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Ankida Ridge Winery

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Ankida Ridge

View from Ankida Ridge Winery

Ankida Ridge Winery is not your average winery.  Your first indication that this isn’t the typical winery is the journey to get there.  To say it is off the beaten path is an understatement (directions are at the end of this post).  The second indication is that their tasting room is only open the first Saturday of each month or 12 days per year vs. the 300 days a year most tasting rooms are open.  This raises lots of questions but before you start asking questions let me try to answer them.

ankida Ridge Winery

Tasting Room at Ankida Ridge

Ankida translates to where heaven and earth join and I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the highest elevation vineyard in Virginia.  A trip to Ankida Ridge is truly inspiring.  The view from the tasting room is absolutely breath taking.  At about 1800 feet in elevation on a clear day you have great views of the valleys and other nearby peaks.  After some brief introductions one of the owners will take you up another 400 feet to their vineyard and tell you a little history about the property.  Believe it or not, the property was actually settled in the 1880’s by farmers who terraced the land and grew crops there.  After World War II, this type of farming was impractical so the land was abandoned and the forest reclaimed the land until Christine and her husband, Dennis, discovered the property and purchased it.  They cleared a couple of acres of the rocky mountain side and planted grapes.  You will learn about the soil conditions, the climate and why this location grows some awesome grapes and why they planted twice as many vines per acre as most vineyards when you are given the tour.  (I’m leaving out a lot of the story on purpose so that you want to venture out and experience the winery first hand.)  From there you head up to a clearing overlooking the small vineyard (they just cleared another four acres and hope to plant that in 2017).  If you thought the view from the tasting room was impressive this view is even better.  After finishing off a bottle of their Vert (Vinho Verde) we headed back to the tasting room where we enjoyed tasting the remainder of their wines.  This was followed by a tour to the lower level where the wine is actually made.

ankida ridge winery

Someone has to keep the grass cut in the vineyard!

Chances are you have never heard of Ankida Ridge Winery.  There are no signs on the highway directing you to them. They  are so small that they make less than 1000  cases a year.  What separates them from many of their competitors is they made the conscience decision to separate themselves from their competition by doing thing better than everyone else and by making a better wine.  Yes, the elevation of the vineyard enables them to grow grapes that others can’t and the soil conditions make for better grapes.  The rocky granite soil, steep slope, aspect to the sun, elevation, vine density, canopy management, incorporating animals in the vineyard all add to growing grapes of the highest quality,along with a good dose of TLC

If you ever thought about heading to the Lynchburg area and you will be here on the first Saturday of the month then this might be a great day trip.  Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy your food with a great bottle of wine.  At The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast we do offer picnic lunches for just this type of occasion.  On September 19, 2015 the “Hail to the Harvest” celebration will take place at Ankida Ridge.  Live music, hayrides, winery tours and of course, wine tastings will begin at 12:00, noon.  If traveling to Central Virginia is not in your plans don’t miss out on the opportunity to enjoy some fine wine, join their wine club.

Ankida Ridge

This is where the fun begins, making wine at Ankida Ridge!

Finally, how the winery got its name.   Shortly after the owners purchased the property they were camping there in a little cabin on the property.  As you can imagine the stars are brilliant when you are that far removed from the lights of the city.  That evening there were thousands of fireflies flying around and the lights of the fireflies and the brilliant stars merged together and it appeared the heavens and earth joined.

If you are looking for more of an “experience” when you are visiting a winery we highly recommend a visit to Anika Ridge.

Directions: From Amherst Village:

Enjoy the scenery as you drive to Anika Ridge Winery.

Enjoy the scenery as you drive to Anika Ridge Winery.

