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Hunter’s Raid

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On May 26, 1864, Union General David Hunter, under direct orders from Ulysses S. Grant, marched south from Cedar Creek, near Winchester, VA, to drive out Confederate forces, lay waste to the Shenandoah Valley and destroy transportation facilities in Lynchburg, VA.

Hunter and his army of 18,000 soldiers marched south along the Shenandoah Valley.  In Staunton he destroyed depot buildings, warehouses and railroad lines.  Continuing south he reached Lexington, where his men looted the Virginia Military Institute, seizing the bronze statue of George Washington as a war trophy (it was later returned).  Then the Military Institute was set ablaze.

After three days

Celebrate the 70th Anniversary of D-Day at the National D-Day Memorial

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D-Day Memorial

The National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, VA

The National D-Day Memorial, in Bedford, VA, expects 10,000-15,000 visitors for the 70th anniversary of the Normandy invasion on June 6, 2014.  Sadly this event could be the last large gathering of area D-Day veterans, as the youngest are now in their early 90’s.

Like eleven other communities in Virginia, Bedford provided a company of solders (Company A) to the 29th Infantry Division when the National Guard’s 116th Infantry Regiment was activated on February 3, 1941.  Transported by the British Navy’s 551st Assault Flotilla, Company A of the 116th Infantry Regiment landed on Omaha Beach in the first wave of the First Infantry Division’s Task Force O.  By day’s end, nineteen of the company’s Bedford soldiers were dead.  Bedford’s population in 1944 was about 3,200.  Proportionally, this community suffered the nation’s severest D-Day losses.

Since its dedication in June 6, 2001, the Memorial has attracted more than 1.3 million visitors.  The Memorial exists in tribute to the valor, fidelity and sacrifice of the Allied Forces on D-Day, June 6, 1944.

Located on a consecrated 88-acre site the Memorial  has four major components that represent the sweep of D-Day from the early planning and preparation for it, through the Channel crossing and landing in France, to the Allied victory and consolidation on the beaches and beyond Normandy into the landscape of postwar Europe.  Visitors experience a moving array of small memorials, displays, sculptures and statuary, plaques and tributes.

The Memorial is open between 10:00 am through 5:00 pm daily, except on Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and Thanksgiving.  Visitors can either take a shuttle-cart tour with a guide or a self-guided walking tour.  Admission fees apply.  Visit the D-Day Memorial Website for a list of activities during the 70th year anniversary celebration.  While visiting the D-Day Memorial be sure to visit downtown Bedford as many of the stores will be displaying posters from WW II in their store windows, much like they would have in the 1940s.

Guests staying with us at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast for a minimum of three days, June 6, 2014 being one of the days, will be charged for only your Friday and Saturday night stay ( stay for 3 nights, pay for 2).  Call us at 434.846.1388, mention the D-Day Memorial special and book your room.

For more information about the story of the men from Bedford who took participated in the D-Day invasion read The Bedford Boys by Alex Kershaw.

The Packet Boat Marshall

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The Packet Boat Marshall

A painting of the Packet Boat Marshall at Andrew Jackson’s funeral

Packet boats were small boats designed for domestic mail, passenger and freight transportation on North American rivers and canals.  Used, starting in the 17th century in Europe, packet boats in the United States were drawn through canals by teams of two or three horses or mules.  Compared to overland travel, the boats cut journey time in half and were much more comfortable.

The finest packet boat to travel the James River and Kanawha Canal, ‘the Queen of the James’ cost between three and four thousand dollars. 90′ long by 14′ at the beam with an 11″ draft, she was solidly built with creosoted wood rib frames on 12″ centers inside a hand formed iron hull that measured 3/16th of an inch thick.  The cabin interior was paneled with Dominican Mahogany and divided into staterooms (separate for men and women) and a main dining salon which converted into an area for fold down sleeping berths at night and a kitchen in which to prepare meals.  The Marshall was able to transport up to 60 passengers at a time.  The Packet Boat Marshall carried passengers from Richmond to Lynchburg, charging $8 for the 33 hour trip.  It averaged four miles per hour.

Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson was mortally wounded, near Chancellorsville, VA on May 2, 1863.  His body was transported by train from Fredericksburg to Richmond to Gordonsville to Lynchburg.  The train arrived in Lynchburg, VA about 6:30 pm on the 13th of May at which time the remains were removed, placed in a hearse and a procession began to the Packet Boat Marshall Landing at Ninth Street and the Kanawha Canal (Behind what is now the Depot Grill Restaurant.).  The Packet Boat Marshall left Lynchburg about 10:00 pm for the final portion of the journey to Lexington, VA., Jackson’s final resting place.  This trip is what is most remembered about the Packet Boat Marshall.

