This past Saturday Lynchburg, Virginia’s Pierce Street Historic District (located in the 1300 & 1400 blocks) celebrated the addition of two state historical markers, the people who resided here that influenced Lynchburg and beyond, the music of years gone by and food and drink as enjoyed by both past and present residents with a festival enjoyed by locals and visitors.
Only two blocks long, Pierece Street Historic District is the smallest of Lynchburg’s seven historic districts. It is the only historic district made more notable due to the people who lived here rather than the architecture of the buildings.
Settled in the 1850′s the area was the site of the Confederate Camp Davis, which served as a military hospital and gathering point for recruits from Virginina. During Reconstruction, the abandoned barracks were converted into housing for Federal soilders, a freedman’s school and a black Methodist Church. The area became part of Lynchburg in 1870.
The markers dedicated honor Walter Johnson and Professor Frank Twigg. Johnson’s marker commemorates his efforts to desegregate the game of tennis in the United States. Johnson trained Wimbledon champions Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe. Twigg’s marker commemorates this Virginia educator who was born in 1850 “into slavery in Richmond.” He worked as a teacher and pricipal for 22 years in Lynchurg’s public school system, and later served as president of colleges in Virginia, Maryland & North Carolina.
Look for a future post about Annes Spencer’s House and Garden, also located in the Pierce Street Historic District. On your next visit to the Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast take time to visit this tiny, but very interesting, historic district.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
On the evening of August 24th we had the pleasure of attending an open house at the Lynchburg College Belk Observatory. Located on one of the highest points on the Claytor Nature Study property (approximately 960 feet above sea level) the observatory features a 177-square-foot dome. The dome houses the primary telescope and an observation deck equipped with 12 piers for mounting smaller telescopes.
Viewing the summer night sky through both large and small telescopes and astronomical binoculars we were presented with a show like none other. Mike and I have had the pleasure of viewing the night sky from the middle of the ocean on several occasions, where the truly dark sky, due to the lack of ambient light emitted from humans and buildings, provides for viewing spectacular stars and planets and maybe other life forms. At the Belk Observatory, set at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, within a 470-acre preserve our views were almost as spectacular! Plus, we had the advantage of viewing the night sky along the full horizon and “close up” and unobstructed.
Lynchburg College opens the observatory several times throughout the year to the public. Admission is free but a ticket is required. Visit the web site www.lynchburg.edu/observatory for the public viewing schedule and information on obtaining tickets.
The drive to the observatory from The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast is about a 45-minute drive from Lynchburg through a beautiful part of Bedford County. Stay with us for your viewing weekend and we’ll treat you like a “star” with our generous rooms, room amenities and 4-course breakfast each morning. Visit our web site www.thecarriagehouseinnbandb.com to compare our availability calendar with the viewing calendar to book your stay with us.
Now the story of the Fairy of the Eagle Nebula:
The Eagle Nebula is a young open cluster of stars in the constellation Serpens, whose “pillars of creation” are dense clouds of gas and dust that are regions of active star formation. Out of one of these ten-light-year-tall pillars emerges a gigantic alien fairy holding a telescope in her hands, aimed south toward the approximate location of the Eagle Nebula. The sculpture was envisioned and sculpted by Jon Hair and was a gift of Mr. and Mrs. Irwin Belk.
Back in 1985, John Washburn bought a 50 acre farm on the Rockfish River in Nelson County, Virginia, attracted by the trout river running through the property and the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains surrounding the farm. As his daughters left the nest John and Robin moved to New Zealand. From time to time John would come back to Virginia and discovered a number of wineries had popped up and then the beer breweries started popping up. New Zealanders (Kiwis) love their cider and so he thought, could a hard cider bridge the gap between the great wine the area produces and the awesome beer that is being crafted locally?
Brian Shanks, one of the foremost cider experts in the world just happened to live in New Zealand. Brian had been in the apple orchard business and after a cyclone hit his orchard in the 1980s he got into making cider before cider became popular. Over the years he perfected his craft and eventually became known worldwide as the expert to go to for answers. As an international cider consultant Brian has helped companies in America, Europe, China, Australia and New Zealand.
Today John and Brian (and their wives) own and operate Bold Rock Hard Cider about 35 minutes northeast of Lynchburg on Route 151 in Nellysford, Virginia. The tasting area is open daily from 11-6 and having been there twice I can assure you it is worth the trip. You can view the entire process from the crushing of the apples to the bottling of the final product when the production line is operating. It is quite interesting, but if manufacturing isn’t your thing, then tasting a cold crisp clean bottle of cider is a great way to celebrate your arrival. If you bring a picnic lunch you can enjoy lunch on their deck or by the banks of the Rockfish River. Make sure you pick up a couple of 6 packs before you leave!
Bold Rock cider has been in operation since October 2010, but didn’t bottle their first bottle of cider until May 2012 (It takes time to build the buildings, install the equipment and then to ferment the apples). Their tasting room hasn’t been constructed yet but plans are drawn and work should start soon.
