The Carriage House Inn B&B

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Altus Chocolate

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Altus Chocolate

Altus Chocolate…Which one do I choose?

Altus Chocolate, located on Main Street in downtown Lynchburg, Virginia there is a hidden gem…..Altus,  Latin, meaning high or lofty, creates phenomenal artisan chocolate.  Choose from delectable hand-made, in house, truffles, bars, bark, pastries, cakes or slices of cake, brownies or macaroons, even fondue.  In addition to their chocolate creations they serve a variety of hot and cold drinks (both made from chocolate and not), gelato and wine.  How about a wine and chocolate pairing?

store, Altus Chocolate

Interior of Altus Chocolate

What is “bean-to-bar,” single origin artisan chocolate?

Organic Cocoa Beans

Cocoa Beans at Altus Chocolate

“Bean-to-Bar” signifies a chocolate maker who selects cocoa beans and then handcrafts these beans into their own chocolate.  Made in small batches the cocoa beans at Altus Chocolate are sourced from responsible, organic growers, then roasted, winnowed, ground and molded at Altus Chocolate into the appropriate candy or delicious chocolate treat.

“Single Origin” refers to one source.  One variety of cacao beans, grown

on one farm or in one region, unblended with any other beans.  Using single origin cacao beans create chocolate with a unique flavor profile.  No preservatives, chemicals or fillers are used in any of the products made at Altus Chocolate.  Much like a fine wine or coffee you will be able to taste the difference when eating these chocolates.

Raw Cocoa Beans

Raw Cocoa Beans

There are three types of cacao beans used in making chocolate.  Altus Chocolate uses Criollo and Trinitario beans, exclusively.  Criollo beans are considered the finest bean variety, while Trinitario beans are considered fine.  These beans make up approximately 5% of the entire world’s cacao production. These beans produce chocolates that lack the bitter properties typically associated with high cacao percentages as found in great chocolates.

The making of hand-crafted, artisan chocolate is a time consuming one.  After securing a sustainable, free-trade source of cacao beans, raw cane sugar, organic, non-GMO soy lecithin and hormone-free nonfat milk powder the ingredients are in place.

Here is the process of creating artisan chocolate:

  1. The beans are roasted to remove their natural fermentation by drying and to release the beans individual flavor profile.
  2. They are then winnowed to remove the husk from the cacao nibs, found inside the bean.
  3. Grinding takes place for a period of between 24-48 hours, per batch.  The grinding process removes excess moisture, helps develop the beans individual flavor profile and reduces the particle size to produce the desired mouth feel.
  4. Next the beans are tempered.  Tempering is the process of precise heating, cooling and agitation to create the sheen and crisp snap of a fine chocolate.
  5. Once tempered the chocolate is ready to be molded or to have a truffle dipped into it.
  6. Lastly it’s time to taste, enjoy and savor this fine creation!

Altus Chocolate offers a bean-to-bar chocolate tour and tasting, coffee pairings, tea pairings and wine and chocolate tastings.  Reservations must be made ahead of time, 434.847.2970.  The tours and tastings start at $7.00 per person.

From their artisan truffles to their single origin dark chocolate tasting squares you will not be disappointed.  Altus Chocolate located at 908 Main Street, Lynchburg, VA.  Open Monday through Thursday 11:00-8:00, Friday 11:00-10:00, Saturday 10:00-10:00 and Sunday 12:30-8:00.

Guests staying with us at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast have the option of requesting a box of truffles or tasting bars for their turn down service.  They can be added to our packages, in place of other chocolates, if desired, just let us know when booking your reservation, 434.846.1388.



Get Downtown 2016!

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Band at previous Get Downtown

Band at previous Get Downtown

Lynchburg, Virginia’s Get Downtown will be celebrating it’s 8th anniversary on Friday, September 9th.

What is Get DowntownLynchburg’s Main Street celebration highlighting it’s restaurants, stores and shops, galleries and so much more.

