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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

 

 

Dutch Baby Pancake

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bed and breakfast recipe for Dutch baby pancake

Dutch baby pancake with fresh berries

There are a couple of ways to prepare the dutch baby pancake.  Either in a large cast iron skillet which allows you to serve a large dutch baby family style or if you have several 5 inch cast iron skillets you can cook individual dutch baby pancakes for each of your guests.  We serve them individually, however since most people don’t have four or five small cast iron skillets plan on serving this family style.  If you have a collection of five inch cast iron skillets just divide the batter between the skillets and shorten the cooking time listed below to about 15 minutes.

  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • confectioners’ sugar
  • Fresh fruit

Directions:

Place a 9- to 10-inch cast iron skillet in the bottom third of the oven, preheat to 425°F. allowing the skillet to get HOT.

In a small glass measuring cup, heat the milk in the microwave for 30 seconds at full power.  Using a blender, mix the milk, eggs, 2 tablespoons sugar and the salt briefly at low speed until combined.  Add the flour and blend just until incorporated.

Carefully remove the HOT skillet from the oven and add 2 tablespoons butter, then pour in the batter.  Return skillet to the oven and bake until the pancake is puffed and golden, about 20 minutes.  The batter will wick up the sides of the skillet to form a bowel.

Dust the hot pancake immediately with the confectioners’ sugar, add your fresh fruit, cut into wedges and serve.

The nice thing about his recipe is you can use a different fresh fruit depending on the time of the year and make this a seasonal dish.  During the winter you can even use frozen fruit, for example a bag of fresh peaches combined in a large sauce pan with 2 tablespoons of sugar, a little butter and a tablespoon of lemon juice will give you a delicious warm fruit filling, something great on a cold winters day.  This would be a great family breakfast!

This recipe serves four people.

Don’t forget to check out our other recipes on our website.  Traveling to Lynchburg?  Give us a call to make your reservations.  The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast can usually accommodate any dietary restrictions with advance notice.

The History of Daniels Hill

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Point of Honor

Point of Honor, in Daniels Hill

Beginning this month The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast’s blog will present the history of one of Lynchburg, Virginia’s Historic Districts, Daniels Hill, followed by descriptions and histories of a few of the houses that comprise that historic district.

This month we begin with the history of Daniels Hill, where The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast is located.

Daniels Hill takes its name from William Daniel, Jr., who once owned most of the peninsula of land between the James River, Blackwater Creek and modern-day Hollins Mill Road.  Daniel was a prominent antebellum lawyer, legislator and judge on the Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia.  He lived at Point of Honor and built “Rivermont,” the Greek Revival mansion on F Street.

Daniels Hill was first developed as a residential neighborhood in the late 1840’s, when Judge Daniel began subdividing and selling his plantation.  Most of what is now Daniels Hill was within Campbell County until 1870 when it was annexed to the city.

In the mid-1870’s Daniels Hill began a building boom that transformed the neighborhood from largely rural farmland to a bustling residential suburb.  Much of the growth of Daniels Hill was fueled by industries in its backyard.  The upper basin of the James River and the lower blocks of Cabell Street were major industrial centers from the 1850’s until well into the 20th century.  A tobacco factory, lumber yard and foundry are just a few of the businesses that called Daniels Hill home.  It was illegal to have duels within the city limits and Daniels Hill up until 1870 was outside the city.  Urban myth has many duels being conducted on the grounds of Point of Honor until the neighborhood became part of the City of Lynchburg.

Among Lynchburg’s historic districts Daniels Hill is unique for the diversity of its architecture.  Styles range from Federal to Italianate to Georgian Revival and Queen Anne.  Types include opulent mansions, modest working-class homes, rowhouses, servant’s quarters, churches, stores and factories.  As the wealthy white families moved to “suburbia” starting in the 1930’s wealthy black families (doctors, lawyers and business owners) moved into the neighborhood.  After the civil rights movement, these wealthy black families also moved to suburbia and the downtown neighborhoods fell into disrepair as the poor and undesirable elements moved into these downtown neighborhoods.  Today, Daniels Hill as well as many of the downtown neighborhoods are being restored and once again becoming the desirable.  Over the years dozens of homes were lost due to neglect, but today there is a real sense of pride in the residents of this neighborhood.  Many of the smaller homes were built by the owner’s of the larger homes.  These homes were for the household staff of the wealthy or for their workers at the foundry.  From the beginning, Daniels Hill’s residents were comprised of people from every socio-economic class.  Speaking of diversity, there were bootlegers, working girls (and brothels) and speakeasys in the neighborhood during certain periods of our history.

