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  1. #1
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    Default The Blueberry Patch

    Of all of the places that I stayed in my first thruhike attempt (GA->VA '00), the Blueberry Patch has the fondest memories. First of all, it's a spartan place with a lot of heart: Decent bunks, a small common area, a fridge, fuel, and more stuff. Gary and his wife put on a VERY nice breakfast (small additional charge) of blueberry pancakes. But what made it special for me was that Gary and his wife invited me to join them and their family for Easter Sunday "sunrise" services, and made me feel like a part of their family, not just some cleaned-up trail trash that they were being patronizing to or making a few bucks off of. They don't push, or even really mention, their religion, so don't get me wrong; but they live it in the finest way I can imagine, through kindness and fellowship. And pancakes.

    The Weasel

    "Well a promise made, is a debt unpaid, and the Trail has its own stern code." -- Robert Service
    "Thank God! there is always a Land of Beyond, For us who are true to the trail..." --- Robert Service

  2. #2
    Addicted Hiker and Donating Member Hammock Hanger's Avatar
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    Default Gray & Lennie ...

    What wonderful christian people.

    I was picked up on the side of the road by Gary after he dropped off hikers from the night before, dirty and smelly. There was a nice shower room for me, and Lennie took all my dirty clothes and returned them clean and folded. -- Next morning was a huge pancake breakfast.

    I truly enjoyed my stay here. (AGAIN: just a donation is asked for. PLease give.) HH
    Hammock Hanger -- Life is my journey and I'm surely not rushing to the "summit"...:D

    http://www.gcast.com/u/hammockhanger/main

  3. #3
    GA-ME 3/5/02 -8/14/02
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    Just my opinion, but this I think this is one of those "must stay" places on the trail. Chances are you will be going to Hiawasee anyway, and this will be your first real exposure to the wonders of people that provide services for thru-hikers. Gary and Lennie were amazing people, going out of their way to greet everyone, they do your laundry, and provide comfortable sleeping quarters and an amazing breakfast. I was actaully a bit skittish at the idea of staying here when I found out that they are such devout Chrsitians ( being an atheist), I thought I would be uncomfortable and pressured, but they did anything but, just went out of their way to be wonderful folks. As I said on the trail "Great place to go to restore your faith in humanity..."..this year was donations only and I found myslef wishing I had even more to give them.....
    "It's a dangerous business, going out your door...if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might be swept off to."-The Hobbit

  4. #4
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    About Gary and his wife being very devout Christians...

    Georgia call itself, with a lot of truth, "the buckle of the Bible Belt." And rural Joe-juh (that's how you'd better pronounce it, Yankee trash!) is very emphatically Baptist, among other denominations.

    When I got to the Blueberry Patch, I noted that there were a few Bible tracts discreetly placed in a small bowl on the common table in the bunkhouse. And I chatted with Gary briefly about reading the Bible - I raised the topic, not him - and later that evening he mentioned that he was leading Bible Study at - of all places - the local EMS/Ambulance facility for the on-duty rescue staff. (Let's discuss First Amendment separation of church and state later, OK?) Lacking anything better to do, I joined him, although as a pretty liberal Episcopalian, there ain't a lot of dogma that we have in common, and I'm usually not a big one for "let's read these verses and talk about how God makes us better than all them heathens out there."

    It was a blast! Gary is just a truly authentically nice person, with a real gift of enjoying the Bible as if it was the religious equivalent to the Thruhiker's Handbook (which makes sense, since both he and his wife have done the whole AT). The section we read was about Moses handing in his resignation to God - yeah, he tried - and Gary and these burly firefighters and I enjoyed the fact - and I'd never thought about it - that the Bible portrays God with a real sense of humor ("You want to fight with me, Moses? Your arms aren't long enough!"). I made several new friends, learned some new viewpoints, and spent an enjoyable evening.

    I had to come off the trail for 2 days for a medical problem three days later, and stayed with Gary again and rode into town with him. On the way back, he mentioned that not everyone in his church - one of the larger Baptist congregations - really fully agreed with him taking in these smelly, strange people called "thruhikers". I mentioned to him that it seemed to me that it was his own "mission" in life. He gave me kind of a strange look, and said, "You know...I've always felt that, but you're the first to ever say that."

