Liberty University opened a new entrance onto their campus last May with the completion of their new tunnel that goes under the Norfolk-Southern railroad tracks.. What made this project unique and interesting, at least from my point of view, is how the tunnel was constructed. The tunnels were prefabricated and shipped to the site. Each tunnel is a large concrete box weighing 4.2 million pounds and measuring 26 feet tall, 32 feet wide and 130 feet long.
A large concrete pad was constructed and these massive concrete boxes were positioned on the pad on the Liberty University side of the tracks. The boxes were pulled and pushed through the soil until they broke through the other side. On the “other side” of the tracks the ground was reinforced with steel and concrete and holes were drilled through to the Liberty University campus side and cables were run through and connected to the concrete boxes that would be pulled through. The boxes were equipped with cutting edges to aid in the process. When pulling with the cables wasn’t sufficient to move these giant boxes they were also pushed.
As the boxes were being pushed and pulled, excavating equipment was in the box to remove the earth as it made its way under the railroad tracks. This is the first time that this type of tunnel construction had been done in North America. During the entire process, engineers from Norfolk-Southern were on site to ensure the earth below the tracks was solid so that trains passing overhead wouldn’t derail.
After breaking through to the other side (Wards Road), pavement was put down and the tunnel was opened for traffic just in time for Liberty University’s 2013 graduation. Since its opening the entrances on both sides have undergone some cosmetic improvements such as bricking the walls, landscaping, adding lighting and putting in a pedestrian walkway.
Today, driving through the tunnels one would never think about how they got here, but I found it very interesting to watch the process. To most it is just a tunnel but to me, it is a project that demonstrated man’s ability to think outside the box in problem solving. Next time you drive by the tunnel imagine what it took to drag/pull a 4.2 million pound box of concrete through the earth. While the tunnel will never be a tourist attraction in Lynchburg or for Liberty University, the story about how it got here is worth remembering.
Recently the tunnel construction project was named best Small Project (under $10 million) in the MidAtlantic region, consisting of Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia by Engineering News-Record (ENR) MidAtlantic, a magazine and website for construction industry professionals.
There are many things to do and see during your stay at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast, but if you drive by the tunnel perhaps now you can appreciate the story of “The Tunnel” as we now call it.
Old City Cemetery is presenting a service in their chapel on October 31st from 5:30-6:30 p. m. This All Hallows Eve Service will be preformed by local Episcopal clergy and will be based on legitimate bible passages that have been chosen for their Hallowed theme. The service is non denominational and is open to the public and promises to be positive and uplifting.
On All Hallows Eve many Christian denominations encourage abstinence from meat. In the Northern Hemisphere Halloween comes in the wake of the yearly apple harvest. Candy, caramel or taffy apples are common Halloween treats.
There is no charge to attend this event which will be held in the Cemetery Chapel at the Old City Cemetery which is located at 401 Taylor Street, Lynchburg, VA 24501. For more information call the Cemetery office at 434.847.1465 or visit their website, www.gravegarden.org.
Unlike the candlelight tours of the grounds of Old City Cemetery, this event while educational will not be talking about the residents. There are events throughout the year so check their website on a regular basis. Guest of The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast find the Old City Cemetery to be an interesting place to visit so if you haven’t been there you won’t want to miss this opportunity to become acquainted with on of the City’s most interesting spots.
As promised in last week’s blog post on local apple picking, today is a recipe for our signature breakfast dish for the month of October 2014, Apple French Toast. Each month at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast, in Lynchburg, VA, we feature a dish related to the season, an ingredient in abundance that month, a holiday during the month or because the dish seems appropriate for the month. Our Apple French Toast meets our parameters on many levels: apples are in peak season during September and October, French Toast is loved by all at breakfast and it’s a relatively easy dish. The great thing about our Apple French Toast recipe is it can be put together the day/night before so all you have to do is get up and put it into the oven and enjoy your time with friends and family. Apples are available all year but during September and October they are fresh off the tree, juicy and crisp. If you don’t live near an orchard or farmer’s market you can pick them up at your local supermarket. To make our apple french toast start by gathering the ingredients:
- 2 French bread baguette (approximately 26-inches long
- 8 eggs, well beaten
- 3 cups whole milk (you can use half and half or heavy cream for a richer custard)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 4-5 apples (depending on size), peeled and thinly sliced (about 1/4 inch thickness). We used Granny Smith apples because they will retain some of their “crunch” when cooking.
