Chica & Sunsets' Hostel 2020 Newsletter
Wow – what a year. In this newsletter we recap our first year of supporting hikers coming through Franklin, NC on the Appalachian Trail and Bartram Trail. We also discuss how Hostel Angels helped up get up and running and how you can help too. Finally, we discuss goals for next year.
2020 – Inaugural Year
The Little Hostel That Could … then couldn’t … then did
Feb 15th began our first year as a new hostel along the AT. Mid-March brought business to a screeching halt due to restrictions placed on short-term accommodations by our town – Franklin, NC.
Though the hostel was closed for overnight accommodations, we helped many get off the trail – from providing shuttles, showers, laundry, and WIFI to scheduling car rentals.
We were shut down for two months, during which we started going for day hikes ourselves. We decided to thru-hike the Bartram Trail as a shakedown for the Colorado Trail. Initially, we were going to hike the CT in 2021, but the opportunity presented itself this year.
We returned and reopened the hostel mid-Sept and were very busy during the fall with section hikers, flip floppers, and thru hikers. The support for our little, new hostel blew us away – the COVID year exceeding the expectations we had for a “normal” year.
A Few of Our Guests
Last Touches Before We Opened
So Much To Do
Buying a home that needed to be renovated was an incredible undertaking. Having plenty of time, but not a lot of money meant learning new skills and putting them (and us) to work.
Sand, Prime, Paint, Repeat
First up was patching and painting … EVERYTHING. Getting rid of the gloomy maroon color with a much more pleasant grey made an immediate impact on the “feel” inside the hostel.
Our friend Highlander donated so much time, knowhow, and money to our hostel – and specifically the bathroom – that we bought a streetsign and placed it above the bathroom door. It reads (of course) “HIGHLANDER WAY.” Highlander, among many other things, removed and replaced all the sheetrock in the bathroom. It’s now perfect.
Measure Twice, Cut Once
We learned so many skills while refurbishing the apartment. With Highlander’s help (and equipment) we measured, cut, and installed the new floor and quarter-round. What a rewarding experience.
So many unseen improvements have been made to prepare for our first year. We had a new roof and gutters installed, new water heater specifically for the hostel unit, new split-unit air-conditioner, all new appliances, and a new toilet for the privy.
Our first year is in the books and we could not be more thrilled. The vision we had of our ideal hostel came into existence through hard work and help from countless angels pre-paying for stays for hikers, donating time, money, and sending lots and lots of love. Thank you all.
“This Place Rocks!”
“Chica and Sunsets are true hikers and they know how to treat a hiker. This place is first class and has everything on the list for a break on the trail.”
“Very Clean, Quiet and Refreshing”
“Had such a great stay. Pick up from the trail-head, resupply, and had a delicious breakfast, shower and laundry. Highly recommended to anyone who needs a day off or night to rejuvenate.”
“Best Hostel Experience Ever”
“No bunks, clean bathroom, and common area run by thru-hikers. Free shuttle pick up/drop off, affordable shuttles and slack-pack options. Worth it!”
“This place is gorgeous and the hosts are incredible. They really took the time to make the place perfect. Extremely kind and generous people. Listen to their stories because they’ve had some amazing adventures so far.”
Do you want to be a part of Chica and Sunsets’ Hostel success? Here is how you can help.
- Buy a stay for a hiker
- Buy something from our Amazon Wish List
- Donate any amount via Paypal
All help is appreciated.
While there is a long list of things to get accomplished at the hostel there are two large items that we would like to tackle first. Windows – all the windows in the hostel need to be replaced. They seemed to have been an afterthought for the previous owner and are cheap, do not insulate, and a couple are cracked. We exoect the windows to cost about $2,000 and I believe we have someone who wants to help install them! The second major task is the removal of four leaning pine trees. The cost of removal would be about $1,500.
Our goal as a hostel is simple, assist the long-distance hiking community and be a contributing influence to our local community in Franklin, NC.
The support we have received from those who have wanted to be a part of our little venture has been tremendous. Pre-selling stays and donations have allowed us to complete renovations without incurring debt … YEAH!
Congratulations Chica and Sunsets!….You have persisted, persevered and triumphed through it all…..Merry Christmas and a truly Happy New Year 2021!
Thanks Rick! 2021 – here we come.
Congratulations on your first year in business. I’m hoping to get up there for a stay (maybe in 2021?) but regardless of when my lazy butt finally shows up on your doorstep, I wish you success in the venture. Cheers.
Thanks Drew. We look forward to meeting you!
Chica and Sunsets — I bought your book, ‘”Thru-Hiking the Appalachian Trail” as one of my references to begin prepping for a 2022 Thru-hike. After reading the book, I found your YouTube playlist and was fascinated to follow you through your 2017 Thru-hike and picked up a number of tips to prepare.
Tonight I found the video to your Hostel and this Blog and am amazed — We’re practically neighbors! We’ve spent much of our summers since 2007 in the Nantahala area.
I thought it was really cool that you had referenced Lazy Hiker in your thru-hike as we have ended a number of hikes in that area. I’d love to meet you sometime this summer and hear more about your adventures!
Congrats on the new Hostel – Franklin, NC is a great place. I really admire your support of the hiker community and look forward to meeting you some day.
Hi Schweddy! Thanks for the comment. Give us a shout when you are in town.