We've had to deal with the internal "What if no one shows up?" question quite a bit and it's a huge relief to hear people in the community who believe our hostel will meet the needs of hikers and travelers in the area.

We had those same concerns before our opening. Trust me, you will have wall to wall hikers in July and August. The trail grapevine is alive and well.

rickb
05-28-2015, 17:41
The best way to stay connected or contact us is through our new website NotchHostel.com (http://NotchHostel.com)

FWIW, I could not find an email address on your website.

DavidNH
05-28-2015, 18:59
A hostel in Lincoln, NH? The place should clean up, i.e. make a killing, during the ski season. Imagine a simple cheap place to stay when all the hotels will charge sky high prices. It will be interesting to read how many thru hikers stay during summer. It would provide a nice resupply opportunity in the Whites. My best wishes to Justin and Serena for a successful venture. Keep us posted here on whiteblaze on how it goes!

Driver8
05-29-2015, 01:48
A hostel in Lincoln, NH? The place should clean up, i.e. make a killing, during the ski season. Imagine a simple cheap place to stay when all the hotels will charge sky high prices. It will be interesting to read how many thru hikers stay during summer. It would provide a nice resupply opportunity in the Whites. My best wishes to Justin and Serena for a successful venture. Keep us posted here on whiteblaze on how it goes!

Chet's Place in Lincoln will continue to offer a more basic hostel experience, yet homey and friendly, on a donation basis, as it has for years. My loyalty will stay with Chet, who's been very kind and welcoming to me and to countless others, and who does stay open year round. But I, as does he, welcome the new addition - it looks like Justin and Serena are doing a bang-up job providing a fine new addition to the Lincoln/Woodstock area.

One question for Justin: is it true there's a two-night minimum on the $30/night rate? Someone posted that either at Views from the Top or at one of the White Mtn 4K FB pages. Is that true only for day/weekend hikers and not thrus or sectioners? Or not at all?

Driver8
05-29-2015, 01:51
PS: I forgot to mention just now. Funny bit of trivia - Chet once lived in the house which will be home to Notch Hostel. He told me this when I was up for a visit this past weekend. Funny coincidence!

Gray Bear
05-29-2015, 04:23
I'm sure they will clean up during ski season.

jj_dubs
05-29-2015, 08:07
Hi!

RickB, thanks for the correction. I thought we'd added a "contact" page. I'll work on that later today

Serena and Chet have got to know each other pretty well over the past several weeks. I was a little nervous when we started this place up about stepping on any toes. It was a huge relief when we met and got nothing but positive feedback from him. I have no doubt that he will continue to house tons of hikers and we would not nothing less for him.

PS: I forgot to mention just now. Funny bit of trivia - Chet once lived in the house which will be home to Notch Hostel. He told me this when I was up for a visit this past weekend. Funny coincidence!

Yes! We thought that was awesome too! This house has quite a bit of history- it seems like the majority of people we've met in town have either lived there or knows someone who's lived there. Originally a farmhouse, it was converted at some point (maybe 60s?) to apartments before slowly making the transition back towards its current state. It's really a neat place and part of local lore.

Finally- There is no minimum stay for any bunks. Quite frankly, there never will be. Minimum night stays for bunks wouldn't help us and wouldn't serve the needs of the majority of hikers. There's one room (Crawford Room) that is pretty unique and that we've put a two-night minimum on for now. It's a large room (~450SF) on the second floor above our studio apartment and has a wood stove, private deck, private bathroom, queen bed, two futons, etc. We're still not quite sure how to rent this one out in the long term but for now it is what it is. Keep the feedback coming, the majority of our policies have come from input from the community so it's all greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
Justin
NotchHostel.com (http://NotchHostel.com)

jj_dubs
05-29-2015, 08:15
One question for Justin: is it true there's a two-night minimum on the $30/night rate? Someone posted that either at Views from the Top or at one of the White Mtn 4K FB pages. Is that true only for day/weekend hikers and not thrus or sectioners? Or not at all?

Hey Driver8, do you have a link to where you saw that posted? I'd like to correct it if possible. We definitely do not have a minimum stay for bunks.

Driver8
05-29-2015, 14:47
Hey Justin:

Found it. 4000-Footer Club, Hiking and Climbing in the Whites FB group, thread started by NH Andy on May 26, in the comments.

Best of luck!

-Chris

rickb
07-12-2015, 20:30
Saw the photos you put up on your site.

Looks excellent.

rickb
06-01-2016, 16:06
My wife and I decided to leave the tent on the shelf and stayed here over the holiday weekend.

Since we splurged and stayed in the Crawford Room (sort of a suite attached to the hostel) it was far from the typical hostel experience (So nice my 84 year-old mother would have been delighted to stay there). I liked just about everything about this place. The owners were young, enthusiastic and super nice. This is a place worth looking up, I think.

No thruhikers when we were there, but some older folks going after their last 4000 footers, a guy who rode his bike up from Brooklyn, some young woman doing the first Presidential traverse, and others. The his hostel will always draw a wide range of guests-- which I think is a good thing.

On a blue blue blaze trail we did pass a couple who had met each other on an AT thru in 2002 fallen in love, married and had since hiked trails around the world together. Moral of the story, if someone has on an AT hat and has a ULA pack, best to stoke up a conversation-- they were super cool to speak with, if only fow a few minutes.

