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Outdoor Activity

Ghosts of Lynchburg

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Ghosts of Lynchburg

Ghosts of Lynchburg

It’s that time again, time to meet some of the ghosts of Lynchburg during their annual  ghost walk in historic Lynchburg.

This years Ghosts of Historic Lynchburg walk will be held in the historic district known as Federal Hill.  Federal Hill became Lynchburg’s first residential suburb, until it was annexed in 1814 and again in 1819 when it became part of the town’s jurisdiction.  One of the smallest and most compact historic districts the houses range in styles from Federal, Greek Revival, Colonial Revival and Queen Anne, plus a few Second Empire.

Federal Street defines the center of this district.  Because of the topography some of the streets have never opened or surprisingly dead-end at a bluff or cliff and are picked back up a block or two away at a higher or lower elevation.

Federal Hill has always been a popular residential area.  Close enough to downtown for the residents to easily access shops, businesses and restaurants.  Closer still to the churches that line Court Street for Sunday worship.

The tour will be held on October 20, 21 and 22, 2016, starting at 6:30 pm.  Tours begin about every 20 minutes.  Tickets will be sold each evening starting at 6:00 pm, with a limited number of tickets each evening.  Tickets are $10 each.  There will not be any rain dates.  This tour is primarily on sidewalks and streets, but there will be uneven areas and walking up and down hills.  The tour will start and end at 1101 Federal Street, which is also the place to purchase tickets.

Even if you have toured this neighborhood before the stories vary from year to year.  We will see you there!

The event is put on by the Lynchburg Historical Foundation and is sponsored by Whitten Funeral Home.  If you are from out of town and need a place to stay after touring the haunted streets, give us a call.  We would be happy to put you up for the evening at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast.

The Festy Experience 2016

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Experience live music at Festi

Experience live music at Festy!

The 7th Annual Festy experience will take place in Nelson County, VA October 7 thru 9, 2016, Columbus Day Weekend.

This year’s unique, family friendly, fun festival will be set up at the Nelson County Preserve.  Located on 350+ acres there will be plenty of space for the stages, music, outdoor activities, camping (in various formats), food and drink vendors and much more.

Festy

Music has always been the mainstay of the Festy Experience, but the Experience is much more.  Talented well-known musicians along with obscure newcomers will be featured throughout the 3 days.  Included this year are the Infamous Stringdusters, Lyle Lovett, Robert Earl Keen, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Lee Ann Womack, Sam Bush Band, Steep Canyon Rangers and many, many more.

In addition to the music you will find plenty of outdoor activities to participate in: Disc Golf, ultimate frisbee, kickball, soccer, volleyball, a rock climbing wall, guided nature tours, trail runs, hosted bike rides, yoga and the 21st Annual Blue Ridge Burn–5K/10K run.

If you are visiting for the day or the weekend there will be a variety of food and drink vendors, including an on-site café near the camping area.  For those staying at the Preserve there will be unlimited showers available this year.

Tickets range in price and accessibility:

  • Day-Tripper Weekend Festival Pass: $100 per person–access to festival only
  • Day-Tripper Single Day Pass: $40 per person, per day–access to festival only
  • Camping Weekend Festival Pass: $150 per person–access to festival, campground and showers

The Nelson County Preserve is located about 37 miles from Lynchburg, just north of Colleen.  Those attendees not wanting to “rough it” may choose to stay with us at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast.

For more detailed information visit www.thefesty.com or call 434.220.4000.  It’s been a fun event in the past and we can assume it will be a fun event again this year.

Bawdy Ladies of Lynchburg, Virginia

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Bawdy Ladies

Graves at Old City Cemetery–Bawdy Ladies Tour

On Sunday, September 25th, between 3:00-4:00 pm the Old City Cemetery will host it’s Bawdy Ladies of Lynchburg tour.

Lynchburg’s Bawdy ladies have been part of Lynchburg’s history since the very beginning of Lynchburg.  Between 1805 until 1910 census and court records state there were at least 535 ladies of ill repute living and working in Lynchburg, VA.

