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Things to do

Montpelier, James Madison’s Home

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I had the pleasure to visiting James Madison’s Montpelier, in Orange Virginia this week.  A magnificent house , on 2,700 acres (originally almost 5,000 acres), with commanding views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Virginia countryside.

James’ grandfather acquired the land and originally built a modest house for his family.  James was born March 16, 1751.  Between 1763 – 1765 James’ father, James Madison, Senior had Montpelier built one-third of a mile from the original family home at Mount Pleasant.  James attended the College of New Jersey (Princeton), served in the Continental Congress (1780-1783), participated in the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia (1787), drafted the Bill of Rights (1789-1797), was a member of the House of Representatives (1789-1797), served as Secretary of State under Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809), was our fourth President-elected for two terms (1809-1817), James died at Montpelier, June 28, 1836.

James married Dolley Payne Todd, September 15, 1794.  Together they added on to Montpelier as their family grew expanding the original house to the 22 rooms you see today.  The tour of the mansion includes the Drawing Room, filled with various pieces of art, the Dining Room, where the Madison’s entertained important and influential guests, the Presidential Library filled with books and maps, the room where James Madison died and Dolley’s kitchen, which is in the basement of the house.

The impressive grounds contain the family cemetery, where James and Dolley are buried, a slave cemetery, Mr. Madison’s Temple (built over the year-round ice house), and a 200-acre old-growth forest, along with sites where the slave quarters were, the blacksmith shop site, a formal garden and the farm complex.

Although this historic house and property is about 2 hours north of Lynchburg guests staying with us at The Carriage House Inn could easily combine a tour of this house with either Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello or James Monroe’s Ashlawn and learn about two or three of our founding fathers, their lives, beliefs and what life was like at the dawn of our country.  Additionally, Thomas Jefferson’s summer home, Poplar Forest is just 20 minutes from us.  —  Kathy

 

Fun in Lynchburg Returns!

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Once again things will be hopping in downtown Lynchburg.  This Friday, November 16th the Downtown Diva Crawl returns with divas of all ages on the town!

Beginning at 5:00 pm (and lasting until 8:00 pm) your inner diva can meet other divas at the Lynchburg Community Market where you will receive your tote bag filled with goodies and a discount card with special diva offers.  Then travel up and down main street where you will visit our local downtown businesses and restaurants to get a headstart on your holiday shopping, enjoy delicious special menu items, and discover all that downtown has to offer.

 

If your taste runs more toward wine, then Saturday, November 17th between 11:00-5:00 you will want to spend time at Thomas Jefferson’s personal retreat, Poplar Forest.

Once again the Poplar Forest Wine Festival will welcome 14 Virginia wineries, food from local purveyors, shopping experiences with local crafters and artisans, live music throughout the day and “Mr. Jefferson” discussing his love of wine.  All events will take place rain or shine in heated tents.  House tours will be available at a reduced rate.  Tickets cost $25 at the gate and include a wine tasting glass.  A good day should be had by all attendees. 

 

The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast still has a room or two available this weekend if you would like to include an overnight in a 1878 mansion in downtown Lynchburg to your weekend.  Call us at 434.846.1388 to make your reservation.

CityArts Mosaic Mural

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Monacan Indians and farmers–Lynchburg, the early days

On Thursday, November 1st, Amazement Square unveiled its nearly completed CityArts Mosaic Mural.  The mural is located at the corner of 9th and Jefferson streets in downtown Lynchburg, Virginia.

The first bridge to Lynchburg

The mural, seven years in the making, depicts the story of Lynchburg in more than 4,800 square feet of panels.  Starting with the Monacan Indians and farmers tending crops to the industrialization of downtown in the 1920’s and its development during the 1950’s and 1960’s during the Civil Rights era the last two panels depict Lynchburg today and in the future.

Lynchburg grows–Court House at top of 9th Street built 1855

The use of volunteers from various Lynchburg organizations, groups and clubs allow many in the community to take ownership of the project, or at least their spot on the panel.

