O’Connell said Wednesday he would rebel against the order to shutter after seeing World War II veterans reopen their memorial in Washington when barricades blocked the entrances. But he had backed down by the Park Service deadline to close Thursday.
“Conscience, conviction. That’s about it,” O’Connell said of his decision to reopen after thinking about the situation overnight. He said he would take guests for the weekend as long as the doors were able to remain open.
His family has operated the inn on the parkway about 25 miles from Asheville, N.C., for 35 years. It the only spot for many miles along the 469.1-mile mountain route to sleep or grab a meal and go to the bathroom.
A handful of guests had lunch before Park Service patrol cars blocked the driveways, turning on their orange flashing lights. Rangers turned customers away, saying the government was closed.