Elmer’s Sunnybank Inn at 26 Walnut St in Hot Springs is a charming Italianate Victorian hostel a mere 50 or so steps off the trail.
The house is filled with antiques, books, music, and good vegetarian food. Think Victorian meets hippy. Rooms sleep 1-5 and many have balcony access for airing gear and relaxing. Each room has a writing desk. Bathrooms are shared and clean.
There’s a music room with piano and stringed instruments in addition to the general gathering room with TV, DVD player, books, and board games. There are books everywhere and loads of places indoors and out to enjoy them.
Almost across the street from yummy and reasonably priced Smokey Mountain Diner and the Dollar General store, everything in Hot Springs is within easy walking distance and the AT runs right down the main street.
Elmer is well-known for his vegetarian cooking and has a vegetable and herb garden out back. You must sign up ahead of time for breakfast or dinner; additional charges apply. Soaks in the area’s hit springs are available at the nearby resort.
Meh cell signal. Apparently only Verizon works here.
Aquone Hostel is outside Nantahala, NC
This has to be the cleanest hostel I’ve stayed at! Run by Brits Stephen and Maggie, Aquone Hostel is an utter delight to walk into! The building is quite new and so are the lovely furnishings.
Gear and boots are left outside on the specially sheltered porch. As an experienced thru-hiker, Stephen knows what we need and provides an area to air out gear and even a drying shed!
All hikers are politely and firmly asked to shower immediately upon arrival. The 2 bathrooms have marvelous huge slate and tile showers. For a few extra dollars, they’ll wash and dry your laundry. The 3 sleeping rooms and 2 daybeds in the living room can sleep 12 total.
There’s a full complete kitchen to cook in or you can have the dinner ($8.95) or breakfast ($4.95) in a common area downstairs. You also have the option of purchasing a hot delicious DiGiorno’s pizza from them for $10. There’s a variety of snack and resupply itemsfor sale but not full resupply.
The lovely living room has a “wood burning” stove, games, comfy sofa, rocking chairs, TV w satellite, and a DVD player with small selection of movies.
Stephen is very knowledgable about the area and can slack pack hikers. Very marginal cell reception here but you can use their laptop for Internet. No facilities within walking distance.
Blueberry Patch Hostel ((706) 896-4893) is charming! The hostel itself began life as a garage which was improved and expanded. It sleeps 11 max in one large sleeping room. There’s a kitchen w frig and stove (no sink). The bathroom/shower is a separate building out back. FABULOUS shower with a terrific assortment of toiletries but this is the only bathroom. On your way to the shower house, you’ll see their 2 donkeys and several goats! This is a Christian home and they serve hikers as their mission. Breakfast was amazing! Great cell service. Payment is donations at breakfast. They can usually arrange rides did you.
Budget Innin Hiawasee, GA is very popular with hikers because of the reasonable rates and the free shuttles from several area trail access points on route 64. During the March and April, 3 Eagles Outfitters operate a small satellite store on the Budget Inn property. Walking distance to loads of places for meals including 2 AYCE places! Ingles grocery store will have any food you might need for resupply.
Excellent cell signal. Clean. Laundry available. Dated decor.
Blood Mountain Cabins has adorable 2 bedroom cabins with full kitchen, bathroom w shower, long back deck (overlooking a lovely stream) )w grill, dinette, and living room with futon sofa, rocking chair, wood burning stove, and cable TV. The 3 cabins I saw all had 1 BR on the first floor and the second BR was a walk up loft. Bright and sunny. Hiker special was $60 a night for up to 4 people and George does your laundry for free!
They have a delightful small store w mineral specimens and a few curios. They carry frozen pizza and a few basics but not a place for resupplying. They do have a hiker box.
Walking distance from Mountain Crossings, they often take folks when the hostel is full. Breakfast is not included as it is at the hostel but this place is way more private and sunny.
Cell service is a bit iffy here.
Historic and legendary Mountain Crossings Hostel is in Neel’s Gap right after coming down off Blood Mountain. You absolutely want to check out their retail store and perhaps have them do a gear shakedown for you, however be fore warned: while you lighten your pack, you will also likely lighten your wallet considerably! I personally know two people that spent a little over $1000 each lightening up their packs.
The gear/gift shop is terrific. They have pretty much everything you need as far as gear, food for the trail, food for the evening, and gifts/books to send home as souvenirs.
The building is super cool, made of stone, and the trail actually passes through a part of the building so you really can’t miss this place!
The hostel is in the basement of one of the old stone buildings. You need to have your own linens/sleeping gear. They provide breakfast in the morning. The place is cold, very cold! There are no windows in the one sleeping room full of bunks. There’s free camping space out behind the building and you can get just a shower for $3.50.
Still… This place is almost legendary on the trail and even if you don’t stay at the hostel, you absolutely have to check out the store.
Marginal cell signal inside the stone basement areas. Try the front porch.
Wolf Pen Gap Country Store has bunks and beds upstairs. One room has two twin beds. Room number two has one double bed and room number three has a double bed and bare bunks for 9. There’s a small common room with microwave, small refrigerator, and sink. One bathroom with a shower. The store downstairs sells food and essentials at somewhat marked up prices. Accommodations are very basic. Bed space is $15/night, no breakfast. You can do your laundry for $5 to wash and dry.
Shuttle service is pretty simple. If you need a ride, ask them and they will ask one of their family members or a customer in the store who they happen to know to give you a ride. Then it’s up to you to offer a reasonable amount for that ride. The family is super nice and I think they would like to offer more services for hikers once they figure out what we want and need.
Hiker Hostel in Dahlonega. Owners Josh and Leigh are professionals serving the hiker community. They can provide pretty much whatever services you require as a hiker: a bunk, shuttle service, last minute food supply stop, fuel, and a darned tasty breakfast before taking you to the AT’s southern terminus.
The place is very nicely decorated and very clean.
They can provide pick up from Atlanta’s commuter train or the Amtrak in Gainsville.
Rooms are very clean.
Food is good and plentiful.
People are friendly.
Good cell signal.
Computer available for guests.
Shared clean bathroom w shower
FYI – you may have read this, but Karma says the Aquone Hostel further up the trail is magic.