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  1. #1

    Question Food and Shelter thoughts

    Good Morning:
    I have recently purchased land about a mile from the half way point on the AT. My husband and I are building a home there for our retirement. We plan on spending many hours hiking and enjoying the world around us.
    But I have a specific reason for joining this forum and that is to ask some very pointed questions about a budding plan to offer home cooked breakfasts and shelter for hikers........... but I'm not sure if that is something that a hiker would be interested in. Bottom line we enjoy people and their stories. We love to cook farm to fork meals and to feed people. We are about two years away from retirement but feeling out the possibilities of the plan now.
    So question one.....Something that you ladies would consider if you where hiking in this area or dumb idea?
    Question two.... if this is a viable thing how would we get the word out?
    Question three....... warm dry camp site with hot shower or a room if you where interested in accommodation as well?
    and for information sake........ the reason I am posting in the Female Hiking forum is because it feels much safer.
    This is very very small scale. Small hiking groups, singles thing. Not massive restaurant style production.
    Thanks for your time and safe travels. We are starting to experience warmer days up here but still the occasional snow storm and the spring rain.

  2. #2


    Basically your looking to start a hostel. These are popular. There are many more male hikers then females, so don't limit yourself to one gender.

    How to get the word out? Get listed in one of the several AT guides.

    There is a hostel called "Rock n' Sole" up near Port Clinton. They serve home cooked meals too. Might want to talk to them. The hostel is in a large prefab shed with 4 bunks.
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  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    San Antonio TX


    Hmmm. I would be interested depending on the price. The problem I see is people feeling left out or put off if you Mass advertise but are always full.
    Maybe just invite hikers an a case by case basis as you see them.

  4. #4


    Correct. Not sure LOTS of advertising is what we would want as much as word of mouth.
    Thanks for your response.

  5. #5


    I had not thought of it as a hostel but that is actually exactly right.
    I will check out the Rock and Sole. Thanks for the suggestion

  6. #6
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
    Join Date
    Winston-Salem, NC


    This seems like a more general topic, so I hope you will forgive my intrusion into the women's forum.

    You have two choices, I think. (1) meet the occasional random hiker or small group, and offer them a place to spend the night and a nice meal in the morning. This is more like "trail magic" in that it's unexpected. (2) make it a more regular hostel, get listed in the guide books, and have a steady stream of hikers every night all summer long.

    There are many hostels along the AT, and more seem to keep popping up. Hikers do love hostels, so you won't find it difficult to attract them. In fact you may find it difficult to limit it to one or two hikers unless you can avoid being in the guidebooks.

    If you decide to go with the hostel idea: In general, offering some sort of bunk room along with tent sites is the most common thing. Either way you'll need enough water and sewer to handle as many hikers as you want -- showers, bathrooms, etc. Many hostels offer kitchen space, and often offer a ride into the nearest town for resupply -- or, failing that, offer a small "store" with food hikers like, fuel for their stoves, etc.

    My wife and I are field editors for one of the guide books (The Thru Hiker's Companion), so I've met a lot of hostel owners, and I've stayed in hostels up and down the trail. I'd strongly urge you to talk with other hostel owners about their experiences -- it can be a lot of fun, but it's also a job, and if the hostel gets beyond a couple of guests you spend a lot of time cleaning toilets and laundering sheets and towels. Also, thru-hikers can sometimes be more demanding than maybe you want to deal with.

    That sounds negative, and I'm not trying to dissuade you. I've had some amazing experiences at hostels on the AT -- the owners have been warm, caring, and interesting people whom I am so happy that I got to know. But it's probably a good idea to talk to some of them so you know what you're getting yourself into if you decide to go that route.
    Ken B
    'Big Cranky'
    Our Long Trail journal

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Spokane, WA


    While you are considering at this, you might look into any regulatory issues.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

  8. #8
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
    Join Date
    Central Vermont


    This is posted in the women's forum, and you're asking the Ladies' opinion on their interest... are you intending this to be a women-only hostel? If that's the case, I'd take Feral Bill's advice seriously!

    And when it comes to pricing, remember that long-distance hikers eat a lot. Be aware of that when pricing meals, especially all-you-can-eat or free refill options - the takeup rate will be higher than usual.

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