BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — Spanning the southern and central Appalachians is the Blue Ridge National Parkway, where visitors will find stunning views and various significant natural resources.
Among those natural resources are the Peaks of Otter, a group of sister mountains and area that has attracted people to the region for more than 8,000 years. Today, it’s a place where you can get away for hiking, nature, romance and solitude.
Interpretive Park Ranger Richard Nash happily cruises down the parkway during on-season so that he can educate visitors about the Peaks of Otter.
“It’s almost spiritual when you’re coming down the parkway and you’re looking at everything. You think about your place in the world, you know, here I am, how lucky am I to get to see this every day, to see these mountains.”Richard Nash, Interpretive Park Ranger
Nash says the Peaks of Otter is composed of three mountains; Sharp Top, Flat Top and Harkening Hill. Of the three, Sharp Top is the most visited and has even been a destination for the likes of Thomas Jefferson and Robert E. Lee.
At 3,875 feet in elevation, Sharp Top was long believed to be the tallest mountain in Virginia. However, Flat Top is taller with an elevation of 4,004 feet and Harkening Hill rises to 3,375 feet. All the trails on the three mountains are a steep and strenuous hike to the top, ranging from 1.5 miles to 3.3 miles. The views are rewarding.
General Manager of Peaks of Otter Lodge Jean Howell has visitors covered once they reach lower elevation.
“When they’re done hiking, they can come into our lounge for a relaxing cocktail, listen to some live music. In our dining room, our chef does some great specialty dinners.”Jean Howell, General Manager of Peaks of Otter Lodge,
Howell says many come to the Peaks of Otter Lodge to unplug and relax. One can certainly see why with the serene Abbot Lake in the lodge’s backyard. A paved walkway around the lake is wheelchair accessible. Many enjoy fishing at the lake or simply taking it in from one of the lodge’s comfy Adirondack chairs.
Tracy Reines visiting from New York City did just that. She says everyone’s looking for a bit of a break and space and has really enjoyed her stay.
“It’s a gorgeous spot. You don’t feel like you’re leaving the Parkway to go to another hotel offsite. They’ve been handling everything beautifully, it’s really well taken care of. I just got some coffee upstairs, I’m enjoying this incredible view right outside of my porch and I kind of don’t wanna leave. I have a long drive to go, but I kind of don’t want to leave, it’s fantastic it’s lovely.Tracy Reines, visiting Peaks of Otter
Many feel the same way as Reines. Whether visiting for the first time or often. The Peaks of Otter is a place to be.