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American Youth Hostel

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American Youth Hostel

Old 01-30-19, 09:35 AM
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American Youth Hostel

Can anyone tell me the history of the above? It seems as though it is now Hostel International. I was cleaning out some files and came across a brochure about Oho Bikeways and Columbus,Ohio AYH.
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Old 01-30-19, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Tandem Tom
Can anyone tell me the history of the above? It seems as though it is now Hostel International. I was cleaning out some files and came across a brochure about Oho Bikeways and Columbus,Ohio AYH.
It has been about 20 years since the name change: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hostel...ernational_USA

AYH is one of two organizations where I am a life member. Many years ago, when I started touring in college I used them quite a bit. Even then, there weren't many hostels in the US but there was a good concentration on Cape Cod and a few elsewhere in New England. I spent some summer weekends with overnights at hostels or on Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket and they were affordable for a college student. They were fairly busy at the time - there seemed to be some youth organizations in CT that organized a week-long summer trip. They'd have ~20 kids and two or three leaders and go from hostel to hostel for a week. They seemed to be typical rambunctious teens and so it was often noisy but otherwise quieted down later in the evening.

I've noticed them more now in larger urban areas or in places like along the coast. I'm sure still good places to stay, though I've done that less over time.
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Old 01-30-19, 09:53 AM
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HI is also in Canada and I have used them in the Rockies. I used to live and work in one in Banff. They have very nice hostels in the major towns of Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper but even with membership are quite pricey ($50ish). That's for a shared room but I will say the building and amenities are very nice. Sometimes they have a work for board program which is what I did as a young climbing bum (weekend night watchman/janitor).

The chain hostels (out of the tourist centers) are really the stars though and are affordable ($20ish) with a rustic charm but well maintained by live in care takers. The only caveat is that they often close mid day so you have to make sure you book ahead or at least know the hours they open.
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Old 01-30-19, 10:52 AM
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I used Hostels often in Europe and the British isles .. in Ireland there are affiliated privately owned hostels , I used those when weather on the west coast was heavy,

As I did not have to leave during the day .. a thing IYHA do.. out by 11 not let back in till 4~5 .. as It was for me, Once the big storms, passed, I moved on..
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Old 01-30-19, 12:47 PM
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The AYH organization was my introduction to bike touring in the '60s. I started taking short group trips with the Potomac Area Council of Washington DC as a teenager. Many were on the C&O canal, usually to hostels at Seneca and Sandy Hook MD. Then in high school we organized a "Hostel Club" with a group membership pass and up to 50 active members.

In addition to the C&O canal there was a string of hostels in the PA Dutch country... Bowmansville, Denver, Brickerville, Geigertown and Quakertown come to mind. Our high school gang organized several bike trips using them. We also took road trips up to VT where there was a continuous string of hostels within a day's ride apart. Bantam Lake CT, N Haverhill NH, Guilford, Rochester, Ludlow, Waterbury Center, Warren, Richford and N Hero VT come to mind. There was also the "Orchard House" in Nethers VA which provided a base for bike rides on Skyline Drive and hikes up Old Rag mountain.

Adventure Cycling Association also has AYH roots. Founder Greg Siple was active with the Columbus area council in Ohio before Bikecentennial was formed in 1976.

Sadly most (if not all) the above mentioned hostels are now history.
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Old 01-30-19, 02:33 PM
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Yes -

AYH - now Hosteling International - is only a shadow of what it once was.
Throughout the Northeast, Midwest, and West Coast there were dozens of rural hostels.
In Washington state, Michigan, and Ohio there were hostels in many state parks.

The Ohiopyle hostel was right on the Yough Trail (now the GAP).
Then there was Ernie's fabulous Birchwood in Missoula and his dog who did tricks.

Two things may have led to their demise:
1. They were rather spartan - bunk beds and cold showers.
2. You were expected to do a chore before leaving.

The latter seems to have been increasingly a sticking point.
Sad, because they were such wonderful places.
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Old 01-30-19, 03:43 PM
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I'm too young to remember the name American Youth Hostels, but I've stayed at Hostelling International Hostels, both in USA and abroad (more abroad), and I've never had a bad experience. Some are better than others, none are bad. Usually reasonably priced as well. I recommend them.
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Old 01-31-19, 05:19 AM
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Not all HI places kick you out during the day. Some do. E.g., Back in '99 the hotels at Lake Itasca and Bar Harbor were closed during the day. Seattle was not.

They are reasonably, and in some cases, very low priced for the market. One in Philly is only $22/night. Try getting a hotel room for anywhere close to that.

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