The Bluffs Restaurant: Ongoing Support

Photo by David Huff

Bluffs Counter.jpg

Gold stools line the lunch counter at The Bluffs Restaurant Gold stools line the lunch counter at The Bluffs Restaurant. Photograph by David Huff

Thanks to tremendous support for this revitalization project, The Bluffs Restaurant is open again. 

The Foundation holds a historic lease for the National Park Service facility and is responsible for ongoing maintenance and improvements. You can support this beloved destination by making a donation to assist with the upkeep of the circa-1949 building. As part of our committment to sustainabillity, we will undertake projects to increase energy efficiency in the restaurant.

Your gift will help ensure The Bluffs will continue to delight the thousands of diners expected to visit this year. We hope you are one of those guests returning to The Bluffs to make more memories. Please give today!  



The Bluffs Backstory

In 1949, The Bluffs became the first dining establishment to open on the Parkway. The former coffee shop welcomed generations of diners before closing in 2010.

“The Bluffs was not just a place for a wonderful meal, it was a place where memories were made on the Blue Ridge Parkway,” said Foundation CEO Carolyn Ward. “Recreating that experience for those who fondly remember The Bluffs and those who never had a chance to visit is a perfect example of the Foundation’s mission to enhance the Parkway for everyone.”

In 2020, the stone and timber building underwent extensive renovations. Today, The Bluffs appears just as many remember it, with green and white checkerboard floors, a retro lunch counter with stools, and the original light fixtures. The repairs and upgrades included a new electrical system, reconstructed lunch counter, ADA-compliant restrooms, a complete kitchen equipment update, and more.

We can't thank you enough for your donations which made this revitalization possible. During the decade was closed, the facility fell into a severe state of disrepair. After many requests to reopen the restaurant, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation stepped in and began raising funds in 2016 for the rehab. A combination of donations from individuals and organizations and support from the State of North Carolina and Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) made the rehabilitation of the building possible. More than 500 donors contributed to the nearly $1 million total for the project.

Learn more about The Bluffs project with this webinar:




You can follow the The Bluffs on Facebook and Instagram. Visit the website at

Additional Bluffs Resources & Information

See the Live Webcam at Doughton Park

Read about server Ellen Woodruff Smith, who worked at The Bluffs from the day it opened on May 31, 1949, to the day it closed on November 1, 2010. 

Learn more about the Cultural Landscape of Doughton Park 


We'd love to hear from you!

Do you have wonderful memories of Bluffs Coffee Shop at Doughton Park? 

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