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VCCA-a local retreat for artists from around the world.

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Photo by The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast in Lynchburg

Normandy style barn at VCCA houses 22 artist studios

The Virginia Center for Creative Arts (VCCA) is located off RT 29 on property owned by Sweet Briar College, known as Mt. San Angelo Estate.  It is a sanctuary where artists can find serenity, light, space and privacy to work for hours, days or weeks on their creative works in private studios cradled on 400 acres of rolling farmland.  If you have ever tired to write that great American novel, or paint a masterpiece or sculpt a piece of clay, marble or wood into art or compose a song or opera you know the distractions of life often get in the way and that project gets delayed or remains unfinished.

The VCCA offers its artist residents, Fellows, a comfortable, private bedroom, three meals a day, and a private studio. While there the artist has a quiet light filled studio to work in but has the ability to share thoughts and ideas with over 20 other artists.    The results speak for themselves, VCCA residents have won a Pulitzer Prize, written many NY Times best sellers, had movies made and have had their art shown at top galleries around the world.

To get a fellowship at VCCA you must apply and be accepted.  The application process can be found on their website.  

During the Civil War, estate owner Elizabeth Mosby traveled to Europe and brought back architect Thomas Eastlock from England to create the original 1870 Italianate villa.  Upon her death the estate then known as Mount Saint Angelo went to her brother and upon his death the estate was transferred to Elizabeth Mosby’s Sister, Indiana Fletcher Williams, the founder of Sweet Briar College (founded in 1901).  In 1909 the house was remodeled into a Georgian Revival mansion.  In the 1920s a 13,000 square foot Normandy-style barn complex was built which now houses the artist studios. The name was changed to  Mount San Angelo in the 1930′s.  In 1968 Sweet Briar College purchased the property and in the fall of 1977 Sweet Briar College agreed to lease the facility to VCCA.  On July 17th 1979 the mansion was destroyed by fire.  At the time there were fifty six VCCA Fellows in residence.  Over the next two years Fellows lived and worked in the barn complex.

Today the residence hall, completed in 1981, can house up to 22 Fellows.  The Studio Barn complex (built in 1932) is just a short walk from the residence hall and houses 22 studios, 3 kitchens an exhibition hall and sculpture gardens.

Pick up truck sculpture on the grounds of VCCA.

Pick up truck sculpture on the grounds of VCCA.

From time to time VCCU has an open house where the public is invited to visit the property and grounds and mingle with the artists.  Last October during their open house I met several interesting artists that were from Europe and the United States.  The VCCA is a creative space for writers, artists and composers from across the nation and around the world.  It is also a great place to visit when they host their annual open house!

If you are looking for a quiet place to relax and get creative and you aren’t accepted as a Fellow at VCCA then we invite you to check into The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast and take advantage of our quiet 1878 mansion or 1910 carriage house.  It may be the place that inspires your creative energies.

VCCA is having an open house Sunday January 19th, 2014 from 2:00-4:00PM.  Tour open studios and visit with working writers, composers and artists.  If you are interested in the arts this is a must see.

 

 

Pomegranate with Pears and Goat Cheese

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Pomegranate with Pears and Goat Cheese

A simple yet elegant dish that can be served for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert or a midnight snack with Prosecco on New Year’s Eve.  At The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast, in Lynchburg, VA, we have served this as our fruit course, during our legendary 4-course breakfast.  This recipe only takes minutes to make and is delicious.  The other nice thing about this recipe is there is NO cooking and minimal cleanup.  A couple years ago we planted  pomegranate trees and we now serve our own pomegranates.  Here is a link for step by step instructions on how to get the seeds, also know as arils out of the fruit.  The nice thing about the arils is you can freeze them and enjoy them for months.  You still might be able to find some pomegranates in the produce section at your grocery store.

How to freeze pomegranate seeds

Once you have de-seeded your pomegranate, make sure the seeds are dry. Arrange them in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet lined with wax paper. Place in freezer for 2 hours or until frozen. Once frozen, put them into a freezer bag or container and store them in the freezer.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces fresh goat cheese, about 1/2 cup
  • 4 firm-ripe pears, Bartlett or Bosc, halved lengthwise
  • honey, for drizzling
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds, from 1/2 of a large pomegranate

Instructions:

Stir goat cheese in a small bowl until smooth.  Core pear halves with a melon baller and fill each cavity with 1 Tablespoon cheese.  (Pears can then be sliced again into smaller wedges.)  Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.

Of course if you can find local honey that is a big bonus as local honey helps you with allergies you might have from local sources.  The Old City Cemetery in Lynchburg has several beehives and they sell their honey.  It is appropriately called, Died and gone to heaven honey.

We hope you enjoy Pomegranate with Pears and Goat Cheese as much as our guests did!

 

Santa has come to Town!

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The Lynchburg Museum is proud to announce the “Santa has come to town!”

The museum has recently acquired the mechanical Santa that once greeter shoppers to the downtown Leggett’s Department Store.  The 5 foot tall Santa would watch over the shoppers from a display at the store’s entrance.  The mechanized figure could turn and wave to the shoppers while his reindeer bobbed up and down as though in flight (quite a feat for store figures in the 50′s & 60′s.)

