Welcome to the Hostel in the Forest

The Hostel is a membership organization, please browse through our website before calling us to make a reservation. If you have further questions, we would be happy to answer them over the phone any day between 10am and 6pm, 912-264-9738. We can not accept reservations, cancellations or provide availability by email. If you have a reservation PLEASE check in no later than 7pm


We are always looking for skilled instructors willing to share their knowledge on a variety of subjects that support our vision. If you have some ideas or suggestions, or would like give a suitable presentation or workshop, please contact us..

If you are interested in working at the Hostel please review the applications page.*

Our Vision

The world would be a much healthier and better place if all its inhabitants advocated sustainability instead of unlimited growth. Rather than trying to control nature and use it as a resource for development, we should revere it, respect it, and work with it. The Hostel in the Forest is taking steps to manifest this vision. We see that nature’s creatures, including humans, animals, birds and insects share the same land in a unique manner. Inspired by the creativity found in the natural environment, we have transformed our ideas into actions by having an organic vegetable garden used in our dinners each night, recycling our wastes, having a cutting-edge gray-water system, watering plants with a solar powered irrigation system, and using a worm box that composts our table scraps into fertilizer for the garden. Hostel members sleep in tree houses, hike the T-trails through the 133 acre forest, swim and paddle canoes in the lake, take part in the healing process of walking our labyrinth, participate in the sweat lodges held on the nights of the full moon, eat a healthy vegetarian or vegan meal each night, and attend the many educational retreats and lectures designed to teach us how to move toward a wholesome and more sustainable future. We invite you to visit us and be a part of our work in progress; even participate in helping us with our projects, if you so desire. If you are financially able to do so, we would also be most appreciative of any gifts to our 501 C 3 tax-deductible organization in order to encourage and further our goals.


Latest News and Events

The prelude to summer brings great knowledge and excitement to the Hostel in the Forest. Marc and Mycol return to one of their favorite classrooms with practical ecological identification of plants and mushrooms, as well as permaculture and fermentation techniques. We will share in the fresh local bounty, eating and drinking deliciously all the while elevating our collective wisdom around the wonder of biology!

Mycol Stevens has a Master’s Degree in Aquatic Ecology and worked as a restoration ecologist/botanist for the Florida Fish and Game across the state of FL from 2004-2014. He has traveled much of Central and South America and Africa, and has learned from some of the best teachers including Frank Cook and Robert Hunsucker. Mycol has been teaching ethnobotany and edible mushrooms since 2005. He also lives off-the-grid on an “ecocentric” permaculture homestead where he eats from the wild almost daily and propagates and cultivates his own organic foods. Mycol’s philosophy is to ween off the “system” and to eat your food as medicine. Mycol has been inspired by the Hostel since the mid 90’s and much of its philosophy is reflected in his way of life. Knowing the living world around you, connects you to the living world. Mycol hosts (Willing Workers On Organic Farms, (WWOOFers) at his Finca. Contact him if you are interested in visiting. He also is the host of the annual mushroom teaching in July on the Finca. https://www.facebook.com/FincaMycol

Marc Williams is an ethnobotanist. He has studied plants intensively while learning to use them for food, medicine, biological conservation, and beauty. His training includes a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies concentrating in Sustainable Agriculture from Warren Wilson College and a Master’s degree in Appalachian Studies concentrating in Sustainable Development with a minor in Geography and Planning from Appalachian State University. Marc’s major research in graduate school focused on the most useful plants of Appalachia. However it is clear that a holistic appreciation of nature irrespective of utility will be necessary to create the new paradigm that our current global situation calls for. He has since spent significant time learning the plants of the western U.S. and tropical regions as well. Marc has spent over a decade working at a multitude of restaurants, various farms, and travels throughout 24 countries in North/Central America and Europe and all 50 of the United States of America. In those travels he has visited over 70 of the best botanical gardens in the world. He has taught hundreds of people about the marvelous lives of plants and their respective uses. He is the Executive Director of Plants and Healers International and on the Board of Directors of the Appalachian Institute for Mountain Studies. Marc first came to the Hostel in the Forest in March of 1998 and was immediately transformed through a first time sweat lodge experience with Tom Dennard the hostel founder. Like Mycol many of the principles that make the Hostel in the Forest such a special place have informed his expression of life in this world ever since. Further info can be found at www.botanyeveryday.com where an online botany class in the tradition of Frank Cook is conducted by donation.