The rest of our trips this summer should be in a tent-- but who knows, this hostel could easily draw us back if bad weather or other stuff happens.

GoldenBear
08-08-2016, 14:07
After posting my review, I asked for feedback from the owners. Tie Dye got back to me and made several good suggestions for edits.

I stayed here for three nights last week as a mini-section hiker in the Whites.
http://whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/showimage.php?i=61927
I highly recommend it as a place to stay if you’re a hiker (or just a tourist!) wanting low-cost but high quality lodging. If you want to raise heck or proclaim your independence by ignoring rules, this may not be the place for you.

For the best & latest information on this place, go to
http://notchhostel.com/

Reservations can be made online, by e-mail, or by phoning the place directly. If you wish to stay in a gender specific room, or together in one room as a group or family, or with a specific guest under a different reservation; mention that in your communication, or in the "Special Requests" part of the booking form. The Walshes will TRY to honor all such requests, but there are no guarantees.

The Notch has four common rooms with a total of 25 bunks, as well as two private rooms – one for a couple, one for a small family.
http://whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/showimage.php?i=61926
Pillows, linens, and blankets are provided; indeed, using your own bedding is forbidden. All rooms have air conditioners & white noise generators. Lights out & quiet hours are from 10pm to 7am. Beer & wine in moderation are permitted in the kitchen area. Smoking, illegal substances, and hard liquor are strictly prohibited inside. No food is allowed in the bunk areas, and liquids there must be in covered bottles.

Parking is free, and there is room for over a dozen cars.

I had no problem paying with a credit card, and the place accepts cash as well.

There are three showers and four toilets in the facility; towels, soap, and shampoo are provided. All were clean & well-maintained, and I never had a problem finding one free to use. There is also a sauna available in the winter.

There is a porch area, as well as a large outdoor yard, if you prefer to be outside at some point. As I never went to the yard, I don’t really know what’s out there.

Check-in time is 4pm to 9pm, check-out is by 11am; but I never had much need for check-in or check-out. The entrance doors are usually locked at 9pm; when locked, you can use a punch door code to get in. If you plan an initial late arrival, either contact them ahead of time, or hope they leave you a note at the door – which they VERY kindly did for me!! Note, however, that I had made a reservation (with credit card) for this night, so they were expecting me. Show up after 9pm without a reservation, and you might be locked out for the night!

Storage is either under your bed or in your choice of a locker. For the latter, you can use your own lock, or rent one for a nominal charge. Shoes, ski gear, poles, and sharp gear MUST be stored in the first floor Boot Room. Trail shoes must be left outside on the porch; socks or camp shoes are fine inside the house.

The kitchen is open at all hours.
http://whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/showimage.php?i=61925
http://whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/showimage.php?i=61924
http://whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/showimage.php?i=61923
You can use the stove, oven, microwave, toaster, coffee maker, waffle iron, toaster oven, sink, or dish washer. All eating utensils (plates, cups, bowls, flatware) and cooking utensils (pots, pans, mixing bowls, cutting knives, etc) are provided. Tea, coffee, pancake mix, condiments, and some staples are complimentary. There are bins for trash and for recyclables.

Food storage is available in the refrigerator, the freezer, or the cupboards. You must write your name & departure date (tape & pen provided) on your food, as unlabelled food is considered communal – including stuff you forgot to label. As usual with hostels, hikers will leave free food for anyone to use or take.

The Den has couches, games, books, a PC, a cast iron stove, and DVDs. However, no TV!
http://whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/showimage.php?i=61922
http://whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/showimage.php?i=61921
Free wifi (you’ll get the access code) worked fine for me in all parts of the hostel.

Communal clothes wash & dry is free, but there is a charge if you want to use either the washer (laundry soap provided) or the dryer on your own. You may dry your clothes outside. Clothes to wear while you wash yours are provided.

You can rent or borrow locks, bicycles, day packs, and photo-copies of trail maps. The camp store -- open at all hours on an honor system -- sells medicine packets, ear plugs, some camp stuff, fuel (denatured alcohol and 8.9 oz canister fuel), camp food, and frozen treats. Keep a running tab of your purchases and, at the end of your stay, you may either settle your tab with cash or leave the bill on the credit card you left on file.

Mail-drops to this hostel are free, even for non-guests. Mailing boxes are available and, for a fee (presently $5 plus shipping costs), you can have your mail dropped off at the nearby post office.

Free morning shuttles are provided both to Kinsman Notch and to Franconia Notch – just sign on the board the night before. Departure times are set ahead of time, and are strictly held to -- signs explicitly state that shuttles WILL leave without you! In addition, free afternoon pick ups from town, Kinsman, or Franconia trail heads are offered for guests until 6 pm. To reserve a pick up, text or call the hostel with your trail name, pick up location, number of people, and ETA. Staff will respond as soon as available to let you know when they can pick you up. The sooner in advance you let them know you are coming, the less likely you will have to wait around for a pick up. A nightly town resupply shuttle also runs for $5 per person. For other shuttling needs, they recommend the Shuttle Connection, (603 745 3140). The latter typically charges $5 per person ONE WAY for a ride to town and $10 per person ONE WAY for a ride to one of the trail heads.

Dogs are welcome for a daily charge, but there are rules for their stay (scroll down to 'Dogs!'):
http://notchhostel.com/rooms-and-rates/
Above all, make certain that you specify you have a dog when you make your reservation!