Natural Bridge was first discovered by the Monacan Indians who deemed it, “Bridge of God.” In 1750, George Washington, engaged by Lord Fairfax, surveyed the surrounding acreage of Natural Bridge. During that visit he scaled up the left wall of the bridge about 23 feet and carved his initials, “G.W.””, which are still visible today. A few years later, Thomas Jefferson set out on horseback on a series of bridal paths from Paxson’s Tavern (in what is the town of Glasgow today) and discovered the bridge. In 1774, Jefferson purchased the land patent from King George III which included the Natural Bridge and 157 acres for the sum of twenty shillings or about $2.40 or in today’s dollars about $160.00. The price was so low because the land wasn’t suitable for farming. There are records that Jefferson visited Natural Bridge four times. In 1803-1804 he had a two story stone and log cabin built near the present site of the Natural Bridge Hotel where he and his guests stayed. During the war of 1812, Jefferson allowed saltpeter, used for gunpowder and ammunition, to be mined from a cave near the arch and in 1816 he provided a live-in custodian by leasing the land to Patrick Henry. Upon Jefferson’s death in 1826 the property was left to his family. Thomas Jefferson kept a guest book for guests to sign and among the visitors that signed the book are: James Monroe, the fifth President of the United States, Andrew Jackson, the seventh President of the United States, Martin Van Buren, the Eighth President of the United States, John Marshall, the fourth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Daniel Boone, an american pioneer and explorer, and Sam Houston, the first governor of Texas.
The Natural Bridge arch stands 215 feet high (55 feet higher than Niagara Falls), is 40 feet thick, 100 feet wide and spans 90 feet. At its peak, Natural Bridge stands 1,160 feet above sea level and Route 11 passes directly over the span.
In 2014 the Natural Bridge was sold to the Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund. The sale included the arch, hotel, caverns and 1500 acres. The VCLF will donate all but the hotel and caverns to the state to be run as a park. Natural Bridge is a national historic landmark that has been in private hands since Thomas Jefferson purchased it 240 years ago.
Natural Bridge is located about 35 miles from The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast and takes just under an hour to reach. While visiting Natural Bridge you can continue on the path and see the saltpeter cave, the Lost River and Lace Water Falls. The walk is a gravel path on level terrain. To get to the arch you need to go down 137 steps, but if you have trouble getting around, they offer a van that will take you to the level terrain. There is an admission fee charged to enter the path to the Natural Bridge.
Using your GPS you can find Natural Bridge by using this address:
15 Appledore Lane, Natural Bridge, VA 24578 (540) 291-2121 or:
Directions from The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast from Mapquest:
|1.||Start out going northwest on Cabell Sttoward E St.
Zoom to this Step
|2.||Turn right onto Rivermont Ave.
|3.||Rivermont Ave becomes Boonsboro Rd/US-501 Bus N.||2.6 mi|
|4.||Turn right onto US-501 N/Boonsboro Rd. Continue to follow US-501 N.
|5.||Turn left onto US-501 N/VA-130/Elon Rd. Continue to follow US-501 N/VA-130.||6.3 mi|
|6.||Turn slight left onto Rockbridge Rd/VA-130. Continue to follow VA-130.||6.3 mi|
|7.||Stay straight to go onto S Lee Hwy/US-11 N.||0.09 mi|
|8.||Take the 1st left onto Appledore Ln.
|9.||15 APPLEDORE LN is on the left.
The Battle of Sailor’s Creek was fought on April 6, 1865, near Farmville, Virginia, as part of the Appomattox Campaign, in the final days of the American Civil War. It was the last major battle between the armies of Gen. Robert E. Lee and Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant.
After Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant broke the Confederate defenses at the Siege of Petersburg, Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia evacuated Petersburg and Richmond on the nights of Aril 2 & 3, 1865. They began a retreat in hopes of linking up with Gen. Joseph Johnston’s army in North Carolina. As the union Army pursued and engaged the Confederates in the Battle of Namozine Church (on April 3) and the Battle of Amelia Springs (on April 5), Lee discovered that his route to Danville was blocked by the Union cavalry under the leadership of Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan. Lee’s only remaining option was to move west on a long march, without food, to Lynchburg. But the Confederate Commissary General promised Lee that he would send 80,000 rations to Farmville, about 25 miles to the west.
On the rainy morning of April 6, skirmish fire announced that Gen. Andrew Humphrey’s Union Second Corps was in pursuit. Gen. Sheridan’s cavalry cut off nearly one-fourth of the retreating Confederate army. The Confederates counter attacked but were driven back just as the Union cavalry cut through the right of the Confederate lines.
