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Road Trip 2010: Report from the Pisgah Inn Along the Blue Ridge Parkway

The Pisgah Inn along the Blue Ridge Parkway offers great views...and great dining. Photos by David and Kay Scott.

Pisgah Inn is the southernmost of the four national park lodging facilities on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Situated at 5,000 feet elevation, it enjoys mild summer temperatures and leafy views.

Pisgah Inn has 50 rooms plus one suite in three buildings constructed during the 1960s. A fourth building houses the restaurant. Guest rooms rent for $120 a night during the week, with an extra $12 charged during weekends. These rates include breakfast. Each room has a balcony with excellent mountain views, tiled bathroom with shower-tub combo, and a television. Sorry, no air-conditioning (though the mountain setting helps combat the heat and humidity) or phone in rooms.

Unlike the three other lodging facilities on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the three lodges in Shenandoah National Park, Pisgah Inn is managed by an independent concessionaire. Bruce O’Connell is bright, imaginative, and environmentally aware. He is a second-generation concessionaire of the inn who assumed management following the death of his father in 1985.

Like other national park concession facilities, Pisgah Inn has become more environmentally friendly. Rooms have tankless water heaters and dual-flush toilets. Three of the inn’s vehicles have been converted to run on used cooking oil that the concessionaire once paid $75 per month to have hauled away. Energy conservation projects at the inn are partially funded by soft drink container deposit fees that accumulate when guests fail to return containers for the deposit they paid during purchase. The fee annually funds approximately $1,500 of projects.

Pisgah Inn is perhaps best known for an excellent restaurant that offers unique entrees such as Trail Mix Encrusted Rainbow Trout garnished with blueberry butter and Candied Pecan Encrusted Chicken Breast with Dijon mustard cream sauce. Head chef Ian Drobka has been at the inn since 1997 when be took a temporary job washing dishes. Ian subsequently worked as a line cook and assistant chef before taking charge of food preparation nearly four years ago.

The restaurant offers a core menu including pork chops, country ham, chef salad, and meat loaf, meals familiar to all national park visitors. Prices for these items are very reasonable with a huge $8.95 chef salad and breakfast of two eggs, grits, and toast or biscuits going for $4. However, it is Ian’s special dishes that draw praise from guests. We can vouch for his special Pisgah Rolls, whose ingredients include dill, rosemary, onion, and cottage cheese, topped with shredded parmesan cheese. The basket of Ian’s rolls was empty by the time the special beet salad arrived.

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Our family has many good memorable experiences at The Pisgah Inn. One of the best was eating Sunday lunch in the restaurant after coming off a three day backpacking trek. I know we didn't look good and probably smelled worse. Our family of six each ordered 'the left half' of the menu. Great food and great service.

This is an excellent review and consistent with both of my own personal experiences when I stayed overnight at the Inn and when dining in the Inn's restaurant. Some of the staff I recognize from many seasons ago.

Last year, I set up my telescope to view the night sky in the large grassy area just below and to the east of the dinning room. I was visited by one curious black bear who seemed to approach me for a look in my eyepiece (or who wondered what morsel of food was hidden in my large Optical Tube Assembly). I recall enjoying the company of a family from Nashville, TN who had recently stayed in the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite Valley. The lodging and dinning prices at the Mt. Pisgah Inn most certainly beat those of Delaware North's Ahwahnee.

We've stayed at the Pigah Inn 5 times now. 3 of those for mutliple nights. In fact, we were just there last month. While our room was mistakenly given to someone with our last name, Rob, the manager took great care to make everything better than we could have expected. We will once again be heading in that direction next year, and will stay here again. I'm not sure what I like best about the place. It's a tie between the views from our balcony and the food. It also helps that we haven't run out of things to do in that area.

I work at the Pisgah Inn and am very pleased to call it home.I love to see that ya'll had a great time here.I hope to see you soon:) Check our facebook site for specials and updates as well as new pictures.Remember, our goal is to "make your day" just like everyday the guests make ours.Happy trails..

I would add only one thing to this great review. While the views from the deck are wonderful, in the restaurant proper only the tables closest to the window offer what you could call a truly great view. If you want to sit at one of those tables during dinner, you will need to plan ahead. The Pisgah Inn currently serves dinner from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. and does not take reservations. If you cannot get a window table for the 5:00 seating, try to be get your name on the list for the second seating, which begins at around 5:45 (more or less). If you arrive at the wrong time, and are not willing to wait for a window table to eventually become available, you'll get a table in the 2nd, third, or even fourth row. The view from the third row is not shabby (as we discovered when we ate at the Inn this past Wednesday), but it is most emphatically not in the same league as the one you get at the window tables.

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