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Buchanan Swinging Bridge

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photo by The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast, Lynchburg

Buchanan Swinging Bridge

Perhaps the most recognizable architectural structure in the town of Buchanan is the Buchanan Swinging Bridge.  Not long ago we read an article about this quaint little town and decided to head there to check the town out and to see if there were any treasures we couldn’t live without in the couple of antique stores in town (there weren’t).  The town is a small southern town on the James River.  Main Street is dotted with mom and pop shops (there were no chain stores that we saw).  The people were friendly and this would be a great place to get away from the rat race.

Stone Pier of the Buchanan Swinging Bridge dates back to 1851

Stone Pier of the Buchanan Swinging Bridge dates back to 1851

While the town is small, the town and the bridge are rich in history.  The bridge is 366 feet long and just over 57 feet tall and portions of this bridge date back to 1851.  Today the Buchanan Swinging Bridge is recognized as a National Register Historic Landmark.  The large stone pier rising from the James River was constructed in 1851 as part of the Buchanan Turnpike Company’s Toll Bridge. Back then, the bridge was a covered bridge.  The toll to use the bridge was five cents for every person plus an additional five cents for each horse, mule, oxen or wagon.  On June 13th 1864 Confederate General McCausland burned the bridge by packing it with oil soaked hay and then lighting it on fire when Union General William Averell’s cavalrymen attempted to cross the bridge on their way to Lynchburg where they would join up with Union General Hunter who was under orders to burn Lynchburg because Lynchburg was a major supply depot for the Confederate Army.  The wind carried embers across the river and eleven houses burned.  Averell’s men helped extinguish the fire.  The bridge survived the fire but was unusable.  The next day, General Hunter’s troops crossed the Blue Ridge Mountain (on what is now Route 43) on his way to Lynchburg.

After the war, the bridge was rebuilt but in 1877 the bridge was destroyed by a major flood.  The R&A Railroad Company built another bridge during this time and that bridge was toll free.  In 1897 this bridge was replaced with a steel bridge that remained in use until 1938.  In July 1937, construction of the current concrete James River Bridge was started with an agreement to maintain a pedestrian bridge (today’s Buchanan Swinging Bridge) between the town of Buchanan and Pattonsburg (the town on the opposite side of the James River).  Today, the Buchanan Swinging Bridge uses the large stone pier of the original covered bridge that dates back to 1851.

If you are looking for a nice day trip you may want to consider a trip to Buchanan where you can grab a bite to eat at one of the mom and pop restaurants in town.  From Lynchburg, take RT 460 west to Bedford’s RT 43 exit.  Stay on RT 43 and you will wind up at the Peaks of Otter entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Turn Left onto the Parkway (heading south) and stay on the Parkway for about 5 or 6 miles until you see the exit for RT 43.  Take Rt 43 into the town of Buchanan.  As you enter the downtown area, the bridge is on the right.  Driving time from The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast in Lynchburg is about 90 minutes.  And just in case you were wondering, yes, the bridge does swing back and forth as you walk across the bridge.

Monks visit Randolph College

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Monks making a mandala at Randolph College

Monks making a mandala at Randolph College

Randolph College welcomed back a group of Buddhist monks from the Rashi Kyil Monastery in Derha Dun India.  The monks are touring the United States and will be on campus for 5 days. During that time they will be not only interacting with the students and facility but with those that want to stop by and visit.  While on campus they will be working on a Mandala (a spiritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism representing the universe).  Most mandalas are the form of a circle with a square.  Mandalas may be employed for focusing attention of aspirants and adepts as a spiritual teaching tool for establishing a sacred space and is an aid to meditation and trance induction.  The mandala is made by arranging colored grains of sand into a pattern.  This practice has been done since the sixth century.   Two years ago Randolph College hosted the monks on their tour of the United States.  They also created a mandala then so and you can watch a video of their 2011 visit if you can’t make it to Randolph College before they depart.

 

The mandala is expected to be completed tomorrow (September 11, 2014) early afternoon.  At 3:30pm they will hold a closing ceremony in which they will destroy the mandala and disperse its colorful sand into a nearby creek.  The public is invited to watch the monks finish the mandala as well as attend the closing ceremony.  The mandala is being made at the Houston Memorial Chapel on campus.  Don’t miss out on this rare opportunity to witness a historic form of religious art as well as interacting with the monks.

Work in progress by monks at Randolph College

Work in progress by monks at Randolph College

UPDATE:

Yesterday, September 11, 2013, Kathy and I attended the closing ceremony at Randolph College.  The mandala had been completed (photo below) and then the monks chanted and then gathered all the sand up and it was distributed to those in attendance.  After everyone got their sand, there was a procession to a stream that feeds into the James River and the sand was sent downstream.

photo by The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast

Completed mandala

Photo by The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast

Closing Ceremony at Randolph College

Randolph College in Lynchburg, Virginia is a small liberal arts school.  Formerly known as Randolph Macon Woman’s College, men were admitted four years ago and the name was changed.  This is one of the most beautiful schools I have ever seen.  Additionally, it has been ranked as one of the top schools in the country.  They often have speakers and events that the public is invited to attend such as this one.  If you are visiting the area or considering a college you want to keep this one in mind.  Check out their website at:  http://www.randolphcollege.edu/.

 

2013 Tour of Historic Homes

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123 Harrison Street, Lynchburg VA

Tour this home on the Tour of Historic Homes. The Sneed House was built in 1894.

