Re: Guest Etiquette Question
From: Stuart Joseph (
Date: Wed, 25 Oct 2006 12:03:33 -0700 (PDT)
I know what you mean about trying to save money, so here are some more suggestions for Private Houses: Bring something to eat or for the house, like the bottle of Saki or some food to share. When we put up one of our members, they bring us something from NYC like bagels or pastries, they have also taken us out for a meal or paid for pizza.

When we take folks on tours, we don't expect anything for it, as that is how we will gain members.

Cher Stuewe-Portnoff wrote:
** sigh of relief ** Thank you, Liz. Our intention is always to participate
in whatever work we can, to be courteous and responsible, and to pay our
way; to make small donations to common house funds where it seems
appropriate; but also not to reduce personal kindnesses to commercial
transactions. I love Nina's approach, a win for everyone, but in truth, by
the time we have funded our travel to and from communities we hope may be a
good fit, we would be (and often are) camping out, conserving our meager
funds for an eventual down payment some place. We also love
bed-and-breakfast establishments -- but from afar :-). Other perspectives

-----Original Message-----
From: tamgoddess [at] [mailto:tamgoddess [at]] Sent: Tuesday, October 24, 2006 6:31 PM
To: Cohousing-L
Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Guest Etiquette Question

Oh, dear. A conundrum for sure. I've never received any compensation for
giving tours, as I consider it a part of my duties to my community and my
larger community of cohousers around the world. Once in awhile someone
offers, and now I feel that I've been remiss in not accepting for my
community's coffers! I may have to accept in the future.
We've hosted lots of people over the years, though we don't have a
purpose-built guest room, and no set fees. We have had larger groups who
slept in sleeping bags, etc., and I think small voluntary donations have
been gratefully recieved, but were not expected.

I would in no way be offended if someone offered nothing to stay in my
house, though I haven't hosted many people over the years-mostly relatives
of other cohousers in my community.

I have gotten some gifts over the years, and those were really wonderful. I
like when someone has taken the time to do that. A Japanese magazine writer
gave me a bottle of sake, that was the best one.

The only thing that has ever come close to offending me as a tour guide is
someone not showing up when they say they are going to, or showing up
without notice.

 -------------- Original message ----------------------
From: <seniorcohousing [at]>
---- Cher Stuewe-Portnoff <cherworks01 [at]> wrote:
There's probably not one right answer, but we could sure use a sense of
is generally considered good manners before we travel any farther :-).

Cher & Greg
My personal opinion, as a fellow guest: make a donation to the general
community fund equal to about what it would cost to stay at a nice B&B in

I've only stayed at two communities, both times in guest quarters.  No one
ever complained about my donation, and both times, I got a thanks from the

financial committee.

I also feel it's appropriate to make a donation if you've had a tour.
all, someone has spent at least an hour, sometimes much more, to take you around. My time is worth a lot. I assume my tour director's time is
worth a
lot, too.

And, ahem, there is a side benefit.  Folks get to know your name if it's
on a
check.  It's just human nature.  I've never run across a cohousing
that couldn't use a little cash.  If you have it, share it.

If you don't, though, you might want to offer some other thing of
time, for example.  If you're an expert in something, offer a specific
number of
hours of consultation in return for your visit.  It may be that no one
will take
you up on it right away.  In fact, it may be years.  But surely part of
cohousing movement is giving what you can when you can?

Nina, Ocean State Cohousing, RI
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Stuart Joseph, 802-463-1954
Project Director
Caer Coburn, a traditional village based upon  and intentional communities
Rockingham, Vermont, USA

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