This street festival is held on and around Main Street, between 6:00 – 9:00 pm.  You will find all types of activities, vendors, artisans and artists, food tastings, theatrical performances, scavenger hunts, a kids’ zone at the Lynchburg Community Market, music on three stages, a dunk tank and in general a fun, family-friendly evening.

Musicians include: Paris Jones, Tony Camm and the MG Allstars, the Cabell Street Collective, Hemingway, The Dundies, DJ Ed and Band and The Beat.  Keys for the Hill City will be played at their three downtown locations by people attending the festival or perhaps by semi-professionals–always fun to hear.  On the Academy of Arts stage the Academy Center of the Arts youth theater group will perform, along with Dance Lynchburg, The Listening, Randolph College and Wolfbane Productions.

Street performance at previous Get Downtown

Street performance at previous Get Downtown

Not ready for the evening to end?  Between the hours of 8:30 – 12:00 you can Stay Downtown.  More fun will be had at The Glasshouse where Jenny and the B-Side Rockers will be performing.  R*A will be hosting a block party.  The Academy Center of the Arts will be showing Saturday Night Fever at 9:00 pm.  Other locations in downtown Lynchburg will be adding to the Stay Downtown activities, so keep you eyes open.

A shuttle will run from the James River Conference Center to downtown, in 20 minute loops.  Between 5:45 – 9:30 pm you can park your car and be delivered to the fun (as parking is extremely limited and scarce in downtown this evening).

So wear your comfortable walking shoes and enjoy a stroll up and down Main Street while observing or participating in all of the activities.  For more information visit  We’ll see you there!

Star Trek 50th Anniversary Celebration!

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Celebrating 50 years.  See the exhibit at Riverviews

Celebrating 50 years. See the exhibit at Riverviews

Are you a “Trekie”?  Did you love to watch the television show?  What about the movies, all 12 of them?  Then the exhibit, Star Trek’s 50th Anniversary, at Riverviews Artspace this Friday, September 2nd is for you.

A display of Star Trek uniforms and other memorabilia will be exhibited in Riverviews G9 Conference Room between 5:30 until 8:00 pm.  Visit, 434.847.7277, for more information and directions.

On Saturday, September 3rd at 3:30 plan to attend a discussion, led by members of the local chapter of Starfleet, the USS Heimdel organization, about the movies made in the Star Trek franchise.  Stay to watch the first of the 12 movies that will be shown between the 3rd and the 11th, Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979).  It will start at 4:00 pm in the Rosel Schewel Movie Theatre.

The remaining movies will be shown as follows:

  • Saturday, September 3rd, 8:00 pm – Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
  • Sunday, September 4th, 4:00 pm – Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)
  • Sunday, September 4th, 8:00 pm – Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)
  • Monday, September 5th, 7:00 pm – Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)
  • Tuesday, September 6th, 7:00 pm – Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)
  • Wednesday, September 7th, 7:30 pm – Star Trek Generations (1994)
  • Thursday, September 8th, 7:00 pm – Star Trek: First Contact (1996)
  • Friday, September 9th, 7:00 pm – Star Trek: Insurrection (1998)
  • Saturday, September 10th, 4:00 pm – Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)
  • Saturday, September 10th, 7:00 pm – Star Trek: Reboot (2009)
  • Sunday, September 11th, 4:00 pm – Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

Enjoy the movie marathon!


Monument Terrace

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Monument Terrace

Monument Terrace, Lynchburg, VA

One of Lynchburg, Virginia’s most impressive architectural landmarks is Monument Terrace.  It is the link between Courthouse Hill and the central business district of Lynchburg.

The business district was originally along the banks of the James River and later the Kanawha Canal, as it’s hills presented building challenges.  In 1813 the first courthouse was built on the hills above.  Originally dirt paths connected Courthouse Hill to Water Street (today’s 9th Street) and Church Street.  In 1882 plans were made by the city to improve the steep access.  City engineer, August Forsberg, designed stone steps, a plaza and a fountain to be placed at Church and 9th Streets.  This early monument was known as the Fireman’s Memorial Fountain dedicated to five firefighters who lost their lives nearby on May 30, 1883.  A statue of a fireman was placed on top of the fountain with water spouting from the nozzle of his hose.  The Fireman’s Fountain stood here until 1924.

