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Outdoor Activity

Civil War Re-enactment and Living History

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The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast in Lynchburg, VA is approximately 20 miles from Appomattox Courthouse we wanted to make our blog followers and guests aware of a unique experience taking place just minutes from us in April.

“The Long Road Home – Fall of Richmond” re-enactment and living history weekend will take place April 5, 6 & 7, 2013 in the Clover Hill Village, just east of Appomattox, VA.  Beginning at 9:00 am of Friday and lasting until 2:00 pm Sunday a unique set of events, activities and interactions will be taking place within the living history village.  Visit with troops while they set camp.  View battalion drills, trench work, battles and hospital scenes.  Interact with Generals Lee and Grant, Presidents Lincoln and Davis.  Attend a wedding and barn dance.  Watch the medal presentation and pay call.  Obtain an interesting perspective of life during the Civil War.

Unless you are a re-enactor and will be “camping”  call us, 434.846.1388, to make your reservation and stay in comfort (indoor plumbing, central heat, a hot shower, our delicious 4-course breakfast, comfortable bed)!  We’d love to host you while you experience the way things were.

For more detailed information and to see the full weekend schedule visit www.appomattoxhistoricalsociety.org  Clover Hill Village is located at 5747 River Ridge Road in Appomattox.

 

 

 

Maple Syrup Tapping

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Taping a maple tree

Taping a maple tree

Did you know that the maple trees in Virginia produced sap, which can be made into maple syrup, just like the trees in New Hampshire and Vermont?

Did you ever wonder how maple syrup is made?

If the answers to these two questions peak your interest then you will want to visit the Old City Cemetery, in Lynchburg, VA, on Saturday, March 2nd, 2013, between the hours of 10:00 am until 12:00 pm.  The Cemetery’s historic grounds supervisor will be conducting a demonstration on how the century old maple trees, on the Cemetery grounds, are tapped and the sap is converted into maple syrup.  The maple syrup is then sold in the Cemetery gift shop throughout the year (very limited quantities, while supplies last!)

The sap is produced and tapped from trees at least 15 years old, or with a trunk at least 12-inches in diameter.  Beginning in early February, when the temperatures start to warm up but the nights are still below freezing, small splines are placed into the trunks about 2-inches deep and usually on either the left or right side of the tree.  The clear sap drips into bags which is collected until about the end of February.  Once a sufficient amount of sap has been collected the sap is boiled to a temperature of 219 degrees and is a light amber color.  From 2 gallons of sap about 1 cup of syrup is produced.

The Old City Cemetery is Lynchburg’s most visited tourist site.  The grounds are comprised of over 20,000 graves, most of which have long since lost their grave markers or headstones.  Beautiful during each of the four seasons, the winter months bring a sense of starkness, quiet and contemplation.  Great pictures can be taken throughout the Cemetery and will provide fabulous results.

Located at 401 Taylor Street, visit their website www.gravegarden.org for their calendar of events, directions or interesting facts and descriptions.

Come stay with us at the Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast and one morning you will delight in a 4-course breakfast featuring maple syrup!  Visit our website www.TheCarriageHouseInnBandB.com to check our availability calendar and book your room.  It’ll be a fun weekend!

 

Cemetery Tours

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This Sunday, October 21, 2012, residents of the Lynchburg, VA area have 2 cemetery tours to take advantage of.

In Lynchburg’s Old City Cemetery, starting at 3:00pm, a tour highlighting the history and horticultural aspects of the grounds will take place.  If you have never visited Old City Cemetery or have visited on your own and have wondered why this historic site is Lynchburg’s most visited historic site this tour will enlighten you.  Explanations of the graves, grave sites, some of the “residents,” plants, shrubs and trees will give you an overview of this not so hidden gem.  The leaves should be almost at their peak color, the weather is forecasted to be partly sunny and warm, so the day will be well spendt at Old City Cemetery.

Just up Route 29, in the town of Amherst, the Amherst County Museum and Historical Society is offering their first Cemetery tour at 2:00pm.  The tour begins at the Christian Aid Cemetery (next to the Subaru dealer on South Main Street) and continues onto the Amherst Cemetery (on North Main Street.)  This tour will feature actors, from Amherst County High School, who will portray some of Amherst’s more interesting “residents.”

As both of these tours will be walking tours, on uneven ground, it is suggested you wear comfortable shoes.

