National Park Service officials are looking for individuals or businesses to relaunch three historic properties along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
All three locations were originally designed to serve visitors to the parkway. They are Bluffs Lodge near Sparta, Rocky Knob Cabins in the Floyd and Meadows of Dan, Virginia area, and Otter Creek Restaurant near Lynchburg.
The Bluffs at Doughton Park in the High Country was one of the first developed areas on the 469-mile parkway, says external affairs specialist Leesa Brandon.
“When it was built, there was a 24-room lodge as well as a coffee shop-restaurant across from the lodge," she says. "The restaurant was restored and is now operated with a historic lease in cooperation with our philanthropic partner, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, but the lodge has not been operational for some years.”
There isn’t a timeframe for when park service officials want to see the lodge reopened, Brandon says. Last year was the first of a planned three-year construction project in that area of the parkway.
The Rocky Knob location includes seven rustic cabins and a manager’s house. The Otter Creek site near the James River has a 57-seat restaurant and a gift shop.
All three locations have historic pasts, but Brandon says the park service is open to new and creative ways of using them.
Virtual question and answer sessions will be held on the following dates to allow interested parties to ask questions of park staff about any of the properties:
- Session One, focused on Otter Creek, Feb. 27
- Session Two, focused on Rocky Knob Cabins, Feb. 28
- Session Three, focused on Bluffs Lodge, Feb. 29
In-person site visits will be scheduled at each facility by late March.