The 2018 MST Gathering of Friends is returning to Elkin the weekend of March 23rd through 25th, 2018.
Join other MST enthusiasts for our annual membership meeting and a weekend of trail and town excursions across the Yadkin Valley. Most events will be centered in downtown Elkin again, with our home base at Coley Hall at the Liberty, a restored tobacco warehouse and event space on Elkin’s Main Street.
In 2019, we will be moving the Gathering to a new MST community, so don’t miss this chance to visit Elkin with us one more time. Registration is now open! We will reveal where we are headed in 2019 during the Gathering.
The central events of the weekend include:
- Supper and Sonkers – Friday, March 23 – 6:00 to 9:30 pm. Elkin Valley Trails Association and Friends of the MST will be hosting a casual welcome dinner at the Liberty featuring Elkin area-inspired cuisine and famous desserts – the sonker!
- The Annual Meeting – Saturday, March 25 – 10 am to 3 pm – will include reports on progress to build, maintain and promote the MST; panel by 2017 MST trail completers including Jennifer Pharr Davis, who hiked the trail in 2017; “What’s Next – the Next 40 Years” Session and response from key MST leadership; and awards for hikers who have completed the trail and for outstanding volunteers. Registration opens at 9 am, with coffee and time to chat with other Friends. There is plenty of parking in the lot to the left of The Liberty, and street parking is available on Main Street.
- Trail and Town Excursions – For the rest of the weekend – Friday through Sunday – Elkin has organized a full-schedule of Trail and Town Excursions to help you enjoy the outdoors and learn more about this special part of North Carolina. Once you’ve registered for the Gathering, sign up for all the excursions here.
What’s new this year:
CARTER FALLS: This beautiful 60-foot waterfall and tract of land will be part of the MST by March. We are offering a guided tour on Friday and will have maps for self-guided hikes. Attendees heard from landowner Dan Park last year, who received a standing ovation when he shared that the land and falls would become part of the MST.
YADKIN VALLEY HERITAGE ARTS AND TRAILS CENTER: Elkin will host a reception at their new Heritage Arts and Trails Center on Saturday, March 24th. Catch a sneak peak, as it isn’t open to the public yet. This site will be a spot to showcase all that Yadkin Valley has to offer, including the MST, and will offer conveniences for hikers, including a place to store your pack and a shower!
THE BRITISH ARE COMING: The Redcoats are joining the Overmountain Victory Trail encampment with cavalry and cannons! The encampment will be across from the new Heritage and Trails Center. Colonel Benjamin Cleveland, General Nathanael Greene and Major Joseph Winston, Major Patrick Ferguson and General Lord Cornwallis will be in our midst!
EXPANDED AND NEW HIKES, PADDLE THE YADKIN: Due to overwhelming popularity, the moonshine and still hikes at Stone Mountain are back! Additional guided hikes include downtown and Elkin MST greenway tours, plus new self-guided options. Also, Yadkin Riverkeepers is offering a paddle on Friday, March 23rd from Ronda to Elkin. You’ll learn about their work to promote a clean and healthy river while enjoying the peace and serenity of this natural resource.
TRAIL TIPS AND LEARNING SESSION: Want to pitch in on the trail around Elkin or learn the basics of how to build a trail? On Saturday after the meeting, we’ll swing some tools and share tips with those brand new and old hat on the trail.
TIME TO MIX AND MINGLE WITH TRAIL FRIENDS FROM ACROSS THE STATE: Plan to join us for a Supper and Sonkers on Friday evening after hiking or paddling excursions, and hang around Saturday and Sunday for an expanded Art Crawl, reception at the Heritage and Arts Center, Honey Island Swamp Band at the Reeves Theater, brewery tours, and much more!
FAIRFIELD INN AND SUITES: The Fairfield Inn and Suites in Elkin is the host hotel for the Gathering of Friends. Please call the hotel directly at 336-353-2008 to book a room at the reduced rate of $99 per night, plus taxes and fees. Use the code MST when making reservation. Rooms should be booked by February 25th to ensure this rate. This includes a continental breakfast. 628 CC Camp Road /268 Bypass, Elkin, NC 28621.
HAMPTON INN JONESVILLE: We will have a secondary block at the Hampton Inn Jonesville, as we occupied as much of the Fairfield Inn as they would give us last year! Please call the hotel at 336-835-1994 by March 5th to ensure a rate of $99 and use the code FOM. Includes continental breakfast. 1632 NC Highway 67, Jonesville, NC 28642.
QUALITY INN JONESVILLE: For those traveling with pets, we have a small block at the pet-friendly Quality Inn. Rate is $89 plus fees and taxes, cut off for reservations is March 16th, and the code is MST. Please call 336- 835-9400 to book. 1633 Winston Road, Jonesville, NC 28642.
BYRD’S BRANCH CAMPGROUND: Byrd’s Branch Campground and Country Store is owned and operated by MST members’ Sarah and Jerry Byrd. They have tent sites, showers and water, electric and sewer hookup sites. To reserve a site, call 336-526-1146 (Store) or 336-366-0603 (Jerry) or 336-366-9955 (Sarah). Please leave message and they will return your call. 225 Martin Byrd Road, Elkin, NC 28621.
ROCKY RIDGE FAMILY CAMPGROUND: Rocky Ridge is located in Thurmond, between Elkin and Roaring Gap. Call 336-366-7396 to make reservation. $20 a site, RVs are welcome, but they have no hookups. 370 White Rock Road, Thurmond, NC 28683.
STONE MOUNTAIN STATE PARK: Family, group and backpack camping are available in the park.
ELKIN CREEK VINEYARD AND CABINS: Elkin Creek, about a 10 minute drive from downtown, offers 4 cabins that can sleep up to 4 people each. Call 336-526-5119 to make reservation. 318 Elkin Creek Mill Road, Elkin, NC 28621.
GRASSY CREEK VINEYARD/KLONDIKE CABINS: Located in State Road, Klondike Cabins are about 12 minutes from downtown Elkin. The main cabin has four bedrooms, and two neighboring cabins have two bedrooms each. Call 336-366-9210 to make reservations. 235 Chatham Cottage Circle, State Road, NC 28676.
THE ROCKFORD INN: The Rockford Inn is approximately 16 miles from The Liberty, and offers a beautiful bed and breakfast experience. The innkeepers are big supporters of the MST. Please call 800-561-5662 to make a reservation. 4872 Rockford Road, Dobson, NC 27107.
Star Taxi (336) 426-1302
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DEBIT, ALL MAJOR CREDIT CARDS, AMEX, DISCOVER, MASTERCARD, VISA. Uber is also available in Elkin.
Registration for the Gathering of Friends — including Supper and Sonkers on Friday and the Annual Meeting on Saturday — is $75. You may choose to register for each event individually, at a rate of $35 for Friday Supper and all the excursions that don’t require an additional fee, or $45 for the Saturday Annual Meeting and all the excursions that don’t require an additional fee. Up to 3 additional family members may each attend for $50 for the entire event (with the option of only attending one or the other event also.)
We hope you’ll join us again in Elkin. Contact Betsy, firstname.lastname@example.org, with any questions.