    If you get to the B' Patch, and just want a good bunk, a fine breakfast and companionship, you'll get it, and no one will "push religion" in any way on you. But one of the real kinds of "trail magic" is meeting people and learning about them; Gary and his wife are the best kind of Christians, whose words are few and whose actions are kind, and this is a quiet side of Gary that is a wondrous thing, and not to be avoided. "I was a stranger and you gave me shelter" isn't just a verse in a book read on Sunday to them.

    The Weasel
    "Thank God! there is always a Land of Beyond, For us who are true to the trail..." --- Robert Service

  5. #5
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    Default Catholics

    So whats in store for us catholics in the bible belt, ah forget it!

  6. #6
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    Default

    Catholics? Well, actually quite a lot (contrary to the opinion of some, Catholics HAVE been known to read the Bible, and yeah, it's the same Bible, OK?) for them; virtually every trail town has a Catholic Church in or nearby. When desperate, ROMAN Catholics can also hang out at Episcopal Churches (more common), since us Episcopalians are virtually identical to Roman Catholicism in form of worship, and communion is open to all (as is the case with most Protestant churches). And when you get to the B' Patch and tell Gary, "Hey! I'm Catholic!" (if you bother), he's likely to say, "Cool. Here's the basket for your laundry." (Free laundry included in price, dried AND folded!).
    "Thank God! there is always a Land of Beyond, For us who are true to the trail..." --- Robert Service

  7. #7

    Default Tellico Gap Hostel in NC is CLOSED

    The Tellico Gap hostel in NC is CLOSED.

    Trespassers will be prosecuted.

    Please plan accordingly.

    To see more details check out the thread under Hostels & Lodging in NC on this site.

  8. #8
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    Default Church Services

    There aren't many places to attend Mass near the Trail, at least not until you get further North.

    Mass is performed by the Jesuits in Hot Springs, tho I'm not sure if this is done daily. Also, Bob and Pat Peoples of Kincora Hostel will happily take you to Mass if you're there on Sunday. There is also the Catholic Church hostel in Pearisburg.

    There is a church in Waynesboro also. And, there's one in Harper's Ferry that is open for prayer, but services are no longer performed.

    It gets easier as you head North: Duncannon and Stroudsburg (near Delaware Water Gap) have churches, as do some of the New Jersey and New York communities near the Trail. And after you enter New England, there are Catholic churches all over the place; Cheshire, Mass in particular.

    Here in Hanover, St. Dennis, my church, welcomes hikers of all denominations; it sits directly ON the Trail as you head North out of town.

    In my experience, thru-hikers have been welcomed at any church they choose to attend, regardless of whether or not they are observers of that particular faith---I've been to Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Congregationalist, Church of Christ, Unitarian, you name it, and I've been welcomed at all of them.

    Keep an open mind, participate in the services as much as you choose, be respectful of others, and try to clean up as much as possible before going, but by all means go if you feel like going, regardless of what type of church it is.

    No, there aren't many places for Catholics to worship on the Trail, at least not down South, but by all means , attend services elsewhere. The phone might appear a bit different at first, but I assure you the calls all go to the same place.

  9. #9
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    Default Whoops...

    Forgot one thing in my last post. This thread started out as a discussion of the Blueberry Patch.

    Weasel's right. Great place, great folks.

  10. #10
    Section Hiker 500 miles smokymtnsteve's Avatar
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    ......
    Last edited by smokymtnsteve; 08-14-2003 at 17:31.
    "I'd rather kill a man than a snake. Not because I love snakes or hate men. It is a question, rather, of proportion." Edward Abbey

  11. #11
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by The Weasel
    Of all of the places that I stayed in my first thruhike attempt (GA->VA '00), the Blueberry Patch has the fondest memories. First of all, it's a spartan place with a lot of heart: Decent bunks, a small common area, a fridge, fuel, and more stuff. Gary and his wife put on a VERY nice breakfast (small additional charge) of blueberry pancakes. But what made it special for me was that Gary and his wife invited me to join them and their family for Easter Sunday "sunrise" services, and made me feel like a part of their family, not just some cleaned-up trail trash that they were being patronizing to or making a few bucks off of. They don't push, or even really mention, their religion, so don't get me wrong; but they live it in the finest way I can imagine, through kindness and fellowship. And pancakes.

