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.
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.
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 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!
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.
It’s only fitting to write about Monument Terrace on Veteran’ Day. Everyday, Monument Terrace pays tribute to those Lynchburg residents who gave their lives defending our freedoms. Today, November 11th, Veterans Day there will be a ceremony at the foot of Monument Terrace allowing us reflect on the freedoms we enjoy and the costs of those freedoms.
There wasn’t always a Monument Terrace; originally it was a dirt path that connected Court House Hill (site of the original court house, now the Lynchburg Museum) to what is now 9th Street. In 1882 August Forsberg designed stone steps, a plaza and a fountain to be placed at the base (now Church and 9th Street). In 1883 five volunteer fireman lost their lives and statue of a fireman was placed on top of a fountain with water pouring from the nozzle of his hose. That statue stood there until 1924.
Today’s Monument Terrace was completed in 1925 and it was intended to be a monument to those who fought and lost their lives in the first World War (1917-1918). Since then other monuments have been constructed to honor those local heroes from other wars. There are 132 steps taking you from Church Street to Court Street. Along the way there are 10 landings and 11 markers and monuments along the terrace. Eight of the markers are devoted to military service and three commemorate civic milestones. Today there are monuments to honor those who lost their lives in the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, World War I and World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Additionally there is a POW-MIA Monument and a Purple Heart Monument.
In addition to these monuments, every Friday since 2001 from noon-1:00 a group of citizens gather at the foot of Monument Terrace to demonstrate openly their support for the men and women who serve the United States in its military services.
In the event you are unable to visit Monument Terrace I have posted a few photos below of some of the monuments.
I started with the Vietnam Memorial because I wanted to honor those troops who were not well respected when they returned from the war.
The Korean War is the forgotten war. Lynchburg like lots of towns and cities across this nation lost troops in this far off place.
It was only after we had World War II that this memorial was called a memorial to those who died in World War I. Let’s hope we never see another World War! This monument is at the foot of Monument Terrace at the intersection of 9th Street and Church Street.
A tribute to “The Greatest Generation.” Unfortunately the memorial had to be on two different walls due to the high number of causalities. The National D-Day Memorial is just 20 minutes west of Lynchburg and is also a must see to those who fought on the Beaches of Normandy towards the end of World War II.
Unfortunately, The Spanish American War is just a foot note in many history books. Monument Terrace pays tribute to those Americans that fought in this war.
For those of you who haven’t visited the Lynchburg area, we are only 20 minutes from Appomattox Courthouse where the country was reunited almost 149 years ago. It is worth the trip to visit this national park.
The origin of the Purple Heart Medal dates back to the American Revolution. The medal that is used today is given to those wounded or killed in time of war and was established in 1932. Unfortunately, it is estimated that more than 1.7 million medals have been given out since 1932.
This monument is to honor those that were held as a Prisoner of War (POW) or those that never returned from the war, Missing in Action (MIA).
I hope that all of us takes a moment to remember our Armed Forces, both current and past. Veteran’s Day is more than just a day off or a time to go shopping at the mall. If you have a reason to visit Central Virginia, I would hope you carve out time to visit Monument Terrace, The Old City Cemetery, The National D-Day Memorial, Appomattox Courthouse and the Museum of the Confederacy. There are many other interesting places to visit and things to do, but on this Veteran’s Day lets focus on these venues. Today at 10:30am there will be a ceremony at the base of Monument Terrace. Church Street will be closed during the event.
The historic neighborhood of Daniels Hill will be this years site for the Lynchburg Historical Foundation’s annual ghost walk. Guests attending the ghost walk will hear about the neighborhood and its residents (some of whom have not left their homes, even after death).
This years ghost walk will start at Point of Honor (at their carriage house), the home of Dr. George Cabell who was Patrick Henry’s personal physician. The tour will take you up Cabell Street where your guide will stop at various homes and share stories about the original owners both while they were living and after they died. These homes were built by some of Lynchburgs most prominent citizens from the early to late 1800′s.
This is the first time the ghost walk has been in Daniels Hill neighborhood so you won’t want to miss this opportunity to learn about the neighborhood and its residents. Tours start at 6:30pm and run every 15-20 minutes. Tickets will be sold the night of the walk and are available on a first come, first served basis. Tours will be on October 24, 25 and 26 (Thursday, Friday and Saturday). If you have a group of 10 or more you can by advance tickets by calling the Lynchburg Historical Foundation at 434.528.5353.
One of the stops will be the Watts House at 404 Cabell Street, now The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast. Why not spend the weekend here and hear even more stories about the home and the Watts family. If you are tuned into the paranormal you may even get to experience an encounter with one of them. Disclaimer: Our ghosts are very friendly!
To get to Point of Honor from downtown:
Proceed over the Rivermont Bridge and once you cross the bridge take an immediate hard right onto D Street. Turn right onto Cabell Street to Point of Honor on the left.
When you think about shrimp harvesting and eating fresh shrimp most people think about the gulf coast states, Central Virginia is probably not on your radar when it comes to shrimp. After all, it’s a 4 hour drive to get to the ocean. But just outside the quaint little town of Brookneal (about 45 minutes south of Lynchburg, Virginia) is the Sugar Hill Sweetwater Shrimp farm. Mark Guthrie’s family has owned the farm since 1908. He, his father and grandfather grew high quality tobacco on the farm until pressures from government and big tobacco companies caused him to look for a different cash crop. What made growing shrimp possible was the fact that when his grandfather was looking to buy farm land he wanted a place with a good water supply. He found a property with a spring fed pond to not only supply water for irrigation of crops but as a good supply of drinking water for the family. A hundred years later that spring fed pond provides the water source for today’s shrimp ponds.
