This past Saturday Lynchburg, Virginia’s Pierce Street Historic District (located in the 1300 & 1400 blocks) celebrated the addition of two state historical markers, the people who resided here that influenced Lynchburg and beyond, the music of years gone by and food and drink as enjoyed by both past and present residents with a festival enjoyed by locals and visitors.
Only two blocks long, Pierece Street Historic District is the smallest of Lynchburg’s seven historic districts. It is the only historic district made more notable due to the people who lived here rather than the architecture of the buildings.
Settled in the 1850′s the area was the site of the Confederate Camp Davis, which served as a military hospital and gathering point for recruits from Virginina. During Reconstruction, the abandoned barracks were converted into housing for Federal soilders, a freedman’s school and a black Methodist Church. The area became part of Lynchburg in 1870.
The markers dedicated honor Walter Johnson and Professor Frank Twigg. Johnson’s marker commemorates his efforts to desegregate the game of tennis in the United States. Johnson trained Wimbledon champions Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe. Twigg’s marker commemorates this Virginia educator who was born in 1850 “into slavery in Richmond.” He worked as a teacher and pricipal for 22 years in Lynchurg’s public school system, and later served as president of colleges in Virginia, Maryland & North Carolina.
Look for a future post about Annes Spencer’s House and Garden, also located in the Pierce Street Historic District. On your next visit to the Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast take time to visit this tiny, but very interesting, historic district.
At the Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast we try to use fresh seasonal ingredients for our legendary breakfast whenever possible. German pancakes are traditionally made with apples and this time of year apples are plentiful, but so are pears so this past week we picked up some freshly picked pears at the farmers market and substituted pears for apples in this recipe. The directions below will make one large German pancake in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet or three pancakes in 5-6 inch cast iron skillets. We prefer to plate our food in the kitchen which is why we use the smaller cast-iron skillets but if you are making this for your family I would use the larger skillet and serve it family style at the table. The large skillet serves 4-5. These pancakes are light and fluffy as they come out of the oven and will deflate a little by the time you cut it. Make sure you have pot holders to remove the skillet from the oven and place the hot pan on an appropriate cutting board or trivet.
- 1 large firm-ripe pear, pealed, cored and cut into 1/8 inch slices
- 1 large lemon, finely grated to yield 1/2 Tablespoon of zest and squeezed to yield 2 Tablespoons of juice
- 4 room temperature large eggs
- 3/4 cup room temperature whole milk
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter cut into three equal slices
- Confectioners’ sugar for garnish (optional)
Place rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees
In a medium bowl toss the pear slices with the lemon juice and set aside.
In a large bowl beat the eggs with an electric hand mixer on high speed until the eggs are frothy (3-4 minutes) Next add the milk, sugar, vanilla, salt and lemon zest and mix on low until combined. Finally, sift the flour into the bowl and mix on low until combined (no need to mix out the lumps or you may be over working the flour).
Heat your skillet(s) on the stove on medium heat for a couple of minutes to get the skillet HOT. You could also place the skillet in the oven while it is preheating instead of heating it on the stove. Add the butter to the skillet(s) then add the pear slices and sprinkle with the cinnamon. Turn the pears over and layer on the bottom of the skillet(s). Next pour the batter over the pears (equal amounts if using the smaller skillets) and place in the oven for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and serve immediately.
Note the cast-iron skillet must be well seasoned to avoid the fruit and pancake from sticking. A cast-iron skillet holds the heat better and will give you a more even brown bottom color on the pancake. Finding a cast-iron skillet at a yard sale or thrift store usually means it has been well seasoned. Again, feel free to use apples (the more traditional version) instead of pears. Enjoy!
Just east of downtown Farmville, a 19th century railroad bridge has been converted into a pedestrian trail that provides a sweeping panoramic view of the Virginia countryside. High Bridge spans nearly half a mile, reaches a height of 125 feet above the Appomattox River and is well worth the hour drive from Lynchburg.
