Friday, September 11, 2009

The Mayor's House

25 August 2009, Unionville, New York

Just over the state border where the trail runs through northern New Jersey is the well known "Mayor's House". The former mayor of this small town noticed several years ago that long distance hikers were often in town during the summer. Although interesting to talk with, they were typically dirty and in need of a shower and a place to stay. So initially, he got the town to agree to let them camp in the city park. In the evenings he would talk with his wife (who stayed at home due to illness) about the interesting but smelly encounters. Soon, he was inviting them to come up to his house for a shower before returning to the city park to camp. Later, his wife passed on and he started thinking - why should they have to tramp up and down the hill? They could camp in the back yard. The final step came last year when he built some bunk beds in the basement of his middle class home and invited people to stay inside.
Here is the Mayor and his dog.
These days when you arrive, the Mayor not only provides a place to stay, but a filling "hiker's dinner" and the next morning a full breakfast!! No wonder he is known up and down the trail and everyone looks forward to staying there.

One more thing - in the evening everyone is required to watch 2 videos. What are they about? One is about a winner in the contest "Britain's Got Talent, another about two thru hikers who celebrate their 60th birthday's on the trail. Many hikers must later remember these stories when the tough times and challenges arrive - as they surely will.

Thanks Mayor - you are a huge contributor to the Trail Culture!

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