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Lil' Santa
05-31-2016, 22:04
I was with a large group of thru hikers at woods hole a couple weeks ago. We all felt uncomfortable from Mr. Mike's negative vibes. There are A LOT of rules and less freedom to hang stuff to dry out or air out on the pepperty. Really cool place, but pricey for a glorified shelter. Dinner is $14 and you should expect to be asked to help set up and clean up dinner. I spent about $60 and left feeling bitter about the experience. I wish Neville and Mr. Mike the best, but needed to let other hikers know they should take AWOL's "slice of heaven" description with a grain of salt.

jbbweeks
06-01-2016, 08:30
To each his own - others will fill the need if a need appears! Making a profitable business of an AT hostel is pretty close to living on lottery winnings. The knifes edge between satisfying Hikers & making a living is tedious at best so AT regulars should not be surprised to find hostels that are not dedicated to their service. Helping hikers is a calling, an altruistic urge that comes from the heart. It another unique characteristic of the AT community from which comes the term trail magic. True altruism does not have a profitable component. It is rare to make money serving the AT community and when it occurs it should be considered true trail magic!


Tapatalk

Hikingjim
06-01-2016, 08:52
There are some hostels that don't register their business and do much under the table. They can charge less and act less as a business
I know a couple that pay a ton of cash out in insurance, taxes, etc, and don't make much of anything in profit in the end.

Glorified shelter? Probably true. But if people don't want the glorified part, then they can just stay in the AT shelter.

I have heard a lot of hikers on the trail complain about things relating to hostels/services, and it seems a bit skewed by hikers' expectation that things should come dirt cheap or free.

One hiker "I bought some resupply at hostel X and they charged me $5 for a ride to the trail. ridiculous". Wow, they made a few $ on some supplies that they had to gather and purchase for you, so they should give you a free ride! A nice bonus, but AT services and pricing are extremely good overall

Hikingjim
06-01-2016, 08:54
I will give a plug for the three springs hostel about 50 miles south of waynesborough though. You might spend $60 for your stay there, but you won't leave disappointed. Cleanest place I've seen, beautiful spot

No affiliation, I just enjoyed my stay and it's less known to hikers since they haven't been running forever

Gambit McCrae
06-01-2016, 08:56
I appreciate this post. I have already passed Woods Hole, and did not stay, but these kind of opinions should be applauded and not suppressed.

I am all about shouting at the rooftops on both negative, as well as positive experiences. I heard in SNP this weekend while hiking, that Mr Mike is not so happy about running a hostel anymore, and wants to just run his farm. This is hear say so take it with a grain, but all the same.

firesign
06-01-2016, 09:20
I was with a large group of thru hikers at woods hole a couple weeks ago. We all felt uncomfortable from Mr. Mike's negative vibes. There are A LOT of rules and less freedom to hang stuff to dry out or air out on the pepperty. Really cool place, but pricey for a glorified shelter. Dinner is $14 and you should expect to be asked to help set up and clean up dinner. I spent about $60 and left feeling bitter about the experience. I wish Neville and Mr. Mike the best, but needed to let other hikers know they should take AWOL's "slice of heaven" description with a grain of salt.


I found something of the same when I visited this hostel in 14. The concept of being expected to set the table, prepare the food and do the washing up after a day's hiking was not what I was after, and pay $13 for the privilege. Thankfully this was the only hostel that I used that had this system. There was a problem with water supply and at the time it was an outdoor battery operated shower which did not function but I assume that this has since been rectified.

You mention lots of rules, which I didn't experience, but these are no problem as long as they are delivered in a friendly (please help us) type manner.

The wife was really helpful and a happy soul who I believe may be Hamish. The husband seemed as though he wasn't so happy and kept out of the way from his guests.

I understand that Wood Hole is off the grid and very eco-orientated, but all the same, if the owners of the business are going to charge (IMO) top whack*, then at least provide a corresponding service.

I would not stay there again and thank you for your update -its a pity that observations like yours are not collated online - like an AT 'Trip Advisor' so that other hikers are not better informed when making accommodation decisions.

Best Wishes Santa



*Compared with other very positive and well priced hostels on the AT who are providing only the very best service to hikers.

Grinder
06-01-2016, 10:34
I would agree with most of the comments, but not to the degree of resentment expressed. It's a hard life trying to make a living as a Hostel. Budget hikers, thoughtless young idiots, etc tend to dull ones enthusiasm.