Workshops will include: Botany/Mycology 101 presentation, Wild Foods/Medicines walk, Super Food preparation presentation, Botanical beach/estuary Walk, Fermentation Overview with Honey Mead Making and a Permaculture Ecological restoration talk. Botanical slide shows of various parts of the world including Latin America, Africa and Europe are also possible given interest.

WHEN: Please prepare to arrive Friday afternoon. Teachings will begin Friday evening and end Sunday afternoon.

COST: $150-200 per person sliding, which includes accommodations at the Hostel for Friday and Saturday night as well as a basic breakfast porridge, potluck lunches and beautiful vegetarian dinner on both nights. Please bring a food item or two you would like to share. Worktrade may be available for interested participants with limited funds. Write to marc@botanyeveryday.com with stated need and proposal.

BRING: Your notebook, any relevant books you have, a camera, a loupe (portable magnifying glass) if you have one, water bottle, rain coat etc. Handouts will be provided.

May the Forest Be With You

Winter Update

Posted January 20th, 2015

The winds of winter are blowing through the once lush forest canopy, raining down leaves that add to the already rich brown underbrush, and covering the barefoot-packed sand paths that crisscross the Hostel. Squirrels bound about collecting fallen goodies, and the chickens scratch the ground ferociously hoping to reveal a morsel or two just below the surface.

Summer at the Hostel was of great heat and high productivity, with folks from all around the world contributing their skills and expertise to the myriad of projects that came into fruition during the height of the sun’s glow. Whether with a wheelbarrow and shovel spreading fresh sand to revitalize the paths, or venturing forth on the T-trail equipped with a chainsaw and machete to ease the obstacles that come with forest care-taking, much sweat and goodwill was poured into the forest.

The Hostel garden flourished into a jungle like wonderland filled with tons of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables. Along with our regular summer crops, such as tomatoes, squash, and peppers, we were surprised by the curious growth of papaya trees. Walls of okra neighbored stalks of sunflowers, looming large near the luffa vines which grew pervasively along the perimeter fence, blossoming beautiful yellow flowers in their wake.

The momentum of summer was carried with the breeze into the brisker months of autumn. The beauteous soul kitchen received some heavy loving; many caring kitchen managers and Hostel patrons sunk their love into maintaining its glory as they curated the creative cuisine that is at the heart of the Hostel experience. This culmination of adoration and affection came to a crescendo with the installation of a new kitchen floor, restored once again to its (new and improved) wooden origins.

Workshops and retreats were in abundance during the cooler months. Early in fall, Melissa Delynn instructed a yoga fundraiser combining the physical, meditative and spiritual aspects of the practice. In September, Mycol Stevens shared his incredible understanding of mushrooms by leading a field-identification class, followed by an introduction to the articulate art and nature of tree grafting. The beginning of November brought Karen George down from North Carolina to teach workshop participants how to effectively create and build with cobb, explaining the material’s versatile uses and mediating the construction of a brand new cobb oven for the outdoor kitchen. Beth Langley, in mid-November, expressed her love for labyrinths to the forest, giving Hostel-goers a deeper knowledge and appreciation for the many uses of this ancient spiritual structure.

During our Energy Workshop Weekend, Spencer Perez and Taylor Kimball of Perc Coffee, came down from Savannah to share with us the art and science of coffee. Additionally, we were humbly joined by the much-beloved, former manager and integral fellow, Murray. Murray developed the Hostel’s solar pumps, and built the solar-charged batteries which provide energy to our huts without electricity. As a part of the weekend-long workshop, he led a class on solar electricity, where he shared with us practical knowledge and terminology as an introduction to the many processes, calculations, and developments of this energy-efficient technology.

Along with the welcoming of winter, arrived the next Hostel caretaker, Dawn Marie. She arrived to find the Hostel in glorious condition thanks to the grandiose efforts of Carch and Frank. The forest is more beautiful, cleaner and efficient than it has ever been thanks to them and the dedicated staff that continues to tirelessly give their love and helping hands. With the New Year, the Hostel enters it’s 40th year and we cannot be more excited for all that has happened and all that will continue!

May the Forest Be With You

The Hostel Staff