Mabry Mill was open for breakfast Friday morning and will be open now for the remainder of October.
The restaurant and mill reopened thanks to efforts of Karen Radcliff — operator of the restaurant, Felecia Shelor, owner of Poor Farm Market in Meadows of Dan and other business owners in the surrounding areas and an agreement between the National Park Service and the owner of the Mount Pisgah Lodge in North Carolina.
A spokesman for the National Park Service said Thursday they are not encouraging businesses operated by private vendors to reopen, they won’t stop those who do.
Radcliff said Mabry Mill is “definitely open through Oct. 31” but lost at least $65,000 for the 10 days that it was closed because of the continuing government shutdown.
The attraction was closed last weekend at what was considered the “peak” time for autumn colors on this part of the Parkway.
Word that Mabry Mill was reopening spread quickly via the Internet and waitresses stayed busy throughout the morning. A light mist following also did not keep visitors from visiting the adjoining mill.
Several motorcycle riders pulled in and asked: “Are they open?”
When assured the restaurant was open and serving food, one smiled.
“Amazing,” he said. “We’re hungry.”
“We came year from Florida three years ago and looked forward to coming back this year,” said Joe Branham, who added that he and his wife stayed at the Hotel Floyd Thursday night. “It would have been terrible if we had not been able to come here and eat.”
Elsewhere on the Parkway, Peaks of Otter Lodge and Restaurant is hoping to be open this weekend as ell. In Washington, the opposing sides of the budget battle that closed the government announced they would work through the weekend to try and resolve the situation.