Monument Terrace

World War I rally at Monument Terrace, courtesy Lynchburg Museum

Today’s Monument Terrace was designed by Aubrey Chesterman as a memorial to Lynchburg’s World War I dead.  It was completed in 1925.  The decorative Beaux Arts stairway is constructed of granite, with limestone balusters and steps, brick pavers are on the landings.  There are 132 steps, 10 landings, and 11 markers and monuments along the Terrace.  Eight of the markers are devoted to military service while three commemorate civic milestones.  Monument Terrace now honors all those who have given the ultimate sacrifice in the wars fought by the United States, beginning with the Civil War until the Vietnam War.

Monument Terrace

699th rally at Monument Terrace in support of the troops.

Every Friday, between 12:00-1:00 PM, since 2001 (the beginning of the first Gulf War), Monument Terrace has been the place for current and retired servicemen and women, plus the general public, to gather to demonstrate their support to the men and women who serve in the military services today.

At the top of the terrace is the old courthouse which is now the Lynchburg Museum and it has a great view of the City down to the river and Langley Fountain.

Old City Cemetery-Confederate Section

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Old City Cemetery

Old City Cemetery Confederate Section in the fall

For many people in Lynchburg, the “Confederate Cemetery” is the Old City Cemetery.  Early maps often referred to Confederate Cemetery, not Old City Cemetery.  Why are there over 2,200 Confederate soldiers, from 14 states, buried in Lynchburg?

Although there was no significant military engagement in or near Lynchburg, the city was home to the second largest permanent hospital center in the Confederacy.  The Civil War was the first war, fought in the United States, where injured soldiers were removed from the battlefield, placed onto box cars and taken to the nearest “hospital town” for treatment, surgery or to die.  As Lynchburg had three major rail lines soldiers were oftentimes brought here.  Tens of thousands of soldiers, both Union and Confederate, were treated in local hospitals (previously used as tobacco warehouses).  When they died they were brought to the city’s only public burial ground, Old City Cemetery, where it was customary to bury “strangers” and those without relatives nearby.

In 1861 the first of 2,500 Civil War soldiers was buried in the cemetery.  There are over 2,000 white marble headstones in the Confederate section, each with two lines of inscription.  The first line gives the soldier’s initials and the second line gives an abbreviation for his military unit and state.  The headstones were installed by the Southern Memorial Association between 1904 and 1915, at a cost of $1.25 each.

In 1866 the Union soldiers buried in the cemetery were exhumed.  Many were sent to their hometowns.  Approximately 200 Union soldiers were relocated to Poplar Grove National Cemetery near Petersburg, VA.

Old City Cemetery

Winter at the Confederate Section of Ole City Cemetery

The Confederate Section is bordered on 3 sides by a boxwood hedge and the old brick wall on the fourth.  The 500-foot long, five foot tall brick wall was constructed in 1886.  You enter this section of the cemetery through the entrance arch.  Made from granite, the arch was built in 1926.  It serves as a gateway and a memorial.

In 1869 the Monument to the States was erected.  It is the oldest Confederate monument in Virginia and the fourth oldest in the United States.  Each of the 14 blocks bears the name of a state represented by soldiers buried here.  The order of states is based on the space needed for the lettering, not the number of soldiers from each state buried here.

In 1931 the large concrete bench, Veteran’s Bench, and the domed temple or belvedere, Speakers Belvedere, were built for the annual Memorial Day ceremony.  The Memorial Day ceremony has been held almost every year since 1866.  It is a most interesting and educational ceremony to attend.  Review the Old City Cemetery calendar of events for next year’s date and time.

In addition to the graves of individual Confederate soldiers is a section called Negro Row.  Ten African-Americans are buried within or adjacent to the Confederate Section.  Most of those buried in Negro Row were slaves who worked in the local military hospitals.  Others included body servants of Confederate military officers.  The only woman buried in the Confederate Section during the war was a slave known only as “Jane”.

