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Life along the Parkway

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Has spent past 50 years working at spots along the road

By John Barnhart

Calvin Rice has worked along the Blue Ridge Parkway for half a century.

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    He’s currently the dining room manager at the Peaks of Otter Lodge.

    Rice started working at a service station along the parkway at Otter Creek, near Big Island, right out of high school. This is 28 miles north of the Peaks and the parkway was not yet complete at that time. There was not yet a bridge carrying the road over the James River and motorists, upon reaching that point, had to get off, cross the James elsewhere and then return to the parkway.

    Rice initially came to the Peaks of Otter Lodge when it first opened on May 6, 1964. Abbott Lake didn’t exist at that point, it was just a spot overgrown with brush, and he watched as it was built. He recalls the archaeological dig, near the dam,  that temporarily  halted work after