Sunday, June 2, 2013

Leaving KOA Fancy Gap and Heading to the Peaks of Otter Lodge on the Blue-Ridge Parkway

View of Sharp Top - Peaks of Otter - Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia

View of Sharp Top - Peaks of Otter - Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia
We slept in a little; I did not have to heat up the electric burners for breakfast because Nadia still had her left over pancakes from yesterday in the cooler.  I could survive on an energy bar.  The only thing missing was my cup of coffee :( I think I needed some rest, we have been getting up around 6:00 a.m. each morning and I think my body was starting to tell me to slow down a little. After we lugged all our equipment out to the car and packed it up, we walked over to the office to turn in our key. (I, with my worrying mind was afraid I would not find a place to park my car near the office)  The walk was not far and we took some pictures of the beautiful Hydrangeas along the way. We climbed back in our car and exited back on the Blue Ridge Parkway to continue our journey.  Starting at milepost 199, we needed to arrive at milepost 86, The Peaks of Otter Lodge. Here are some sights along the way:
  • 189 – Puckett Cabin
  • 188 – Groundhog Mountain Parking Overlook – Observation Tower
  • 176 – Mabry Mill
I wished I had stopped at this Mill.  It looked like a very nice area.  It is a self-guiding trail with exhibits and the restored Mill.  Again, I was worried about timing.  I wanted to check in at the Lodge and drive to Natural Bridge, a place I have wanted to visit for a long time now.  So I did not turn around and kept on driving.
  • 167-174 – Rocky Knob – Comfort Stations and Visitor Center
  • 154 – Smart View – Hiking Trails and Comfort Stations
  • 144.8 – Pine Spur Parking Overlook
  • 144 – Devils Backbone Parking Overlook
  • 129 – Roanoke Valley Parkway Overlook
  • 120.4 – Roanoke Mountain
  • 120.3 – Roanoke Mountain Loop Road – A loop road around the mountain, about 4 miles long with steep grades
  • 120 – Mill Mountain Discovery Center
  • 115 – Visitor Center – Restrooms, Gift Shop and Hiking Trail
  • 114 – Roanoke River Overlook – Trail
  • 84 – 87 – Peaks of Otter Area
  • 86 – Peaks of Otter Lodge
Hydrangeas - Fance Gap KOA, VA
Hydrangeas - I Love Them!
We stopped off at the Peaks of Otter Visitor Center first.  It is nice and there is a little country store beside it.  The Ranger was very nice and helpful.  This is where I bought my sticker. “I Drove the Whole Blue Ridge Parkway” I thought I earned that one.  The Ranger also talked to Nadia about the Junior Ranger Program for the Blue Ridge Parkway.  I wanted to cry.  Now she wants to earn her badge???? We are just about done with the drive.  I kept trying to get her to work on the activities a long the way, but she was too into her cross-stitch and DS.  The Ranger said we could mail in the activity book and she could earn her badge then. The Ranger then sent us across the Parkway to the Nature Center in front of the Trail to climb Sharp Top.  At the Nature Center they had animal skins that you could touch.  There were also some snakes in tanks and a very informative Ranger.  I was not sure who to feel more sorry for, the Ranger or I.  Nadia just talked his ear off.  She told him about our camping trip in the Everglades, all about our cat and then she had to go and tell him about my scary snake story.  I was finally able to steer her out of the Nature Center and can you believe she wanted to hike Sharp Top next! Sharp Top Trail is about a 2.5 hours long and it is a strenuous hike.  I told her it was going to be tough, but she wanted to try it.  I got our bags out of the car and we started up the trail.  We walked for about 20 minutes and then Nadia was like “This is hard, my legs hurt” So we turned around and went back to the car.  I would love to try this hike again some time.  Maybe when Nadia is a little older. We drove a short distance past Abbott Lake and arrived at the Peaks of Otter Lodge.  

Another great Lodge to stay at on the Parkway.

bbott Lake - Peaks of Otter - Blue Ridge Parkway
Abbott Lake - Peaks of Otter - Blue Ridge Parkway 
Below is my newest book that is available on Amazon that was written about this road trip along with some added bonuses

Below is my first travel guide