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.”
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!