It’s that time of year again!  School is back in session and life is getting back to normal and the Lynchburg Historical Foundation is hosting its annual tour of historic homes.  This year the homes will be in the Garland Hill Historic District on Sunday September 22, 2013.  This is a great opportunity to tour 5 homes that were built from the mid 1800’s to late 1800’s.  These homes will be open from 1:00-4:30pm.  Tickets are $20:00 per person and all proceeds benefit the Lynchburg Historic Foundation programs.  In addition to the tour is the patrons’ party which will be held at the home of Anne Taylor and Joe James at 303 Madison Street.  Tickets to the patrons’ party are $75.00 per person and include the tour as well.

This beauty was built in 1882 and will be open for the 2013 Tour of Historic Homes

This beauty, The James Loyd House, was built in 1882.

Again this year, The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast, Lynchburg’s award winning B and B is offering two free tickets to our guests that book at least two nights with us the weekend of September 20-23, 2013.  To obtain your free tickets to the 2013 Tour of Historic Homes mention the tour when making your reservation. (See below for restrictions.)

Tickets to the Tour of Historic Homes can also be purchased the day of the tour at one of the homes on the tour or prior to the tour at the Lynchburg’s Visitor Center located at the corner of 12th Street and Church Street in downtown Lynchburg.

As many of you know, I love the character of old homes which is what brought us to Lynchburg.  Today’s modern homes have many great features but what most lack is the character that went into homes, especially those built from 1870-1920.   This blog contains exterior photos of the five homes that will be on tour.  Hopefully you will be able to attend the 2013 tour of historic homes so that you will be able to see the interiors of these homes.

Give us a call today at 434.846.1388 or go on-line at www.TheCarriageHouseInnBandB.com to make your reservation for that weekend!

Will look forward to seeing you September 22, 2013 for this annual event!

Photo by The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast

A wonderful property featured in the 2013 Tour of Historic Homes. The Padgett House was built in 1883.

Photo by The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast

The Wilson House was built in 1894 and is a must see!

Photo by The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast

The Tabb-Slaughter-Diggs house is the oldest home on the tour, built from 1845-47

 

Restrictions:   this offer cannot be combined with any other offer, special, package or discount.  You MUST mention the tour when making reservations to obtain your free 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!

 

 

 

 

Lynchburg, The City of Seven Hills

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IMG_8664.1

IMG_8661.1Lynchburg, the city of seven hills is a magnificent place to live, work and IMG_8673.1 play, which is one of the reasons we moved here.  But what really sold us on Lynchburg was the home we purchased.  It just has character that you can’t find in a new home.  I was always in love with Victorian architecture and for years we looked for the perfect home.  In 2003 while searching the internet for old homes we found a listing in Lynchburg.  I must admit I had no idea where Lynchburg was or what was there, but we made the road trip and fell in love with the city.  The old buildings that lined the downtown streets, the historic districts full of architecture that today’s builders can’t replicate and the people.sold us on the city. Once we got here we learned about all the historic sites, the outdoor activities, the history, the vineyards and of course I had to learn the hard way about our fabulous medical facilities.  That was 10 years ago and it has been a great 10 years!  We live in the downtown area and it is great to be able to walk to restaurants, plays, the community market and much more.IMG_8722.1

On a recent walk through downtown I had my camera and started taking photos of  the architectural elements on some of the old buildings.  You would be surprised how much there is to see and amazed at the craftsmanship that went into the facades more than 100 years ago.  After walking up and down IMG_8771.1those streets for 10 years I realized that I, like many of us have blinders on and we oftentimes don’t slow down and see or appreciate the surroundings so I thought it would be a great idea to have a scavenger hunt.  This will be an architectural scavenger hunt.  I will provide photos of an architectural element and you will need to let me know by address (or name of the building) where it is.  All photos will be in downtown Lynchburg.  Hopefully this will get you out of your cars and cause you to slow down and enjoy the treasures that survived all these years.  We are going to kick this off the middle of September, hopefully the weather will be nicer and we willIMG_8679.1 announce the grand prize then.  But in the mean time I wanted to give you a taste of what is coming.  As you walk the streets from the riverfront up to Court and Clay Streets you will appreciate why Lynchburg is known as the City of Seven Hills.  Can you name what buildings that are represented in this blog post?

For the purpose of this post, downtown Lynchburg runs from the James River to Clay Street and from 5th Street to 12th Street.  Good luck and happy hunting.

PS  Rome, Italy is also known as the City of Seven Hills.  In case you haven’t figured this out, these photos are of downtown churches.  I thought it would only be appropriate to start with churches.  I would guess that there are more churches in Lynchburg than there are in Rome.

Spirtual Concert at Old City Cemetery

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On Sunday, July 14th between 3:00-4:00 PM, at the Bicentennial Chapel on the Old City Cemetery grounds in Lynchburg a special concert will be performed.

The Soulsters from the Hill, based out of Diamond Hill Baptist Church,  will present a free and informal music performance of late 19th and early 20th-century Negro spirituals in the style of Fisk Jubilee Singers.  The majority of the songs are performed almost exclusively a cappella.

The original Jubilee Singers introduced “slave songs” to the world in 1871 and were instrumental in preserving this unique American tradition known today as Negro spirituals.  “Slave songs” provided information, inspiration and hope to slaves.  The songs represented survival.

Although this concert is free, reservations are required.  Please contact Old City Cemetery, Lynchburg VA at 434.847.1465.  For directions visit their web site at www.gravegarden.org.

If you would like to visit Lynchburg for the weekend stay with us at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast.  We promise we won’t sing for you, either with music or a cappella!