April 6, 1865 became known as “Black Thursday” among the Confederates. In the three engagements along Sailor’s Creek, Lee lost roughly one-fourth of his army, many of them captured. The Federals claimed 7,700 prisoners that day, including six generals. Lee wrote to President Jefferson Davis, “a few more Sailor’s Creeks and it will all be over.” Lee surrendered three days later.
The Appomattox County Historical Society will present the battlefield re-enactment of “The Battle of Sailor’s Creek” April 11-13, 2014. The location of the re-enactment is the Appomattox Center for Business and Commerce, Industrial Park Lane (access from Route 26), Appomattox, VA 24522. The business center is about 1/4 mile northwest of Route 460 and the town of Appomattox. Spectator admission is $10 for a single day pass or $15 for a 2-day pass. Guests attending the re-enactment while staying at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast will be provided with a “bag lunch” to take with you to the re-enactment. Call us at 434.846.1388 to inquire about availability and prices.
While visiting the area, be sure to visit High Bridge Trail in Farmville.
Randolph College and Poplar Forest, sharing resources, have developed a two-day symposium entitled “Facing the Past, Freeing the Future: Slavery’s Legacy, Freedom’s Promise”. The event took place April 3-5, 2014, primarily at Randolph College in Lynchburg, VA.
Open to the community, the symposium included archaeologists, historians, performance artists and scholars who facilitated and encouraged discussions about the society left in the aftermath of slavery and how the elimination of Jim Crow laws were designed to hinder the progress of blacks.
Scholars included: Annette Gordon-Reed, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family”; Christy Coleman, president of the American Civil War Center in Richmond; and Spencer Crew, former director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.
One event combined scholarship with people’s lives and heritage when Annette Gordon-Reed moderated a discussion highlighting the importance of oral history. This discussion included two people from Bedford, one of whom is a direct descendant of Thomas Jefferson.
A special tour of Poplar Forest focused on the plantation landscapes and stories normally not shared on the general tour. Entire families lived at Poplar Forest, year-round, even though Jefferson only visited several times a year. Stories were shared about what happened to slaves who became too old to work in the fields, what happened when slaves fell in love with another person living at a different plantation, what life was like as a slave at Poplar Forest.
During the course of two days, Lynchburg author and playwright, Dee Brown presented his monologue featuring several generations of African Americans, beginning with a man newly freed from bondage, following a young man who is the first to receive an education, continuing with a member of the Black Panthers and finally an African American Republican judge.
This event was free and open to the public, about 165 people attended. Please visit www.RandolphCollege.edu/SlaverySymposium to review the schedule of events. For guests who stayed at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast we provided an early breakfast and “bag lunch”. We are two miles from Randolph College!
Phil Vassar singing Love is Alive
Phil Vassar returns to Lynchburg as he has done for many years to perform a benefit concert for the Miller Home. Phil is unusual in that he remembers his roots and returns home to donate his time and share his talents for this annual fundraiser for the Miller Home for Girls which offers a safe haven to young women who, for whatever reason, are unable to live at home.
As a child, Phil Vassar attended church next to the Miller Home and his youth group used to sing there when he was a teenager. After moving to Nashville and making it in the music business, Phil remembered those days at the Miller Home and decided to support them by performing and donating 100% of the proceeds to the home. Phil also has done a benefit concert for St. Jude Children’s Hospital and Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital. OK, I admit, I really didn’t know much about Phil Vassar before I started writing this blog post, but I must say that I am impressed with the man because he is so generous in helping organizations that help children. That alone should be reason enough for you to buy a ticket, even if you aren’t familiar with him or if you don’t care for country music.
This years concert will be April 2-3, 2014. There will be an acoustic benefit concert held downtown Lynchburg (walking distance from The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast). Tickets for this event are $125.00 for an individual ticket, $600.00 for a half table (6 guests) or $1,200 for a full table for 12 guests. This event is limited to 250 guests so it will offer an intimate environment where you will be able to be close to the star. On April 3 Phil Vassar and friends will play at Phase 2 in Lynchburg. VIP tickets are $95.00 and include a balcony lounge, dinner and acoustic concert by a friend of Phil Vassar (last year Charlie Daniels and Robbin Thompson came to Lynchburg with Phil) during dinner. If you just want to hear Phil Vassar, general admission tickets are only $35.00.
