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For 45 years, hostel a peaceful place of rest

August 30, 2009|By DAVE McMILLION

KNOXVILLE -- So you're backpacking on the nearby Appalachian Trail and you need a bed tonight instead of sleeping on the hard ground.

How about one for $21?

That's how much it costs at the Harpers Ferry Hostel, a place where residents share facilities in an atmosphere that is designed to foster peace and understanding between people.

There is a 12-bed male dormitory and a 12-bed female dormitory in the hostel at 19123 Sandy Hook Road, and guests share a kitchen to prepare meals.

A box of pancake mix is left out for residents so they can make their own pancakes in the morning, said Manager Lydia Measells.

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The 75th anniversary of hostelling in the United States and the 45th anniversary of the Harpers Ferry Hostel were celebrated Sunday at the local hostel. People stopped by to visit the hostel and indulge in some cake.

The facility also features private rooms for families or groups that are traveling together. For members of Hostelling International, all beds cost $18 a night, Measells said.

Although Measells did not have any statistics on the hostel's use, she said it is about half full on any given night and is popular with people who use the Appalachian Trail or the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park.

Andy Brown, 28, of Holland, Mich., sat in a living room area Sunday with a stone fireplace. Brown said he had just finished a hike on the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Harpers Ferry, W.Va., and was planning to stay at the Harpers Ferry Hostel for about two nights.

Brown said he liked the hostel because it was clean and safe.

"It has every single thing a hiker needs," Brown said.

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