Santa can be viewed until January 31, 2014 at the Lynchburg Museum, in downtown Lynchburg, VA, at 901 Court Street.  Museum hours are Monday – Saturday 10-4 and Sunday 12-4.  Entrance fees run between $3.00-$6.00.  Entrance fees are waived on First Fridays between 5:00-8:00 pm.

A Poplar Forest Christmas

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Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest

Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest

Poplar Forest, Thomas Jefferson’s retreat just outside Lynchburg, Virginia, will host a holiday open house on Sunday, December 15, 2013 between 10:00  am until 4:00 pm.

Visitors to this octagonal house will see the house as it might have been decorated for Jefferson’s holiday guests.  Evergreen, holly and mountain laurel garlands will grace the railings and banisters, mantels and picture frames.  Rosemary and lavender will scent the rooms.  The natural materials used as the decorations are all found on the grounds, just as they would have been in Jefferson’s day.  The boxwoods shown in the above photo were removed about 3 months ago so that the front of the property can be restored to the way it looked in Jefferson’s time.

In addition to touring the home there will be early 19th century dance presentations by the Regency of Virginia, traditional candle-making demonstrations and the preparation of traditional recipes on an open kitchen hearth.

Admission to the open house is free with a donation of a nonperishable food item for Lynchburg’s Daily Bread of the Bedford Humane Society.  A special discount, 20%, will be offered on items sold in the gift shop throughout the month of December.

Here’s a fact that many people don’t know:  The Watts family built what is now The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast in Lynchburg, Virginia.  Descendants of R. T. Watts were the last private owners of Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest.  If you are traveling to the area to see Poplar Forest and need a place to stay you can make reservations at their original home, now a bed and breakfast.

Mistletoe Market

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Santa and Mrs. Clause posing with mother and child at the Mistletoe Market

Santa and Mrs. Clause posing with mother and child at the Mistletoe Market

Once again this year downtown Lynchburg, Virginia’s Community Market (one of the oldest, continuously operating markets in the country) is presenting it’s annual Mistletoe Market.

Free Carriage Rides leaving the Misitletoe Market in the Community Market Parking Lot

Carriage Ride leaving the Mistletoe Market in the Community Market Parking Lot

Saturday December 7th, 14th and 21st between the hours of 7:00 am until 3:00 pm the Community Market will be filled with fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers and holiday greenery, unique, handcrafted gifts, food and beverage tastings, family activities, carriage rides through downtown (starting at 10:00 am, $2.00 per person,) Santa and Mrs. Claus and the Grinch will be stopping by.

Get your wreaths, trees and other greenery at this years MIstletoe Market

Get your wreaths, trees and other greenery at this years Mistletoe Market

Get a head start on your holiday shopping by supporting your local businesses, vendors, crafters, farmers and others who greatly appreciate your support all year long.  We’ll see you there!

Enjoy the holiday season.  Kathy and Mike with The Grinch.

Enjoy the holiday season. Kathy and Mike with The Grinch.

Kathy and I want to wish each of you a Merry Christmas and hope that next year will be a great year for you.  Of course if your travels bring you to Lynchburg give us a call, we would love for you to enjoy The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast as your home away from home.

 

Ham and Egg Breakfast Casserole

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Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole

Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole

The nice thing about this breakfast casserole is that it is simple to make and feeds a crowd.  Unlike cooking pancakes, waffles or omelets which takes a lot of time if you have a large family, other than a little prep-work, you stick it in the oven and in about 30 minutes you have a delicious meal.  The other great thing about this breakfast casserole is that you can double the recipe and serve one today and save the other one for up to three months in the freezer.

The above was served with lightly sauteed vine ripened tomatoes and zucchini and hash-brown potatoes.  A fresh basil leaf was cut up and put on top of the breakfast casserole. Our guests loved this recipe and so did we because of its simplicity.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb of fresh mushrooms
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • dash of pepper and salt
  • 2 Cups of grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup diced ham
  • 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 12 eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • In a large sauce pan melt the butter, rough cut the mushrooms and saute them until tender add the Italian seasoning and salt and pepper the mushrooms. After cooking the combined ingredients let cool for a couple of minutes.  In a greased 13X9 baking dish spread the mushrooms evenly over the pan.
  • In a large bowl, add the cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, cubed ham and flour.  Mix ingredients well then spread evenly over the mushrooms.  Note:  The flour helps keep the ham and cheese from sticking together.  If you are on a gluten free diet you can skip this ingredient.
  • In another large bowl mix the eggs, cream, Dijon mustard and salt and pepper.  Once mixed pour over the ham and cheese mixture.
  • Bake the breakfast casserole in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.  Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.
Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole out of the oven.

Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole out of the oven.

Freezing a breakfast casserole:

If you double the recipe and elect to freeze one, cover with a tight fitting plastic wrap the uncooked mixture (make sure it sits flat in the freezer until  frozen. Before cooking, remove from freezer 30 minutes before baking (do not thaw it).  Remove the plastic wrap and cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes, Uncover and bake for and additional 15-20 minutes.  Let stand before cutting and serving.

This would be a great dish to serve on Thanksgiving or Christmas morning when the entire family is visiting.  Also, it is a great way to use some of the left over ham.  If you want to serve a warm fruit dish consider the hot fruit compote that we wrote about earlier this month.