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Things to do

Appomattox Courthouse Sesquicentennial

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Appomattox Court House

Appomattox Court House (reproduction)

Commemorate the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, between April 8 to 12, 2015, at Appomattox Court House National Historic Park and throughout Appomattox, Virginia.

Beginning at 9:00am on Wednesday, April 8 and ending at 4:00pm on Sunday, April 12, 2015 a variety of special programs, lectures, activities and events will be held at the National Park and at various locations within the town and county of Appomattox, Virginia.

A real-time program featured on Wednesday the 8th, starting at 3:30 until7:30, will include a lecture and presentation on the Battle.

The Opening Ceremony will take place at the National Park between 11:00-12:30 on Thursday, the 9th.  Between 2:00-3:00 Lee will surrender to Grant at the McLean House within the National Park grounds.  Lee will leave the McLean House between 3:00-3:30, another real-time event.

On Friday, the 10th, Lee and Grant will meet, the Commissioner’s Meeting will be re-enacted, the Confederate Cavalry will surrender and the first Stacking of Arms will take place.  Friday evening, starting at 6:30, a special program the “Footsteps to Freedom” Memorial Ceremony (accompanied by spiritual music) will take place within the National Park.  4500 luminaries will be arranged along a country road to symbolize the slaves living in or near Appomattox when the war ended.

Saturday, the 11th and Sunday the 12th have various lectures, events and programs, held at numerous sites within the National Park, the City of Appomattox or the Museum of the Confederacy.  The last Stacking of Arms Ceremony will take place on Sunday at 1:00.

Directions, times, locations and more information can be found at the following websites.

  •     www.appomattox1865foundation.org
  •      www.nps.gov/apco
  •      www.appomattox150th.com

Complimentary shuttle buses will run throughout the day between Lynchburg and Appomattox.  Parking will be extremely limited.  Separate shuttle buses will take you to the Sesquicentennial venues in the National Park and Appomattox.  Guests staying at The Carriage House Inn will be able to walk to one of the shuttle bus stops to Appomattox Court House.

 

Cold Weather Hiking

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Cold Weather Hiking

Cold weather hiking

Each season in the Lynchburg, VA area offers something unique to hikers & walkers.  Spring offers brilliant colors breaking through after the cold winter, summer offers lush greenery, fall offers a beautiful show as leaves start to change and winter-early spring offers magical things. But in the winter we have some marvelous ice sculptures for those who are hearty  enough to do some cold weather hiking.  Since spring is almost here these cold weather hiking features will soon be disappearing.

Trees are vacant of leaves allowing your eyes to see views hidden when the leaves are present.  One of winter’s most dazzling works of art, and perhaps it’s most spectacular, is ice.  Small formations crunch underneath your feet as you gain elevation, when hiking in the mountains.  Mossy boulders and rock formations grow “teeth” as their summer drips are frozen in time.

Silent scenes present themselves throughout most late winter-early spring hikes.  Look up and you may catch the silent flight of an owl or hawk.  Walk through bare trees and imagine them as the remnants of buildings in a town long lost.  Silence can be empowering, relaxing and rejuvenating.  Sometimes it’s good to get away from the computers, phones and other hand-held devices and just enjoy being.

Lynchburg has a hidden treasure in it’s hiking trail system.  The trails of Blackwater Creek offer a variety of landscapes, water views, wildlife and space to reflect, see ice sculptures post 1/6/15.  Just north of Lynchbrug is Crabtree Falls.  We posted about Crabtree Falls on 7/17/12, a strenuous hike any time of the year, winter offers special sites, sounds and things to experience.  High Bridge State Park in Farmville, posted 9/11/12, follows an old railroad bed so is relatively flat.  Walk to the bridge and be treated to the seemingly endless views in every direction.  For those true hikers that want a bit more of a challenge Falling Water Cascades Loop, posted 8/28/13, Flat Top Mountain and Sharp Top, in the Peaks of Otter just outside of Bedford, will challenge you and charm you at the same time.

When done hiking return to The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast.  We’ll have hot coffee or cocoa waiting for you along with some homemade chocolate chip cookies.  And if you have hiked especially strenuously we can serve you our signature Peppermint Pattie Hot Cocoa, it’ll warm you up inside and out!  Our on-site massage and BodyWorks Studio offers a variety of massages, so tired and sore muscles should not be an issue after an invigorating day.  Don’t delay, book your room now for the last of our cold weather hikes or get here in time to see the beauty of spring happen.

EC Glass Theatre presents Cinderella

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Cinderella

E. C. Glass presents Cinderella

EC Glass Theater is bringing all of Broadway’s magic, mystery and intrigue to Lynchburg with the performance of Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella.

On stage you will experience the classic tale complete with the pumpkin, the transformation, the glass slipper, the masked ball and more.  The talented cast is accompanied by the amazing student orchestra, which will send you back to your childhood when remembering some of Rogers and Hammerstein’s beloved songs.  Fabulous costumes, intricate sets, surprises and twists will delight you.  Don’t let this production fool you, E. C. Glass puts on Broadway equivalent productions.  Many of their students have gone on to star in television, movie as well as Broadway productions.

