Barn Door Hostel is the first climber’s hostel in Rumney, NH, the sports climbing mecca of the northeast. Only two miles from the crags and sitting on 9 acres of old farmland, this European-styled hostel offers 20 bunk beds, private rooms and camping for outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds. You can join them for their launch party on May 25.
On Finding a Home in a Hostel
At 9AM, David Cook walked in to an old victorian in downtown San Diego and burst into tears.
The sun was streaming through the windows in the foyer of the International Travelers House lighting up the pastel walls of Easter egg blue and neon orange. Portraits of Hendrix, Joplin, and Morrison smiled from above the door frame leading to the kitchen. David stood in place, overcome. He was on his own for the first time, ready to start a new life in the “go west, young man” refrain. So far things weren’t proceeding as planned. He was haggard, alone, and broke.
“I walked in and James was there manning the desk, pancake splatter on his apron, rushing around cleaning, checking people in, etc. He saw me, dropped everything and gave me a great big bear hug,” David recalled. James was the owner of the recently opened hostel, the do it all man, and he saw someone in need.
“I was lost, ready to give up on this trip. I didn’t know where I’d go next.”
David had booked two nights to collect himself and figure out his plan. Those days would pass too quickly and he’d end up scrubbing toilets for a free night’s stay, and more time.
After about a week, David made a decision, “I want to be here permanently,” he told James. James replied, “that’s exactly what you should do!”
Weeks turned into months and eventually a year. By the end he was the manager of a new location, in charge of everything from how to bring guests across to Tijuana for beers to navigating the zoning regulations needed to install a new window in a commercial building.
The experience changed David. “It was very much, ‘you are always where you need to be.’ And it was the first time I felt that, it was magic.” He wanted to share this with others.
On Creating Barn Door Hostel
“I wanted to create a hostel that would feel like home.”
David started the Barn Door Hostel to introduce climbers and non-climbers to the welcoming environment of a hostel. The endeavor became a family affair that grew from serendipity, hard work, and friendship.
It all started in San Diego, of course. Helene and David met as starry eyed dreamers who spoke of running their own hostel someday, but weren’t sure of where or how.
Their dream kicked off extended travel as they went about looking for the right location only to end up empty handed. Eventually, the idea was put on hold as they settled into new jobs. David ended up at a rock climbing gym in Rhode Island working alongside his best friend, Dom Pascariello, the man who got David into the sport in the first place. The years wore on and David felt a sense of urgency growing.
“I realized the gym was similar to a hostel, how people could meet with no judgment and become friends. I missed being an orchestrator, someone who brought people together. Eventually, the idea of starting a hostel was less of a dream and more of a must do.”
As a proud northeast climber, Dom suggested Rumney. They went scouting. Around this time, David’s parents, Dianne and Bob, were looking to retire and move back to New Hampshire. The pieces came together in the form of a family business.
The Timing Is Right
Hostels have been a rite of passage for European travel for decades and they act as international meeting spots and social centers when backpacking through a new city. They aren’t as popular in the U.S., but that’s changing (thankfully).
Climbers who get around might be familiar with climber-specific options in places like Geyikbayiri, San Vito Lo Capo, and El Chorro, as they offer cheap accommodation close to crags and a way to meet partners. Other niche hostels are opening as well, catering to surfers and digital nomads.
Barn Door Hostel is an early adopter here in the U.S., following the likes of The Crash Pad in Chatanooga, TN, and to some extent, Miguel’s Pizza in the Red River Gorge, WV.
About Barn Door Hostel
The hostel used to be a chicken coop, a four-story tower of a coop, dating from the 1800s. As the times changed so has land usage, and four stories became two as it transitioned into an auto repair shop. Now it’s being repurposed for house and home.
- 3 private rooms, each fit for two people. Two private rooms have standard full size beds. The third private has a bunk for those that do not wish to share the same bed but want the privacy. One private bedroom has its own bathroom and closet.
- Bunk rooms: One 6 person, one 8 person and one 10 person.
- Camping (car, tent, hammock) on 9 acres.
- Community bathrooms, kitchen, common area.
- Enjoy the swimming hole in the front yard or hop into Stinson Brook after a long day of climbing. Access to the White Mountains right outside the front door.
- 2 miles from the main crag, with smaller climbing areas close by.
How to Get There
Address: 30 Stone Hill Rd Rumney NH 03266 USA
Rumney, NH is 2 hours north of Boston, MA via 93N. 2.5 hours west of Portland, ME via ME-25 W and NH-25 W. 3 hours north of Hartford, CT via I-91 N.
A Welcome Addition
For fans of climbing and friendly places to make friends, the Barn Door Hostel is a fantastic new spot to check out on your next trip to Rumney.