Thursday, December 21, 2006

Afton Mountain to receive facelift

Good news about Afton! They are going to clean it up.

Those of us who live in the Augusta/Albemarle/Nelson County areas are well aware of Afton Mountain where I-64 and Rt. 250 cross from the Shenandoah Valley over to the Rockfish Valley, Charlottesville, and points east.

When I was young this area had a Holiday Inn, a Howard Johnson's restaurant, and a gift shop along with the current gas station. The Holiday Inn has been gone for a number of years and is now known as the Afton Inn which has seen better days. The Howard Johnson's and gift shop are both closed, and another building was burned by arsonists two years ago.

The area looks seedy and unsightly. The problem is it is point where the Skyline Drive ends and the Blue Ridge Parkway begins, both of which intersect with I-64 and Rt. 250. It could be a crown jewel in the Blue Ridge crown, a beautiful gateway into the Valley.

But it's ugly, plain and simple.

The visitor center receives approximately 50,000 visitors year. What a shame their first impression is ... that.

Now the good news. Augusta County and Waynesboro plan to work together by contributing funds to the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission to study what to do with the area.

The Thursday Staunton News Leader has this article about what is being done. Whatever is decided has to be an improvement on what is there now.

I would like to see a quality restaurant on Afton so patrons could enjoy the views ... somewhere to go for special dinners. A nice hotel would be nice, too. The potential is endless.

Many will be watching to see what is happens.

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