In 1864, after being partially burned when General David Hunter’s army road through Lexington the Marshall was repaired.  General Robert E. Lee rode as a passenger in the late 1860’s.  In 1877 a flood breached the packet boat on the river bank above Lynchburg.  In 1900 Corbin Spencer came to own the beached packet and lived in it with his sister Mary.  In 1913 the Spencers survived a flood that washed away the wooden superstructure of the old packet.  In 1936 the metal hull of the Marshall was unearthed and prepared for placement in Riverside Park for Lynchburg’s Sesquicentennial.  Between 1970 and 2003 the remains of the Marshall hull lay neglected and exposed to the elements, resulting in severe deterioration.  In 2003 the Lynchburg Historical Foundation undertook steps toward the preservation of the deteriorating hull by building a roof over the artifact, which was followed by a structure to further protect the historical boat.

Packet Boat Marshall

The hull of the Packet Boat Marshall is stored in Riverside Park

Each June between 12-18 packet boats recreate the journey between Lynchburg and Richmond.  This reenactment demonstrates how the boats were used to transport tobacco and people between the two cities in the mid-1700’s until the late 1800’s.  If you would like to see the packet boats in the James River Batteau Festival this June, give us a call at 434-846-1388 to make your reservations now or book on-line.

Storming of Thunder Ridge

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The Storming of Thunder Ridge Lynchburg, Virginia’s only local, fully-supported road cycling event will take place on May 18, 2014.  This fund-raiser, benefiting the YMCA of Central Virginia, is an enjoyable road cycling experience with the Blue Ridge Mountains as your backdrop.  Riders select from a route of 27, 45, 75 or 100 miles.

The 27 Miler and the 45 Miler Curtis Loop take place along flat country roads and then some hills in scenic Bedford County.  The 45 Miler includes a challenging 4 mile stretch with four hills to scale.  The good thing is after you go up you get to come down.

For those cyclists who have been training for months you might “enjoy” either the 75 Miler or the Century Miler (100 miles).  Each of these routes starts through the flats then rolling hills of Bedford County but they each wind their way on a 13-mile ascent to Thunder Ridge, the highest point on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia.  Once you get to Thunder Ridge take awhile to rest, relax and enjoy the fabulous views.  The trip down the mountain will be a welcome relief.  While riding through Goode you’ll experience the Sausage Grinder and the Nemesis–just to test your legs a bit further.

Along all of the routes there are rest stops with water and energy snacks to refuel you and of course, shady spots to rest.

All start/finish lines are at the Jamerson Family YMCA in Wyndhurst.  Riders can take advantage of the Y’s amenities: shower facilities, whirlpool and swimming pool.  Just bring your swimsuit and your own towels plus a lock for your belongings. The post-celebration will include plenty of food, music, prizes and camaraderie among the riders who have completed their routes and serve as the cheering section for the riders behind you.

The start time for the 75 and 100 Miler is 7:30 AM.  The 27 and 45 Milers starts at 8:30 AM.  A cut-off time of 2:30 PM awaits the 100 Miler riders, at mile 62 or rest stop 5.

Those guests staying with us at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast will be provided an energizing “breakfast to go”  which will allow you to sleep as long as possible but to get your morning nutrients and energy reved.  Call us at 434.846.1388 to discuss room availability and our Storming of Thunder Ridge package.  This package includes a therapeutic deep tissue LaStone Massage which will relax and re-energize your muscles after they have been tested to their limit.  Best of luck to all of the riders!

For more detailed event information, registration material and any event updates visit www.stormingofthunderridge.org.

Main Street Eatery

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Main Street Eatery, my favorite restaurant

Main Street Eatery

Beginning this month we will be featuring one of Lynchburg, Virginia’s fabulous downtown restaurants.  With a population of about 76,000 Lynchburg has some true “finds” when it comes to dining.  Following the principle of “buying local, staying local” the restaurants we will be featuring are all small in scale, owned and/or operated by locals and more often than not feature locally sourced ingredients that change with the month and season.  All of the restaurants featured are within walking distance to The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast.  So, if it’s almost dinner time and you have not yet figured out what you’re cooking for dinner (and you’re local) review our posts and make a great selection.  Or if the restaurant posts sound intriguing and you live outside of the Lynchburg, VA area call us, make a reservation and tell us where you would like to eat.

Main Street Eatery:

Located at 907 Main Street, Lynchburg, VA 24501 434.847.2526. Chef/Owner Urs Gabathuler and his wife Michelle will take good care of you.  Open Monday-Saturday 4:30 until close.

Main Street Eatery

Mussels at Main Street Eatery are prepared four different ways

After much renovation, Main Street Eatery opened in 1998 when downtown Lynchburg was still a ghost town.  The storefront was originally a men’s clothing store and much of the buildings original features are prominent today.  Inviting brick walls, high ceilings, an oversized picture window, cozy booths and elegantly set tables are ready to make your meal special.