Each spring Mark purchases the larva of Giant Malaysian River Prawns. In the wild, the Giant Malaysian River Prawns lay their eggs in the salty waters at the mouths of rivers. The larva then make their way upstream to the fresh water of the river and grow. Mark keeps the larva in a climate controlled environment until the pond water has warmed up sufficiently to move them into the ponds. A paddleboat type device keeps the water aerated to enable the shrimp to breath. Like other farm animals, shrimp need to be fed from time to time, but if life gets in the way of farming and you miss feeding them they forage the pond for their own food. Another advantage to farming shrimp is you are not at the mercy of Mother Nature when it comes to heat, drought or too much rain, disease, insects, deer and so on. As summer comes to an end so does the shrimp farming for the year because the shrimp don’t survive if the water temperature drops into the 50’s.
Harvesting shrimp is a relatively simple job. The shrimp ponds were built with a low spot on one end of the pond and the bottom of the pond is sloped to the low spot. Think of his pond as a half acre bathtub. On harvest day, Mark simply pulls the stopper out of the pond and the water runs out the drainage pipe into a large wooden box that catches the shrimp. The water flows through the box and continues downhill to the large spring fed pond. The shrimp are then scooped out of the wooden box and put into holding tanks. This year the shrimp were larger than in previous years because he stocked the pond with fewer larva allowing each shrimp to grow larger.
After the pond has been emptied the net around the drain is checked for any shrimp that didn’t get carried out of the pond through the drainage pipe. After all the shrimp have been collected they are put on ice to bring their temperature down to 40 degrees or lower then they are ready to be sold.
Unless you live on the ocean you probably can’t buy shrimp that are any fresher than these shrimp on harvest day. The shrimp are textured and colored much like lobster and very low in cholesterol.
The male shrimp has claws at the end of a long blue colored arm. The fertile female shrimp have a yellowish colored underside where their eggs are stored. When preparing freshly caught shrimp it is best to keep the head on the shrimp because it adds flavor. Shrimp that aren’t sold on harvest day are beheaded because there are enzymes in the head that allow the shrimp to digest their food. If the head is left on the shrimp, those enzymes can start to digest the meat of the shrimp. Cooling the shrimp below 40 degrees stops that process, but it is best to remove those enzymes if the shrimp aren’t being consumed right away. Mark will be flash-freezing any shrimp that haven’t sold on harvest day so if you are interested in buying some fresh shrimp give him a call at 434-376-5375 or communicate with him via his Facebook Page
If you are looking for a unique experience you will definitely want to put harvest day on your calendar next year. Mark typically harvests the shrimp on the third or fourth Saturday of September. Directions to his farm from The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast are:
|1.||Start out going southeast on Cabell Sttoward D St.||0.01 mi|
|2.||Take the 1st right onto D St.
|3.||Turn left onto Rivermont Ave/US-501A. Continue to follow US-501A S.
|4.||US-501A S becomes Church St.||0.2 mi|
|5.||Take the US-29 S ramp.||0.1 mi|
|6.||Merge onto US-29-BR S.||1.0 mi|
|7.||Take the US-460-BUS E/US-501-BUS S (Campbell Ave.) exit, EXIT 3B.||0.1 mi|
|8.||Merge onto US-460-BR S/US-501-BR S.||2.1 mi|
|9.||Stay straight to go onto US-501 S/Campbell Ave. Continue to follow US-501 S.||7.9 mi|
|10.||In the town of Rustburg, Turn right onto Village Hwy/US-501/VA-24. Continue to follow US-501.
|11.||Stay straight to go onto Lynchburg Ave/VA-40. Continue to follow VA-40.||3.3 mi|
|12.||Turn slight left onto Sugar Hill Rd.
|13.||179 SUGAR HILL RD is on the right.
We had thought about serving our guests a shrimp omelet but unfortunately the couple pounds of shrimp we bought didn’t make it past dinner. Lesson learned….next time, buy more shrimp!
Randolph College welcomed back a group of Buddhist monks from the Rashi Kyil Monastery in Derha Dun India. The monks are touring the United States and will be on campus for 5 days. During that time they will be not only interacting with the students and facility but with those that want to stop by and visit. While on campus they will be working on a Mandala (a spiritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism representing the universe). Most mandalas are the form of a circle with a square. Mandalas may be employed for focusing attention of aspirants and adepts as a spiritual teaching tool for establishing a sacred space and is an aid to meditation and trance induction. The mandala is made by arranging colored grains of sand into a pattern. This practice has been done since the sixth century. Two years ago Randolph College hosted the monks on their tour of the United States. They also created a mandala then so and you can watch a video of their 2011 visit if you can’t make it to Randolph College before they depart.
The mandala is expected to be completed tomorrow (September 11, 2014) early afternoon. At 3:30pm they will hold a closing ceremony in which they will destroy the mandala and disperse its colorful sand into a nearby creek. The public is invited to watch the monks finish the mandala as well as attend the closing ceremony. The mandala is being made at the Houston Memorial Chapel on campus. Don’t miss out on this rare opportunity to witness a historic form of religious art as well as interacting with the monks.
Yesterday, September 11, 2013, Kathy and I attended the closing ceremony at Randolph College. The mandala had been completed (photo below) and then the monks chanted and then gathered all the sand up and it was distributed to those in attendance. After everyone got their sand, there was a procession to a stream that feeds into the James River and the sand was sent downstream.
Randolph College in Lynchburg, Virginia is a small liberal arts school. Formerly known as Randolph Macon Woman’s College, men were admitted four years ago and the name was changed. This is one of the most beautiful schools I have ever seen. Additionally, it has been ranked as one of the top schools in the country. They often have speakers and events that the public is invited to attend such as this one. If you are visiting the area or considering a college you want to keep this one in mind. Check out their website at: http://www.randolphcollege.edu/.
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