Marilyn Wiley

Tales from The Trail: The ‘Cookie Lady’ of the Appalachian Trail

By NCOAE Headquarters June 21, 2021


There are always lessons to be learned on the trail, and they aren’t always related to building a campfire, setting up a tent, or leaving your campsite cleaner than when you arrived.

Some of these are life lessons that fall in the category of treating others as you would like to be treated and adhering to the principles of human kindness. Take, for instance, an experience I had while hiking along a stretch of the 2,200-mile Appalachian National Scenic Trail, or simply, the AT.

For days, I kept running across hikers along a Massachusetts section of the AT, and often during our short conversations, they would tell me stories about a “Cookie Lady” on up the trail. It got to the point where it seemed every other hiker told me, “You just gotta stop at the “Cookie Lady’s” house. Best cookies ever!

Then these thoughtful fellow travelers would painstakingly give me directions to a blueberry farm just off the trail in western Massachusetts. It seems Marilyn Wiley, along with her husband Roy, owned the farm in rural Washington, Mass., that had several outbuildings, including one with what appeared to be storing a small airplane.

And since buying the place back in 1983, Marilyn Wiley would walk out front and hand out her scrumptious cookies to blueberry pickers and hikers passing her farm on the Appalachian Trail.

A few days into that part of my trek, I found myself approaching a country road in western Massachusetts in search of (more…)

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