It's been a few days since I've updated this but with good reason. I spent the weekend at the Hostel in the Forest which was, well...in the forest, about 10 miles west of Brunswick, Georgia, not far from the Florida border. This was my first solo vacation. When I told my mother of my plans she sighed and said whistfully, "Wow, you really are growing up," which was odd to me because irresponsibly taking a vacation two weeks after spending too much money on another pointless (yet fun) weekend trip, felt anything but "adult" to me. Still, it did feel like a big step going somewhere I'd never been where I knew no one by myself.
Initially I'd planned to get a cheap room in St Mary's, Georgia right across the water from Cumberland Island which was my ultimate destination. I picked it somewhat at random while looking at a map of National Parks. Big Bend was too isolated and daunting, the Everglades too expensive, and everywhere else too damn cold (I have a history of taking seasonally inappropriate trips such as Denver in February, Nebraska in November, etc.) After I told a friend of my plans she told me about the Hostel in the Forest which had been the favorite place of a close friend who passed away. I also was made aware that the date I had booked my flight to Georgia coincided with the two year anniversary of his passing. It was settled, I had to stay in the hostel.
After arriving in Jacksonville Friday morning, I rented a car and drove up to the hostel using my vague confusing MapQuest directions. There was no address to the hostel, just coordinates, "the entrance is located at 31 09' 45" N, 81 35' 45" W" listed on their website and instructions to make a u-turn after a specific mile marker and then to open a gate and travel down a bumpy dirt road. On the way I stopped to pick up a flashlight, the website said I would need it, and nervously drove the rest of the way.
I was greeted by the manager, Tasha, who gave me a tour of the grounds. She directed me to the Peacock Hut which was where I was to stay. I had only booked one night but she told me if I wanted to stay the other two nights I was welcome to as there was one opening left in a different hut. After sussing out the vibes I decided it was worth it (and at $20 I'd be an idiot not to, especially since I'd wussed out and paid extra for insurance on my rental car instead of testing fate like I usually do) and signed on for the entire weekend.
More about the hostel and my adventures in southern Georgia tomorrow.
Here are a couple of pictures from inside the Peacock Hut where I spent my first night:
And this is the lower level, hence the name: