Maria McCabe is probably the best friend the Appalachian Trail has in Salisbury, Connecticut. She kindly opens her home at 4 Grove Street to thru-hikers looking for a shower and a good night's rest.
I would imagine spending a night at her house would be rather like spending an evening with a loving grandparent, in my humble opinion. (Trust me, I know these things. I have six grandchildren.)
You'll hear Maria speak with a bit of an accent that you won't be able to identify, I'll bet. She's been living in Salisbury since 1969. She was born in Italy. She doesn't have Internet service.
Your mother will be glad you stayed with Maria instead of spending another night in the scary woods.
I first met Maria in the pages of AWOL on the Appalachian Trail written by David Miller. Awol got into town as it was getting dark.
He tried to find Maria's house, and therein lies a memorable tale that only Awol could tell. Buy the book for the rest of the story. Or, borrow a friend's copy and turn to page 215.
Suzannah and I found Maria's house far more easily. Maria posed for a few pictures and was surprised that her hospitality had made the pages of the Appalachian Trail Thru-Hikers' Companion that we used to get to her house.
Give Maria a call (860-435-0593) to see if she has room for you. Don't be surprised to hear her say on her answering machine, "I'm heading over to the dump, but I'll be right back. Please leave me a message." That's how she rolls.
The Appalachian Trail and the Undermountain Trail (UT) are nearby. Access from Route 44 to the AT via the UT is less than a two-mile walk.
We met Scott Thompson, Frank Perkins and Mark Romano (L-R in photo below) at the trailhead. Three nice guys who had to cut their hike short due to very cold temperatures back in April of 2014.
They were discouraged but they'll be back when camping and hiking won't be a death-defying feat.
Seriously. There's no need to risk frostbite or worse if you are unprepared for snow and ice on the trail.
Come back another day.
The iconic bridge over the Housatonic River is a bit south of Salisbury, in Falls Village, CT.
Doesn't look like the friendliest place on the Trail but Suzannah and I didn't see even one flying monkey. (Okay, we might have heard one. We're not sure.)
Don't be afraid but don't lose your footing on the path along the Housatonic.
The original bridge was built in 1903 by the same company, Berlin Construction, that built the span over the Swatara Creek in Pennsylvania.
Be sure to follow the blazes that lead to the dam over the river. We were fortunate to be there after it steadily rained for a day or so.
The rushing water was mesmerizing.
Maria, the trails and hikers, the interesting places to visit and the sights of Salisbury, CT, are both unique and common along the Trail -- where every section has a memory to offer to those who will pause long enough to look around.
If you're headed southbound, stop by Manna Dew in Millerton, New York. Suzannah is a foodie. To me, Diet Dr. Pepper and Cheetos is a good meal.
We both agreed that Manna Dew was the best dining experience we have ever had together. Tell them we sent you, even though they will tell you they never heard of us ... unless they recall how we raved about how we loved being together over a delicious meal on our travels along the Appalachian Trail.
Tags: Attractions, Appalachian Trail, Hiking, Appalachian Trail Community, News, and Robert Sutherland Travel Writer
If you didn't attend the 2013 Founder's Bridge AT Festival at North Carolina's Nantahala Outdoor Center, you might enjoy these pictures.
Published Apr 7, 2014.
Hike up to Neel Gap on Blood Mountain on Saturday, February 28, 2015 for the Thru-Hiker Kickoff Party. Free gifts, fabulous folks, fancy fiddling and food!