The first Civil War soldier buried in Lynchburg was Pvt.Thomas P. Plunkett.  He died of disease at the old Lynchburg College hospital on June 17, 1862.  There are six known soldiers buried here who died in the Battle of Lynchburg, June 17-18, 1864.  Three known soldiers buried here were deserters.  All died when shot for desertion.

Using data from George A. Diuguid’s excellent cemetery records a six-sided kiosk and information display was erected in 1995. Descendants can use the kiosk to search for their soldiers name and burial location.

Throughout June, July and August when the Cemetery hosts free, walking tours (10:00 am each Saturday) of the cemetery time is always spent in the Confederate Section.  The Candlelight Tours, held during October, usually tell the story of a Confederate soldier buried here.  Or, if you would like to do research on your own burial records are available in the Cemetery Center.

During the past two summers local professors and students interested in archaeology have been conducting “below ground archaeology” surveys in the Confederate Section.  By removing and scraping the soil only six inches deep usually reveals very clear answers to grave locations and orientation.  The soil in a grave shaft is looser and a different color from the undisturbed “walls” of the grave shaft.  Although graves are traditionally six feet deep, graves found here are often only four feet deep or sometimes as shallow as one foot deep.

Almost every guest who has stayed with us at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast has visited the Old City Cemetery.  Some take advantage of the tours or events, others wander and enjoy the peacefulness of the cemetery grounds where they might take pictures or contemplate those who have passed on.

The Wreck of the Old 97

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Wreck of the Old 97

Wreck of the Old 97

On Friday, August 12th, at 3:00 pm the Lynchburg Museum will host a lecture presented by Howard Gregory.  His topic of discussion will be the Wreck of the Old 97.

What was the Wreck of the Old 97?  It was an American rail disaster involving the Southern Railway mail train, officially known as the Fast Mail, on September 27, 1903.  The train was en route from Monroe, VA to Spencer, NC.  The train consisted of two postal cars, one express and one baggage car for the storage of mail.  18 men were on board.  Due to excessive speed, in an attempt to maintain schedule, the train derailed at the Stillhouse Trestle near Danville, where the train careened off the side of the trestle bridge, killing eleven and injuring seven others.

Wreck of the Old 97

Newspaper-Wreck of the Old 97

On the day of the accident the Old 97 was behind schedule when it left Washington, DC and was an hour late when it arrived in Monroe.  At Monroe the engineer was instructed to get the Fast Mail to Spencer, 166 miles away, on time   The scheduled running time was four hours, fifteen minutes, at an average speed of 39 miles per hour.  The route between Monroe and Spencer was rolling terrain with numerous danger points due to the combination of grades and tight radius curves.  Engineers were warned to watch their speed.  However the engineer was unable to sufficiently reduce speed as he approached the 45-foot high Stilljhouse Trestle.  Approaching the curve leading to the trestle at about 70 miles per hour caused the entire train to derail and plunge into the ravine below.  A huge fire erupted and consumed all of the jagged debris from the wooden cars.  Nine of the eleven men who died were killed immediately.

Although the Vice-president of the Southern Railway placed the blame of the accident firmly on the engineer, the railroad was at least partially to blame, as they has a lucrative contract with the U.S. Post Office to haul mail.  The contract included a penalty clause for each minute the mail was late into Spencer.

The accident became a sensation with thousands of spectators at the scene, newspaper stories and a series of ballads written about he wreck.  The most popular ballad was an early country hit and the first million-selling record in the United States when recorded by Vernon Dalhart for RCA Victor Records in 1924.

The lecture will take place at 901 Court Street, starting to 3:00 pm.  Tickets are $10, unless you are a member of the Museum.  Once the lecture is finished don’t forget to tour the special museum exhibit A Great Change in the Situation of Man: Lynchburg’s Railroads, found on the lower level of the museum. This exhibit is free.