Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2017 - 50
PAT & CHUCK BLACKLEY
PAT & CHUCK BLACKLEY
Damascus, Virginia has built much of its identity over the fact that
the Appalachian Trail goes right through its welcoming downtown.
Their smoked wings are amazing."
Hike: From the Howard Johnson's backyard, make your way onto
the AT and head south about 2.8
miles for overlooks of the Carvins
Or, heading northward brings
you to Fullhardt Knob, which provides great views of the Roanoke
Valley. At 5 miles in, this route
makes for a full afternoon.
Shuttle: If you'd like to get
dropped off and walk back to the
hotel, Homer and Therese Witcher
provide private shuttles for a buck
a mile. Schedule in advance by calling 540-992-3932, or emailing witch
Stay: Located in Damascus-which
the Appalachian Trail Conservancy calls the trail's "friendliest
town"-is The Old Mill Inn. This
fully renovated historical mill
dates to the early 19th century,
has a working water wheel, and is
located in the heart of the ultrafunky trail town of Damascus, less
than a mile from the AT. Rooms
are uniquely themed and have an
upscale historical bed-and-break50 BlueRidgeCountry.com
Watauga Lake is part of the attraction at the Iron Mountain Inn in Butler, Tennessee; the Appalachian
Trail is not far away, and the innkeeper will shuttle you there.
fast style feel, with most featuring
decks overlooking Laurel Creek.
Rooms from $139. damascusinn.
Dinner: There's a full-service restaurant and pub on-site, offering
Americana cuisine and craft brews
in a casual fine-dining setting.
Serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. For an adventure, head to The
Damascus Brewery for live music,
great beer and some local flavor.
Hike: Catch the AT a few blocks
from the inn behind Adventure
Damascus Bicycles and head northward. You'll follow alongside Route
58 and the rhododendron-lined
Laurel Creek for about a mile before crossing the road and climbing a long stairwell into the woods.
In a little over another mile, you'll
climb about 1,000 feet and arrive
at the 2,990-foot Cuckoo Knob on
Walking southward from the
inn, you can hike 1.5 miles, climbing uphill until you stop for a drink
from a 2,600-foot mountain spring.
Shuttle: Mt. Rogers Outfitters offers shuttles to trailheads within
100 miles of Damascus. Starts at
Stay: Iron Mountain Inn. Located just
two miles below the Iron Mountain
section of the AT, the inn is reachable by car, foot or prearranged shuttle. Carved into a 2,600-foot hillside,
the isolated cabin-style home offers
views of forested mountains and
Watauga Lake below. Rooms feature
whirlpool tubs, private decks, many
windows and big beds, and start at
$150. As a trail aficionado, innkeeper and owner Vikki Wood goes by
the trail-name Mountain Gal, is extremely knowledgeable of the area's
outdoor attractions-there are seven
waterfalls within 45 minutes driving
distance-and is willing to create
custom itineraries in advance. ironmountaininn.com
Dine: Take the gorgeous 11-mile
shuttle to Watauga Lake Winery and
sip lakefront. Follow up with dinner
on the dock at the Captain's Table
restaurant, which offers high-end
steak and seafood dishes. lakeshore
Hike: On site, there's a two-mile
loop around the inn's property. Additionally, a 15-mile drive toward
nearby Hampton will bring you to
the trailhead of Laurel Fork Falls,