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  1. #1
    Registered User Falcon's Avatar
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    Default Possible opening of a Hiker Hostel for AT Hikers. Give me your thoughts.

    I started section hiking the AT four years ago and have made it to just north of Damascus, Va. I have now retired from 36 years in education as a teacher, coach and high school principal in Georgia. While hiking I have stayed in a couple of hostels and thoroughly enjoyed it. I grew up in Rabun County, Ga. and own an old house in Clayton, Ga. that would make a perfect seasonal hiker hostel. I would need to shuttle hikers from the trail crossing at Highway 76 (Dicks Creek) to Clayton (13 miles). I would like to know your thoughts and feedback if you were thru/section hiking on the AT, would a hostel in Clayton, Ga. be a location that you might want to stay and resupply? Please give me you honest feedback and opinion. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Registered User BuckeyeBill's Avatar
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    What other amenities are offered in Clayton (I.e. restaurants, Grocery stores etc.)? Sounds like you are willing to do what ever it takes to get us to your hostel, but it would nice to know what else we have to look forward too.
    Blackheart

  3. #3
    Registered User Falcon's Avatar
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    Main Street of Clayton is literally 75 yards from my front porch, where there are restaurants, shops, stores, etc. There are also within short walking distance a Pizza Hut, Burger King, Chik-fil-a, Taco Bell, Ingles Grocery, Wendy's, McDonald's, Chinese Buffet, Checker's, Zaxby's and a laundromat. About 2 miles away is a Walmart and Home Depot. In my opinion Clayton would a great hiker friendly town.

  4. #4

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    I'm not a thru-hiker but I think it sounds PERFECT! I looked at that area in the book. Looks like it would be a good resupply stop.

    Yes, I would say go for it!

  5. #5
    Registered User kayak karl's Avatar
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    have you checked the legal (permit) aspect of it. as a contractor i was always wondering how strict they are in the south. thought of driving up and down trail doing work on hostels
    good luck with your venture.
    I'm so confused, I'm not sure if I lost my horse or found a rope.

  6. #6
    Registered User Semodex's Avatar
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    We live in Cleveland. Clayton does have a nice feel to it...seems laid back. Love, love, love the art gallery downtown.

  7. #7
    Registered User Falcon's Avatar
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    As far as legal ramifications, all I need to do is obtain a local business license and a permit to operate as a seasonal bed & breakfast.

  8. #8

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    That road crossing has Hiawassee to the west and Clayton to the east. Hiawassee had the Blueberry Patch Hostel with very limited occupancy (10 hikers I believe), Ron Haven has the Budget Inn ($39.95/room), the Holiday Inn Express, etc.

    Even with that being said, there is still a need for a reasonably priced hostel in the area during the months of March and April.

    You need to figure out your policy on shuttling since you could be spending alot of time behind the wheel. Hikers can of course hitch into your place, but are you returning them to the trail several times each morning?
    Last edited by Jeff; 01-29-2014 at 09:26.
    Order your copy of the Appalachian Trail Passport at www.ATPassport.com

    Green Mountain House Hostel
    Manchester Center, VT

    http://www.greenmountainhouse.net

  9. #9

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    After reading Jeff's comment, I had this thought- If it were me, I would be inclined not advertize my place in the book. I would start by word of mouth until you figure out if you really enjoy doing this sort of thing. Kinda like doing a few shakedown hikes to determine if you would like to attempt a thru-hike.

  10. #10
    Registered User Falcon's Avatar
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    I appreciate all of your suggestions and input. My initial thoughts are to only provide bunks, towels and shower/bathroom. No Smoking, no alcohol at the hostel because within 200 yards are 3 bars/restaurants available. I thought I would shuttle once or twice a day, morning and afternoon to the trail head. Cost for a nights stay would be in the $15-$20 range.

  11. #11

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    Sounds reasonable.. good move on providing towels, IMHO. I heard that 4 Pines Hostel, near me in Catawba VA, doesn't provide towels.

  12. #12
    Registered User Tuckahoe's Avatar
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    Falcon, I personally would suggest also not allowing drunkenness/public intoxication. In a communal bunk room or living space there is nothing more unpleasant than that dunken a$$ hole who ends up making everyone else's stay miserable.
    igne et ferrum est potentas
    "In the beginning, all America was Virginia." -​William Byrd

  13. #13

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    Perhaps offer additional shuttles for an additional fee to give late starters an option.

  14. #14

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    Back in the day hikers used to stay in hotels in Clayton (is the Heart of Rabun still around?) so I don't see why a hostel wouldn't work. You have a choice between a $40 hotel in Hiawassee and a $20 hostel in Clayton and I think there is a market for both.

    Both Rons hotel and the Blueberry Patch have a specific time for a free pick-up which you would also need to do. Are you close to the PO? If not, then a daily trip there would also probably be necessary.

  15. #15
    Registered User Falcon's Avatar
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    I am only 2 blocks from the Clayton Post Office. Mail drops would be easily accessible.

  16. #16
    Registered User Mtn Scout's Avatar
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    I think its a great location. If ran the right way I think it would benefit hikers as well as yourself. I think you will get more business by "word of mouth" traffic more than anything. If someone enjoys the stay at your hostel they will tell two people. If they have a bad encounter with your hostel they will tell ten people. So, given the location and the ideas you shared I think it's a great idea and one of those things you never know until you try! Good luck, look forward to seeing it in the future.!

  17. #17
    Registered User canoe's Avatar
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    SOunds like a nice plan. If you dont know it yet there is a new hostel a very short walk from the trail at dicks creek. Not in town but right on the trail. It will be opening in the spring called Top of GA I think. Good luck.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Falcon View Post
    I started section hiking the AT four years ago and have made it to just north of Damascus, Va. I have now retired from 36 years in education as a teacher, coach and high school principal in Georgia. While hiking I have stayed in a couple of hostels and thoroughly enjoyed it. I grew up in Rabun County, Ga. and own an old house in Clayton, Ga. that would make a perfect seasonal hiker hostel. I would need to shuttle hikers from the trail crossing at Highway 76 (Dicks Creek) to Clayton (13 miles). I would like to know your thoughts and feedback if you were thru/section hiking on the AT, would a hostel in Clayton, Ga. be a location that you might want to stay and resupply? Please give me you honest feedback and opinion. Thanks!
    honest opinion? not a good idea. there's a new, full service hostel opening .5 from DC gap plus lots of other options in hiawassee

  19. #19

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    "Hiker Hostel" is trademarked by the Hiker Hostel in Dahlonega I believe. I know they have had some issues with some other businesses trying to feed off of their name before.

    Dont plan on using those two words together in the name. Refer to it simply as a hostel, or a hostel for hikers.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 02-10-2014 at 19:31.

  20. #20
    Registered User Mtn Scout's Avatar
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    I think this one is only open for a month and a half.

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