The Allied Arts building (our first skyscraper on Church Street is visible

As you stroll along Jefferson Street and study the mural from beginning to end there are many things Lynchburgers will recognize:  the James River, the old Courthouse, the original train depot, Craddock-Terry show factories, Main Street, the fountain in the James River, Riverfront Park, the mountains to our west, downtown office buildings, the Community Market and more.  On our next warm, sunny day you should take the time to enjoy this work of art that belongs to Lynchburg.  An artistic and historic addition to downtown that can be enjoyed by all.

Three railroad lines ran through Lynchburg

Amazement Square staffers are in the process of compiling a publication that documents the mural’s progress and the number of volunteer hours that went into the project.  Once the mural is complete they intend to file for recognition as the largest glass-tile mural in North America (the largest currently listed is 4,300 square feet.)

Lynchburg continues to grow and thrive!

The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast is located within walking distance of downtown and this mural.  The area is rich in history, downtown has many great restaurants and some fun shops.  We look forward to meeting you on your next trip through town.

Today’s downtown Lynchburg, a great place to visit.

Zombie Walk

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Headless zombie at 2012 Zombie Walk

The sun was setting on Saturday, October 20, 2012 as several hundred zombies rose from the dead to walk along Main Street in downtown Lynchburg, VA.  Almost as many spectators lined Main Street to see the zombies up close and personal, hear their moans, groans and screams and “enjoy” an unusual yearly event.  Who knew so many zombies lived among us?

Blond Zombie

Some participants clearly spent hours or perhaps days, working on their costumes and planning, then applying their makeup.  We saw traditional zombies, brides, headless zombies, zombies with missing (but carried) limbs, zombies with gashes and missing flesh….you name it.  The “Best Child Zombie” was a boy with a cleaver embedded in his head.  “Most Authentic Zombie” was Abraham Lincoln, risen from the dead, who was accompanied by his wife dressed as John Wilkes Booth.

Abe Lincoln and John Willks Booth at Lynchburg Zombie Walk

The event had a philanthropic theme as well.  Participants were asked to bring along a non-perishable food item or donate cash to the Lynchburg dog park.  More than $200 was raised for the dog park and it is estimated that over 800 pounds of food was donated to Lynchburg’s food bank.

Child zombie

Next year plan on spending the Zombie Walk weekend at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast.  Rise Saturday morning to our legendary breakfast, get yourself ready for the walk and then haunt Main Street with your fellow zombies.

Next week will be the Ghost walk down Main Street.  If the zombies didn’t scare you then come downtown to hear stories of residents of years past that just don’t want to leave downtown.  Who can blame them with as much revitalization that is happening!.  The Ghost Walk is put on by the Lynchburg Historical Foundation and tickets can be purchased the night of the event at the Community Market at the corner of 12th and Main Streets.  See you there!

Cemetery Tours

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This Sunday, October 21, 2012, residents of the Lynchburg, VA area have 2 cemetery tours to take advantage of.

In Lynchburg’s Old City Cemetery, starting at 3:00pm, a tour highlighting the history and horticultural aspects of the grounds will take place.  If you have never visited Old City Cemetery or have visited on your own and have wondered why this historic site is Lynchburg’s most visited historic site this tour will enlighten you.  Explanations of the graves, grave sites, some of the “residents,” plants, shrubs and trees will give you an overview of this not so hidden gem.  The leaves should be almost at their peak color, the weather is forecasted to be partly sunny and warm, so the day will be well spendt at Old City Cemetery.

Just up Route 29, in the town of Amherst, the Amherst County Museum and Historical Society is offering their first Cemetery tour at 2:00pm.  The tour begins at the Christian Aid Cemetery (next to the Subaru dealer on South Main Street) and continues onto the Amherst Cemetery (on North Main Street.)  This tour will feature actors, from Amherst County High School, who will portray some of Amherst’s more interesting “residents.”

As both of these tours will be walking tours, on uneven ground, it is suggested you wear comfortable shoes.

Pierce Street

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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.