Monday, January 21, 2008

Services we liked on the Trail - Georgia to Virginia

The "Hiker Hostel" Dahlonega, Georgia

I was reading on White Blaze of a request for a listing of places where hikers enjoyed staying along the Appalachian Trail. I decided to go ahead and post the places where we stayed, along with comments on services, etc. This post will cover Georgia to Virginia.


Dahlonega - The Hiker Hostel - bunks, great breakfast included, laundry for a small fee, computer, nice area for hikers to hang out. Josh will pick you up at Woody Gap if you call.

Neel's Gap - We stayed at Goose Creek Cabins. The owner was very friendly and provides shuttles to and from the AT. Nearby restaurant was closed in 2007 but supposedly he will make a run in the evening (if it is open in 2008). Or you can order a pizza. Highly recommended. No computer available. Excellent outfitter in Neel's Gap, a must.

Hiawasee - We stayed at the Hiawasee Inn. The owners there, upon hearing we were a family, immediately gave us their big "apartment" type room complete with a kitchen for the same hiker rate. Friendly staff. Laundry available. No computer that we could see but check with the owner. Shuttle to the trail for a small fee. Great AYCE buffet in town. Groceries.

Dick's Creek Gap - Cloud Nine Hostel. We walked there - a long walk but they are said to pick up at the trailhead and they did take us back in the AM. We were too late for the restaurant run that night, but we had great smoked trout that night. Cool activities like ping pong. Laundry, computer. Laura is very friendly. The hostel is for sale though in 2008.

North Carolina

Winding Stair Gap - Franklin - Ron Haven is a true friend of hikers. He will pick you up at the parking lot and take you to one of his two motels (we stayed at the second motel and liked it very much. Seemed nicer and more modern. It was close to the laundry). In the evening Ron will shuttle you around to the grocery store, post office, etc.

Natahala Outdoor Center - we did not stay there but other hikers have and they do have services. I found the outfitters there a bit rude but they do take maildrops which is nice.

Fontana Dam- to prepare for the Smokies, we opted to stay at the more expensive Hike Inn which has motel-like rooms. They will pick you up at Fontana Visitor center (use the pay phone) and take you back in the AM. They allow you to briefly use the computer in their home, but be warned, they do smoke. They also do your laundry and take you to Robbinsville for food and supplies. I found the owner a bit gruff but had good wisdom for hiking in the Smokies.

Gatlinburg - We opted not to go into Gatlinburg

Green Corner Road (when you come out of the Smokies) Standing Bear Farm Hiker Hostel -Curtis is very friendly. A rustic place with bunks but you can get a shower, use the internet, and do your laundry, so it's great. The food prices are a little expensive but when you're hungry, you pay it, and you can get some minor resupply there to get you to Hot Springs.

Hot Springs - Cute little town. As Elmers was full, we stayed one night at the Alpine Court Motel, cash only and pricey. Stayed at Elmers for night number two and they let us stay in one of their grand bedrooms, so it was great. They didn't serve dinner that night though, sadly. We did like the food at Smoky Mtn Diner. And there is a Dollar General for cheap resupply.


Erwin - since my hubby came up, we opted for the Holiday Inn Express and it was very nice (much friendlier than the Super 8 from what I have heard). If you have several hikers to go in with you, this is a good option for nice relaxation. Great hotel, laundry, Internet, free breakfast. Lots of hikers when we were there. Uncle Johnny also does shuttles if you want to do slackpacking in the area. He also operates a hostel right by the trail.

Rt 19 E - Mountain Harbour B&B - this place was okay. Easy to walk to. Owner a bit gruff but it may be his personality. They charge for laundry and shuttles to restaurant, PO, and groceries. Accept maildrop. Hostel is over a horse barn and the horses do make noise at night. Comfortable though with bunks and a kitchen and video collection.

Dennis Cove Rd - Kincora Hostel - Bob and Pat Peoples are great, what can you say? They know how to run a hostel. Has everything you need, and they run a free shuttle to town. Bob also ran us a free shuttle to slack over Pond Mtn in bad weather. He knows everything about the trail in the area. Great place.
(Note: Pat Peoples passed away in 2008. Not certain what is happening with the hostel)

Virginia - Part 1

Damascus - friendliest town on the AT , or so it says. When we were there, it was very quiet as it was soon after the VA Tech tragedy. But a great town. We stayed at Dave's Place (operated out of Mt Rogers Outfitters) as they provide rooms with a key so you can lock up your backpack. I did not eat there as I went with my hubby on an outing, but there are places to eat, to buy supplies, etc. Full service town.

US 11 - Near the Interstate. We stayed at the Relax Inn across from the trail. Okay, it was kind of a dump and the AC didn't work well but it had what we needed like a shower (though the tub leaked) and laundry. Not the greatest place, but sometimes you can't be fussy. They charge $5 for maildrops. No computer. No PO. Convenience store nearby where you might be able to resupply.
(Note - there is a new hostel in this raea that just opened up. Worth checking in to)

Bland - We stayed with my hubby at a motel in Christiansburg, so no info on this area. But there are services.

Pearisburg - We stayed with friends here, but it looked like a full service town and has a hostel.

Catawba - The Homeplace restaurant is great- a littel pricey but great food for hungry hikers.

US 220 - We stayed at the Comfort Inn under I 81 (other hikers did too) but other choices available. Country Cookin AYCE is practically next door. Hotel had Internet, breakfast, laundry. Nice place. Had a hiker rate but they may be doing away with it in 2008. There is an outfitter and huge grocery store here (by the trail).

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