Notch Hostel owner Serena Ryan co-founded the hostel in 2015 with Justin Walsh and is now the sole owner. She loves hiking, cooking, and working in the Notch’s prolific vegetable and flower gardens. Serena’s inspiration to start the hostel came from reading the book “AWOL on the Appalachian Trail,” and learning about all the hostels “AWOL” stayed in along his thru-hike. She and Justin realized that the Lincoln/North Woodstock area, which mostly catered to skiers and resorts, could use an affordable lodging option for hikers and other travelers looking for memorable experiences on a budget. 324 Lost River Road was the first and only property Justin and Serena viewed; the minute they pulled into the driveway for the home inspection, they knew they had found the perfect location for the Notch Hostel.
Serena is also co-founder of Summits in Solidarity, a hiking initiative for racial justice, along with Philip Carcia. She is founder of the North Country Social Justice Collective, as well as an active member of the New Hampshire Hostel Network.
Notch Hostel employee Philip Carcia, also known as Finding Philip, has worked here since 2018 in a variety of roles, from media creation and marketing to guest services and hostel management. Phil is a Worcester, MA native and is the current record holder for the Single Year Grid and the White Mountains Trace, two of the most iconic hiking challenges in our region. He is also co-founder of Summits in Solidarity along with Serena Ryan.
Kelly Bryant (right) joined the Notch Hostel in Spring 2021 and serves as our creative director. Kelly is responsible for media creation and design, including management of our four websites and three social media accounts, as well as guest services. A recent Graphic Design major from Rhode Island College, Kelly has been coming up to the Notch throughout her college career, along with her best friend Mariah Rietzel (left), and the two often helped out with hostel cleaning in exchange for their stays. Kelly is particularly gifted at hand drawings and has produced some incredibly realistic images of the Notch Hostel mascot, Delilah Jones the Swiss Mountain Dog.
Declan Kiley is a recent History graduate from Saint Anslem College who has been working at the Notch in between semesters since 2019. Declan’s focus is guest services, including special services for our Appalachian Trail hikers. In March of 2020, Declan completed his goal of hiking three rounds of the NH-48 in a single season, and later that year thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail southbound from August to November. To round out the year he summited Katahdin and several other peaks in Baxter State Park just before the new year. Declan is an excellent resource for hike planning and trail conditions, as well as the history of the White Mountains.
Molly Markell is the Notch Hostel’s Chief Landscaper, Gardener, and Property Manager. Molly is also assisting in major exterior building renovations and remediation at the Notch Hostel in 2021. A Delaware native, Molly moved to New Hampshire in 2019 and in addition to the Notch has worked locally as a farmer for a commercial vegetable grower as well as a builder at the Ice Castles attraction in our town.
Justin Walsh, Notch Hostel co-founder, is a climber, mountaineer and entrepreneur who has extensive ties to the White Mountains community and who has successfully summited some of the world’s most iconic peaks, including Mt. Rainier, Matterhorn in Switzerland (14,692 feet), Pico de Orizaba in Mexico (18,491 feet), Chimborazo (20,549 feet) and Cotopaxi (19,347 feet) in Ecuador, and Denali in Alaska (20,310 feet). Originally from the small central Massachusetts town of Harvard, Walsh caught the outdoor bug in his early 20s. As his passion for the outdoors developed, Walsh decided to move from the city to the White Mountains, settling down in North Woodstock in 2015. Since then he has become thoroughly engaged in the community, helping found local businesses including The Notch Hostel and Notch Properties, where he invests in residential and commercial real estate. Walsh began working as Rudy Glocker’s real estate agent to help find Burgeon Outdoor a home in Lincoln. Walsh continued to get more involved from there, and now he serves as both the firm’s operations manager as well as one of its main brand ambassadors.
Delilah Jones is a Swiss Mountain Dog from Vermont who joined the Notch Hostel as our mascot in 2016. She enjoys hiking, eating treats, and prowling around the backyard rooting up buried tennis balls. She also serves as one of our NotchWear models and sports a different color Notch bandana every day of the week.