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Chilled Cantaloupe Soup with Tarragon Syrup

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Chilled Cantaloupe Soup

Chilled Cantaloupe Soup

At The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast we serve this chilled cantaloupe soup as a fruit course during the month of July, when Halifax cantaloupes are plentiful at the Community Market in downtown Lynchburg, VA.  Fresh herbs, either grown in our garden or from a vendor at the market, brighten up the flavor of everything.  The aromatic leaves also have nutritional value offering potent small doses of antioxidants.  Enhance a healthy diet and protect yourself against cancer and heart disease by eating more fruits and fresh herbs, especially during the summer months when they are fresh and plentiful.

Soup:

  • 1 large ripe cantaloupe (about 4 pounds), seeds and rind removed, cut into chunks, plus thin wedges for garnish
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • pinch of cinnamon to sprinkle on top–optional
  • dollop of whip cream–optional
  • fresh mint sprig–optional

Syrup:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 sprigs tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

To make the soup:  Working in two batches, puree cantaloupe, sour cream, honey, lemon juice and salt in a blender until smooth.  Press through a fine sieve into a bowl.  Refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour.

To make the syrup:  Bring sugar and 3/4 cup water to a boil in a saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved.  Boil until syrup has reduced to 2/3 cup, about 7 minutes.  Remove from heat; add tarragon.  Transfer to a bowl; refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour.

Puree syrup, tarragon and lemon juice in a blender until smooth.  Refrigerate until ready to use; stir just before serving.

Divide soup among bowls.  Drizzle with tarragon syrup; garnish with cantaloupe wedges and tarragon sprig.

Serves 6.

The Annual Virginia Cantaloupe Festival is held on at the Berry Hill resort in South Boston, VA.  Bring a chair, blanket and a friend for an evening of fun, delicious food, beverages and live music.  A summer picnic menu will be prepared by the chef of Berry Hill resort.  Adult and regular beverages will be available.  Live music is performed by local bands.  All festival goers receive a voucher to be presented at either Hudson Farm or Reese’s Farm to receive their Virginia cantaloupe.  Tickets can be purchased through the South Boston Chamber of Commerce.

Call your Lynchburg VA Bed and Breakfast, The Carriage House Inn B and B at 434-846-1388 to make your reservation or book on-line.

Jacked Rabbit Food Truck

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Jacked Rabbit Food Truck

Jacked Rabbit Food Truck

A new food truck, Jacked Rabbit, has been added to the ever increasing selection of food trucks found in and around Lynchburg, VA.

Jacked Rabbit can’t be missed, either at the corner of Main and 12th at the Lynchburg Community Market or in Miller Park on Thursdays with the other local food trucks that participate in Food Truck Thursdays.  Painted with bright pinks, oranges, teals and abstract designs you know you have found something a bit different, especially for Lynchburg.  And it is…..Lynchburg’s first vegan food truck and one of the few vegan options in the city.  Serving a vegan/pesco-vegetarian menu the food served combines flavors from Peru, Asia, the Caribbean, Spanish cultures and the American South.  The chef, Loralee, attended CVCC’s culinary school.  She worked for awhile at MachuPichu. International cuisines allow her to create interesting dishes that you won’t find anywhere else in Lynchburg.  And customers are glad she is here.

Jacked Rabbit

Jacked Rabbit serves vegan and vegetarian foods.

A few of her most popular dishes are: Tostones, Puerto Rican twice-fried plantain slices that are covered with a Peruvian-style salsa and citrus-onion salad, the Jackfruit BBQ Sandwich, which is made from a cooked down Asian Jackfruit, topped with fried pickles, slaw and onions on a bun or the Big Fat Banh Mi sandwich which is a a play on the traditional Vietnamese dish.  Instead of pork Loralee cooks tofu three ways which changes it’s texture and gives the eater a sense of eating cooked pork.  Now that it is summer she is offering ceviche and seafood.  She would like to add tropically flavored cold-pressed juices, like berry-basil and mango-pineapple-orange-kiwi in the near future.

As you travel around Lynchburg be on the lookout for a rabbitized version of Rosie the Riveter. When you find a rabbit wearing the classic blue shirt pulled up to expose a bunny skull tattoo on her flexed arm and the famous polka dot bandana tucked around her long ears you will know you have found it.  Give it a try, you just might be pleasantly surprised and thankful to have been exposed to something new and different to eat.

Guests staying at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast often tell us they don’y need lunch, after eating one of our 4-course breakfasts, but it’s nice to know there is another option for lunch or an early afternoon snack, if you need one.

