Yesterday I wrote about the VA Creeper Trail which starts in Whitetop and winds down to Abingdon Virginia. Damascus is the half way point and as far as I ever gotten biking the trail.
Damascus is arguably the most well known town along the Appalachian Trail and hosts sections of 7 trails in all, including the VA Creeper Trail. You can also find thousands of hikers here during the annual “Trail Days” festival.
The whole economy of Damascus is built around the trails and you just can’t have a town that loves trails without having a town that’s wonderful to visit. 🙂
When you bike or hike in you will find a beautiful mountain town with a variety of lodging options, restaurants, and shuttle services all catering to bikers and hikers passing through. It can get quite busy during the summer and you’ll find many businesses are closed during the winter, but you can’t beat Damascus in the spring or fall. This weekend the whole town was in bloom and the sun was shining with all its might.
We’ve been at least a half a dozen times and usually make a beeline for the first restaurant you see, In the Country, for burgers and ice cream. Nothing about the food is exceptional, but it always tastes good after a couple hours on a bike. We like that there is outdoor seating and we can watch the bikers coming into town.
After lunch we continue down the trail to Damascus Town Park and play on the playground, climb the old train car, or wade in Beaverdam Creek. It’s a great park for an afternoon nap in the sun or shade and it’s a fun spot for watching the hikers, since the AT runs right through the park. For those hikers coming up from Georgia, Damascus is mile marker 463.
Riding the trail through town is one of my favorite parts since we get to see all the super cute vacation rentals and the old train station.
After we exhaust ourselves at the park, it’s time to find a shuttle to take us back up the mountain (most hikers do this the other way, taking the shuttle in the morning and leaving their car/lodging in Damascus and biking down). After having done this several times, you would think we’d have it down, but we ran into a bit of a snag this weekend.
We had a total of 7 adults, 2 kids, and 1 car. We sent 3 adults up in the car and the rest of us got on our bikes to catch the shuttle. I didn’t know where we were going but I planned to just follow my brother who was pulling my 2 kids. One block into our ride I looked up to see that he had disappeared. No worries. I’ll just ask my Dad riding behind us where the reservation is. Nope, he’s gone.
My mother-in-law and I stick our heads into #1 and #2 shuttle shops before finding my brother and kids at #3. At this point my phone rings and my father is waiting at #4. It could have been worse, there is a #5 in town.
Moral of the story: When making reservations in Damascus, inform everyone in your party which shuttle shop you chose.