Having read all the stories about Neville's grandmother, one can only be a bit disappointed. Still, I stayed in the barn and it was okay.
Another year, I parked my van and motorcycle there for free while I leap-frogged through Virginia.

I also got a massage from Neville one year to soothe my aching bones.

All in all, not perfect, but pretty good.
Much worse was a place that I planned to stay at which went out of business after a month, leaving me high and dry.

The Bearded Woods in Connecticut is an example of a great hostel. The most memorable ones are run by ex through hikers, IMHO

firesign
06-01-2016, 10:50
The Bearded Woods in Connecticut is an example of a great hostel. The most memorable ones are run by ex through hikers, IMHO

I second the Bearded woods as great hostel example and excellent value for money run by great people.

I also agree with your comments regarding ex-thru-hikers running hostels providing a better services - all my favorite hostels were run by ex-hikers.

Like any business, it is all about the effort that one makes as to whether the business is a success or a failure.

gpburdelljr
06-01-2016, 11:09
I was with a large group of thru hikers at woods hole a couple weeks ago. We all felt uncomfortable from Mr. Mike's negative vibes. There are A LOT of rules and less freedom to hang stuff to dry out or air out on the pepperty. Really cool place, but pricey for a glorified shelter. Dinner is $14 and you should expect to be asked to help set up and clean up dinner. I spent about $60 and left feeling bitter about the experience. I wish Neville and Mr. Mike the best, but needed to let other hikers know they should take AWOL's "slice of heaven" description with a grain of salt.

Can you list the rules that you thought were excessive?

Hoofit
06-01-2016, 12:43
I was with a large group of thru hikers at woods hole a couple weeks ago. We all felt uncomfortable from Mr. Mike's negative vibes. There are A LOT of rules and less freedom to hang stuff to dry out or air out on the pepperty. Really cool place, but pricey for a glorified shelter. Dinner is $14 and you should expect to be asked to help set up and clean up dinner. I spent about $60 and left feeling bitter about the experience. I wish Neville and Mr. Mike the best, but needed to let other hikers know they should take AWOL's "slice of heaven" description with a grain of salt.

sixty bucks sure sounds like a lot!
How did that add up?
I guess I lucked out in 2010 as the lady of the house was real nice to me, offered me money to help her even though I hadn't asked, about a half hour and she gave me 10 bucks, the meals and the bunkhouse were each 10 bucks back then...Breakfast was really good, I remember...just a sweet lady, very warm and welcoming.
Her fella was busy building the veggie boxes so we didn't really get a chance to talk..we did help with the dishes I remember, for about twenty minutes I guess.
Sorry you had a bad time, such a nice spot as well...

Hoofit
06-01-2016, 12:52
I was with a large group of thru hikers at woods hole a couple weeks ago. We all felt uncomfortable from Mr. Mike's negative vibes. There are A LOT of rules and less freedom to hang stuff to dry out or air out on the pepperty. Really cool place, but pricey for a glorified shelter. Dinner is $14 and you should expect to be asked to help set up and clean up dinner. I spent about $60 and left feeling bitter about the experience. I wish Neville and Mr. Mike the best, but needed to let other hikers know they should take AWOL's "slice of heaven" description with a grain of salt.

sixty bucks sure sounds like a lot!
How did that add up?
I guess I lucked out in 2010 as the lady of the house was real nice to me, offered me money to help her even though I hadn't asked, about a half hour and she gave me 10 bucks, the meals and the bunkhouse were each 10 bucks back then...Breakfast was really good, I remember...just a sweet lady, very warm and welcoming.
Her fella was busy building the veggie boxes so we didn't really get a chance to talk..we did help with the dishes I remember, for about twenty minutes I guess.
Sorry you had a bad time, such a nice spot as well...

Hoofit
06-01-2016, 13:06
Not sure why it posted twice...ah well
The bearded woods place is kinda up there, 50 bucks with supper and breakfast. Always good to hear about ex hiker places...may just give it a shot as it's only a mile off the trail.

