I knew I would love spending time as the Mississippi Headwaters Hostel’s Guest Services Associate.  What a fun place to hang out!  I love all the people I’m meeting!  Interacting with such a wide variety of guests has been such fun.  And I think they like me too. 😉

So far I’ve met several people who are doing the Bike Across America thing – riding from Seattle (or some West Coast point of origin) to Bar Harbor (or some East Coast endpoint).  I even had a pair of guests recently who met at a local pub, realized they were both riding these long journeys, and were both headed to the Hostel  One called in a reservation and the other booked online (www.hiusa.org).  But they weren’t doing quite the same ride.  You see one was doing East Coast to West Coast while the other was actually doing a Ride AROUND America – taking the perimeter of the country from California down through Texas and back up and around the North Side and around the corner in Washington and back to California.  Whew!!


I’ve had families large and small and big (or small) groups who rent the entire Hostel.

We have 31 beds and I’ve yet see a group fill all the beds but I’ve had several large groups of teens and a great group of environmental 8-4-17 (142)folks who warmly welcomed me into their group activities.  We had a power outage during their stay… luckily on the night they planned to grill outside!  Thankfully, they invited me and Dan to dinner (he’d come down to check on me since we had no means of communication with the storm).  The rain passed quickly and they were able to create a feast that was enjoyed in the summer evening. And was it tasty!  They had a professional chef in their midst and we ate well that night.  It was a lot of fun dealing with the lack of water and power and they rolled with it like a bunch of camping pros.  The big joke was throwing the paper plates into the fire as we yelled, “Doing the dishes!”  They left me a beautiful thank you sign when they left and I feel like I made a bunch of new friends that weekend.

And speaking of Foodies, one weekend we had a family who cooked most of their meals on the campfire – or at the campfire on a camp stove – except for the French crepes they made that last morning of their stay.  We also had a pair of ladies there who shared all their good food, as did I, bringing in fresh squash from Merry Gardens Farm to cook up for the whole crew.  This was lucky for one couple who’d come to the Hostel without any food – they had such a feast!  And we had a father son & friends do some fishing and they prepared a beautiful Crappie for dinner.  The final evening of their stay, we grilled burgers and shared pickles and squash and berries and bananas, along with homemade granola and ice cream.  This gang, along with a solo older gent – we’ll just call him Santa Jimmy – had spent the afternoon at the Harn with Dan and me chatting away the rainy day on the porch.  It was fascinating conversation.


Families are fun whether they have younger children or are all grown up.  I had a hoot of a group recently – Mom and Dad and four grown boys (some of whom were retired) – that was so kind they brought me back a sweet roll from their breakfast visit at the Douglas Lodge!  The people who hostel are SO NICE!

I’ve really enjoyed finding the commonalities of our lives as I interact with guests from the various groups.  It’s especially fun to tell stories and share jokes.  Life is full of fun times and interesting experiences and perspectives and it’s a joy to listen to theirs and share my own.  I’ve learned of some great places to put on my bucket list and have shared stories of what Dan and I are doing here at the Harn.  I’ve listened to travel stories about Minnesota and around the world.

I think I especially enjoy the times when I find real connection.  Whether it’s a guest that also has Celiac and shares some of her Chocolate Cobbler or a fellow poet that shares some of her ideas and experiences, I love feeling like I’m at home with a bunch of family and friends.  You find a real intimacy as people open up around the fire and there’s something that seems so normal to see someone you barely know in their jammies in the kitchen as they fry an egg or have a late night snack.  Only at the Hostel…

If you want to come try some of the fun at the Mississippi Headwaters Hostel, you can make arrangements for a stay with us at hiusa.org.  Or call direct to make a reservation: 218-266-3415 ~  Office Hours are 8-10 AM and 5-10 PM.