In early Lynchburg the houses of ill repute were primarily located on Jefferson Street, Commerce Street (then known as Lynch Street), Seventh, Eighth and Tenth Streets.  This area was known as Buzzard’ s Roost.  Along with the bordellos there were plenty of bars and gambling houses found in this area of the city.

During the Civil War many of these “ladies” worked in the Confederate hospitals as nurses, cooks and laundresses.  Many of these same “ladies” contributed monetarily to the cause.  Some acted as spies and were said to pass along secrets learned from soldiers they were tending to in the hospitals.

Do you know how the term hooker came to be attributed to ladies of ill repute?  During the Civil War (1861-1865) many women became camp followers in Joseph Hooker’s Union Army brigade.  These women, primarily from Washington, D.C. brothels, became known as “Hooker’s Division” or “Hooker’s Brigade”.

After the war, in the early 1900’s, the “sporting houses” (as the houses of ill repute were called in Lynchburg) moved to Monroe, Jackson and Fourth Streets.  This area was now known as “The Hill”.  Between 1907 until 1910 there were at least 31 sporting houses in this area.  The Hill was active until the mid-60’s.  The last Madam of Fourth Street, Tootsie Clay, was arrested in 1964.  She was sent out of town instead of to jail due to her declining health.  Interestingly enough we have had a guest at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast, from the Tidewater area, who’s father used to travel to Lynchburg, by train, in the late 50′ and early 60’s to visit the sporting houses.  Not sure why the father shared this information with his son, but it does substantiate the fact that Lynchburg was well-known for it’s sporting ladies.

This years’ walking tour will again by led by Nancy Weiland.  Her interest and research into the Bawdy Ladies of Lynchburg began in 1982.  She will be guiding the tour group throughout the cemetery, over uneven ground and up and down hills on Sunday the 25th.  Meet at the Old City Cemetery Gate by 3:00 pm, located at 401 Taylor Street.  This tour is free, advance reservations are not required.  Questions should be directed to the cemetery office, 434.847.1465.

Even if you have attended a Bawdy Ladies tour in the past it is worth your time to attend again this year.  Each year different ladies are discussed and their lives explained.  Mike and I always find it interesting how many of the ladies became prominent citizens of Lynchburg once they retired from the sporting life.  They married former mayors, police chiefs and local politicians.  If you stay with us at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast we will be touring along with you.

Get Downtown 2016!

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Band at previous Get Downtown

Band at previous Get Downtown

Lynchburg, Virginia’s Get Downtown will be celebrating it’s 8th anniversary on Friday, September 9th.

What is Get DowntownLynchburg’s Main Street celebration highlighting it’s restaurants, stores and shops, galleries and so much more.

This street festival is held on and around Main Street, between 6:00 – 9:00 pm.  You will find all types of activities, vendors, artisans and artists, food tastings, theatrical performances, scavenger hunts, a kids’ zone at the Lynchburg Community Market, music on three stages, a dunk tank and in general a fun, family-friendly evening.

Musicians include: Paris Jones, Tony Camm and the MG Allstars, the Cabell Street Collective, Hemingway, The Dundies, DJ Ed and Band and The Beat.  Keys for the Hill City will be played at their three downtown locations by people attending the festival or perhaps by semi-professionals–always fun to hear.  On the Academy of Arts stage the Academy Center of the Arts youth theater group will perform, along with Dance Lynchburg, The Listening, Randolph College and Wolfbane Productions.

Street performance at previous Get Downtown

Street performance at previous Get Downtown

Not ready for the evening to end?  Between the hours of 8:30 – 12:00 you can Stay Downtown.  More fun will be had at The Glasshouse where Jenny and the B-Side Rockers will be performing.  R*A will be hosting a block party.  The Academy Center of the Arts will be showing Saturday Night Fever at 9:00 pm.  Other locations in downtown Lynchburg will be adding to the Stay Downtown activities, so keep you eyes open.

A shuttle will run from the James River Conference Center to downtown, in 20 minute loops.  Between 5:45 – 9:30 pm you can park your car and be delivered to the fun (as parking is extremely limited and scarce in downtown this evening).