Owner of Main Street Eatery, Chef Urs

Owner/Chef Urs (left) cooks on the street at the annual festival “Get Downtown” in Spetember

Main Street Eatery boasts a menu with European-influenced dishes, fresh seafood, Kobe-style beef, veal cut on premises and a dessert cart laden with tempting dishes.  The food, service and hospitality do not disappoint.  Specials are offered throughout the year featuring All You Can Eat Mussels, a March Madness special of Buy One, Get One entrée, oyster specials, a menu featuring Cuban foods and, of course, Octoberfest.  Special dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice.  A significant wine and beer list will tempt you to imbibe with your meal.  And remember, the dessert cart awaits!  Main Street Eatery caters and provides a great space for rehearsal dinners, corporate dinners or family celebrations.  Enjoy!

You can check out their menu on their website:  www.MainStEatery.com.

As most of our downtown restaurants have limited seating when making your reservation at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast we are happy to discuss your dining options.  Advanced reservations are always recommended and we are happy to help you with that.  Some of our packages include dining gift certificates, please review our specials and packages pages on our web site, or call us at 434.846.1388.

Natural Bridge

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Natural Bridge photo by The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast

Natural Bridge was once owned by Thomas Jefferson

Natural Bridge was first discovered by the Monacan Indians who deemed it, “Bridge of God.”  In 1750, George Washington, engaged by Lord Fairfax, surveyed the surrounding acreage of Natural Bridge.  During that visit he scaled up the left wall of the bridge about 23 feet and carved his initials, “G.W.””, which are still visible today.  A few years later, Thomas Jefferson set out on horseback on a series of bridal paths from Paxson’s Tavern (in what is the town of Glasgow today) and discovered the bridge.  In 1774, Jefferson purchased the land patent from King George III which included the Natural Bridge and 157 acres for the sum of twenty shillings or about $2.40 or in today’s dollars about $160.00.  The price was so low because the land wasn’t suitable for farming. There are records that Jefferson visited Natural Bridge four times.  In 1803-1804 he had a two story stone and log cabin built near the present site of the Natural Bridge Hotel where he and his guests stayed.  During the war of 1812, Jefferson allowed saltpeter, used for gunpowder and ammunition, to be mined from a cave near the arch and in 1816 he provided a live-in custodian by leasing the land to Patrick Henry.  Upon Jefferson’s death in 1826 the property was left to his family.  Thomas Jefferson kept a guest book for guests to sign and among the visitors that signed the book are: James Monroe, the fifth President of the United States, Andrew Jackson, the seventh President of the United States, Martin Van Buren, the Eighth President of the United States, John Marshall, the fourth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Daniel Boone, an american pioneer and explorer, and Sam Houston, the first governor of Texas.

Lost River found in 1812

The Lost River at Natural Bridge

The Natural Bridge arch stands 215 feet high (55 feet higher than Niagara Falls), is 40 feet thick, 100 feet wide and spans 90 feet.  At its peak, Natural Bridge stands 1,160 feet above sea level and Route 11 passes directly over the span.

In 2014 the Natural Bridge was sold to the Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund.  The sale included the arch, hotel, caverns and 1500 acres.  The VCLF will donate all but the hotel and caverns to the state to be run as a park.  Natural Bridge is a national historic landmark that has been in private hands since Thomas Jefferson purchased it 240 years ago.

Natural Bridge is located about 35 miles from The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast and takes just under an hour to reach.  While visiting Natural Bridge you can continue on the path and see the saltpeter cave, the Lost River and Lace Water Falls.  The walk is a gravel path on level terrain.  To get to the arch you need to go down 137 steps, but if you have trouble getting around, they offer a van that will take you to the level terrain.  There is an admission fee charged to enter the path to the Natural Bridge.

Using your GPS you can find Natural Bridge by using this address:

15 Appledore Lane, Natural Bridge, VA  24578 (540) 291-2121 or:

Directions from The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast from Mapquest:

1. Start out going northwest on Cabell Sttoward E St.

Zoom to this Step
0.6 mi
2. Turn right onto Rivermont Ave.

  • Rivermont Ave is just past Amherst St
  • FOOD ZONE is on the corner
  • If you are on Monsview Pl and reach Hemlock Styou’ve gone a little too far
2.5 mi
3. Rivermont Ave becomes Boonsboro Rd/US-501 Bus N.

2.6 mi
4. Turn right onto US-501 N/Boonsboro Rd. Continue to follow US-501 N.

  • If you reach Irvington Springs Rd you’ve gone a little too far
16.2 mi
5. Turn left onto US-501 N/VA-130/Elon Rd. Continue to follow US-501 N/VA-130.

6.3 mi
6. Turn slight left onto Rockbridge Rd/VA-130. Continue to follow VA-130.

6.3 mi
7. Stay straight to go onto S Lee Hwy/US-11 N.

0.09 mi
8. Take the 1st left onto Appledore Ln.

  • If you reach Fanny Barger Rd you’ve gone a little too far
0.03 mi
9. 15 APPLEDORE LN is on the left.

  • Your destination is just past Lookover Ln
  • If you reach the end of Appledore Ln you’ve gone about 0.2 miles too far