If you're from anywhere except the US, you probably already know all about backpackers lodges and such, but I find it a fascinating new experience.
I recall many American movies and sit-coms from the 60's and 70's that had a high-school graduate who wanted to 'backpack across Europe for a year to find myself' before they joined the 'real world'--all much to their parents' chagrin.
I always envisioned them sleeping on the ground in a field or forest or by a riverbed and then foraging for berries or some such stuff the next morning--all in all, not a tempting mental image for me. And they also talked about staying in 'youth hostels', but I never had a reference point for that, either.
Well, my Yankee pals, since my journey to NZ, I have experienced the 'backpacker' world and, I gotta tell ya, it's nothing like I thought it would be. The distinction between the hostels and lodges seems to be blurred these days, but the experience is the same.
We have stayed in these accomodations on a few occasions and have experienced a couple of options. These options and expenses can range from a 'luxurious' room with its own bathroom (and a tv, if you're really lucky) to a room with just a bed and a table to sharing a room with 6 strangers. You can even just rent a space to park your tent if you like (but I'm not too proud to admit I don't do camping). All of the 'places have communal kitchens, lounge areas, laundries and showers/toilets and I'm sure makes for some great conversations and possible new friendships. (The kitchens and stuff, not the showers and toilets.)
I know that I heard a little about youth hostels growing up, so I'm sure they existed at some point in the US, but for some reason I was never really familiar with the concept. The older I get, the more I realized how sheltered my life was. But not any more.
Have you ever stayed in these places in the US? I would sure like to hear about it if you have.