There are a wealth of places to stay and eat in countless mountain communities just off the Parkway—but, the Parkway boasts its own distinctive lodging and dining spots. Staying on the high road for accommodations and meals truly enhances that "away from it all" experience.
Before you check out the concession sites below, be aware that some Parkway lodges and eateries will be closed or changing hands in 2012 as new concession contracts are being negotiated for various sites. Those most likely to be affected are Peaks of Otter Lodge, Mabry Mill Restaurant, Bluffs Lodge (which will be closed in 2012) and Rocky Knob Cabins. For more see this National Parks Traveler article.
Parkway Lodges and Accommodations:
From north to south,
Peaks of Otter Lodge (Milepost 85.6)—
This 60-room motel-style lodge includes a full-service restaurant, lounge, and gift shop. Rooms have porches that overlook Abbott Lake with Sharp Top soaring dramatically to a point just beyond.
Rocky Knob Cabins (Milepost 174.1)—
These 8 Civilian Conservation Corps-constructed cabins were built in the 1930s and may qualify as the Parkway’s most historic “parkitecture.” The cabins are cozy and comfortable (one is handicapped accessible) with everything needed for an extended stay. 540-593-3503.
Bluffs Lodge (Milepost 241.1)—
Bluffs Lodge offers simple lodge rooms and a patio fireplace for cool evenings. Some rooms face the parking lot and cost less than those overlooking the meadows and gamboling deer of Doughton Park. The park’s Bluffs Restaurant is walking distance away. 540-586-1081. Closed summer 2012.
Pisgah Inn (Milepost 408.6)—
The Parkway’s loftiest lodge (located at 5,000 feet) is a cool refuge from the hottest days. The rooms (and one suite—all renovated in 2008) come with one king, queen, or two double beds, a front porch and rocking chair that overlook a dramatic plummet to the Pisgah National Forest. A coffeemaker, antenna TV, and small fridge are other amenities. The lodge was built in the mid-1960s when the Parkway opened past Mount Pisgah.
Parkway Places to Eat—
Otter Creek (Milepost 60.8)—
The Otter Creek Restaurant is operated by the Virginia Peaks of Otter Company that also operates Peaks of Otter Lodge and its Lake View Restaurant. Open May 1 to October 31, Otter Creek’s menu is informal and down-home fare. The buckwheat pancake breakfast is especially popular. 434-299-5862.
Peaks of Otter Lodge (Milepost 85.6)—
The Parkway’s biggest lodge serves three meals a day, seven days a week at the Lake View restaurant from 7:30 am-8:30 pm. The dining room flanks an awe-inspiring view of Sharp Top across Abbott Lake. The eatery’s full menu is amplified by a Friday night seafood buffet and a breakfast and later country buffet on Sunday. The diverse dinner menu can be complemented with Virginia wines (among others). 540-586-1081
Mabry Mill Restaurant (Milepost 176.2)—
Mabry Mill’s Restaurant is popular for traditional country offerings such as country ham, barbecue, and buckwheat pancakes. The gift shop sells the mill’s stone ground cornmeal, buckwheat flour, grits, blackberry preserves, and carries a wide selection of crafts items. 276-952-2947.
Bluffs Restaurant (Milepost 241.1)—
Doughton Park’s restaurant features country-style meals (fried chicken and other such entrees) and has an informal rural character. There’s also a small gift shop on the premises. Closed summer 2012.
Crabtree Meadows Snack Bar (Milepost 339.5)—
This small restaurant/gift shop/camp store facility serves travelers and campers at Crabtree Meadows Campground. Expect snacks and light, informal fare. Closed summer 2012.
Pisgah Inn Dining Room (Milepost 408.6)—
The Dining Room at Pisgah Inn serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week behind big picture windows overlooking lower mountains. The menu is diverse and includes modestly priced traditional evening meals like fried chicken and meatloaf along with much fancier and costly fare complemented by a wine list.