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Liberty University’s tunnel.

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Liberty University Tunnel (campus side)

Liberty University Tunnel (campus side)

 

Tunnel at Liberty University

Liberty University side of the tunnel

Liberty University opened a new entrance onto their campus last May with the completion of their new tunnel that goes under the Norfolk-Southern railroad tracks..  What made this project unique and interesting, at least from my point of view, is how the tunnel was constructed.  The tunnels were prefabricated and shipped to the site.  Each tunnel is a large concrete box weighing 4.2 million pounds and measuring 26 feet tall, 32 feet wide and 130 feet long.

Tunnel at Liberty University

Tunnel was pulled from this side

A large concrete pad was constructed and these massive concrete boxes were positioned on the pad on the Liberty University side of the tracks. The boxes were pulled and pushed through the soil until they broke through the other side.  On the “other side” of the tracks the ground was reinforced with steel and concrete and holes were drilled through to the Liberty University campus side and cables were run through and connected to the concrete boxes that would be pulled through.  The boxes were equipped with cutting edges to aid in the process.  When pulling with the cables wasn’t sufficient to move these giant boxes they were also pushed.

Tunnel at Liberty University

Tunnel pushes through to the other side

As the boxes were being pushed and pulled, excavating equipment was in the box to remove the earth as it made its way under the railroad tracks.  This is the first time that this type of tunnel construction had been done in North America. During the entire process, engineers from Norfolk-Southern were on site to ensure the earth below the tracks was solid so that trains passing overhead wouldn’t derail.

After breaking through to the other side (Wards Road), pavement was put down and the tunnel was opened for traffic just in time for Liberty University’s 2013 graduation.  Since its opening the entrances on both sides have undergone some cosmetic improvements such as bricking the walls, landscaping, adding lighting and putting in a pedestrian walkway.

 

Tunnel at Liberty University

Inside tunnel facing Wards Road

Today, driving through the tunnels one would never think about how they got here, but I found it very interesting to watch the process.  To most it is just a tunnel but to me, it is a project that demonstrated man’s ability to think outside the box in problem solving.  Next time you drive by the tunnel imagine what it took to drag/pull a 4.2 million pound box of concrete through the earth. While the tunnel will never be a tourist attraction in Lynchburg or for Liberty University, the story about how it got here is worth remembering.

Recently the tunnel construction project was named best Small Project (under $10 million) in the MidAtlantic region, consisting of Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia by Engineering News-Record (ENR) MidAtlantic, a magazine and website for construction industry professionals.

There are many things to do and see during your stay at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast, but if you drive by the tunnel perhaps now you can appreciate the story of “The Tunnel” as we now call it.

 

 

Blue Ridge Country editorial mention

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The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast, in Lynchburg, VA, is proud to announce we have been mentioned in the October issue of Blue Ridge Country magazine!

The featured article this month is “50 Great Things to Do and See this Fall.  Starting in North Carolina and working their way through the eight states highlighted each month that make up Blue Ridge Country (Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia and of course, Virginia) a treasure trove of suggestions are included.  Beyond viewing leaves and luscious fall colors there are peaks to climb, rivers to forge or float, wine trails to taste, farms to purchase fresh produce or cheese, trails to hike or bike, campgrounds and parks to explore, relaxing places to stay and delicious places to eat.  As promised, 50 things to see, do or experience all within a drive from where you live.

Suggestion number 13  is “Learn More.”  The Anne Spencer House & Garden is suggested.  Isabella’s Italian Trattoria is recommended for dinner.  And, The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast is suggested as a “romantic, historic inn walking distance from downtown.”

What are you waiting for?  Get your copy of the most recent issue, decide where you would like to travel to this fall and make your plans.  If you’re lucky enough to live in Lynchburg you don’t even need to travel.  Why not plan a vacation without leaving Lynchburg?  Check in to our magnificently restored mansion, indulge in our 4-course breakfast each morning, take the time to explore all that Lynchburg has to offer (arts, trails, museums, wineries, outdoor activities) and spend some time, quality time, with your loved one.

Call us 434.846.1388.  We have a variety of packages and specials offered this fall.  We’re looking forward to seeing you enjoy Lynchburg and the surrounding counties.  Don’t delay, rooms are booking up!

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”.