The winter storms that continue to blanket the US and Canada underscore the reason why a large and growing number of Evergreen Bed & Breakfast Club members in the Northern states and Canadian provinces spend their winters traveling south, away from the cold, for only $25 a day.
The Evergreen B&B Club is a 32-year-old membership organization that provides inexpensive homestays for people over 50 who love to travel. Many of these people are “snowbirds” who escape the bitter winds and piles of snow every winter without breaking the bank.
Bryce and Daria Anderson are two such “snowbirds. They’ve been Evergreen B&B Club members since 2009. Residents of Perham, Minnesota, the Andersons escape the freezing temperatures every winter for two months by taking long road trips to warmer states. Bryce estimates that they've stayed in the homes of over 30 different members over the years.
“Being gone for two months, we tend to go long distances,” he said recently.“The Evergreen Club makes it affordable to get away from all the cold for that long.”
Frommer's Budget Travel magazine calls the Evergreen Bed & Breakfast Club “a champion of the cost-conscious traveler.”
With members in 2000 locations across the US and Canada, the Evergreen B&B Club is unlike any other travel club. Members pay only $75 per year to join then just $25 a night (for a couple) to their hosts. Members must agree to host fellow members in their homes – often in the guest rooms they rarely use. And more often than not, those homestays result in new, lasting friendships.
The club’s small nightly gratuity includes a hearty breakfast each morning and “insider” tips from hosts on the best sights, events, restaurants, shopping, etc., in that particular town, city, or region – information travelers would never get from a hotel’s concierge desk.
Yet the Andersons agree that their hosts -- the people they meet along the way -- are the best part about traveling the Evergreen way.
“We meet all kinds of people from all walks of life,” Daria said.“And they’ve all been really nice, friendly, and incredibly interesting.”
“That’s the truly rich part of our travel experience,” Bryce added,“getting to know people from different areas and with different backgrounds. We treasure that part the most. The affordability is great, but the people and the conversations – that’s the bonus.”
The Andersons plan their escape to warmer climes first, then search the Evergreen Club’s membership on its website to determine where they’ll stay along the way. Then they use the website’s online map to get directions to their hosts’ homes, especially when they visit metropolitan areas.
They’ve discovered some terrific little restaurants, shops, and other places on their trips, they said, that they never would have known about if their hosts hadn’t suggested them.“Like this little restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina,” Bryce said.“It wasn’t listed on any guides to the city, but our hosts knew about it and we loved it.”
New club members are often surprised by the quality of Evergreen hospitality and the trusting nature of the hosts. As the Andersons noted, members treat each other like friends, not paying guests.
The website’s directory also provides details about each homestay: the host's interests, bed sizes, whether or not there’s a private or shared bath, whether or not pets are welcome, and places of interest nearby. Members, like the Andersons, select the homestays that appeal to them then make arrangements directly with the hosts.
“We’ve been to all of the warmer states during the worst of our winters by staying with Evergreen members,” Bryce said.“Arizona, Texas, California, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida – just to name a few!”
Other thrifty snowbirds can learn how they, too, can escape the worst of the Northern winter by visiting www.EvergreenClub.com
or by calling 1-800-962-2392.