BonBon
06-01-2016, 15:03
I stayed at Woods Hole last year, and my experience was very positive. There was no point during my stay where the owners were not working. Neville did a yoga class, massages, and directed the bearded boys in preparing dinner and breakfast. Dinner was delicious- and the veggies were grown in their garden. I saw Mike tending that garden, plucking the greens- and he offered me a taste as he was pulling them. I saw him wander off to a hillside in the morning and hold and pet a baby goat as he observed the 30 plus people milling around the place. I had a deeper understanding of humane animal treatment as it pertains to sustainable living after my experience there. The bed (I opted for a bed inside) was the most comfortable I have ever slept in. The mugs were hand made by Neville, at a pottery studio she had frequented at some point. The orange juice glasses in the morning were arranged to make the AT logo. They had a jar on the counter to collect money for hikers as a scholarship sort of thing- to help those who were short of cash. Everything was arranged for the pleasure of the stinky waterlogged guests. The hostel portion of the business was very comfortable and geared towards cammraderie with games and tables to sit at. They had my supply box waiting for me. My bill was about $64- that included the room, dinner, breakfast, a block of delicious cheese, a loaf of home-made bread for the road, and a fresh fruit smoothie-which was breathtaking. I enjoyed the hand holding circle before dinner where we all said something we were grateful for. That will snap you back to how lucky you are to even have the experience of hiking the AT. I remember that at that moment when I had to declare what I was grateful for, it was for the food, the comfy bed, and the obvious passion the owners had to make my experience wonderful. They cared and I felt it. I enjoyed helping, I enjoyed the beauty and serenity and cleanliness of the place. The AT is all about experiences, and all of them are optional. As a business owner, I always tried to calculate what people actually made for these sort of unique stays. Considering the short season, I don't think anyone is getting rich.
If I hike this again, I would stay again- and zero for an extra day of "this slice of heaven." I am a fan. Loved it. Kool-aide drank.
By the way- Neville told me her grandparents ran this place before she did. There is a lot of AT history there. So, for the price of a no-tell motel, you can have a truly unique AT experience. One you might love or not- but you won't forget it. Like the Doyle (but opposite)- a must do in my opinion.

Jeff
06-01-2016, 15:26
The bearded woods place is kinda up there, 50 bucks with supper and breakfast. Always good to hear about ex hiker places...may just give it a shot as it's only a mile off the trail.

Bearded Woods is a bargain. A bunk in any New England town + dinner + breakfast + laundry will run more than $50.....

Starchild
06-01-2016, 18:31
I was overall slightly let down with my stay at Woods Hole Hostel but mainly because I was looking forward to 'A little slice of Heaven' which I really didn't experience here, without that hype I know I would have enjoyed it much more, but damn it I was looking soooo forward to that - ever since seeing it in the guide book - even commenting on looking forward to it to those I emailed from the trail, what I got was 'decent' but not that slice of heaven.

I feel it could do much better if advertized in the guidebook as something like a working farm hostel with house guest rooms also available (along with the additional services.)

Another note doing dishes does not really jibe with hiking all day to get there, also does indicate a disconnect between the owners and their guests. (thankfully I was not asked for that, we went out on town for dinner.)

mattjv89
06-01-2016, 18:57
I will say that they make a darn good smoothie, far better than the "famous" blackberry milkshakes at Shenandoah IMHO. I was only able to pass through here last year as I was dashing to not be shut out of the Pearisburg PO by Memorial Day weekend and couldn't stay the night. The place was beautiful although I got a pretty cool reception. As soon as I arrived and mentioned I wasn't staying the night Neville told me that all non overnight guests must leave the property within one hour. Now I'm sure this rule is in place due to the actions of past guests, but I found myself wishing they would take it on a case by case basis. I conduct myself politely at hostels, was a paying customer (smoothie and snacks) and not under the influence of any substances or otherwise behaving obnoxiously. Just kind of put a damper on the place to be sitting on a comfy porch swing enjoying the view and a cold drink, while regularly checking my watch so I could leave before being told to.

Hoofit
06-01-2016, 18:59
Bearded Woods is a bargain. A bunk in any New England town + dinner + breakfast + laundry will run more than $50.....

I'm sure you're right...guess I have to adapt to prices up north
Laundry as well is a nice addition

Glad to hear so much positive comment about the place
I wish them well and may well stay there this July on my way up north

bessiebreeze
06-01-2016, 19:49
I have stayed at Woods Hole 2 or 3 times in the last few years, and I loved it. I have stayed in just about every hostel up through Tenn, N.C., and va., and I think Woods hole is by far the best. The owners, Mike and Neville, make great efforts to have a good place, and this is also one of the most interesting places to stay on the trail (or nearby). Every hostel is different, and please remember, these owners have to make money on their efforts.

