Sunday, October 14, 2012

Will the Peaks of Otter Lodge Make It Through November?

Sharp Top today from the deck at the Peaks of Otter Lodge
Leah and I drove up to the Peaks of Otter today for a mid-fall, expensive ($40), lunch of average  over-cooked foods and a view you simply can't buy. With all that's amiss in having lunch, breakfast, brunch or dinner at one of the most popular stops along the Blue Ridge Parkway, it is difficult to ponder the potential closing of the lodge and restaurant in November.

The Lynchburg News & Advance reported yesterday that nobody put in an acceptable bid to run the lodge and restaurant at the 63-room hotel, which was completed in 1964. It has 40 fulltime employees. Virginia Peaks of Otter Company had the contract to run the facility, but that's over Nov. 30 and won't be renewed.

I've been visiting occasionally (and eating while there, even though I don't like the food) since the 1970s and it's always fun. There's a short hike around the lake, hikes or bus rides to the surrounding peaks and a lot of peace and quiet (except when the Harley riders come in. They tend to add an unwelcome level of bravado noise wherever they go and I don't know why their noise pollution--which is most often illegal--is tolerated).

The Peaks of Otter Company has had the contract since 1988, most recently renewing in 2010. No reason was given for giving up the contract. The contract includes 4,000 acres of forest between Sharp Top and Flat Top, a couple of popular destinations. Abbott Lake and Sharp Top compose the view out the restaurant windwon.

Lunch there today was a full-house affair and it looked like most of the rooms were rented, as well. There were at least two different groups of leather-clad Harley riders eating lunch today.

The lodge will likely close for the winter, according to the article, but it has done that before. The future is uncertain and that is a shame.


  1. I agree that it will be sad if the Peaks Lodge does not reopen in the spring. It is a beautifull place up there.
    As a motorcyclist, I agree with your comments on the loud pipe croud. I think they do the rest of us a diservice with thier noise.
    A Harley with stock mufflers sounds beautifull IMHO.
    Hank P.

  2. The Harley noise is absolutely horrendous at Gettysburg on certain weekends. And it's constant. Why do Harley riders feel they have the right to ruin everybody else's pleasure?

  3. Fact is that many of these Harleys are illegal, but cops won't cite them. I've never known of a Harley rider being cited for violating the noise ordinances. Is it because cops ride Harleys? Whatever it is, I'd love for the constabulary to get with the program. The only people who like Harley noise are Harley owners. It is boorish to the rest of us.

  4. The National Park Service has been underfunded for decades now. I find it amusing that a facility such as this, which in my observation serves mostly republicans, should be shut down.

    My democratic ideals say that we should all pay for services our government offers. Some will take advantage of the subsidized Peaks of Otter lodge, others may benefit from toll free roads and still others will be able to feed their children (welfare)or themselves (welfare for the elderly in nursing homes). Over the last few decades, people have taken the view that they should only have to pay for what they personally use. I think we should all chip in because even if we do not directly benefit from the item we are being taxed for we probably benefitindirectly in some way. Well, anyway, here we are- bye bye lodge. I'll miss it but I have plenty of other recreation options (and they have better food and service)

    Throw the concessions out. The park service can run the lodge(s)just fine if correctly funded. Otherwise if nobody can make money running the concession (which I doubt but I don't have access to the numbers) and nobody wants to pay taxes that would allow the park service to continue to subsidize these lodges, then it's over.