On my first thru hike attempt, the Top of Georgia Hostel was to be my first hostel stay. It was a bad experience that left me in tears. They did not have room for me and the lady was rude to me.
This time…I can’t say enough good things about it. It was busy when I arrived, yet everyone there was nice, polite and helpful. Everyone who walks in the door gets a free hot or cold drink. They give you a pair of scrubs, a laundry basket and a towel. Then they give you the grand tour of the place. You take a shower, put on the scrubs, and then give them your laundry. They deliver it to your designated bunk when it is done.
There are three rooms of bunks, one opening onto a kitchen. There is a free trip into Hiawasee, GA., where you have several restaurants to choose from, then you walk to a grocery store to buy supplies and food and are then picked up by a shuttle at the prescribed time.
Honestly, I felt like I was at a summer camp with a bunch of older,experienced counselors. All who work there have thru hiked the A.T. They were so encouraging. One lady in particular (Vagabond) made an impact on me. She was 75 years old, and did her first thru hike at the age of 70! I really enjoyed talking to her. We not only talked about hiking, but more specifically, hiking as an older person. We also talked about ‘life’.
Another man who worked there (I can’t remember his name) was concerned about my knee and told me to prop it up while I was sitting in the commons area. He even came and put another pillow under it. Both he and Vagabond gave me advice and stretches for my knee area.
The place was clean! On my zero day there, they shut down the bunks and made everyone leave while they cleaned the place for two hours. I really appreciated this, because hostels can be incubators for sickness with everyone in such close quarters.
There was an all-you-can-eat cereal breakfast each morning (which included all-you-can-drink coffee.) They also sold frozen pizzas, hotdogs and breakfast croissants if you wanted more protein with breakfast.
I highly recommend this hostel and really enjoyed staying there. It was an unexpected surprise.