So wear your comfortable walking shoes and enjoy a stroll up and down Main Street while observing or participating in all of the activities.  For more information visit www.getdowntownlynchburgva.com.  We’ll see you there!

Old City Cemetery-Confederate Section

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Old City Cemetery

Old City Cemetery Confederate Section in the fall

For many people in Lynchburg, the “Confederate Cemetery” is the Old City Cemetery.  Early maps often referred to Confederate Cemetery, not Old City Cemetery.  Why are there over 2,200 Confederate soldiers, from 14 states, buried in Lynchburg?

Although there was no significant military engagement in or near Lynchburg, the city was home to the second largest permanent hospital center in the Confederacy.  The Civil War was the first war, fought in the United States, where injured soldiers were removed from the battlefield, placed onto box cars and taken to the nearest “hospital town” for treatment, surgery or to die.  As Lynchburg had three major rail lines soldiers were oftentimes brought here.  Tens of thousands of soldiers, both Union and Confederate, were treated in local hospitals (previously used as tobacco warehouses).  When they died they were brought to the city’s only public burial ground, Old City Cemetery, where it was customary to bury “strangers” and those without relatives nearby.

In 1861 the first of 2,500 Civil War soldiers was buried in the cemetery.  There are over 2,000 white marble headstones in the Confederate section, each with two lines of inscription.  The first line gives the soldier’s initials and the second line gives an abbreviation for his military unit and state.  The headstones were installed by the Southern Memorial Association between 1904 and 1915, at a cost of $1.25 each.

In 1866 the Union soldiers buried in the cemetery were exhumed.  Many were sent to their hometowns.  Approximately 200 Union soldiers were relocated to Poplar Grove National Cemetery near Petersburg, VA.

Old City Cemetery

Winter at the Confederate Section of Ole City Cemetery

The Confederate Section is bordered on 3 sides by a boxwood hedge and the old brick wall on the fourth.  The 500-foot long, five foot tall brick wall was constructed in 1886.  You enter this section of the cemetery through the entrance arch.  Made from granite, the arch was built in 1926.  It serves as a gateway and a memorial.

In 1869 the Monument to the States was erected.  It is the oldest Confederate monument in Virginia and the fourth oldest in the United States.  Each of the 14 blocks bears the name of a state represented by soldiers buried here.  The order of states is based on the space needed for the lettering, not the number of soldiers from each state buried here.

In 1931 the large concrete bench, Veteran’s Bench, and the domed temple or belvedere, Speakers Belvedere, were built for the annual Memorial Day ceremony.  The Memorial Day ceremony has been held almost every year since 1866.  It is a most interesting and educational ceremony to attend.  Review the Old City Cemetery calendar of events for next year’s date and time.

In addition to the graves of individual Confederate soldiers is a section called Negro Row.  Ten African-Americans are buried within or adjacent to the Confederate Section.  Most of those buried in Negro Row were slaves who worked in the local military hospitals.  Others included body servants of Confederate military officers.  The only woman buried in the Confederate Section during the war was a slave known only as “Jane”.

The first Civil War soldier buried in Lynchburg was Pvt.Thomas P. Plunkett.  He died of disease at the old Lynchburg College hospital on June 17, 1862.  There are six known soldiers buried here who died in the Battle of Lynchburg, June 17-18, 1864.  Three known soldiers buried here were deserters.  All died when shot for desertion.

Using data from George A. Diuguid’s excellent cemetery records a six-sided kiosk and information display was erected in 1995. Descendants can use the kiosk to search for their soldiers name and burial location.

Throughout June, July and August when the Cemetery hosts free, walking tours (10:00 am each Saturday) of the cemetery time is always spent in the Confederate Section.  The Candlelight Tours, held during October, usually tell the story of a Confederate soldier buried here.  Or, if you would like to do research on your own burial records are available in the Cemetery Center.