    The Weasel

    "Well a promise made, is a debt unpaid, and the Trail has its own stern code." -- Robert Service

    This place sounds very interesting. I think this is in Hiawassee? How far from the trail? Directions from the trail?
    "Just trying to keep life simple."

  12. #12
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    The Blueberry Patch is on the last road in north Georgia between the trail and Hiawasse. It's only a couple or three miles but Gary makes a lot of trips back and forth during thru-hiker season. If you choose to stay there you will guaranteed fond memories. Gary and Lennie are two of the nicest people you will ever meet.

  13. #13
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    Default I stayed at the Blueberry Patch

    Since it is a "must see", after a night at the Hiawassee Inn (March 19th), I started to hike down to the Blueberry Patch (8 miles or so out of Hiawassee). Of course I didn't get very far before a gentleman offered me a ride. Hikers have no trouble getting rides and don't usually need your thumbs... Anyway, I was really excited to meet Gary and Lennie Poteet. There were 7 of us that night and we really had a great time. We shuttled into town for dinner, then back. Of course, we had the most amazing breakfast with Lennies fresh homemade blueberry syrup. It was a day I will never forget. They have envelopes for donations, but ask nothing. I felt led to give freely. The register was signed by many folks I had been wanting to meet, but unfortunately did not have time to catch. This was my last night of spring break and it was an amazing adventure.
    Last edited by Red Hat; 03-03-2005 at 14:20.

  14. #14
    Registered User TickPicker's Avatar
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    Default contacting blueberry patch

    how do you contact these fine folks?????

    TickPicker

  15. #15
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    706-896-4893

  16. #16
    •Completed A.T. Section Hike GA to ME 1996 thru 2003 •Donating Member Skyline's Avatar
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    When I was at the BB in '99, the cost was $17 for bunk or tent space, laundry, breakfast, and ride back to the trail. It was well worth it, and I found the Poteets very nice people. The breakfast was AWESOME.

    I hope by going donations-only they don't hurt themselves financially. At the time they seemed to partially depend on their Spring hostel income.

    Having just gushed about the Blueberry Patch, I'll admit (at the time) I could have done without the hands-around-the-table mini prayer breakfast, but in hindsight that just became one of the great diversities of the AT. So the lesson learned: Celebrate diversity, all of it, even that which you can't really get into.

  17. #17

    Default

    The Patch was my 1st zero day. Glad it was there. Nuff said.
    I hate Nike but Just Do It anyway!

  18. #18

    Default So, about the BP in 2008...

    I know it is mostly being bypassed by this year's thruhikers in favor of Cloud 9. That said, has ANYONE staying there this year?

    I'm curious in part BC I stayed there when I thrued in 2006, and want some idea if it's going to still be there when/if I thru again in 2009, as I am considering. (The other reason is that I sent them some TM, and was wondering if anyone is getting any use out of it.)

  19. #19
    Registered User KG4FAM's Avatar
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    Default

    I am defiantly staying at the blueberry patch this year.

  20. #20

    Default Good choice, whiskey...

    Quote Originally Posted by 33whiskey View Post
    I am defiantly staying at the blueberry patch this year.
    Kind people running a perfectly fine hostel where you can shower, sleep, and have your clothes washed and folded for you by the lady of the house for no extra charge (!). (She knows how to handle hiker-materials, too.)

    There are plenty of donated toiletries in their bathroom, so you don't have to worry about putting soap, shampoo, shaving cream, etc. in a maildrop you send there. Do hit the bathroom a bit sooner than you otherwise might, though, as it is a bit of a distance from the bunkroom.

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