Cinderella, the play, will be held in the EC Glass Auditorium.

Dates are: February 20-22,26-28 at 7:30, and February 21 & 22 at 2:30.

Tickets cost $12 per Adult and $8 for Students and Seniors.

EC Glass Theatre performances usually sell out, so advance tickets are strongly suggested.  Contact : www.glasstheatre.org, glasstheatreboxoffice@gamil.com or 434.515.5370.

 

Ice sculpture

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Ice sculpture

Ice sculpture on Blackwater Creek

Starting to get cabin fever?  Want to work off all those holiday pounds?  Take a hike and check out some great ice sculptures.  It has been wet the past couple of weeks and as the temperature drops, water freezes and forms some great icesculptures changing the normal landscape into something quite spectacular.  In and around the Lynchburg area we have some great opportunities to see frozen waterfalls and ice formations, but if you aren’t sure about hiking up one of our mountains, at the foot of our street is one of the entrances to the Blackwater Creek trail and it is flat and paved path that has some great opportunities for some memorable photography.

Blackwater Creek Ice sculpture

Ice sculpture

Before you decide to grab your camera there are a few things to consider before capturing those great ice sculpture photos.  First, dress warmly and dress in layers.  Wear the proper shoes for hiking and wearing a pair of thick wool socks will keep your feet warm.  Bring water.  It may be cold out there but the air is dry and you will get thirsty so don’t forget the water.  Carry your camera inside your coat and take it out when you are taking pictures.  This keeps your camera somewhat warm, but it also keeps it from swinging around.  A hiking stick is also a good idea.  The ground could be icy and slippery and the stick can give you a little more stability.  Finally, it’s always a good idea to bring a friend or as a minimum tell someone where you are going and when you will be back.

These ice sculpture photos were taken off the Blackwater Creek trail near The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast last year, but with the temperatures falling into the single digits later this week, there will be lots of great ice sculptures for you to see and photograph.  Looking for a great bed and breakfast experience while hiking our trails.  Call 434.846.1388 to book your reservation today.

Best of luck and stay warm!.

The First Thanksgiving didn’t happen at Plymouth Massachusetts

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First thanksgiving

The site of the first Thanksgiving was on the grounds of the plantation

Having just celebrated Thanksgiving I thought I would tell everyone that the First Thanksgiving actually was celebrated in December.  As children we all learned about the first Thanksgiving that occurred in Plymouth Massachusetts in 1621.  Unfortunately this is not the first Thanksgiving.

First Thanksgiving

Site of the First Thanksgiving

On September 16, 1619, a group of 38 English colonists, headed by Captain John Woodlief, sailed from England aboard the Margaret.  The colonists were sent by the London Company, which owned thousands of acres in the area now known as Virginia, and settled and supported Berkeley Plantation.  They landed at Berkeley Hundred 10 weeks later, on December 4, 1619.  In 1619 Berkeley Hundred was about 8,000 acres of land on the north bank of the James River near Herring Creek in an area known as Charles Cittie (sic).  It was named for one of the original founders, Richard Berkeley, a member of the Berkeley family of Gloucestershire, England.  It was about 20 miles upstream from Jamestown, where the first permanent settlement of the Colony of Virginia was established on May 14, 1607.

The group’s charter required that the day of arrival be observed as a “day of thanksgiving” to God.  On that first day, Captain Woodlief held the service of thanksgiving after the weary travelers disembarked and immediately fell to their knees to thank God for their safe arrival. There were no Indians (native Americans) there to celebrate their arrival and there were no turkey dinners prepared.  The Charter of Berkeley Plantation specified the thanksgiving service: “We ordained that the day of our ships arrival at the place assigned for plantation in the land of Virginia shall yearly and perpetually kept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God”.  The Thanksgiving at Berkeley Hundred occurred a year before the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth.

Berkeley Plantation, one of the first great estates in America, comprises about 1,000 acres today.  Benjamin Harrison IV built on the estate, in 1726, what is believed to be the oldest three-story brick mansion in Virginia and is the ancestral home to two Presidents of the United States: William Henry Harrison (our ninth President), his grandson, and Benjamin Harrison (our 23rd President), his great-great-grandson.

Berkeley Plantation is located 18 miles west of Williamsburg and 35 miles east of Richmond.  The house and grounds are open daily.. Check their website for more information.

Dining Room at Berkeley Plantation

Dining Room at Berkeley Plantation

When touring Berkeley Plantation there is a letter on display to President Kennedy informing the President that the first Thanksgiving actually happened a year before the Thanksgiving celebration in Massachusetts.  The response to the letter came from Henry Kissinger which in part states the President is partial to Massachusetts and they will not be re-writing history to acknowledge the  first Thanksgiving actually happened in Virginia.

 

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.