Last week, I spent yet more time in Vermont to finish up my summer hiking season. I dropped off my good hiking buddy, Kentucky Blue, at the southern end of the Long Trail so she could start her through-hike; I drove up and down the state to see some places I’d missed over the course of the summer; I hung out with some Appalachian Trail hikers, and got a taste of the through-hiking community again. Best of all, I finally got a chance to see the place everybody’s been raving about– The Green Mountain House in Manchester Center, VT.
|Okay, not the best picture, but you get the idea.|
The Green Mountain House opened in the summer of 2008, the year after I hiked the Appalachian Trail. Before 2008, Manchester Center was a great hiker town, but there were no options for inexpensive lodging in town. Since the town is a pretty high-end tourist destination, this was a problem for hikers. Now, though, the town has what I think may be the best hostel on the Appalachian Trail– certainly in the top five, and definitely the best on the Long Trail.
What’s so great?
|Kentucky Blue showing off the awesomeness.|
Jeff, the owner of the hostel, is a long-distance hiker himself, and basically took all the things he loved about other hostels to make his own hiker’s paradise. The entire building is newly renovated with the purpose of being a hiker hostel. There’s a nice hiker-kitchen (complete with dishwasher, and every utensil/pot/pan you could need), a large lounge room (several comfy couches, wifi, computer, TV, movies), multiple hiker bedrooms with comfy beds, fully stocked bathrooms, laundry room, loaner clothes, books and magazines– everything you might need.
|Slow Goin’ and Piedmont chilling out in the kitchen.|
But the little touches are what make the place so great. The living room with the TV and computer is separate from the dining room and kitchen, so if some people are watching movies and TV, you can still hang out in the other rooms without being disturbed. The bathrooms are fully stocked with soap, shampoo, razors, and other toiletries for the needy hiker. The bedrooms also have comfy couches to make the rooms nice to hang out in. Jeff keeps the kitchen stocked with eggs, pancake mix, cereal, milk, and Ben & Jerry’s (every guest gets a complimentary pint!). The place is immaculately clean, despite four years of hikers coming through.
|How cool is that? Hiker backpacks ready to head to the trail in the morning.|
Best of all, the rules are simple, and they keep things respectable. No drugs or alcohol. Quiet hours start at 9 PM. That’s pretty much all you need.
|Yes, that’s a bomb by the fireplace.|
The hostel is located a fair distance outside of town, so Jeff shuttles hikers in from town after they’ve taken care of whatever business is necessary. Since I had my car there, I helped out with driving people out to the trail, but Jeff goes far beyond the call of duty to get hikers to the trail in the morning, get them to the hostel in the afternoon, and to provide a heck of a nice place for hikers to stay. All this for $20 a night– and I got way more than my money’s worth if you count the ice cream and the leftover food in the fridge from someone’s birthday party the night before.
If you happen to be hiking in southern Vermont in the summer, check this place out. It’s a role model for all other hiker hostels out there.