Lone Wolf
06-01-2016, 20:14
times were simple when Tillie was there

Dogwood
06-02-2016, 00:20
I'm definitely of AWOL's, Bon Bon's, and Bessiebreeze's opinions about Woods Hole Hostel. I've always immensely enjoyed my rustic stays there both when Tillie was running it and since Neville(she's so GREAT!, what a wonderful presence just as was Tillie, weep weep) and Mike have taken over the management. I think all three of these people know what hikers want and provide it which is WAY WAY more than fancy material goods or simply opening the doors to give visitors free reign or access to underpriced services and goods which is often the case as Hiking Jim stated in his Post #3. This is Old Appalachia as it was. What a wonderful atmosphere IF you'll let it into your soul just as the AT represents so much more than just a hiker highway. This is what I believe AWOL was referring to with "a little slice of Heaven." He grasped it. He let it into his soul and he cherished the golden nugget that is Woods Hole Hostel and the people that make it so. When leaving I've always felt not only physically but emotionally and spiritually recharged. I knew I had been a part of something larger than myself. I've always went there with a generous heart and with gratitude as Bon Bon so nicely relates. Mike has always been great too. The history of Woods Hole Hostel as Tillle and Neville have related it will ever be cherished in my soul while on hikes.

It's interesting as I've heard complaining and many disparaging remarks about the ATC, AMC huts, Baltimore Jack, AT shelters, Greasy Creek Hostel, Baxter SP and it's officials, Damascus Police, 12 Tribes, young people, older people, Great Smoky Mountains NP Rules, costs of such and such,.... on and on. I don't have any of those complaints. MAYBE, because demonstrating tolerance and gratitude while knowing a hike is never really ever done within a bubble keeps some of us from complaining?

The Kisco Kid
06-02-2016, 10:56
A hostel like Woods Hole is a home and a business and a wonderful one at that. It is not a trail shelter. Stop thinking that the two dollars in profit you provide entitles you to a red carpet roll out.

Try this: go to a local store. Buy a couple of items where they make a dollar or two in profit. Then, hang out for a couple of hours. Make sure to bring your dirty, stinking, sweaty clothes and hang it all over the outside of the store and grounds. Take your boots off. Air out your feet. During your hours long stay, be sure to ask to fill up your water, use the bathroom, and a traffic report of the road up ahead.

Time how long it takes for the cops to arrive to move you along

tiptoe
06-02-2016, 13:24
Agree, Marcovee. Remember that it's their home, and it's a working farm. Neville and Michael have set boundaries because everyone needs some privacy, and not all hikers are considerate guests.

I spent three restful days at Woods Hole a couple of years ago during a long rainy stretch. Anyone who would object helping with the meal cleanup probably has never hosted Thanksgiving, and at WH it's two big meals a day.

firesign
06-02-2016, 15:59
Its great that others had a wonderful time at Woods Hole.

I do object to preparing the table, preparing the food, clearing the table and washing up for both Dinner and Breakfast after hiking all day. The provision of food was not a random act of kindness - Dinner was $13. This in my opinion was not cheap. If you disagree with my observations - go to your nearest family owned restaurant: prepare your own table, prepare your own food, deliver your own food, clear your own table and wash your own plates, then pay for it! Why would being in the middle of the woods be any different? Woods Hole is a business the same as any other on the AT.

johnnybgood
06-02-2016, 16:31
I appreciate this post.

I heard in SNP this weekend while hiking, that Mr Mike is not so happy about running a hostel anymore, and wants to just run his farm. This is hear say so take it with a grain, but all the same.

He's been trying to find a buyer for a couple years now. Runnin' a hostel for profit these days is hard work and I'm sure there's only so much bull**** one person can take.

Dogwood
06-02-2016, 19:33
Agree, Marcovee. Remember that it's their home, and it's a working farm. Neville and Michael have set boundaries because everyone needs some privacy, and not all hikers are considerate guests.

I spent three restful days at Woods Hole a couple of years ago during a long rainy stretch. Anyone who would object helping with the meal cleanup probably has never hosted Thanksgiving, and at WH it's two big meals a day.

