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Tibbetts Point Lighthouse Hostel to get makeover

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CAPE VINCENT — A handful of volunteers will work through the next few days to give the Tibbetts Point Lighthouse Hostel a more modern look.

Donnie A. Morgan, regional hostel operations manager for Hostelling International USA, said the local hostel is the only one of the agency’s 54 hostels that is getting spruced up.

“We have vintage ’70s interior here in the little building, the former keeper’s house,” Ms. Morgan said. “We’re going for a basic, clean look that will be more bright and welcoming.”

A couple of volunteers worked Wednesday to scrape paint off portions of the house and its porch, preparing for other volunteers to paint and complete other small tasks by week’s end.

“The dorms are in good shape already,” Ms. Morgan said. “We have two six-bed dorms and two private rooms: one with a bunk bed and one with three beds.”

Guests also are free to use a common kitchen when they stay at the hostel, 33439 County Route 6.

While some area residents may be aware that a hostel is adjacent to the historic lighthouse, Ms. Morgan said, many people often are unaware that this hostel and others in the state exist. The next-closest hostels are in Syracuse and Buffalo. While a few others can be found in the Northeast, there are many along the West Coast from California to Canada.

The Tibbetts Point Lighthouse Hostel typically opens for the season around July 1 and runs through the second week of September.

The nightly rate is only $25, or $75 for the family room.

The hostel, established in the 1827 keeper’s quarters in the late 1970s, sits on a 3-acre property where Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River meet.

“This particular hostel was popular for cyclists,” Ms. Morgan said. “The group number has fallen off in the last 10 years.”

With a nearby mode of transportation for international travel, she said, the hostel could be utilized more. Ms. Morgan said she hopes people who travel to or from Canada on Horne’s Ferry to Wolfe Island, Ontario, will stop at the Tibbetts Point Lighthouse Hostel.

The hostel typically accommodates 300 to 400 overnight stays per season.

“These days, you don’t see a lot of people who already have hostel memberships,” Ms. Morgan said.

“If you hadn’t had an experience with hostelling, you weren’t likely to know about them. Hostelling is based on shared accommodations and experiences. That’s how you find out about hidden treasures in the area,” she said.

While the hostel is operated by Hostelling International USA, the property is owned by the town of Cape Vincent. Ms. Morgan said she appreciates improvements the town recently made to the water system.

Meanwhile, she said, she will still accept volunteer help this week. Anyone interested may call her at 1-804-384-8682.

For more information on the hostel, go to http://wdt.me/gcDZMv.

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