High Bridge Trail State Park is open

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High Bridge Trail–Bridge Entrance

Just east of downtown Farmville, a 19th century railroad bridge has been converted into a pedestrian trail that provides a sweeping panoramic view of the Virginia countryside.  High Bridge spans nearly half a mile, reaches a height of 125 feet above the Appomattox River and is well worth the hour drive from Lynchburg.

Original Bridge (1853) was built on brick piers.

Part of a 31-mile trail system and state park that connects Burkeville, Rice, Farmville, Prospect and Pamplin City the trail has become popular with walkers, bikers and even horseback riders.  Though the trail is wide, level and flat it’s almost a mile from the parking lot to the bridge.  The deck of High Bridge originally consisted of almost 2000 railroad ties.  Along the bridge are several lookouts and covered benches to sit upon and reflect.  At either end of the bridge are picnic tables.

View of Appomattox River from High Bridge

Built in 1853 as part of the South Side Railroad the original single track, wooden bridge had a pedestrian walkway beside the tracks and a wagon bridge below.  The bridge was a vital link for trade between Lynchurg and Petersburg.

In April 1865, during the Civil War, the bridge became of strategic importance to the Confederate and Union armies as they moved west from Richmond toward Appomattox Courthouse.  After the Battle of Sailor’s Creek, a band of Union soldiers attempted to destroy the bridge but were thwarted by arriving Confederate horsemen.  The following morning the Confederates set fire to the bridge in an attempt to prevent the Union soldiers from crossing.  Despite the damage done to the bridge, the Union troops managed to follow in pursuit on the lower wagon bridge.  In 1914 the railroad company completed the steel-tower bridge that remains standing today.

Walt’s Diner, Farmville, VA near High Bridge

After our walk this past Sunday we stopped for lunch at Walker’s Diner.  This 1950′s era diner is best known for it’s homemade french fries.  They have the usual diner breakfast fare, served until 11 each day.  The lunch menu consists of nine varieties of hamburgers, several subs, wraps and other sandwiches along with the appropriate diner sides.  The people we saw eating dessert looked very satisfied.  Farmville has several antique shops, various specialty shops but is best known for Greenfront.

Who doesn’t love an old fashioned diner?

To get to the High Bridge State Park parking area closest to the bridge take Route 460 toward Farmville.  Travel Main Street through downtown.  Once you pass the shops & restaurants turn right onto River Road.  The parking lot is about 3 miles down River Road on your left.  To walk toward the bridge follow the trail toward Richmond, not Farmville.

We plan to return in the fall when the leaves have begun to turn colors.  The colors should be spectacular!  As you walk the bridge trail you are in the treetops and we can’t wait to see the colored leaves against the dark green of the native pine trees.

If you choose to stay with us at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast your 4-course breakfast will keep you from being hungry until after your hike.  We can pack you a picnic lunch to enjoy along the trail if you choose not to dine in Farmville.  Call us at 434.846.1388 and we’ll help you enjoy a day with Mother Nature.

 

Hard Cider Company Opens

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Bold Rock Hard Cider Opens

Back in 1985, John Washburn bought a 50 acre farm on the Rockfish River in Nelson County, Virginia, attracted by the trout river running through the property and the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains surrounding the farm.   As his daughters left the nest John and Robin moved to New Zealand.  From time to time John would come back to Virginia and discovered a number of wineries had popped up and then the beer breweries started popping up.  New Zealanders (Kiwis) love their cider and so he thought, could a hard cider bridge the gap between the great wine the area produces and the awesome beer that is being crafted locally?
Brian Shanks, one of the foremost cider experts in the world just happened to live in New Zealand.  Brian had been in the apple orchard business and after a cyclone hit his orchard in the 1980s he got into making cider before cider became popular.  Over the years he perfected his craft and eventually became known worldwide as the expert to go to for answers.  As an international cider consultant Brian has helped companies in America, Europe, China, Australia and New Zealand.

Apple Press — They use local apple The first step in the process

Today John and Brian (and their wives) own and operate Bold Rock Hard Cider about 35 minutes northeast of Lynchburg on Route 151 in Nellysford, Virginia.  The tasting area is open daily from 11-6 and having been there twice I can assure you it is worth the trip.  You can view the entire process from the crushing of the apples to the bottling of the final product when the production line is operating.  It is quite interesting, but if manufacturing isn’t your thing, then tasting a cold crisp clean bottle of cider is a great way to celebrate your arrival.  If you bring a picnic lunch you can enjoy lunch on their deck or by the banks of the Rockfish River.   Make sure you pick up a couple of 6 packs before you leave!

