Barn Door Hostel: Rumney’s First Hostel for Climbers

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. 

Predator (5.13b). Photo source: @nicholastabis


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.

Stinson Brook. Photo source: Barn Door Hostel.


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.

Plenty of room for camping. Photo source: Barn Door Hostel.


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.

Details:

  • 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.

You can book your stay here.


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.

A New Favorite: Mt. Monadnock’s Pumpelly Trail

Pumpelly Trail is a White Mountains taster. It’s a mini-WM hike: The distance is a bit contracted, it’s less strenuous, and you don’t go as high up, but the ambiance and feel is all there.

This gem is now one of my favorite hikes in the area.

Mt. Monadnock is just over the border in New Hampshire and an hour closer than the larger peaks further north.

The trail features rambling dirt paths under a dreamy canopy, moss strewn rocks reside in rivulets of worn roots, and a carpet of ferns distinguishes unbounded nature from footpath.

The forest melds browns and greens and black into a mosaic of silhouetted titans who have no other care than to be there.

About two miles in the earth juts up… then down, then up, then a little less down, then up and up along the ridge of three small rolling hills. Exposure and light, the path gives you vast patches of unobstructed views to the north, of the Whites, sapphire lakes and New Hampshire freedom.

Approaching the Peak of Monadnock
Forest to rock to forest to rock.

Continuing upwards the path bursts open to the exposed granite top Monadnock is known for. Take your pick for summiting, the rocky desert of marauding boulders calls for traversing. The hike culminates in the bald dome with 360 views, and it is oh so glorious.

 

How to get there: AllTrails has the coordinates

Where to park: This took me awhile to figure out. As soon as you turn onto Lake Dr., there is a parking area to your left. Along the road there are ample places for parking, but it is all private property, and the signs let you know so.

Total miles: 8.3 according to AllTrails. 9 according to the signs on the trail.