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  1. #1
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    Default Woods Hole lacking this year

    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.

  2. #2
    Registered User jbbweeks's Avatar
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    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

  3. #3

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    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

  4. #4

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    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

  5. #5

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    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.
    Trail Miles: 3,715.9
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    AT Map 1 Completion: 1818.9 Springer, GA - Franconia Notch, NH
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  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lil' Santa View Post
    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.

  7. #7
    NOBO toBennington, VT plus 187 mi in MH & ME
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    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
    Grinder
    AT hiker : It's the journey, not the destination

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grinder View Post
    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.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lil' Santa View Post
    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?

  10. #10
    Registered User Hoofit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lil' Santa View Post
    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...

  11. #11
    Registered User Hoofit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lil' Santa View Post
    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...

  12. #12
    Registered User Hoofit's Avatar
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    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.

  13. #13

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    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.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoofit View Post
    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.....
    Order your copy of the Appalachian Trail Passport at www.ATPassport.com

    Green Mountain House Hostel
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    http://www.greenmountainhouse.net

  15. #15
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    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.)

  16. #16
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    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.

  17. #17
    Registered User Hoofit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff View Post
    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

  18. #18

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    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.

  19. #19
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    times were simple when Tillie was there

  20. #20
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    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?

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