  • Head west on Rte 60, continuing west beyond the traffic circle.
  • ·Go approximately 9 miles until you see Ogden’s Liberty gas station on the left.
  • Just after Ogden’s, turn right onto Mt. Pleasant Rd. (If coming from Buena Vista, stay on Rte 60E for 17.4 miles, then turn left onto Mt. Pleasant Rd.)
  • Go ¼ mile and turn left onto Franklin Creek Rd.
  • Follow this road all the way to the end, approximately 3 miles, to just past the sign “END OF STATE MAINTENANCE.”  The road narrows and winds through the woods.  There are no signs to the property,
  •  Go through opened gate and bear right just above the pond, at the big boulder.
  • Follow driveway up the mountainside (about 2/10 mile) to light grey winery on left.
  • You can park along the driveway just beyond the building (Ankida Ridge Tasting Room is on the upper level.).
  • Enjoy!!!!

 

Crisp, Lynchburg’s salad and juice & smoothie bar

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Crisp

Crisp, Lynchburg’s Salad, juice and smoothie bar in downtown

One of downtown Lynchburg’s newer restaurants is Crisp.

Crisp

They have some great salads at Crisp!

Located in the historic Allied Arts Building, an art deco building, at 725 Church Street, Crisp is Lynchburg’s first salad, juice and smoothie bar.  Serving lunch and dinner, either dine in or take out or let them deliver.  They also offer catering services.  Weather permitting they have a couple of tables for outdoor seating.

Crisp

Crisp is small but the best things come in small packages!

Their menu offers unique, personalized fresh salads, wraps, breakfast bowls and parfaits plus a daily soup and freshly squeezed juices and smoothies.  A variety of pre-made salads are available for those who need to “grab ‘n go”.

The standard make your own salad bar offers a variety of lettuces, four basic toppings and your choice of dressing.  You can enhance the standard salad by adding one or more of the 40 premium toppings, meats and salad add-ons available.

Hours are Monday-Friday between 10:30 until 8 and Saturday between 10 until 3.  If you have any questions or wish to pre-order your salad or warp their number is 434.363.6152.  Why not give them a try today?

Crisp

Art Deco style windows in Crisp.

Some guests staying at The Carriage House Inn Bed & Breakfast who are spending their day hiking or biking some of the areas wonderful trails have had us arrange a “to go” lunch for them from Crisp.  Everyone has complimented the lunch favorably.  They offer a healthy alternative to many dining establishments.

The Water Bearer

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Water Bearer

The Water Bearer

A reconstructed Water Bearer statue was unveiled at the official opening of Lower Bluff Walk last week.  Lower Bluff Walk is part of the city’s emphasis of a pedestrian walkway where residents and visitors of Lynchburg can stroll, gather, enjoy food and music and take in the sweeping views of the James River.

The historic, seven-foot tall, approximately 300-400 pounds, zinc statue was put on display at the Lynchburg city reservoir, at the corner of Clay and Seventh Streets in 1883.  The original Water Bearer was purchased from a catalog for $500.00 was the first public art in the city. and was to commemorate the opening of the city reservoir in 1829, after a dam was placed across the James River and a canal leading from the dam to the water wheel-powered pump station that supplied the water to the reservoir was completed.  The female figure, perhaps Egyptian, stood balanced on one foot with a large jug of water on her left shoulder.  By 2012 the Water Bearer lay broken in many pieces.  Stress fractures were found on the ankles after standing more than 130 years.

The statue’s reconstruction and its cost were hurdles the Lynchburg Historic Foundation were willing to tackle in order to bring a part of Lynchburg’s art history back to life.  After successfully raising $40,000 for the restoration project the real work began.

After carefully examining the original zinc water bearer it was decided that it couldn’t be repaired so the Foundation hired an artist to re-create the original statue using the original pieces as molds for the new bronze statue.   The artist from Alexandria, VA, who taught himself to sculpt,decided he would recast it in bronze, calling bronze “a forever metal”.

Working almost exclusively for 24 months, on this project, Ken Faraoni used a technique called “lost- wax casting”.  He created about 30 molds backed with plaster and poured casting wax into them.  Once he cleaned up the wax he took the pieces to Colorado where they were put together and a ceramic shell was created around the wax.  Liquid bronze was poured into the wax.  Once the bronze had cooled the ceramic pieces were hit with a hammer and the bronze recasting was left behind.  After smoothing out the recasting, a painstaking procedure, the final polishing was completed followed by a few coats of lacquer.  The statue was now ready to be displayed.