Cabell Street is the main street running through Daniels Hill.  Cabell Street was named in 1875 to honor Dr. George Cabell, who built Point of Honor in 1815 and lived there until his death in 1823.  Cabell Street was first paved with brick in 1895.  Dr. Cabell was Patrick Henry’s personal physician.  The city and neighborhood returned the street to its original brick, by removing layers of blacktop, in 2007-2008.  Today Point of Honor is part of the Lynchburg Museum and it is open to the public.

The core of Daniels Hill-one block on either side of Cabell Street from A to H Streets-was designated an historic district in 1976.

Next month we will discuss the history and story of our house located at 404 Cabell Street, the Watt’s house.

 

The Battle of Sailor’s Creek

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Last major battle of Civil War

Battle of Sailor’s Creek

The Battle of Sailor’s Creek was fought on April 6, 1865, near Farmville, Virginia, as part of the Appomattox Campaign, in the final days of the American Civil War.  It was the last major battle between the armies of Gen. Robert E. Lee and Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant.

After Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant broke the Confederate defenses at the Siege of Petersburg, Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia evacuated Petersburg and Richmond on the nights of Aril 2 & 3, 1865.  They began a retreat in hopes of linking up with Gen. Joseph Johnston’s army in North Carolina.  As the union Army pursued and engaged the Confederates in the Battle of Namozine Church (on April 3) and the Battle of Amelia Springs (on April 5), Lee discovered that his route to Danville was blocked by the Union cavalry under the leadership of Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan.  Lee’s only remaining option was to move west on a long march, without food, to Lynchburg.  But the Confederate Commissary General promised Lee that he would send 80,000 rations to Farmville, about 25 miles to the west.

Battle of Sailor's Creek

The old High Bridge in Farmville

On the rainy morning of April 6, skirmish fire announced that Gen. Andrew Humphrey’s Union Second Corps was in pursuit.  Gen. Sheridan’s cavalry cut off nearly one-fourth of the retreating Confederate army.  The Confederates counter attacked but were driven back just as the Union cavalry cut through the right of the Confederate lines.

April 6, 1865 became known as “Black Thursday” among the Confederates.  In the three engagements along Sailor’s Creek, Lee lost roughly one-fourth of his army, many of them captured.  The Federals claimed 7,700 prisoners that day, including six generals.  Lee wrote to President Jefferson Davis, “a few more Sailor’s Creeks and it will all be over.”  Lee surrendered three days later.

The Appomattox County Historical Society will present the battlefield re-enactment of “The Battle of Sailor’s Creek” April 11-13, 2014.  The location of the re-enactment is the Appomattox Center for Business and Commerce, Industrial Park Lane (access from Route 26), Appomattox, VA 24522.  The business center is about 1/4 mile northwest of Route 460 and the town of Appomattox.  Spectator admission is $10 for a single day pass or $15 for a 2-day pass.  Guests attending the re-enactment while staying at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast will be provided with a “bag lunch”  to take with you to the re-enactment.  Call us at 434.846.1388 to inquire about availability and prices.

Battle of Sailor's Creek and High Bridge

The old High Bridge was destroyed at The Battle of Sailor’s Creek. You can walk over the old bridge on the new one.

While visiting the area, be sure to visit High Bridge Trail in Farmville.

 

 

“Slavery’s Legacy, Freedom’s Promise”

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Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest

Poplar Forest

Randolph College and Poplar Forest, sharing resources, have developed a two-day symposium entitled “Facing the Past, Freeing the Future: Slavery’s Legacy, Freedom’s Promise”.  The event took place April 3-5, 2014, primarily at Randolph College in Lynchburg, VA.