Last time I met Tillie we had about 10-12 visitors for B-fast. EVERYONE helped out getting the meal to the table with NOT ONE disgruntled attitude. No impatience or frowns. No high and mighty well I'm paying to be served attitudes. There was no imposing especially among the strong willed often high minded thru-hikers. B-fast was awesome…fresh picked local buckwheat blueberry pancakes and assorted fresh fruit with local eggs and local syrup. Neville made some delicious muffins with asst fruit. Some had eggs and sausage. Tillie and Neville even accommodated my vegetarian diet with no disagreeable or disparaging remarks. We all made time for each other at the table patiently hearing where each of us came from and what we were each doing. I still recall the names of the people at the table. We all broke bread as part of something greater than ourselves. We all cleaned up. Everyone offered. No one had to be demanded or ordered to help. And, we all felt grateful and humbled by BEING ABLE to have the experience taking the focus off ourselves contributing to others. Surely, hiking can be a vehicle that let's us not only go into ourselves but also allows us vast largely untapped opportunities to consider something larger than ourselves?

As I sat at the b-fast table I saw two pics one on each side of the fireplace. One was a old photograph of one of the last remaining Eastern Elk. Can you imagine the Appalachians with herds of elk roaming through the woods..through largely virgin timber forests with monstrous chestnuts and poplar, towering cedar, hemlock, and spruce? Woods Hole began as a small private cabin/barn where Tillie and her late husband lived part time and studied to save the Eastern Elk. Tillie's husband served in the Carter Administration as an Assistant to the Secretary of the Interior hence their interest in saving the decimated remnants of Eastern Elk. Tillie was a Botanist. She even so politely corrected this Horticulturalist when I got the latin names of a few plants incorrect when we strolled the property after b-fast relating it's history. She was sharp even well into her 80's. A life fully lived. On the right was a picture of Tillie's husband taken the day before he passed. How poetic and historical!

All this occurred in the old cabin which is the main home which was added onto to make it slightly larger. At the table Tillie gave us a run down of the floor plan and the cabins history. The cabin was moved there already being some 120+ yrs old before it was disassembled and reassembled and restored where it stands now. As Neville and Tillie talked and answered our questions we all sat on the edges of our seats enthralled with what we were able to behold.

Tillie told us Woods Hole Hostel started because the occasional wayward hiker, hunter, mushroom gatherer, bird watcher, etc would wander to the farm to get unlost, out of the rain, snow etc and Tillie and her husband would give them what they could offering a safe place of momentary refuge. This is how many hostels and trail angels begin…seeing someone in need and assisting. It's a graciousness and kindness displayed. Most hostel owners like the Mom & Pop AT and PCT Hostels, like Woods Hole, Greasy Creek, Bob Peoples at Kincora, Mary the Trail Angel, Miss Janet, 12 Tribes, Saufley's Hiker Heaven, Joe and Terrie Anderson's Casa de luna, Pooh's Corner, The Dinsmores, etc are really just people helping out people rather than truly substantial income generating venues. Might want to keep this in mind when having the opportunity to experience the graciousness and kindness of people and places like these.

Very much so…hiking is about so much more than hiking AND it's about so much more than just any one of us. :) :-?

BonBon
06-02-2016, 20:34
Just found this rare footage - it is the Hostel owners initiation ceremony.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4q6eaLn2mY

Praha4
06-03-2016, 01:14
I stayed there in mid April 2013, there were only 2 other NoBo thru hikers there with me that night. Neville was an angel, I arrived late in the day as they were finishing dinner in the house. Grumpy Mike was rude, did not identify himself as having a thing to do with the hostel, I thought he was a maintenance worker, he was loading up his truck outside the house, brushed me off as I walked up to the house asking where to go, acted like he couldn't be bothered. When I went in the house, Neville invited me into the kitchen and offered to bring out the dinner food after they were putting everything away. Could not say enough kind words about her, very helpful and courteous. Grumpy Mike left in his truck, we were told he was heading off to work on some new 'investment' house they had bought as a rental property. Whatever, my impression of him was he didn't want much to do with running a hostel. The dude is not a charming 'grumpy' type like many loveable teddy bears I've met at other hostels along the AT. No. I'm describing the AS*HOLE type grumpy. If he reads this, I hope he gets the idea. The dude is dam lucky to have a girl like Neville. Nuff said.
We met a young girl NoBo thru hiker a couple nights later at a shelter, who stayed at Woods Hole 3 days before I got there, she said she did work for stay for 3 days, and said Grumpy Mike was a real as*hole. That's all I can say. The food was great. Neville is an angel. Stay there and form your own judgements. I'm not a AAA rating service for hostels, I'm just telling you what I saw there.

Bronk
06-03-2016, 10:40
Several ways to look at things like this...first question you need to ask yourself when you think a product or service is overpriced is "Do I have any other options?" Lack of competition usually means high prices. If you're in a situation where there are no services available, wouldn't you rather at least have the option of a high priced service?

