Saturday, May 24, 2014

Woods Hole

I'm here a second day at Woods Hole Hostel. After almost 200 miles in just a week and a half Guthook and I agreeed we needed a short break before pouring on the miles for the next leg of our journey. 

The land the hostel is on is protected by a conservation easment. Michael and Neville operate the hostel and run a sustainable organic farm. In addition to fresh vegetables they also raise pigs, chickens and a few cattle for beef. Many of the meals served at their table, at least in part come from the land they live on. They supplement with additional foods purchased at an Amish market on the other side of the mountain. 

The farm was passed down to Neville from her grandparents who settled in the valley in 1939. Roy and Tillie Woods rented the cabin and later purchased it and the surrounding land. Once careers were established they spent little time here and rented to hunters. After retirement they returned to their mountain home. Occasionally an AT hiker would knock on their door seeking help. Roy decided to open his home to hikers and built a bunk house. The first year of operation was in 1986.  Roy unfortunately passed away the next year but Tillie kept the place open. She continued to welcome hikers until her death in 2007. 

Neville had spent many summers helping her grandmother and decided to continue the family tradition by taking over the operation of the hostel. 

Hikers are encouraged to take part in the Woods Hole experience helping with the preparation and clean up of meals. Breakfast and supper are served daily. In addition locally grown foods, homemade bread, Amish cheese and honey are available. My favorite treat is the smoothie made with ice cream from the Amish market. 

The atmosphere is calm and peaceful here.  A hiker asked if he could just stay and help run the place.  He told me the answer was "get on the waiting list".  I can understand wanting to stay. It will be hard to leave in the morning.