They are located at:
1020 Rockfish Valley Highway
Nellysford, VA 22958
Directions from The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast from Mapquest
|.||Start out going southeast on Cabell St toward D St.||0.01 mi|
|2.||Take the 1st right onto D St.
|3.||Turn left onto Rivermont Ave.
|4.||Turn left onto 5th St/VA-163. Continue to follow VA-163.
|5.||Turn right onto Old Town Conn/VA-210 E.
|6.||Merge onto US-29 N via the ramp on the left toward Amherst.
|7.||Turn slight left onto VA-151/Patrick Henry Hwy. Continue to follow VA-151.
On Saturday, August 25, 2012, at Devils Backbone Brewing Company in Nelson County, the 2012 Virginia Craft Brewers Festival will be held from 2 pm until 8 pm. Presented by the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild and the Virginia Manufacturers Association the festival is designed to gather all qualified Virginia Craft Brewers in an opportunity to promote craft brewing. The event will feature the Virginia Craft Beer cup (a competition in 5 categories with the cup being awarded to the best overall brewery), beer tastings, live music, delicious food, camping and bike races.
Beer tastings will be available from 22 Virginia Craft Brewers, including Lynchburg’s own Jefferson Street Brewery. Visit their web site at www.jeffersonstreetbrewery.com for descriptions of our local beers. Other breweries participating come from as far away as Hampton, Northern Virginia, Abington and everywhere in between.
Live music will be performed throughout the festival from some of Virginia’s best bands. Beginning at 2:15 pm with Love Cannon and ending with No BS! Brass Band at 6:45 pm a total of four bands will entertain you throughout the event.
The Rock Barn will prepare amazing food which will be available for purchase throughout the festival. Featured dishes include: Beer-poached TRB Bratwurst, Shrimp ‘n Grtis, “Tachos by Fardowners”, “Pretzels by ABC”, TRB “Barn Dogs” and various sides and accompaniments. All great dishes that will pair nicely with the beers being tasted.
Tickets will be sold using a variety of pricing options and inclusions. General Admission ($10-all beer tastings & food at an additional charge), Tasting Package ($36-admission to the festival, 1 4 oz. commemorative Tasting Glass, 10 4 oz. Tasting Tickets), VIP Package ($45-admission to the festival starting at 1 pm, VIP seating area under a tent with a view of the stage, 1 4 oz. Commemorative Tasting Glass, 1 Commemorative Tasting Mug, 10 4 oz. Tasting Tickets), Camping and RV Passes and mountain bike racing information can be found online (see www.virginiacraftbrewersfest.com for more details). **All prices listed are for advance purchase only! The rain date is Sunday, August 26th.
Take advantage of this inaugural event just up the road from Lynchburg and end your summer on a happy note. Stay at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast and enjoy our legendary 4-course breakfast each morning. During the month of August we are featuring peaches in our fruit and main dish recipes. Visit our web site www.thecarriagehouseinnbandb.com to check our availability calendar.
If you’re heading to the festival and need directions for your GPS Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company is located at 200 Mosbys Run in Roseland, VA.
In 1794 Woodson’s Mill, as it is now known, opened and things haven’t changed much since then. The new owners Will and Sarah Brockenbrough, inherited the property after Will’s dad died in 2001, but the mill sat empty for over a decade until they decided to restore it. Both Will and Sarah have degrees in historic preservation so they wanted to bring the mill back to life but they wanted it to be as authentic as possible. Today they mill corn and wheat much as it would have been for over 200 years. The Mill sits on the Piney River and the river water is diverted from a dam upstream to a canal that powers the mill. In the early 1900’s there was some “modern” equipment installed in the mill and while it is still there but not utilized in the milling process today.
Organically grown grain from local farmers is milled in small batches. The grain is milled slowly to avoid the heat generated by commercial mills to prevent breaking down the oils in grain and to preserve the moisture and nutrients found in the grain giving you a product with more taste and texture. The final product is fresh and without any additives or preservatives. I checked the label from cornmeal purchased at a grocery store which had 7 ingredients vs. the corn meal from Woodson’s Mill which just listed white corn as the only ingredient. After this label comparison which product do you think we would rather eat!
The mill stones which grind the grain weigh about one ton. Water flows over the mill wheel which powers the stones. The speed of the stones is controlled by adjusting the flow of the water moving the large mill wheel. The best part of the mill is that you are able to see the whole process from start to finish. Fresh grain comes in and about 15 minutes later it’s grits or cornmeal. Originally the mill was a place to buy grain and later it became the social hub in Nelson County. Today it is one of the last grain mills in the country that still are operational. Visiting the mill offers you a rare glimpse of history.
The mill is only open on Saturdays which is when they typically grind the grain. It is worth the trip to see the mill in action and to buy whole grain flour or grits/cornmeal. If you can’t get by there on a Saturday they do sell their products online at www.woodsonsmill.com. They are sold in recyclable, compostable packages. While the mill uses only the flow of water to operate the milling equipment they currently use electricity for lighting. Soon they hope to generate their own power and be in a position to sell electricity back to the power company.
Woodson’s Mill is located about 45 minutes northwest of The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast and is located at 3211 Lowesville Road, Lowesville, VA
- To reach the mill from Lynchburg take 29 north and travel about 16 miles (from RT 210 and RT 29)
- Turn Left onto RT 151 (Patrick Henry Highway) and travel 7.5 miles
- Turn left onto Lowesville Road and travel approximately 2.4 miles to the mill on the right.
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