$14 might sound high for a dinner where you are expected to help set up and clean up afterwards, but I also know how much hikers are capable of eating. When you go to McDonald's they expect you to take your tray the to trash can on your way out. Not every place is a full service restaurant.

Lots of rules? Probably means there were a lot of idiots that came before you. Every rule you encounter in life is an advertisement for the idiot that did something that made the rule necessary.

Bottom line is if you don't like the setup, vote with your feet and your wallet.

MtDoraDave
06-12-2018, 21:00
Looks like this thread has been inactive for two years.
I'm about to do a section with Woods Hole in the middle of it.
I called today and left a voicemail, asking if they shuttle and that I might stay at their place mid week...and haven't gotten a call back yet.
.
Anyone have current input or info about woods hole?
Should I be trying to find a different shuttler?
I'm going to be hiking from O'lystery pavilion (mi. 556) and hiking nobo 100 miles. Prefer to park at the north / end of the section and shuttle back to the starting point.

foodbag
06-12-2018, 21:26
I stayed at Woods Hole in 1999 when I terminated my thru-hike attempt and remember the place fondly. Some of us hikers who were staying there did a little yard work in exchange for breakfast the next morning. Miss Tillie and High Pockets, if I remember the old gent's trail name correctly were gracious hosts, and quite energetic for their respective ages. They also graciously gave me a ride to Christiansburg to the Greyhound station so that I could make my way home after ending my hike.

Spring ahead to 2005 and I returned to Woods Hole to attempt to do some more long miles. I was pleasantly surprised to find Miss Tillie and High Pockets still there and going strong. I think I moved a bunch of rocks to earn my breakfast that time. Does anyone know if Miss Tillie and High Pockets are still with us? They would be quite elderly if they were. It sounds like there has been some changes from all those years ago.

stephanD
06-13-2018, 16:52
I just checked their website, and prices seem to be fairly reasonable.

QuietStorm
06-13-2018, 20:28
Stayed there in January. I was the only guest and Neville treated me really well. I would recommend it to anyone.


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capehiker
06-13-2018, 21:50
The pulse I’m getting the past 2 years is when the husband is not around, it’s a completely different vibe. I’m seeing more posts and statements that it’s more required to eat the meals there rather than suggested.

A simple fix would be to reword the AWOLS guide to put it in line with a working farm where everyone participates. A slice of heaven (in my world at least) does not involve chores

chef4
06-14-2018, 07:55
They ask for volunteers to help with some of the cooking, serving and cleanup. It's quite light work that might take 10 minutes or so, and there are always several people helping. There's typically a good mix of section and thru hikers so this is just part of the social aspect of staying there.

LittleRock
06-14-2018, 09:47
I stayed at Woods Hole in '15. It's definitely in my top 3 favorite places I've stayed on my section hikes through the Southern AT. Most of the other hostels I've been to are either someone's house or a building in town. Woods Hole was unique because it's restored from an old hunting cabin from the 1800's, it's in the middle of nowhere, and it's a working farm. There were maybe a dozen guests there the night I stayed, and Michael and Neville were both very friendly to everyone.

I actually enjoyed being part of the meal preparation and cleanup. Maybe it was because I'd only hiked 8 miles from Wapiti that day and was glad for something to do, but I felt like it gave the place a very personal touch. I had a great time listening to Neville talk about all the ingredients from their farm that were being used in our dinner, as well as how most of the other ingredients were locally sourced from nearby farms. I also very much enjoyed the communal meals, especially the part where everyone got a chance to speak about what they were thankful for.

Michael shuttled me back to Damascus, meaning I spent 2 hours with him in the car. I can see how he'd rub some people the wrong way, but I really enjoyed our conversation. It was clear to me that he's an introvert (I am too), and lots of human interaction makes us grumpy. I asked him a lot of questions about the farm and the hostel, and he really opened up and spent most of the time talking about the hostel, the farm, and all the improvements they were trying to make. He talked at length about how he set up their water to come from a gravity fed spring and how he wanted to install solar panels and wind turbines so they could go completely off-grid.

My impression was that either running the farm OR running the hostel would be a full-time job for 2 people, they are trying to do both by themselves, and sometimes it's really just too much for them. I hope this will help some folks realize that they're just 2 people trying their best to live their lives and give back to the trail (Michael is a former thru-hiker) and maybe back off some of the negativity.