Gravestones in Old City Cemetery

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Gravestones at Old City Cemetery

Gravestones in Old City Cemetery

The graves found in the Old City Cemetery represent the diversity of the citizens of Lynchburg buried there.  This diversity also allows for a large variety of gravestones or monuments.  Due to lack of maintenance of the cemetery grounds for many years, the passing of time and hand-hewn gravestones, plus the lack of record keeping, many of the grave markers are missing.  Those surviving represent a variety of funeral art.  Some were handcrafted with primitive tools, others created in workshops by professional stone cutters.  All are a distinct form of American expression.

Gravestones in Old City Cemetery

Gravestones in Old City Cemetery

Gravestones mark the grave.  They are often made up of a headstone (a memorial stone set at the head of the grave, often with a raised top) and sometimes with a footstone (marking the foot of the grave).  More wealthy citizens might have had table tombs, box tombs, obelisks, or pedestal tombs.  A mausoleum is a large, stately tomb, most often built entirely out of the ground.  During the last half of the 19th century all gravestones became thicker and more massive.  Victorian influences added symbols.  Symbols found in the Old City Cemetery include: angels-both flying and weeping, birds-symbolizing eternal life, candles and flames, crowns-representing glory after death, doves, wreaths, open Bibles, the hourglass-time’s inevitable passing, and sleeping lambs-symbolic of the many children taken too frequently by the epidemics or simple illnesses that plaqued children long ago.

Let’s take a quick “tour” through the cemetery and discuss some of the unique gravestones.

  1. Just inside the entry gate, at Fourth Street, you will find Terriza Wallace, Jan 10th 1807 April 29 1808.  This hand-chiseled round stone of local granite has been preserved.  Not the first burial in the cemetery, but the oldest, original marker remaining.
  2. Next to Terriza is Katie Vernon Metcalfe (1836-1858).  Her intricately carved marble headstone bears the classic Victorian motifs of willow, an urn, flowers and obelisk.
  3. Nearby is R.B. Gaines (died 1811).  He was buried in a barrel-vaulted tomb of handmade Virginia brick which is capped at head and foot with Lynchburg greenstone.
  4. The marble tombstone of Judge William Daniel, Jr. (1806-1873) is a well-preserved example of an epitaph with Biblical and biographical messages, as well as the symbolism of God’s hand descending from Heaven holding the scales of justice.  Judge Daniel was Judge of the Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia from 1846 until 1865 and lived at Point of Honor.
  5. A wrought iron enclosure holds the graves of Maria Ball Carter Tucker (died 1823) and her young daughter Rosalie (died 1818).  Maria Tucker was the great niece of George Washington.  A marble false crypt rests over one grave.  An antique rose, referred to in the poetic inscription on the lid, has survived all this time within the enclosure.
  6. Further down the hill you will find the life-sized cut tree trunk monument to Sophia Rhodes (died 1889).  This carved limestone monument is typically Victorian and symbolic of her life cut short.
Gravestones in Old City Cemetery

Gravestones in Old City Cemetery

There are many other interesting gravestones and monuments found throughout the cemetery.  A walk through the cemetery is always pleasant and sometimes educational.  Each Saturday morning between now and the end of August tours of the cemetery are given at 10:00 am. They are conducted by various people who work at the cemetery, so attending more than one usually imparts different information and stories than another.  The tours typically last about one hour.  No reservations are required.  The is no admission fee.

If you are staying with us at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast and would like to take advantage of one of these tours let us know.  We will be sure that you are served your breakfast with plenty of time to allow you to get to the cemetery for the beginning of the tour.

DeVault Family Vineyards

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Devault Family Vineyards

Watermelon Festival at DeVault  Family Vineyards

Less than 20 miles east of Lynchburg, VA you will find DeVault Family Vineyards.  Founded in 2000 by Terry and Sharon, when Terry purchased the 32-acre property that allowed Terry to return to his farming roots, the vineyard is a family dream come true.  The family has spent eight years perfecting the art of grape cultivation and have shaped the land into a stunning, serene landscape that you enjoy when visiting the vineyard.  The tasting room was added in 2009 to allow guests a rustic, but comfortable place to sample the various wines and enjoy the view of the rolling vineyard. In addition to the tasting room you can enjoy an indoor swimming pool, tennis court, volleyball and basketball courts, and a stocked fishing pond.  Or bring along a picnic blanket and wander through the vineyard until you find just the right spot to enjoy your DeVault wine.

DeVault Family Vineyards

DeVault Family Vineyards

DeVault Family Vineyards produces seven varieties of wines.  There are three reds: a sweet red table wine, a dry red, which is a complex bouquet of blackberry, gala apples and a touch of spice plus an oaked Norton.  Two whites are available: a sweet white table wine and a dry white with a light, fruity nose.  Two blends complete the inventory: their watermelon wine and a semi-sweet blended blush.  The red and white table wines make a delicious Sangria, delightful on a warm sunny day in Central Virginia.

