Come learn about living off-the-grid and self-reliance in rural upstate New York, USA


United States

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  • Description


    Laurie and I are homesteaders, living off-the-grid in rural upstate New York in a strawbale, timberframe house, which we built primarily from material we gathered directly off the land. Our home is at the southern edge of the Adirondack State Park (largest state park in U.S. and largest wilderness in Eastern U.S.) with easy access to some of the most beautiful forest and mountains in the world. We're just 200 miles from New York City, Montreal and Boston, and 250 miles from Niagara Falls. We live on 68 acres of mostly forested hillside and heat our home with wood and the sun. Our electricity and hot water are also solar powered. We have done many presentations on simple living and homesteading skills, and in 2012 we were named Mother Earth News Homesteaders of the Year. Our lifestyle is one of self-reliance, and as such we engage in a wide variety of activities on a daily basis. We grow much of our food, and gardening is a big part of our life. We also keep a flock of chickens for eggs (and entertainment!), a couple of dogs and a cat. We always have building projects to work on, and we're active in our community. Laurie is a trained herbalist and yoga instructor as well as science professor at our local community college. Jim works at carpentry and other trades as circumstances require, and as a writer of both fiction and non-fiction . (Search for J. Lee Strickland to find examples of his writing both online and in print.) We're vegetarians committed to the struggle of living in the 21st Century and walking lightly on the earth.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Charity Work
    Language practice
    Help with Eco Projects
    DIY and building projects
    Animal Care
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Help around the house
    General Maintenance
    Help with Computers/ Internet

  • UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN goals
    No poverty
    Zero hunger
    Good health and well-being
    Quality education
    Gender equality
    Clean water and sanitation
    Affordable and clean energy
    Decent work and economic growth
    Industries, innovation and infrastructure
    Reduce inequality
    Sustainable cities and communities
    Responsible consumption and production
    Climate action
    Life below water
    Life on land
    Peace, justice and strong institutions
    Partnerships for the goals
  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    We offer an opportunity for travelers to experience a glimpse of our self-reliant lifestyle where we work directly with the land to provide the basics of our day-to-day existence. We live a hands-on life where our first question is always. "How can I do this?" rather than, "Who will do this for me?" We are political liberals with an interest in and appreciation of all world cultures. As experienced teachers, we're ready to share our knowledge and to learn from others. We're also amateur musicians with a large collection of instruments available for group playing. Laurie is an avid hiker/backpacker and birder with a great store of knowledge about the Adirondack mountains. Jim is interested in languages and would love to practice his Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Greek, Italian, or any other language a workawayer might bring along. Jim is an experienced language tutor, happy to help others in their pursuit of improved communication skills.

  • Projects involving children

    Projects involving children

    This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.

  • Help


    Garden work is big from May to November. We grow without pesticides or chemical inputs in our deep mulch, no-till garden. Firewood gathering, splitting and stacking year-round. Building projects both large and small(no experience necessary, enthusiasm is your most important talent). Maintenance projects from plumbing repairs to realigning solar panels. Food preservation (canning, fermenting, pickling, root cellaring, etc.), as well as making yogurt, kefir, miso, sauerkraut, kimchi, bread and more. The chickens need love and attention every day.

  • Languages

    Languages spoken
    English: Fluent
    Spanish: Fluent
    French: Fluent
    German: Intermediate
    Portuguese: Intermediate

    This host offers a language exchange
    This host has indicated that they are interested in sharing their own language or learning a new language.
    You can contact them directly for more information.

  • Accommodation


    Though we live off-the-grid, our accommodations are not rustic. We have a private guest room with queen-size bed, wireless high-speed internet, and access to laundry and modern kitchen facilities. The setting is rural and private but less than 4 miles from downtown shopping and entertainment. Our house is small by American standards (huge by other standards!) with just one bath, and our shallow, hand-dug well sometimes requires careful water use. Because we make our own electricity, that can be limited by the amount of sunshine. Our circumstances provide the opportunity for becoming conscious of the limits of the earth's resources. By the way, we have beautiful tenting sites as well. We would like to restrict original commitments to no more than two weeks. Longer stays can be negotiated on an individual basis.

    Please note: Both our water supply and our electricity are limited! If you are the sort of person who feels the need to shower every day, or if you carry a blow dryer among your grooming supplies, we are probably not a good fit for you. We expect visitors to practice conscious conservation, to carefully examine their impact on the earth, and lighten it wherever possible.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    Adirondack State Park with its 46 high peaks, hundreds of miles of well-marked hiking trails, lakes and waterways, countless sites of historical importance. Bus station to Schenectady/Albany and all points beyond (e.g. NYC or Montreal) is 3 miles (5 km) away in Gloversville. Train station is 15 miles (25 km) away in Amsterdam. Albany International Airport is 40 miles (64 km) away. Uber has recently become available in our area, and there is traditional taxi service as well.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

    • Can host families

  • Can host digital nomads

    Can host digital nomads

    We have reliable high speed internet, wifi, and a relatively distraction-free environment.

  • Space for parking camper vans

    Space for parking camper vans

    Our driveway is narrow, winding, and steep in spots, but we have had campers as large as a 23 foot Winnebago here.

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?


  • ...

    Hours expected

    Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week

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Host ref number: 955253913937