There are many types of bicycle touring. I have found my personal style over the past three years. For me, it is more about the people and places rather than the miles. This means that my pace is more relaxed with less miles passing under my wheels. I savor the views, interactions with people, and small town experiences along the ride.
I have a tradition of recognizing the people and places that made my tour enjoyable and memorable. Here are the 5-star worthy winners from this past week.
Econolodge, Harper’s Ferry, WV
This small hotel perched above Harper’s Ferry proves that you don’t have to be a Hyatt or Crown Plaza to deliver excellent service. It is about a mile uphill climb for cyclists coming off the C&O Canal Trail but is worth the effort. It is very bike friendly. The hotel has a high pressure hose, plenty of towels and an area to clean C&O muddied bikes. On our visit, the front desk clerk was very attentive to our needs. She recommended a local pizzeria and allowed us to use the breakfast room for our dinner. Clean rooms, attentive staff, and a convenient location made it a winner.
Weaver’s Restaurant, Hancock, MD
This combination restaurant and bakery is nestled on Hancock’s main drag, just a block from the C&O. It consistently gets mentioned in cyclist blogs, C&O discussion boards and guidebooks. It is a very conventional small town restaurant. The menu offers a nice assortment of home style cooking; nothing too fancy. Hearty and comforting is the theme. The staff was friendly and accommodating to our needs. Pie is their specialty. They offer a nice assortment of cream and fruit pies. I can attest to the fact that their coconut cream pie gets an A++. It is well worth a stop on the trail.
G.I. Dayroom, Meyersdale, PA
This small town diner was my favorite breakfast spot on my 2011 tour. You can’t beat their fluffy smiley face pancakes with pure local maple syrup. On this visit, we stopped in for lunch. The prices are low and the portions are generous. Floyd, the owner and short order cook, and his family offer service with a smile. My cheeseburger was delicious and the fresh cut fries rounded off my All American lunch.
River’s Edge Bed & Breakfast, Confluence, PA
There is something about starting your day on a porch with your coffee and muffin watching the river go by as the morning mist rises. This is after falling to sleep to the sounds of water and wildlife from the river. This was my second visit to this lovely bed and breakfast. Anne Marie, the owner, has comfortably furnished a small Victorian cottage adjoining her restaurant on the Youghiogheny River. There is a generous continental breakfast waiting in the kitchen in he morning. A stay in this bed and breakfast is so relaxing.
Bright Morning Bed & Breakfast, West Newton, PA
Rob and Mary Lou, the inn keepers, know the meaning of hospitality. Their inn is housed in two side-by-side Victorian homes that have been lovingly restored. You can’t ask for a more convenient location, right next to the GAP at the West Newton train station. Very clean rooms, large porches, a comfy living room, and shared kitchen made for a welcoming place to gather and meet other bicycle tourists. Rob, a retired executive chef, prepared a delicious breakfast in the morning. They made it a point to give us great send-off. I look forward to a future return to this inn and highly recommend it to any GAP tourist.