MtDoraDave
06-14-2018, 13:40
I do plan to stay there on my way through. Will report back later.

Starchild
06-14-2018, 14:22
...
A simple fix would be to reword the AWOLS guide to put it in line with a working farm where everyone participates. A slice of heaven (in my world at least) does not involve chores
I totally agree, 'a working farm where everyone participates' is a perfect AWOL line for them and yes as a thru hiker I would chose to stay there, and somewhat even look forward to the experience. A little slice of heaven - hell yes I would stay give that description, but I left very disappointed and disheartened as it was certainly not that.

It was almost prophetic also that I mentioned to a close friend that I was excited about going to Wood's Hole and that line about the little slice of heaven. She would normally be all over that description but they paid it no more mind then saying I was planing to stay at such and such shelter - I still remember that, when I told here I was going it didn't invoke the reaction that I expected. It was very strange, but it was also very correct.

gracebowen
06-14-2018, 18:03
I have to agree with op. $14 for dinner and you have to help cook and clean seems a bit much.

Yes you throw your trash away at mc Donald's but it didn't cost you $14 for a meal. Aslob you don't have to and they aren't going to say anything. Most people do it because they are polite and fast food workers make minimum wage.

I'm all for them making a decent profit. I don't even mind helping but if I'm helping I think $14 is too high.

Deacon
06-14-2018, 18:48
Hereís Neville and Michael. She is an amazing hostess.


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Seatbelt
06-15-2018, 11:11
I have to agree with op. $14 for dinner and you have to help cook and clean seems a bit much.

Yes you throw your trash away at mc Donald's but it didn't cost you $14 for a meal. Aslob you don't have to and they aren't going to say anything. Most people do it because they are polite and fast food workers make minimum wage.

I'm all for them making a decent profit. I don't even mind helping but if I'm helping I think $14 is too high.
As for McDonalds, I bet more than one thru-hiker as spent this much or more at McDonalds once the hiker hunger sets in.
As for Woods Hole, I stayed there last Nov. Was the only guest that night, Michael checked me in, Neville was gone and he soon left for the weekend(it was a Fri eve) and left the place in the care of friends--who were very nice and accommodating. Only complaint I had was the mouse that ran across my face in the hostel. LOL Nice place overall. IMO

trailmercury
06-15-2018, 13:55
Sounds like a place I won't want to miss when I pass through the area.

Dogwood
06-15-2018, 14:36
Why is it so often contributing to others - participating - establishing deeper connections beyond self while on a hike met with such indifference and hostility? Too self absorbed? Buy into the notion that everyone approaches their hikes as a "vacation" where being catered to is often expected? How about taking the focus off ourselves for awhile? Connect with the AT through being a goodwill ambassador of the trail and hiking community rather than being just a USER? NO ONE hikes within a bubble as if they are the center of the Universe. Shelling out a few bucks shouldn't make us unconditionally demanding of goods and service at a backwoods cabin and barn hostel? Is it WB Users, being on line, or is this society?

trailmercury
06-15-2018, 15:46
^^^^ +1 ^^^^

RockDoc
06-15-2018, 16:45
Why is it that one after another highly appreciated AT lodge eventually turns sour and closes or sells out? Shaws certainly had their fill of it after attaining saintly fame. Bear at the Cabin closed up after a few enthusiastic years. You could tell that the grumpy owner of Whitehouse Landing was unhappy, before he closed up. Hiker hostel?

I think it says more about some of their clients than it says about them... painfully cheap, dirty, smelly, poorly mannered, and highly entitled (thrus).

Oh, sign me up to do business with that lot!

MtDoraDave
07-01-2018, 07:31
I was planning to stay this past Wednesday, but a fellow I was hiking with had a newer version of the AWOL book, and it says "closed Wednesdays", so I went on to the next shelter instead. Docs Knob, I think. It has a cool new deck built.

George
07-01-2018, 16:05
Why is it that one after another highly appreciated AT lodge eventually turns sour and closes or sells out? Shaws certainly had their fill of it after attaining saintly fame. Bear at the Cabin closed up after a few enthusiastic years. You could tell that the grumpy owner of Whitehouse Landing was unhappy, before he closed up. Hiker hostel?

I think it says more about some of their clients than it says about them... painfully cheap, dirty, smelly, poorly mannered, and highly entitled (thrus).

