BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. -

The Peaks of Otter Lodge rolled out the red carpet for more than 850 people Thursday, accommodating the Thanksgiving crowd in three different seatings during the day.

The Lodge was expecting so many visitors, says General Manager Robert Peters, Delaware North brought in employees from Camden Yards baseball stadium in Baltimore, Big Meadows Lodge on the Skyline Drive, and even one staffer from Yosemite.

And they were thankful for the business.

"With the grand opening in July, and then we had our official grand opening in September, our official grand closing with the government shutdown in October, opening back up, getting people motivated again, getting in the spirit of the Peaks of Otter has been very satisfying to have this amount of people to come back up and enjoy Thanksgiving with us," Peters said.

We met some who were visiting for the first time, and others returning to an old favorite. All of them told us they were happy the Thanksgiving experience survives at the Peaks of Otter Lodge.

" I came up here with my family and we had a big Thanksgiving meal," said first-time visitor Lucas Waid. "And they have very good food here."

Marilyn Gilbert was returning to the popular restaurant. "We don't have family and we just love to have some place to go," Gilbert told us. There can't be a better place to come up than here.  It's a wonderful place."

The lodge served up a traditional Thanksgiving feast with all the trimmings.
And the general manager says loyal customers made sure management kept a favorite dish: the sweet potato casserole.