I love Neels Gap! I just can’t stay away from it. I think I have visited it in all kinds of weather: snow, rain, sunshine, and autumn when the leaves are just drop dead gorgeous. This time we were definitely above the clouds, and it is still very much summer.

“Georgia added the stone building known as Mountain Crossings to the Appalachian Trail in Frogtown Gap between 1934 and 1937. It served as a restaurant for visitors to the mountains and was directly on the Appalachian Trail, which passed through its white-blazed breezeway. Mountain Crossings was connected to the outside world in 1946 when the United States created US Highway 129, and renamed Frogtown Gap to Neel’s Gap in honor of the chief engineer of the project.

The Appalachian Trial runs straight through an underpass at the Mountain Crossings at the Center at Neels Gap. You have to climb Blood Mountain to get there or like me, you can simply drive. But in a few weeks I’ll hike (for the first time) to the Hike Inn, which is located on the approach trail to the AT. Looking forward to that!

“Today, the building features a large, wrap-around stone porch that leads to the entrance of the store and an even larger open patio on the south side. Here Mountain Crossings overlooks Frogtown Creek, named for the Cherokee village some 200 feet below the stone wall of the patio. Stocking hiking gear made the store an appealing stop for hikers, who were making their first trek on the white-diamond blazed trail. More experienced hikers always stop in to renew their friendship with the owner. Casual visitors driving along U. S. Highway 129 might not be attracted to the hiking gear, so in the front of Mountain Crossings at Walasi-Yi, Winton has a generous supply of cool items such as clothing, specialty t-shirts, wood carvings, and books (mostly outdoor adventure).”