The Mystique of Wood’s Hole Hostel ~ An Appalachian Trail Treasure

Written by Robert Sutherland on 17th April 2015



Woods Hole Hostel near the Appalachian Trail in Virginia ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

Wood’s Hole Hostel near the Appalachian Trail in Virginia ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

Wood’s Hole Hostel is a mystical and almost mythical haunt favored by Appalachian Trail hikers.

Anyone looking for a hot meal and a shelter near Pearisburg, VA — just a jiffy jaunt from where the AT crosses Sugar Run Gap Road about 621 miles up the Trail from Springer Mountain — will be welcome to spend an hour rocking on the porch, for a hot shower, meal or an overnight out of the rain.

Peak season at Wood’s Hole hits right around April 15th each year.  That means the hostel needs to be all perked up before the troops arrive, dirty, hungry, discouraged, hurting and/or in various flavors of need.

Michael & Neville love and operate Woods Hole Hostel near the Appalachian Trail in Virginia ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

Michael & Neville love and operate Wood’s Hole Hostel near the Appalachian Trail in Virginia ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

The division of labor at Wood’s Hole has hikers covered.

The warm, inviting, hospitable arms of Neville — a friendly lady in a quest for spiritual enlightenment who has a kind, serving heart — await those who wander into her home.

Her partner and husband, Michael, has different gifts.  He has a couple of college degrees in art and art education.  He’s skilled in woodworking and making things work too.  His latest project has been laboring on the bunk house and bath house on the property.

Michael of Woods Hole Hostel near the Appalachian Trail in Virginia ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

Michael of Wood’s Hole Hostel near the Appalachian Trail in Virginia ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

Michael is the brawn of the operation, and part of the brains.

Neville is the heart and has plenty of brains and wisdom.  Together, they operate Wood’s Hole Hostel.

I spent an evening, night and morning there in April of 2015, captivated by all that it was, is and will be, thanks to Michael’s hands and Neville’s heart.

Wood’s Hole Hostel isn’t a motel.  Nor is it what you might expect from a bed and breakfast inn.  If you sneeze in the middle of the night, don’t be surprised if five people offer you a blessing.

From the front, one person said it looked a bit spooky.  That’s sad.

Woods Hole Hostel near the Appalachian Trail in Virginia ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

Wood’s Hole Hostel near the Appalachian Trail in Virginia ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

Wood’s Hole represents, in my humble opinion, what one of the Appalachian Trail’s progenitors first envisioned: a path across America’s mountains that would link together communal enclaves.

Such is Wood’s Hole Hostel, from my perspective.

To the blind eye, it is a rundown hulk from afar.  For those who have eyes, it is glorious.

The nearer you get to the warmth it exudes, the beauty of the place bursts forth.

Woods Hole Hostel near the Appalachian Trail in Virginia ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

Wood’s Hole Hostel near the Appalachian Trail in Virginia ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

The decorations on the walls, the open room where strangers become friends, the porch with its abundance of chairs and stories, surprisingly clean and well appointed bedrooms in the main house and the peaceful functionality of the bunkhouse all speak the same language: welcome to Wood’s Hole Hostel.

The backstory is too fragile for me to relate with the passion and accuracy it deserves.  Click this link to the story of Wood’s Hole Hostel for that happy lesson in history and hope.

Neville at Woods Hole Hostel near the Appalachian Trail in Virginia ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

Neville at Wood’s Hole Hostel near the Appalachian Trail in Virginia ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

Forgive me, please, for not elucidating how the home-cooked meals — you’re always welcome to help — were delicious and healthy.

The room where I slept was delightful and I could only imagine the conversations that had taken place there when shared between varieties of hikers.

That’s what a story about Wood’s Hole is supposed to be all about.  But not for me.

I wanted to get to know the place where Neville and Michael first met.  Where they fell in love and where they married.

Neville & Michael were married at Wood's Hole Hostel near the Appalachian Trail in Virginia

Neville & Michael were married at Wood’s Hole Hostel near the Appalachian Trail in Virginia

The more I wandered inside and out the more intrigued I became with the log house and the remnants of chestnut wood therein.

Woods Hole Hostel near the Appalachian Trail in Virginia ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

Wood’s Hole Hostel near the Appalachian Trail in Virginia ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

After taking almost 150 pictures, I knew there were many more angles, scenes, trinkets, people and memories that could not be captured.

Visit Wood’s Hole Hostel.

Meet our delightful friend Neville.  Hammer something into place with Michael.

Meet their wonderful pets, guests and visitors.

Take it all in.

Before you return to the rat race on the far side of the mountains … wishing you were back at Wood’s Hole Hostel.

Click Here for Wood’s Hole Hostel

Click Here for Wood’s Hole Hostel Lodging

 



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