If you’ve done any research on Sugar Tree Inn, you probably noticed that our driveway is mentioned in some of the reviews. While Russ and I are extremely nonchalant about mountain driving and all that comes with it, we realize that not everyone is. 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. In our three short years here, we recognize the signs of Mountain Driving Shock. 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. Please see the answer above. 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, when we first moved here we 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: No, we have a secret elevator that we enter a hidden cave at the foot of the mountain that brings us right up to our carport. It’s kind of like our own Batcave. JOKE.
Truth: 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: Nothing. Enjoy it. Remember, this is mountain living and we don’t run to the store every day. We batch our errands together and we always have a supply of food (and toilet paper) on hand. So when it snows, we sit back and enjoy it. Who needs to drive?!
If you are asking what we do about guests and our road and the snow, then it’s another simple answer. Nothing. No, that doesn’t mean you’re stuck here. We are closed December, January, and the better parts of February and March, so most of the snow does not impact the operation of our business. However, during the winter months, Russ and I diligently stay on top of weather forecasts and we have been known to cancel (and fully refund) reservations if inclement weather is inevitable. We would rather not risk anyone’s safety.
If you are asking, literally, what we do when it snows, i.e. snow removal, you’ll have to talk to Russ about his toys: 4-wheelers, salt spreaders, and plow attachments, oh my.
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!