Sunday, May 7, 2017

Peaks of Otter Lodge

We spent our last night of vacation at the Peaks of Otter Lodge right on the Blue Ridge Parkway, nearest to Bedford, Virginia. The property is beautiful and parts of it are refurbished, but it is still showing its age. We shared it with a lot of members of a Corvette club from Pennsylvania. There were dozens and dozens of newer Corvettes in the parking lot, but nothing classic. Some of them were making a hell of a racket and certainly did not endear themselves to us.

We snacked very lightly in the room for dinner before turning in. We never would make it to the restaurant on the property for a meal.

It was a chilly night and we slept with balcony door open listening to frogs on the lake at night. The air handler in our room was stuck on heat, so we had to use the door to cool off the room. In the morning, the frog sounds were replaced by those of noisy Red-winged Blackbirds and Brown-headed Cowbirds.

Sharp Top Behind Peaks of Otter Lodge
In the morning, we decided to take a quick lap around Abbott Lake before checking out and heading home. There was a stiff breeze whipping across the lake and the sky was overcast and leaden. It may have been the coldest day of our trip and certainly is unusual weather for May.

It Was Down Puffy Cold

Lakeside Gray Catbird, Dumetella carolinensis

Flat Top Behind Lodge

Showy Orchis, Galearis spectabilis

Cinnamon Fern, Osmundastrum cinnamomeum

Golden Ragwort, Packera aurea, in Daylilies, Hemerocallis fulva

The Island in Abbott Lake; Sharp Top Behind

Catawba Rhododendron Just Budding

Catawba Rhododendron, Rhododendron catawbiense
After our walk, we stopped in the main building to check out where we found that our bill was unexpectedly higher than it should have been. Given the Corvette owners, the malfunctioning air handler, and the mix-up on our bill, our experience at Peaks of Otter wasn't all that great and we were happy to put it behind us.

We decided to go find coffee and breakfast in Lexington, so we left the lodge headed south on the Blue Ridge Parkway until we could take VA-43 down off the mountain and into the tiny town of Buchanan where we took I-81 north to Lexington. On the way, we checked out coffee shops on the web and selected the Lexington Coffee Shop as looking quirkily promising. It was. I am no stranger to Lexington. My cousin Stuart was first a student at Washington and Lee University (1942) and then a professor, and he almost convinced me to go there to college. My cousins attended VMI right next door. It was good to be back for a few minutes.

Lexington Coffee Shop
A couple of bagels and a couple cups of coffee, we wound through town past VMI ultimately back to I-81 for the trip home. We both hated to see our one vacation of the year come to a close, but we were tired and ready to be home and excited to see Carter and the dogs.

Although it rained three of the days and Ann hurt her knee, we still got to see waterfalls at DuPont and Linville Gorge, hike Max Patch and Roan Mountain, walk with ponies up to Mt. Rogers, and get our photographs at McAfee Knob. It was a great trip for our farewell to the East Coast.

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