Doughton Park: Repair & Reopen Bluffs Buildings

Photo by National Park Service, Blue Ridge Parkway

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Julie Hettiger, pictured on left, with her friend, Anna Kerly, in 1966 at Bluffs Coffee Shop Julie Hettiger, pictured on left, with her friend, Anna Kerly, at Bluffs Coffee Shop in 1966

New Matching Opportunity!

With tens of thousands of dollars still needed to reopen The Bluffs Restaurant, Julie Hettiger and Ken Nelson have stepped forward to offer a matching challenge gift to ensure the renovations at the beloved coffee shop at Doughton Park are completed. Donations designated for the project will be matched dollar for dollar up to a total of $25,000.

“When I was growing up, The Bluffs Restaurant was the favorite destination for Sunday outings with my grandparents, my parents and many other relatives, and I have always cherished those memories,” Julie says (at left in photo taken at Bluffs). “My husband and I are very excited that the Foundation is so close reopening the restaurant in the very near future, and we have created this challenge grant to get the project to reopen The Bluffs across the finish line.”

The Bluffs Restaurant is slated to reopen in the summer of 2020 after being closed for a decade! We've come so far thanks to your dedication to reopening this beloved spot on the Blue Ridge Parkway, but we still need your support to cross the finish line and welcome diners back. Our goal is $60,000.

Funding from the North Carolina General Assembly and Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) has also been critical. In 2017, the state appropriated $350,000 toward building repairs. ARC provided a $300,000 grant to purchase updated restaurant equipment and furniture. 

Renovations of the restaurant's interior will in the coming months. To safeguard the significant investment of our Community of Stewards, the Foundation is in the process of securing a historic lease for the site, allowing for oversight of the new operation as well as the facility.  

You can help reopen The Bluffs Restaurant with a gift today.


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 

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

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Help bring the Bluffs back to life


Photo by Rita Larkin