If you’ve done any research on Sugar Tree Inn, you probably noticed that our driveway is mentioned in some of the reviews. I will admit that being a transplant from Minnesota (the flattest part of it), the driveway gave me heart palpitations the first few times up and down it. After a very short time, the driveway, and the mountains roads, are a piece of cake. Traveling is already stressful enough, so when you finally turn onto Lodge Trail expecting a straight drive and a beautiful lodge right off Rt. 56, the reality can be a little anxiety-inducing. And we’ve seen and heard it, big eyes and the comments ranging from playful to accusatory. If we could offer our guests a shot of bourbon at check-in, believe me, we would. But usually, after a good night’s sleep, some mountain peace and quiet, and a hardy breakfast the Shock is gone and guests are excited to start their day.
But seriously, people, it’s not that bad. Like many first time experiences, you won’t forget your first time on Lodge Trail. For some people, it may be a little anxiety-provoking at first, but by your second or third time out, you’ll be a pro. Promise. However, the reality is, people have refused to stay with us because of our driveway. Some motorcyclists won’t drive in, people with larger vehicles don’t always like it, or others just absolutely will not drive in and out of here more than once. It happens.
So, in the spirit of full disclosure, here is a little more information about our driveway to help you make an informed decision about whether or not we are a good fit for you. At the end of the day, you know what makes you comfortable, so listen to that voice, even if it means not staying here
Q: Do I need 4×4 to get to you?
A: You do not. Rt. 56 (the main mountain road) is state maintained and paved. Trail Lodge (our driveway) is right off Rt. 56 and is paved and gravel in places. Plenty of sedans, vans, and pick-up trucks come in and out of the driveway without issue. That being said, tires with good tread are recommended.
Q: We are biking the Blue Ridge Parkway and would love to stay at your Inn. What should we know about your driveway?
A: Our driveway is mixed medium, gravel, paved, and tar and chip. Please note, our driveway has switchbacks and steep inclines/declines.
Q: I’m coming in on a motorcycle. Can I make it down your driveway?
A: Yes. As mentioned above, the driveway is mixed medium, gravel, paved, and tar and chip. Full disclosure, motorcycles tend not to do well on our driveway. The heavier the bike, the harder it is going up and down the steep switchbacks. We recommend only experienced motorcyclists try to navigate it. We also recommend that you try to check-in during daylight hours, though we do have some lights on our drive at night. If you are coming in with a passenger, please note that some passengers will get off and walk down the driveway, while others stay on. Please do what is best for you. No judgment.
Q: Will my low-profile vehicle make it down your driveway?
A: Yes, but you may not like what it does to the underside of your vehicle. We don’t typically recommend bringing low-profile vehicles down our driveway. Our driveway does have gravel and the potholes that come with it, despite our best efforts to maintain the drive. For reference purposes, the previous Innkeepers owned a 2010 VW Jetta wagon which has a ground clearance of 5.4 inches and at times it would scrape.
Q: Is Lodge Trail the only road in and out of your property?
A: Lodge Trail is our driveway and the only road in or out of the property. As a side note, Lodge Trail is actually the original logging road to the property. I’m talking horse-drawn wagon times. So, think of our driveway as part of your “authentic” Blue Ridge Mountain experience.
Q: What do you do if you meet another vehicle?
A: If you’ll look around, you’ll notice a few places where a vehicle can pull over and let the other pass. Whoever is closest pulls over. But please also take comfort in the fact that we are not a heavily trafficked road. Usually, guests are entering and exiting our driveway at similar times, so the chances of you meeting another vehicle head-on are slim. However, we always recommend that you take it slow on our driveway to give you time to react, should you need it.
Q: What do you do when it snows?!?!
A: This will be the first winter (2022) in approximately 4 years that the Inn will be open for the winter. We are VERY excited to see the beauty of this place covered in snow! With that said, we know people are not excited about driving in it. We are Minnesotans, that means we are VERY used to snow and ice removal. I’m pretty sure it’s in our state law that we must be schooled on it from a very young age. I’m teasing…kind-of. While it will be a learning curve for us to maintain a mountain snow covered driveway, we will be making every effort and attempts to keep it as cleared as humanly possible. We have many fun toys (4-wheelers and a tractor) that will aid us in this. We will keep on top of the weather forecast and if we feel it would not be safe for our guests, we will make contact immediately to discuss the options.
I hope this was helpful and you enjoyed our lighthearted Q&A. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. And of course, we love to hear your stories about our driveway, the good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s okay. Despite what anyone says, we think Lodge Trail is just part of what makes us Sugar Tree Inn; it’s all part of the experience.
We hope you’ll try it for yourself someday. We’ll be looking forward to your stay!
Blog post written by the previous owner Kelly Fox and tweaked some by the current owner Brenda Needham.