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Little Libraries in Lynchburg

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Little Library at the Community Market in downtown Lynchburg

Lynchburg, Virginia is one of the newest locations, in the United States, of the Little Free Library project.

In 2009, Todd Bol, a resident of Hudson, Wisconsin started the movement.  He built a model of a one room schoolhouse as a tribute to his mother, a former teacher and avid reader.  He filled it with books, put it on a post in his front yard with a sign FREE BOOKS and his friends and neighbors loved it.  He and his friends set a goal of 2,510 Little Free Libraries throughout the United States by January 2014.  They estimate that by year’s end there will be over 10,000 small structures promoting the slogan take a book, return a book, far surpassing their goal.

Photo by The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast

Little Library on the Blackwater Creek trail head.

Lynchburg has debuted four little libraries throughout the city.  They are located at the Community Market, Riverside Park, the Ed Page Entrance of the Blackwater Creek Trail and at WordWorks located on the roundabout on Fifth Street.  Books are selected by a “Steward.”  Depending on the Steward and little library location the books may follow a theme, for instance the Blackwater Creek library has several bird watching books.

The structures are also an interesting part of the Little Free Library project.  They are not just a utilitarian box but are built by hand in all shapes and sizes.  The structure at the Community Market looks like a barn, the Natural Bridge Appalachian Trail Club modeled the structure at       after an Appalachian Trail shelter.  And the structure at WordWorks resembles a

The goal of the Little Free Library project is to share favorite books and to grant access to people who don’t have books, allowing them to stop and take a book.  For more information stop by and take a book or visit the website www.littlefreelibrary.org.

 

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.

 

 

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.

Happy Halloween

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interesting-halloween-facts-8 It’s almost here, Halloween, the second most commercialized holiday in the United States.  In preparation for Halloween Old City Cemetery had candle light tours of the cemetery the past two weekends, our neighborhood, Daniels Hill, had a ghost walk and this past Saturday was the third annual Zombie walk through downtown.  But here are a few fun facts that you may not have known:

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We hope you have a great Halloween in a couple of days….Will you be dressing up for the occasion?

Photos above are from The Chive blog of September 9, 2013, “30 Interesting facts about Halloween”.

Monks visit Randolph College

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Monks making a mandala at Randolph College

Monks making a mandala at Randolph College

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.

Work in progress by monks at Randolph College

Work in progress by monks at Randolph College

UPDATE:

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.

photo by The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast

Completed mandala

Photo by The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast

Closing Ceremony at Randolph College

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/.

 

Old City Cemetery celebrates National Donut Day

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Celebrate National Donut Day at Old City Cemetery

Celebrate National Donut Day at Old City Cemetery

In honor of National Donut Day, Old City Cemetery is giving out free donuts on Friday, June 7th at the Stapleton Station House (located on the cemetery grounds.)

What is National Donut Day?  National Donut Day was first celebrated in Chicago in 1938 as a way to honor Salvation Army “doughnut lassies” from WWI and to raise money and bring awareness to the Army’s social service programs during the Great Depression.

During World War I, starting in 1917,  approximately 250 Salvation Army volunteers provided assistance to American soldiers fighting on the front lines in France.  The young soldiers were faced with physical and emotional peril while fighting.  To ease some of the stress two female Salvation army officers came up with the idea to comfort the soldiers with good home cooking.  As they had very limited supplies they decided to use their limited ingredients to fry delicious doughnuts, using helmets as the frying vessel, for the soldiers.

These women nicknamed “Doughnut Lassies” or “Doughnut Girls” served many of their treats and coffee to grateful soldiers serving in trenches throughout the battle fields.  The doughnuts became an instant hit and was brought back to America by the “doughboys.”

Between the hours of 11 AM and 1 PM the Stapleton Station House Museum (the train station) will be held open to showcase items and memorabilia from World War ! and to serve you a donut.  For more information or directions to the Old City Cemetery visit their web site at www.gravegarden.org.

And for those of you staying with us at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast in Lynchburg, VA we will be serving donut holes, as one of our courses served during our 4-course breakfast, on Friday, June 7th.