Part of a 31-mile trail system and state park that connects Burkeville, Rice, Farmville, Prospect and Pamplin City the trail has become popular with walkers, bikers and even horseback riders. Though the trail is wide, level and flat it’s almost a mile from the parking lot to the bridge. The deck of High Bridge originally consisted of almost 2000 railroad ties. Along the bridge are several lookouts and covered benches to sit upon and reflect. At either end of the bridge are picnic tables.
Built in 1853 as part of the South Side Railroad the original single track, wooden bridge had a pedestrian walkway beside the tracks and a wagon bridge below. The bridge was a vital link for trade between Lynchurg and Petersburg.
In April 1865, during the Civil War, the bridge became of strategic importance to the Confederate and Union armies as they moved west from Richmond toward Appomattox Courthouse. After the Battle of Sailor’s Creek, a band of Union soldiers attempted to destroy the bridge but were thwarted by arriving Confederate horsemen. The following morning the Confederates set fire to the bridge in an attempt to prevent the Union soldiers from crossing. Despite the damage done to the bridge, the Union troops managed to follow in pursuit on the lower wagon bridge. In 1914 the railroad company completed the steel-tower bridge that remains standing today.
After our walk this past Sunday we stopped for lunch at Walker’s Diner. This 1950′s era diner is best known for it’s homemade french fries. They have the usual diner breakfast fare, served until 11 each day. The lunch menu consists of nine varieties of hamburgers, several subs, wraps and other sandwiches along with the appropriate diner sides. The people we saw eating dessert looked very satisfied. Farmville has several antique shops, various specialty shops but is best known for Greenfront.
To get to the High Bridge State Park parking area closest to the bridge take Route 460 toward Farmville. Travel Main Street through downtown. Once you pass the shops & restaurants turn right onto River Road. The parking lot is about 3 miles down River Road on your left. To walk toward the bridge follow the trail toward Richmond, not Farmville.
We plan to return in the fall when the leaves have begun to turn colors. The colors should be spectacular! As you walk the bridge trail you are in the treetops and we can’t wait to see the colored leaves against the dark green of the native pine trees.
If you choose to stay with us at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast your 4-course breakfast will keep you from being hungry until after your hike. We can pack you a picnic lunch to enjoy along the trail if you choose not to dine in Farmville. Call us at 434.846.1388 and we’ll help you enjoy a day with Mother Nature.
On the evening of August 24th we had the pleasure of attending an open house at the Lynchburg College Belk Observatory. Located on one of the highest points on the Claytor Nature Study property (approximately 960 feet above sea level) the observatory features a 177-square-foot dome. The dome houses the primary telescope and an observation deck equipped with 12 piers for mounting smaller telescopes.
Viewing the summer night sky through both large and small telescopes and astronomical binoculars we were presented with a show like none other. Mike and I have had the pleasure of viewing the night sky from the middle of the ocean on several occasions, where the truly dark sky, due to the lack of ambient light emitted from humans and buildings, provides for viewing spectacular stars and planets and maybe other life forms. At the Belk Observatory, set at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, within a 470-acre preserve our views were almost as spectacular! Plus, we had the advantage of viewing the night sky along the full horizon and “close up” and unobstructed.
Lynchburg College opens the observatory several times throughout the year to the public. Admission is free but a ticket is required. Visit the web site www.lynchburg.edu/observatory for the public viewing schedule and information on obtaining tickets.
The drive to the observatory from The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast is about a 45-minute drive from Lynchburg through a beautiful part of Bedford County. Stay with us for your viewing weekend and we’ll treat you like a “star” with our generous rooms, room amenities and 4-course breakfast each morning. Visit our web site www.thecarriagehouseinnbandb.com to compare our availability calendar with the viewing calendar to book your stay with us.
Now the story of the Fairy of the Eagle Nebula:
The Eagle Nebula is a young open cluster of stars in the constellation Serpens, whose “pillars of creation” are dense clouds of gas and dust that are regions of active star formation. Out of one of these ten-light-year-tall pillars emerges a gigantic alien fairy holding a telescope in her hands, aimed south toward the approximate location of the Eagle Nebula. The sculpture was envisioned and sculpted by Jon Hair and was a gift of Mr. and Mrs. Irwin Belk.
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