Are you looking for something to do?  Saturday, July 2nd DeVault Family Vineyards will be hosting their 6th Annual Watermelon Festival!  Between the hours of 3:00 pm until 11:00 pm you can enjoy a variety of food vendors, five additional wineries, a local micro-brewery, arts, crafts and other vendors selling unique hand-made wares, six bands performing on two stages, a magician, pony rides and a talent show.  There will be something for everyone!  Tickets go on sale June 22nd or you may purchase them at the gate (at an increased price).  Ticket prices are as follows: Adult $15, age 13-20 plus designated driver $10, kids 7-13 $5.  Visit the DeVault Family Vineyards website, devaultvineyards@hotmail.com, to purchase your tickets in advance.

DeVault Family Vineyards are located one-half mile off Route 460 in Concord, VA.  247 Station Lane, Concord, VA. 434.993.0722 or devaultvineyards@hotmail.com.  Hours of operation are Monday through Saturday between 11 until 6, after May 1st.  Other hours may be available with prior scheduling.

Harley Owner Group Rally-Lynchburg VA

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Harley Davidson Group

The Harley Owner Group visits Lynchburg

The Harley Owner Group to visit Lynchburg.  Starting Wednesday, June 22 until Saturday, June 25th the city of Lynchburg will be filled with H.O.G.s!  Approximately 2,000 rally participants will meet in Lynchburg to participate in numerous activities.

There will be music, vendors, activities for all ages, games, obstacle courses, riding competitions, self guided rides, tour rides and more.  Highlights of the four days of events include: guided tour rides to Red Hill,  Appomattox Courthouse National Park and the National D=-Day Memorial, a lighted bike show, motorcycle riding concepts courses, historic architecture walking tou of downtown Lynchburg and a parade.

The Harley Owner Group hosts rallies throughout the year in various cities across the United States.  The last time this event was held in Lynchburg was 10 years ago.  The Milwaukee-based Harley Owners Group has more than 1 million members and 1,400 chapters around the world.  Benefits of belonging to this group include access to the Harley Davidson Museum, a magazine, members website, e-newsletter, touring handbooks that are road ready with maps and touring tips, merchandise and touring contests.

Harleys, a work of art.

Harleys, a work of art.

So, when you hear the “roar of thunder” between June 22nd and June 25th it may just be one of the many Harley enthusiasts experiencing our town and location in Central Virginia.

Strawberries and Cream French Toast

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Strawberries and Cream French Toast

Strawberries and Cream French Toast

June 2016 has brought a plethora of strawberries to our backyard garden, at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast!  To take advantage of these delicious morsels our signature dish this month is Strawberries and Cream French Toast. The dish is prepared the night before so, making breakfast is easy, just cook and serve.   We serve this dish with warm strawberry syrup, because we have plenty of strawberries to make the syrup, but it would be equally delicious with pure maple syrup.  If you need a delicious menu item to serve your dad on Father’s Day this just might be it.  And if you don’r have a garden with fresh strawberries in your backyard head down to the Lynchburg Community Market, on Wednesday or Saturday morning, to pick up from a local farmer.   Of course if you don’t have access to fresh strawberries, store bought ones also work.   Enjoy!

For the French Toast:

  • 18-20 slices of bread, cubed
  • 8 oz cream cheese, cubed
  • 2 cups sliced strawberries
  • 12 eggs
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup cream

Grease a 9×13 baking dish.  Arrange half of the bread cubes in the greased baking dish.  Sprinkle the cream cheese cubes and strawberry slices evenly over the bread cubes.  Top with remaining bread cubes.  Beat eggs until light and fluffy.  Add maple syrup, milk and cream to eggs, mix well.  Pour egg mixture over bread cubes.  Press lightly to allow egg mixture to be absorbed by the bread cubes.  Cover dish with foil and place in refrigerator at least 8 hours or overnight.  Remove dish from refrigerator about 30 minutes prior to baking.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake, covered with foil, for 30 minutes.  Remove foil and bake an additional 30 minutes or until fluffy and golden.  Allow to sit about 10 minutes before serving.  Top with Strawberry Syrup.

**helpful hint: put the cream cheese in the freezer for about 20 minutes before you cube it.  It will slice a bit easier and more uniformly.

Strawberries and Cream French Toast

Strawberries and Cream French Toast from the oven

Strawberry Syrup:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1 Tablespoon butter

Cook the sugar, water and cornstarch until thickened.  Stir in strawberries and simmer 10 minutes.  Add butter and stir until melted.  Serve warm over French Toast.

**helpful hint: before combining first 3 ingredients mix cornstarch with about 1-2 Tablespoons of the water and mix until well blended.  Add this slurry mixture to sugar and water solution for thickening.