On a pleasantly warm, sunny day the recreated Water Bearer was unveiled to a large crowd of onlookers, who gasped when the beautifully recasted Water Bearer sculpture was revealed.  The statue is now a landmark of the work that the city of Lynchburg has accomplished in it’s revitalization and guides the way to the future of downtown.  Take the time to walk along Lower Bluff Walk.  Stop in one of the delicious restaurants for a meal or beverage.  Or just sit on a park bench and enjoy the view of Riverfront Park and the James River.

The Water Bearer is a pleasant walk from the Carriage House Inn B & B.  And once at the statue you can wander through downtown or onto Percival’s Island or the Blackwater Creek Trail.

Day Trip to Roanoke

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611 Train

See the 611 stored at the Transportation Museum

Roanoke, VA, about an hour west of Lynchburg, is a great spot to spend a day, while staying at The Carriage House Inn Bed & Breakfast.  The Roanoke Valley was settled in the mid-1740’s by tradesmen and farmers.  Towns formed within what is now the city of Roanoke during the beginning of the 19th century.  In 1882 the newly formed Norfolk and Western Railway joined with the Shenandoah Valley Railway, which started the rapid growth of Roanoke.  The Roanoke Valley is western Virginia’s center for industry, trade, health, education, travel and entertainment.

Choose from visiting the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Science Museum of Western Virginia, the Taubman Museum of Art, the History Museum of Western VirginiaMill Mountain Theater or the Grandin Theatre (see our blog post published 6/16/2015),  Explore one of the many delicious restaurants in the Square or the farmer’s market.

Two of our favorite places to visit are the O. Winston Link Museum and the Virginia Museum of Transportation.

The O. Winston Link Museum is located in Roanoke’s historic N & W Passenger Station.  Between 1955 until 1960, Brooklyn photographer Winston Link traveled throughout the mountains of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina photographing and documenting the end of the steam locomotive era of the Norfolk and Western Railway.  The last major line to exclusively operate under steam power the photographs are striking, contemplative and amazing.  Over 2,400 images were captured during those five years.  More than 250 dramatic black and white and color photographs are displayed along with exhibits describing the history of the N & W Railway.  Artifacts, films, recordings, maps, dioramas, machinery and histories of the people who made up the N & W Railway along with people who lived along the railway line are displayed.  The “Live Storage area” is the chance to view photographs in the collection that are not currently on exhibit.

Located just a short walk from the O. Winston Link Museum is the Virginia Museum of Transportation.  The museum contains approximately 2, 500 objects and artifacts.  The crown jewel of this museums collection is the recently restored, refurbished and sometimes running Norfolk & Western Class J #611 Steam Locomotive.  We had the opportunity and pleasure to ride one of the 611’s runs between Lynchburg and Petersburg in June (see blog post published 6/1/2015).  What a exceptional way to spend a day, traveling as long ago across the countryside of Virginia.

The Virginia Museum of Transportation also has exhibits on cars and other vehicles dating back to 1904, an Aviation and Rail Gallery, along with examples of various train cars, locomotives, trucks, automobiles, buses, fire trucks and anything transportation.

The O. Winston Link Museum is located at 101 Shenandoah Avenue, N.E., 540.982.5465 or www.linkmuseum.org.  It is open Monday-Saturday 10-5 and Sunday 12-5.

The Transportation Museum of Virginia is located at 303 Norfolk Avenue, S.W., 540.342.5670 or www.VMT.org.

Both museums charge an admission fee.  Joint tickets are available for purchase.

With so much to see and do in Lynchburg and the surrounding areas you should add an extra day or two to your visit here.  Call 434-846-1388 to make your reservation or book on-line.

Zucchini Bread

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Zucchini Bread

Tasty zucchini bread

Each summer we grow a rather substantial garden in our back yard of The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast.  Items grown are often prepared and served during our 4-course breakfasts.  Among the items grown is zucchini.  Any of you who have ever grown zucchini knows that when it ripens, it ripens, and we usually have a bumper crop all at once.  What do you do with dozens of ripe zucchini?  We have made them into pancakes, fritters and the zucchini bread found here, in fact I have just finished making 18 loaves!  When you visit during Late-July or August you will probably be served something zucchini at least once during your stay.  Another twist is to take the zucchini bread batter and make them in muffin cups rather than loaves.  You may need to shorten the cooking time a little in the muffin cups.  They freeze great so you can freeze them and serve them later in the year.   Enjoy!