During the past two summers local professors and students interested in archaeology have been conducting “below ground archaeology” surveys in the Confederate Section.  By removing and scraping the soil only six inches deep usually reveals very clear answers to grave locations and orientation.  The soil in a grave shaft is looser and a different color from the undisturbed “walls” of the grave shaft.  Although graves are traditionally six feet deep, graves found here are often only four feet deep or sometimes as shallow as one foot deep.

Almost every guest who has stayed with us at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast has visited the Old City Cemetery.  Some take advantage of the tours or events, others wander and enjoy the peacefulness of the cemetery grounds where they might take pictures or contemplate those who have passed on.

Gravestones in Old City Cemetery

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Gravestones at Old City Cemetery

Gravestones in Old City Cemetery

The graves found in the Old City Cemetery represent the diversity of the citizens of Lynchburg buried there.  This diversity also allows for a large variety of gravestones or monuments.  Due to lack of maintenance of the cemetery grounds for many years, the passing of time and hand-hewn gravestones, plus the lack of record keeping, many of the grave markers are missing.  Those surviving represent a variety of funeral art.  Some were handcrafted with primitive tools, others created in workshops by professional stone cutters.  All are a distinct form of American expression.

Gravestones in Old City Cemetery

Gravestones in Old City Cemetery

Gravestones mark the grave.  They are often made up of a headstone (a memorial stone set at the head of the grave, often with a raised top) and sometimes with a footstone (marking the foot of the grave).  More wealthy citizens might have had table tombs, box tombs, obelisks, or pedestal tombs.  A mausoleum is a large, stately tomb, most often built entirely out of the ground.  During the last half of the 19th century all gravestones became thicker and more massive.  Victorian influences added symbols.  Symbols found in the Old City Cemetery include: angels-both flying and weeping, birds-symbolizing eternal life, candles and flames, crowns-representing glory after death, doves, wreaths, open Bibles, the hourglass-time’s inevitable passing, and sleeping lambs-symbolic of the many children taken too frequently by the epidemics or simple illnesses that plaqued children long ago.

Let’s take a quick “tour” through the cemetery and discuss some of the unique gravestones.

  1. Just inside the entry gate, at Fourth Street, you will find Terriza Wallace, Jan 10th 1807 April 29 1808.  This hand-chiseled round stone of local granite has been preserved.  Not the first burial in the cemetery, but the oldest, original marker remaining.
  2. Next to Terriza is Katie Vernon Metcalfe (1836-1858).  Her intricately carved marble headstone bears the classic Victorian motifs of willow, an urn, flowers and obelisk.
  3. Nearby is R.B. Gaines (died 1811).  He was buried in a barrel-vaulted tomb of handmade Virginia brick which is capped at head and foot with Lynchburg greenstone.
  4. The marble tombstone of Judge William Daniel, Jr. (1806-1873) is a well-preserved example of an epitaph with Biblical and biographical messages, as well as the symbolism of God’s hand descending from Heaven holding the scales of justice.  Judge Daniel was Judge of the Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia from 1846 until 1865 and lived at Point of Honor.
  5. A wrought iron enclosure holds the graves of Maria Ball Carter Tucker (died 1823) and her young daughter Rosalie (died 1818).  Maria Tucker was the great niece of George Washington.  A marble false crypt rests over one grave.  An antique rose, referred to in the poetic inscription on the lid, has survived all this time within the enclosure.
  6. Further down the hill you will find the life-sized cut tree trunk monument to Sophia Rhodes (died 1889).  This carved limestone monument is typically Victorian and symbolic of her life cut short.
Gravestones in Old City Cemetery

Gravestones in Old City Cemetery

There are many other interesting gravestones and monuments found throughout the cemetery.  A walk through the cemetery is always pleasant and sometimes educational.  Each Saturday morning between now and the end of August tours of the cemetery are given at 10:00 am. They are conducted by various people who work at the cemetery, so attending more than one usually imparts different information and stories than another.  The tours typically last about one hour.  No reservations are required.  The is no admission fee.

If you are staying with us at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast and would like to take advantage of one of these tours let us know.  We will be sure that you are served your breakfast with plenty of time to allow you to get to the cemetery for the beginning of the tour.