COVID-19 Response

Here at Tenderfoot, we like onions – both literally and figuratively.  We like to solve problems with lots of layers and do things when there are layers of reasons to do them (more than “I want to right now”).  Naming Tenderfoot was in this spirit – our reasons for choosing our name were three-fold:  (1) because we tread lightly on the earth, or walk with a tender foot, (2) because we launched Tenderfoot by thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail which led to literal tender feet, and (3) because in folklore, a tenderfoot is an amateur, someone struggling and striving to learn or adapt in a new situation.

COVID-19 has made all of us a tenderfoot, and after some careful thought, we’ve planned our layered response.  We hope all of you will join us in #1, many of you will join us in #2, and you’ll help us find the best candidates to join us in #3.

1. We’re wearing purple every day – or eating it, or photographing it, or watching it.
In politics, purple is the color of solidarity.  Blue and red together make purple, and we believe now is a time for unity, for acts of kindness and gratitude.  People of every race, gender, education level, and political leaning are working on the front lines of the pandemic – from nurses, to doctors, to grocery delivery people, to pharmacists, to police officers, to EMTs, to researchers.  Many more of us are staying home so the front lines don’t become even more embattled and dangerous.  At Tenderfoot, we’re wearing purple (or otherwise making it a part of our daily life) as a sign of our solidarity with our fellow coronavirus fighters around the world.  We hope you’ll join us.  For more on this topic, check out this blog post.

2. Got cabin fever?  We’ve built a campsite and reservations are open.
Check out our HipCamp listing to book an affordable escape.  Your reservation fee helps us build & maintain our infrastructure and provide our programs at affordable rates.

3. We’re opening Tenderfoot to 8 people  in need of stable housing, a stable food source, or purpose for idle hands and minds.  
Living on the Appalachian Trail for 7 months left us feeling oddly prepared to live the way we are now – a little deprived, a little isolated, with a constant awareness of danger.  We are also well aware that we wouldn’t have succeeded without a lot of help.  We find ourselves now in a position to pay that help forward.  Tenderfoot has 3 empty bedrooms on 16 isolated acres with plenty of projects to keep lots of hands and minds busy.  We’re able to offer room and board through summer for up to 8 people who are willing to help out as they’re able.  If you’re intrigued for yourself or know a good candidate, read on.  To express interest, email us at

Rules of Engagement
1. All guests will be required to self-quarantine elsewhere for 2 weeks prior to arrival at Tenderfoot.  This is for everyone’s safety, and for Lindsey’s in particular.  She has a respiratory condition – please don’t endanger our Songbird.
2. After arriving, guests will be asked to follow the Governor’s stay-at-home order from here.  We aren’t leaving except to make supply runs every 14 days.
3. Everyone who comes will be asked to pitch in in some way.  There’s something for most abilities and skill levels – cooking, gardening, building, researching, designing, cleaning, art-making.  Unfortunately, Tenderfoot is not yet wheelchair accessible.
4. Sustainability is the heart of our mission.  Guests should be open to living greenly – with consideration for water & energy conservation and a diet of local, organic, produce-heavy meals.
5. This opportunity is available May 1 – August 1 or any section of that.  We’ll consider extending it if the state of the world warrants it and our resources hold out.
6. Families with children are welcome, but pets are not.
7. Romeo is our resident cat.  Those with cat allergies please be aware.
8. Guests will be asked to fill out a Google form acknowledging and agreeing to the above two-week quarantine prior to intended arrival date.

Living Conditions

  • There are 3 ground-level bedrooms available, and we’ll make room assignments once we know more about who’s coming.  The bed situation is as follows:
    Southeast room: one full bed
    Southwest room: bunk beds + a twin bed (an additional bed could be added to this room)
    Northwest room: two twin beds
    Scroll all the way to the bottom to see pictures of each room!
  • There are 2 bathrooms in the house, one on ground level, the other upstairs where the kitchen and living areas are also located.
  • There’s a pond for fishing, swimming, and kayaking (we have two available including required life vests).
  • There’s a trail system around the property and on neighboring properties that we have access to, but we’re in the foothills of the Appalachians – it’s hilly!
  • We don’t have great cell service but we have strong internet. Verizon service isn’t bad, and if you walk to the top of the driveway, it’s downright good. We do not have cable TV.

Projects Underway Here
This list is to give you an idea of the things you might find yourselves doing if you join us.  It’s not exhaustive, and if you have a different skill to offer, we’re very open to your ideas!

  • Tenderfoot Test Kitchen:  Endless experiments, making more and more from scratch
  • Greenhouse construction
  • Gardening
  • Installing water systems – irrigation, rain water catchment, pond aerator
  • Donor recognition wall or sculpture
  • Indoor remodeling
  • Campsite construction – tent pads, outdoor shower, composting toilet
  • Curb appeal – landscaping around our road sign and the house

What to Bring

  • Medications or special food items you require
  • Items that bring comfort – pictures, your own pillow, slippers
  • Clothing for at least a week, better yet 2 weeks – With only 1 washer and dryer, laundry will have to be done on a rotation
  • Shoes suited to the outdoors (closed-toed if you want to help with any building projects)
  • Toiletries
  • Toilet paper, food staples, and cleaning supplies you’re willing to share
  • Any tools you’re willing to share, however temporarily
  • Electricity-free fun: puzzles, card games, board games, books, etc.
  • Musical instruments

What Not to Bring

  • Coronavirus – please respect our expectation that guests self-quarantine for two weeks prior to arrival.  If you are sick, stay home.
  • Bedding and towels – we’ve got those to spare (thanks to our wonderful donors!)

Email us at if you’re interested or have questions!

Southeast bedroom:

Southwest bedroom:

Northwest bedroom: