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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.

 

 

Old City Cemetery-All Hallows Eve Service

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Old City Cemetery Chapel

Chapel at Old City Cemetery, Lynchburg, VA

Old City Cemetery is presenting a service in their chapel on October 31st from 5:30-6:30 p. m.  This All Hallows Eve Service will be preformed by local  Episcopal clergy and will be based on legitimate bible passages that have been chosen for their Hallowed theme.  The service is non denominational and is open to the public and promises to be positive and uplifting.

On All Hallows Eve many Christian denominations encourage abstinence from meat.  In the Northern Hemisphere Halloween comes in the wake of the yearly apple harvest.  Candy, caramel or taffy apples are common Halloween treats.

There is no charge to attend this event which will be held in the Cemetery Chapel at the Old City Cemetery which is located at 401 Taylor Street, Lynchburg, VA  24501.  For more information call the Cemetery office at 434.847.1465 or visit their website, www.gravegarden.org.

Unlike the candlelight tours of the grounds of Old City Cemetery, this event while educational will not be talking about the residents.  There are events throughout the year so check their website on a regular basis.  Guest of The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast find the Old City Cemetery to be an interesting place to visit so if you haven’t been there you won’t want to miss this opportunity to become acquainted with on of the City’s most interesting spots.

Apple Picking

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Apple Picking

Apple Picking

How long has it been since you picked your own apples?  Have you tried a “new” variety of apple lately?  Would you like to spend time outdoors, enjoying the crisp fall air, colorful leaves and views and head home with a box or two of fresh picked apples?

In Central Virginia we have orchards in Amherst, Bedford and Nelson counties.  The farms and orchards are family-owned and usually offer produce other than apples throughout the rest of the year.  Virginia is the sixth-largest producer of apples in the United States.

Apples come in a variety of shades and types.  Locally you can find Honeycrest, Golden Delicious, Pink Lady, Fiji, Red Delicious or Winesap.  A crisp apple, picked from the tree is a true delight in the fall.  Once you are home you can turn your apples into cakes, apple butter or sauce, breads or salads.

Saturday, October 18th two of our local orchards will be hosting an apple harvest festival.  Drumheller’s Orchard in Lovingston (from 8:00am until 6:00 pm) and Gross’ Orchard in Bedford (from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm) will have fun for the entire family.  The sale of apples (19 varieties at Drumheller’s and 8 varieties at Gross’), hay rides, a corn maze, music, craft and food vendors, apple-themed food and more will keep you busy.  Gross’ Orchard will offer apple picking too.

Stay with us at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast, in Lynchburg, VA.  Our signature breakfast dish for the month of October is Apple French Toast with Spiced Maple Syrup.  This recipe will be our blog post next week!  Call us to book your reservation, then enjoy your day in the orchard.

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!

Depot Grille

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The Depot Grille

The Depot Grille, Lynchburg

The Depot Grille (DPO) in Lynchburg, VA is one of Lynchburg’s favorite places for lunch or dinner.  Located between the abandoned canal, still-active railroad tracks and the James River this restaurant enjoys a unique location for downtown Lynchburg.  The transportation arteries provide Lynchburg a mercantile foundation that spans three centuries.  During the Civil War, wounded soldiers from both sides of the conflict were transported to this station where they were then transferred to our numerous hospitals.  Freight that passed through this former N & W depot included shoes, tobacco, foundry and forest products.  Today trains laden with coal and pipes can be routinely seen passing by the Depot Grille.

bar at The Depot Grille

Enjoy a cold beer at the Depot Grille

The historic riverfront restaurant features fresh fish and great steaks, along with a wonderful selection of pasta dishes, sandwiches, salads, lite bites, burgers (including Buffalo) and daily specials.  Monday’s you’ll find all-you-can-eat ribs (prepared either sauced or dry-rubbed).  Wednesday’s featured special is all-you-can-eat spiced shrimp.  Entrees include a side salad and two side dishes–which can include: mashed sweet potatoes, steamed broccoli, black beans and rice and homemade slaw.  The full bar serves a variety of martinis, mixed drinks, wine and craft beers.  A decadent dessert menu rounds out the food selections and allows you to finish dinner on a sweet note.

The dining room uses church pews from two churches in Pennsylvania.  The back bar is made from a pharmacy in Edinburg, Virginia.  Local legend says that stray bullets shattered the original mirror during an attempted bank robbery from Frank and Jesse James, who robbed the bank next door to the pharmacy on their way back to Missouri after the Civil War.  Handmade quilts are hung from the exposed rafters.  The kitchen is built from two Georgia Northern Railroad freight cars.  The can be seen through the back windows of the restaurant.

The Depot Grille

Ribs at The Depot Grille

Pictured to the right is the special each Monday, all you can eat ribs!  These ribs are tender and fall off the bone and are some of the best ribs we have ever eaten.

The Depot Grill is open 7 days a week between the hours of 11:30 am and 11:00 pm this restaurant satisfies hungry diners for lunch or dinner either on the deck, overlooking Riverfront Park and the train tracks or inside the unique repurposed building.  As one of the few restaurants open on Sundays in downtown Lynchburg our guests, at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast, are frequent diners when staying with us over a Sunday night.