Randolph College, formerly Randolph Macon Woman's College

Randolph College

Open to the community, the symposium  included archaeologists, historians, performance artists and scholars who  facilitated and encouraged discussions about the society left in the aftermath of slavery and how the elimination of Jim Crow laws were designed to hinder the progress of blacks.

Scholars included: Annette Gordon-Reed, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family”; Christy Coleman, president of the American Civil War Center in Richmond; and Spencer Crew, former director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.

One event combined scholarship with people’s lives and heritage when Annette Gordon-Reed moderated a discussion highlighting the importance of oral history.  This discussion  included two people from Bedford, one of whom is a direct descendant of Thomas Jefferson.

A special tour of Poplar Forest focused on the plantation landscapes and stories normally not shared on the general tour.  Entire families lived at Poplar Forest, year-round, even though Jefferson only visited several times a year.  Stories were shared about what happened to slaves who became too old to work in the fields, what happened when slaves fell in love with another person living at a different plantation, what life was like as a slave at Poplar Forest.

During the course of two days, Lynchburg author and playwright, Dee Brown  presented his monologue featuring several generations of African Americans, beginning with a man newly freed from bondage, following a young man who is the first to receive an education, continuing with a member of the Black Panthers and finally an African American Republican judge.

This event was free and open to the public, about 165 people attended.  Please visit www.RandolphCollege.edu/SlaverySymposium to review the schedule of events.  For guests who stayed at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast we provided an early breakfast and “bag lunch”.  We are two miles from Randolph College!

Phil Vassar returns to Lynchburg

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Phil Vassar singing Love is Alive

Phil Vassar returns to Lynchburg as he has done for many years to perform a benefit concert for the Miller Home.  Phil is unusual in that he remembers his roots and returns home to donate his time and share his talents for this annual fundraiser for the Miller Home for Girls which offers a safe haven to young women who, for whatever reason, are unable to live at home.

As a child, Phil Vassar attended church next to the Miller Home and his youth group used to sing there when he was a teenager.  After moving to Nashville and making it in the music business, Phil remembered those days at the Miller Home and decided to support them by performing and donating 100% of the proceeds to the home.  Phil also has done a benefit concert for St. Jude Children’s Hospital and Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital.  OK, I admit, I really didn’t know much about Phil Vassar before I started writing this blog post, but I must say that I am impressed with the man because he is so generous in helping organizations that help children.  That alone should be reason enough for you to buy a ticket, even if you aren’t familiar with him or if you don’t care for country music.

This years concert will be April 2-3, 2014.  There will be an acoustic benefit concert held downtown Lynchburg (walking distance from The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast). Tickets for this event are $125.00 for an individual ticket, $600.00 for a half table (6 guests) or $1,200 for a full table for 12 guests.  This event is limited to 250 guests so it will offer an intimate environment where you will be able to be close to the star.  On April 3 Phil Vassar and friends will play at  Phase 2 in Lynchburg.  VIP tickets are $95.00 and include a balcony lounge, dinner and acoustic concert by a friend of Phil Vassar (last year Charlie Daniels and Robbin Thompson came to Lynchburg with Phil) during dinner.  If you just want to hear Phil Vassar, general admission tickets are only $35.00.

Since The Miller Home for Girls opened its doors in 1875, it has cared for more than 900 young women ages four to eighteen, from different counties, cities and even states. The home strives to provide a traditional family environment while addressing the individual needs, behaviors, and goals of each young woman that comes through the doors.  Tickets to the Phil Vassar concert can be purchased using your credit card by calling the Miller Home at 434-845-0241 during regular business hours or if you are in town, you can stop by the Miller Home at 2134 Westerly Drive to purchase your tickets where they only take cash or checks.

If you will be visiting Lynchburg to attend on of Phil Vassar’s concert and stay at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast, we will donate a portion of your room charges to the Miller Home. Just let us know when booking your reservation that you will be attending his concert.