Polly Wood's Ordinary

Quick Facts

Historical/Interpretive Information/Exhibits, Parking - Auto, Scenic View/Photo Spot, Trailhead, Trash/Litter Receptacles

Polly Wood’s Ordinary served travelers on the Buchanan to Liberty Turnpike and visitors to the Peaks of Otter from the early 1830s to the late 1850s. It is a good example of the simple, rather rough and ready, accommodation, which was characteristic of the period. The ordinary is a reminder that the Peaks of Otter settlement was not isolated, but has been visited by travelers throughout its history.

Widow Polly Wood opened her home to passing travelers as a place to get the “ordinary” things needed for life during their trips. The Ordinary is credited as the first public place of accommodation Peaks of Otter area, operated by Polly and her family along the Buchanan to Liberty (now Bedford) turnpike. It was a place for weary travelers to shelter for the night and place to get a meal and rest livestock.

In 1952, Regional Historian Holland wrote that the Ordinary, “is the most interesting and significant structure on the Blue Ridge Parkway.” During the construction of Abbott Lake in 1964, the National Park Service reassembled the Ordinary a few hundred yards to the east of its original site, noted as one of the more controversial landscape decisions along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Like other structures along the Parkway, the Ordinary has become a picturesque feature in a carefully composed scene.

Blue Ridge Parkway

Last updated: October 29, 2020