Apple juice ferments in these holding tanks

Bold Rock cider has been in operation since October 2010, but didn’t bottle their first bottle of cider until May 2012 (It takes time to build the buildings, install the equipment and then to ferment the apples).  Their tasting room hasn’t been constructed yet but plans are drawn and work should start soon.

Carbonation is added to the fermented juice

They are located at:
1020 Rockfish Valley Highway
Nellysford, VA 22958
(434) 361-1030

Labels are added to the bottles

Bottles are washed, filled, capped and rinsed

Directions from The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast from Mapquest

. Start out going southeast on Cabell St toward D St.

0.01 mi
2. Take the 1st right onto D St.

  • Go over the D Street Bridge
0.2 mi
3. Turn left onto Rivermont Ave.

  • Rivermont Ave is 0.1 miles past Hancock St
  • Turn Left as if you were heading down town
0.3 mi
4. Turn left onto 5th St/VA-163. Continue to follow VA-163.

  • 5th Street is the First light after crossing the Rivermont Bridge
  • 5th Street becomes VA-163 after you cross the James River
1.1 mi
5. Turn right onto Old Town Conn/VA-210 E.

  • The first light after you cross the James River
  • If you reach Miller Ln you’ve gone about 0.2 miles too far
3.1 mi
6. Merge onto US-29 N via the ramp on the left toward Amherst.

  • Go 3.1 miles DO NOT turn onto US 29 Business
16.2 mi
7. Turn slight left onto VA-151/Patrick Henry Hwy. Continue to follow VA-151.

  • VA-151 is 0.5 miles past Toytown Rd
  • Exxon is on the right
  • If you reach VA-610 you’ve gone about 1.8 miles too far
  • Road is windy in spots-watch your speed
22.

 

Woodson’s Mill Reopens

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Woodson’s Mill

In 1794 Woodson’s Mill, as it is now known, opened and things haven’t changed much since then.  The new owners Will and Sarah Brockenbrough, inherited the property after Will’s dad died in 2001, but the mill sat empty for over a decade until they decided to restore it.  Both Will and Sarah have degrees in historic preservation so they wanted to bring the mill back to life but they wanted it to be as authentic as possible.   Today they mill corn and wheat much as it would have been for over 200 years.  The Mill sits on the Piney River and the river water  is diverted from a dam upstream to a canal that powers the mill.   In the early 1900’s there was some “modern” equipment installed in the mill and while it is still there but not utilized in the milling process today.

Grain shoot and mill stone

Organically grown grain from local farmers is milled in small batches.   The grain is milled slowly to avoid the heat generated by commercial mills to prevent breaking down the oils in grain and to preserve the moisture and nutrients found in the grain giving you a product with more taste and texture.  The final product is fresh and without any additives or preservatives.  I checked the label from cornmeal purchased at a grocery store which had 7 ingredients vs. the corn meal from Woodson’s Mill which just listed white corn as the only ingredient.   After this label comparison which product do you think we would rather eat!

Water flowing into mill wheel

The mill stones which grind the grain weigh about one ton.  Water flows over the mill wheel which powers the stones.  The speed of the stones is controlled by adjusting the flow of the water moving the large mill wheel.  The best part of the mill is that you are able to see the whole process from start to finish.  Fresh grain comes in and about 15 minutes later it’s grits or cornmeal.  Originally the mill was a place to buy grain and later it became the social hub in Nelson County.  Today it is one of the last grain mills in the country that still are operational.   Visiting the mill offers you a rare glimpse of history.

The mill is only open on Saturdays which is when they typically grind the grain.  It is worth the trip to see the mill in action and to buy whole grain flour or grits/cornmeal.  If you can’t get by there on a Saturday they do sell their products online at www.woodsonsmill.com.    They are sold in recyclable, compostable packages.  While the mill uses only the flow of water to operate the milling equipment  they currently use electricity for lighting.  Soon they hope to generate their own power and be in a position to sell electricity back to the power company.

Woodson’s Mill is located about 45 minutes northwest of The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast and is located at 3211 Lowesville Road, Lowesville, VA

  • To reach the mill from Lynchburg take 29 north and travel about 16 miles (from RT 210 and RT 29)
  • Turn Left onto RT 151 (Patrick Henry Highway) and travel 7.5 miles
  • Turn left onto Lowesville  Road and travel approximately 2.4 miles to the mill on the right.