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Outdoor Activity

Enjoy the fall colors by hot air balloon

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Hot air balloon is being filled.

Hot air balloon is being filled.

See the fall colors by air in a hot air balloon!  The Lynchburg area is a colorful area in the fall. The brilliant fall colors can be seen while driving the windy mountain roads, hiking the many trails trails, kayaking down the James River, strolling the paved walking paths of the Blackwater Creek Trail system or by air in a hot air balloon.

Almost ready for flight

Almost ready for flight

Kathy and I took such a trip last winter.  While it was too late to see the fall colors we enjoyed the peacefulness of floating above the trees, seeing the deer run through the forest and the quietness of flight (except when the gas valve was opened to keep the hot air balloon afloat).  If you would like to indulge yourself and do something very special then consider booking your flight on your next visit to The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast.  The company that offers hot air balloon flights is Freedom Flights (click their name to be linked to their website where you can book a flight or purchase a gift certificate).

What you need to know about taking a hot air balloon ride is that Freedom Flights will cancel the flight if the winds are too high or if the weather is too bad.  Obviously they are concerned with your safety so check the weather forecast before you book your flight.  Currently they are running a $50.00 off per person special through November 10, 2013 so don’t delay in purchasing your tickets or gift certificate.  The other interesting thing is that you will never know what you will see on these trips.  The wind takes you where it wants to so each trip is different.

Lynchburg hot air balloon

Our reflection as we floated over a pond

If soaring above the tree tops in a hot air balloon is not for you then there are plenty of other opportunities to enjoy the fall colors.  Here are links to a couple of hikes that we have taken that should be spectacular when the fall colors are at their peak.

High Bridge Trail is a park on an old rail road line.  This is a very flat and easy walk where you will walk over a very long bridge and see the fall colors from above.

Crabtree Falls is a moderate hike through the woods and up a mountain along water falls.  This takes you on a nice drive where you will also see lots of colors.  Don’t forget to stop at Woodson’s Mill and Bold Rock Hard Cider when you go to Crabtree Falls.

Falling Water Cascades is an easy walk.  You will be driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway and will see some great colors.

Disclaimer:  The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast or the innkeepers have NO affiliation with this or any other hot air balloon company.  For insurance purposes we are unable to recommend this company, however we had a great time when we went on our hot air balloon trip and would do it again,  Call us at 434-846-1388 to book your reservation at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast and if you would like a balloon trip, click on the above link to purchase your tickets.

 

Hiking, Fallingwater Cascades Loop

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Photo by The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast, Lynchburg

Waterfall

There are so many great hiking trails in the area so it is hard to choose which one to visit, but we decided to try the Fallingwater Cascades Loop off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Bedford County.  It was one of those rare August mornings where the humidity was low and we had a couple days of unseasonably cool weather with lows in the upper 50’s at night and it was even more unusual that we didn’t have guests the night before so we could get up and hit the trails and take advantage of the weather.  The hike is a short (about 1.5 miles) with an elevation change of about 1000 feet.  It would take the typical person about 90 minutes to complete the loop, but it always takes me a lot longer because I stop to take lots of photos.  Below are several photos I shoot, including a photo of a couple of nude sunbathers.  The trail is well marked and it is classified as moderately difficult.  The first half of the hike is all downhill and the second half is uphill.  The grade is not steep but we recommend you wear the appropriate foot wear.

Fog Crossing top of mountain

Fog Crossing top of mountain

 

Hiking Fallingwater Cascades Loop

Fallingwater Cascades

We started our hike by driving up to the Peaks of Otter to get onto the Blue Ridge Parkway. Traveling north  on the Parkway which winds along the peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the left side (west) was foggy (really heavy fog up to the ridge tops of the mountain) while the other side was clear.  Remember the song you heard as a child about the bear going to the other side of the mountain…Well, now you know why he went to the other side, probably because he couldn’t see anything on the western side.  There was a  dip on the ridge top where the fog was flowing from the western side of the mountain to the eastern side and I was able to capture the above shot.

The hike is mostly through the woods so if you burn easily you don’t need to worry about getting sunburn.  This would be a spectacular hike in mid October when all the leaves are turning colors.  After about 20-25 minutes you come to the stream/water falls.  You will spend about 20 minutes walking along the stream and falls until you start heading back up the trail to the parking area.  As we parked and started hiking down the western slope of the mountain the fog instantly disappeared.  Below are several photos that I took that morning.  I hope you enjoy them.

Directions from The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast are below these photos:

Photo by The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast

Tree roots along the path

Photo by The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast

Lush green moss and fern along path

Photo by the carriage house Inn bed and breakfast in Lynchburg, Virginia

Water flowing over moss covered rocks

Photo by The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast

Fungus growing on tree

Now, for the nudes sunbathing.  As I mentioned above, it was a cool morning and this couple found a sunny spot on a fallen tree and decided to catch some sunshine….

Photo by The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast

Snakes sunbathing off the trail

What were you expecting?  I guess you could call them nude!

 

Directions (provided by Mapquest and edited by Mike Bedsworth):

1. Start out going southeast on Cabell Sttoward D St.

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

  • If you reach C St you’ve gone a little too far
0.2 mi
3. Turn left onto Rivermont Ave. 0.8 mi
4. Rivermont Ave. becomes Church St. after you cross over 5th Street

0.2 mi
5. Stay in the Right lane of Church Street and take the US-29 S ramp.

0.1 mi
6. Merge onto US-29-BR S, also known as the Lynchburg Expressway

3.8 mi
7. Exit via EXIT 8B towards US-460 onto Candlers Mountain Road.

0.9 mi
8. Merge onto US-460 W towardRoanoke/Danville.

20.8 mi
9. Take the US-221 N/VA-122 N exit towardBedford/VA-43 N.

0.2 mi
10. Turn slight right onto US-221/US-460-BR/E Main St/VA-43/VA-122/N Bridge St.

1.3 mi
11. Turn right onto US-221/N Bridge St/VA-43/VA-122.

  • US-221 is just past VA-43 S
  • Wells Fargo Of Bedford is on the corner
  • If you reach Market Sq you’ve gone a little too far
0.3 mi
12. Take the 3rd left onto VA-43/Peaks St. Continue to follow VA-43.

  • VA-43 is just past Lee St
  • Blimpie is on the left
  • If you reach Westview Ave you’ve gone a little too far
10.3 mi

When you reach the “T” in the road turn Right onto the Blue Ridge Parkway and take the parkway heading north.  Access to the trail head is near milepost 83.  There will be a parking area on the left (Western Slope) and a sign on the Parkway will say Fallingwater Cascades Overlook.

Enjoy the hike!

 

 

 

 

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.