Since The Miller Home for Girls opened its doors in 1875, it has cared for more than 900 young women ages four to eighteen, from different counties, cities and even states. The home strives to provide a traditional family environment while addressing the individual needs, behaviors, and goals of each young woman that comes through the doors. Tickets to the Phil Vassar concert can be purchased using your credit card by calling the Miller Home at 434-845-0241 during regular business hours or if you are in town, you can stop by the Miller Home at 2134 Westerly Drive to purchase your tickets where they only take cash or checks.
If you will be visiting Lynchburg to attend on of Phil Vassar’s concert and stay at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast, we will donate a portion of your room charges to the Miller Home. Just let us know when booking your reservation that you will be attending his concert.
The 7th annual Terrapin Mountain 50K and half marathon will be held Saturday, March 22, 2014 in Sedalia, Virginia. Located about 25 miles northwest of Lynchburg, VA the course runs through the George Washington National Forest in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Many runners camp there the night before but others want a comfortable bed a warm room and if they bring their non-running spouse/friend/partner we offer a good nights sleep before a day filled with excitement and challenges. The race starts about dawn.
Runners of both the half marathon and 50K race follow trails that involve steep climbs and switchbacks that take them up the mountain, where the overall elevation change during the course of the race is about 3,250 feet. The half marathon is one loop of Terrapin Mountain while the 50K course consists of multiple loops of Terrapin Mountain. The 50K qualifies as part of the Virginia based trail race series known as the Beast Series and the Lynchburg Ultra Series. These runs are designed for serious runners that have done extensive off road training on steep grades.
Last year we had a guests who ran the half marathon, was proud to have completed the race and thoroughly enjoyed returning to the Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast to relax and rejuvenate with a massage in our on-site Massage and BodyWorks Studio. We would love to host you while you participate in this challenging event. Call us at 434.846.1388 to check on availability or you can always check our on-line reservation system.
While we would love to have you as a guest at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast, DO NOT try this race unless you have trained for it! If you want more information or want to register for the race click here to be connected to their website.
Recently we toured Anne Spenser’s home and garden located at 1313 Pierce Street in Lynchburg. Our tour guide was Shaun Spencer-Hester, the granddaughter of Anne Spencer and daughter of Chauncey Spenser, one of the Tuskegee Airmen. Walking through the home was like stepping back in time. There were photos, letters scattered around the home. The “phone booth” in the home has names and phone numbers scribbled on the walls. The furnishings belonged to Anne and Edward and you got the sense that they would be coming back from the store any moment. There were invoices and cancelled checks sitting on the desk and Anne Spenser’s cookbook was on the kitchen table. You could tell that these were real people and this was their home. All too often house museums have been “sterilized” with the removal of many personal items, but not in this case. All too often it is easy to clean house and throw things away, fortunately the family keep all these treasures so that we can now enjoy those traces of the past. The attic hosts a train set and it is easy to visualize Anne’s grandchildren playing in the attic and listening to records on the old record player.
We heard stories of how Edward, Anne’s husband built the home and how he recycled many items by using them in the home. Edward was a parcel post carrier (mail man) who also raised chickens so it wasn’t unusual for him to deliver your mail as well as some freshly laid eggs. Edward was a man of many talents who not only built his home, but several others, built Anne’s private writing retreat, Edankraal , in the garden. The name Edankraal was derived from Edward, Anne and kraal, the Afrikaans word for corral or homeplace.
Anne Spencer (1882-1975) was an internationally acclaimed poet during the Harlem Renaissance period of the 1920’s and she continued her writings throughout her life. Because of the historical significance of her body of work, it was turned over to the University of Virginia to be catalogued and preserved for future generations. When Anne wasn’t writing, teaching, raising children you could often find her in her garden behind the house which served as a place of inspiration for her writings. Today many of Ann’s bulbs, peonies roses and shrubs still survive and offer visitors a burst of color when visiting the garden. Today,Lynchburg’s Hillside Garden Club has adopted the garden and is responsible for maintaining it.
The gardens are open to the public November-March , but the home is only open on special days or by appointment. This private museum is a must see. To schedule a tour please call the museum at 434-845-1313. Admission prices $5.00 for seniors and $10.00 for adults. Of course donations are always welcome. If you will be staying with us while in Lynchburg and are interested in touring this home (we highly recommend it) let us know when you make your reservation and we will call to set up your tour. Ideally, two weeks notice would be appreciated.
A poem by Anne Spencer about her garden:
This small garden is half my world
I am nothing to it-when all is said,
I plant the thorn and kiss the rose,
But they will grow when I am dead.
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