Zucchini Bread

Zucchini muffins cooling on a baking rack

  • Ingredients:  
  • 3 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 cups grated zucchini (drained)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  •  1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large bowl combine flour, salt, nutmeg, baking soda, cinnamon and sugar.
  • In a separate bowl combine oil, eggs, water zucchini and lemon juice.
  • Mix wet ingredients into dry, add nuts and fold in.
  • Bake in 2 standard loaf pans, sprayed with nonstick spray, for 1 hour, or until a tester comes out clean.  Alternately, bake in 5 mini-loaf pans for about 45-50 minutes.

Helpful hints:  1.  Zucchini is a water-laden vegetable.  I found it made a better bread if allowed to drain after being grated.  Even just draining while you prepare the pans and combine the main ingredients seemed to help.  2.  I suggest you turn the pans around in the oven during the last 10-15 minutes of baking.  Baking time is dependent upon the wetness of the ingredients, so use your cake tester and bake until tester comes out clean.

Lynchburg’s Community Market

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Lynchburg Community Market

Fresh picked veggies at Lynchburg Community Market

The Lynchburg Community Market opened in 1783.  The third oldest farmer’s market in the country, it has played a role in the development, growth and revitalization of downtown.

Fresh Veggies

Fresh Veggies

The first Market was located on Water Street (now known as Ninth Street).  It was an open-air market that served as the central gathering place for the city.  In 1814 the Market was rebuilt in the center of Water Street.  It served as the town square for the city, with city-wide notices and speakers throughout the day and evening hours.

In 1872 the Market was enlarged and rebuilt on Main Street between 11th and 12th Streets.  It had enclosed spaces and an auditorium on site.  Today, after many changes in building style and location, the Community Market is located at the corner of Main and 12th Streets–1219 Main Street.

The Lynchburg Community Market offers the best of local produce, arts, baked goods and unique eateries.  Farmers can be found on Wednesdays and Saturdays.  Located primarily outside of the market they travel up to 100 miles to sell their produce (fruits or vegetables), pastured meats, eggs, artisan cheeses, and flowers or plants.  Artisan food vendors also visit the Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays.  They are located both outside and inside the Market.  Offering locally produced baked goods, jams & jellies, honey, syrups, grains and oils.  Inside the Market is the cooperative artist space where crafters and Artists sell their handmade creations, some inspired by our region of Virginia.  You may find hand-thrown pottery, jewelry, goats milk soaps, local photography, paintings and art made from natural Virginia stone.  Breakfast and lunch is served at several on-site restaurants.

Lynchburg Community Market

Lynchburg Community Market

Special events take place at the Market throughout the year.  Cooking demonstrations, live music at the market, food truck rodeos, food and wine tastings, conferring with a Master Gardener about plant or yard issues and demonstrations by the Heritage Crafters and Artists.

The Lynchburg Community Market is open Tuesday through Saturday between 7:00 until 2:00, year round.  The Farmer’s Market is open Wednesday between 10:00 until 2:00, with Green Market Wednesdays during the months of May through November.  Saturday the Farmer’s Market is open between 7:00 until 2:00, all year round.  The Heritage Crafters Gallery and Artist Alley are open Tuesday through Friday between 9:00 until 2:00.  On Saturdays they are open between 7:00 until 2:00.  If you have any questions the Market can be reached at 434.455.4485.

When planning our breakfast menus at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast we oftentimes visit the Lynchburg Community Market to purchase local, fresh and in season fruits or vegetables.  Even though we have a significant garden in our backyard, supplementing what we grow with items from local farms, orchards, bakeries and flower vendors helps keep our breakfast items exciting and delicious.  Many of our guests visit the Market and head home with a bag or two of goodies.