Oh, sign me up to do business with that lot!

because small businesses are always prone to ending/ closing
hikers of course are not big spenders - but any customers can be unpleasant

the real question is, if you detest hikers, why don't you leave here and find another activity?

thestin
07-01-2018, 16:56
Tillie passed away a little over 10 years ago.

peakbagger
07-02-2018, 08:26
because small businesses are always prone to ending/ closing
hikers of course are not big spenders - but any customers can be unpleasant

the real question is, if you detest hikers, why don't you leave here and find another activity?

Do Note the LOL

Opening a hostel to make a buck is not a viable small business plan. Few if any who tried stayed in business for long. Over the years I have seen postings and heard of hostel owners on the abuses inflicted on them by the minority. Thefts of services is pretty much the norm, folks skip out on a frequent basis. Add in thefts of personal property, drugged and/or drunks who threaten the owners and others, harassing and stealing from the neighbors, felons masquerading as hikers and add on many other issues.

jimmyjam
07-02-2018, 10:41
I stayed there this past April and thoroughly enjoyed my stay. We got there minutes before the bottom dropped of the sky and got several inches of rain over night. We bought a pot of coffee made with fresh roasted beans which was out of this world good and ate huge homemade brownies that afternoon. Neville took us all into Pearisburg to the Mexican restaurant for dinner. The next morning we hiked back up the mountain in a snow storm and then into Pearisburg thru alternating periods of sunshine, rain, sleet, snow and more rain. A great place to stay, do not miss it if you hike the AT.

Deacon
07-03-2018, 16:18
Why is it that one after another highly appreciated AT lodge eventually turns sour and closes or sells out? Shaws certainly had their fill of it after attaining saintly fame. Bear at the Cabin closed up after a few enthusiastic years. You could tell that the grumpy owner of Whitehouse Landing was unhappy, before he closed up. Hiker hostel?

I think it says more about some of their clients than it says about them... painfully cheap, dirty, smelly, poorly mannered, and highly entitled (thrus).

Oh, sign me up to do business with that lot!

Woods Hole is unique among hiker hostels, in that they donít really need hikers to maintain their operation. They operate as a B & B in the main house, and oh, by the way, Neville is willing to help out hikers too.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

gracebowen
07-03-2018, 16:56
I didn't say I'd never help or connect with others. I said that for $14 a meal I should not have to work for it.

Minimum wage is $7 so a $14 meal has already cost a poor hiker 2 hours worth of work. Asking for help while charging that much for a meal is my issue.

If the meal cost less then helping wouldn't be an issue

chef4
07-03-2018, 17:08
As long as there are a number of people there I would guess you don't have to help, as we had more volunteers than needed, it's part of the social culture there, and dinner is of course optional. When I met my son there during his through hike he said it was by far his favorite hostel, and we then returned again two years later to repeat that section, in part because of Wood's hole (but also Pearisburg to Dismal falls is a fantastic two day section hike). Neville has a set of reasonable rules she follows, and I think this is why she has been successful. I would be poorly suited for the hospitality business, which is why it's great to see someone like her who is a natural.

SteelCut
07-03-2018, 18:09
As long as there are a number of people there I would guess you don't have to help, as we had more volunteers than needed, it's part of the social culture there, and dinner is of course optional.

Agreed. Helping with dinner is not mandatory ... just make yourself scarce by hanging out at the bunkhouse if you don't want to help. Plus, the kitchen is too small for everyone to help. It can only accommodate about 4 or 5 people. Despite being an introvert, I volunteered to help with dinner and ended up cooking a large portion of the dinner for 12 people. It surprised me that this was the highlight of my section hike through that area last year. But, different strokes for different folks. YMMV.

Emerson Bigills
07-03-2018, 21:08
I came through there during a very chilly April night, in which it actually snowed a couple inches over night. I stayed in the house as did most of the others because of the cold weather. The dinner and breakfast were very good and my contributions to preparation and cleanup were probably 10 minutes each time. It was good opportunity to interact with some other hikers I had not met yet. It wasn't cheap, but I have spent a lot more at hostels/towns in some other cases.

Neville is a really sincere person that cares about her customers, but wants to maintain the "earthy" feel that her family provided, even though many hikers want some of the modern amenities (i.e. WiFi). Her husband was getting ready for an out of town trip and didn't interact with the hikers at all. It was a unique experience among hostels, but I am glad I spent a night there. I look at it as another opportunity the trail provides to interact with people that I typically would not spend time with. I think one of the biggest gifts of the AT is it opens up "doors" that we have never walked through before.