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons butter
- Spiced Maple Syrup
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees (if cooking immediately after preparing); grease a 9x13x2-inch baking dish.
- Cut bread into 3/4 inch slices and tightly arrange in bottom of pan.
- Add a layer of sliced apples on top of the bread.
- Combine the cinnamon and nutmeg
- Sprinkle the apples with half the cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Repeat by adding another layer of bread on top of the apples.
- Add apples on the second layer of bread.
- In a large bowl, add eggs, milk, sugar and vanilla; mix well. Pour the egg mixture over the top.layer of apples.
- With a sturdy spatula press down on the apples to ensure all the bread is able to soak up the custard mixture.
- Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon and nutmeg mixture over the apples then dot with butter..
- Bake covered with aluminium foil for 15 minutes then remove the foil and bake another 20 minutes.. Let stand 10 minutes then slice and serve. Serve with Spiced Maple Syrup.
**Can be prepared the night before; cover and refrigerate. In the morning remove from refrigerator 30 minutes prior to baking as stated in directions above
Spiced Maple Syrup
In medium saucepan combine 1 cup pure maple syrup, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg and a dash of vanilla extract. Stir to combine. Bring to a gentle boil. Serve with French Toast.
Give us a call at 434.846.1388 or go online to make your reservation and request our Apple French Toast breakfast during your October stay. It’s delicious and you’ll love it!
Trying to find a breakfast recipe? All of our recipes are on our website and are listed by category so feel free to check them out and check often as we post a new one each month.
How long has it been since you picked your own apples? Have you tried a “new” variety of apple lately? Would you like to spend time outdoors, enjoying the crisp fall air, colorful leaves and views and head home with a box or two of fresh picked apples?
In Central Virginia we have orchards in Amherst, Bedford and Nelson counties. The farms and orchards are family-owned and usually offer produce other than apples throughout the rest of the year. Virginia is the sixth-largest producer of apples in the United States.
Apples come in a variety of shades and types. Locally you can find Honeycrest, Golden Delicious, Pink Lady, Fiji, Red Delicious or Winesap. A crisp apple, picked from the tree is a true delight in the fall. Once you are home you can turn your apples into cakes, apple butter or sauce, breads or salads.
Saturday, October 18th two of our local orchards will be hosting an apple harvest festival. Drumheller’s Orchard in Lovingston (from 8:00am until 6:00 pm) and Gross’ Orchard in Bedford (from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm) will have fun for the entire family. The sale of apples (19 varieties at Drumheller’s and 8 varieties at Gross’), hay rides, a corn maze, music, craft and food vendors, apple-themed food and more will keep you busy. Gross’ Orchard will offer apple picking too.
Stay with us at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast, in Lynchburg, VA. Our signature breakfast dish for the month of October is Apple French Toast with Spiced Maple Syrup. This recipe will be our blog post next week! Call us to book your reservation, then enjoy your day in the orchard.
The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast, in Lynchburg, VA, is proud to announce we have been mentioned in the October issue of Blue Ridge Country magazine!
The featured article this month is “50 Great Things to Do and See this Fall“. Starting in North Carolina and working their way through the eight states highlighted each month that make up Blue Ridge Country (Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia and of course, Virginia) a treasure trove of suggestions are included. Beyond viewing leaves and luscious fall colors there are peaks to climb, rivers to forge or float, wine trails to taste, farms to purchase fresh produce or cheese, trails to hike or bike, campgrounds and parks to explore, relaxing places to stay and delicious places to eat. As promised, 50 things to see, do or experience all within a drive from where you live.
Suggestion number 13 is “Learn More.” The Anne Spencer House & Garden is suggested. Isabella’s Italian Trattoria is recommended for dinner. And, The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast is suggested as a “romantic, historic inn walking distance from downtown.”
What are you waiting for? Get your copy of the most recent issue, decide where you would like to travel to this fall and make your plans. If you’re lucky enough to live in Lynchburg you don’t even need to travel. Why not plan a vacation without leaving Lynchburg? Check in to our magnificently restored mansion, indulge in our 4-course breakfast each morning, take the time to explore all that Lynchburg has to offer (arts, trails, museums, wineries, outdoor activities) and spend some time, quality time, with your loved one.
Call us 434.846.1388. We have a variety of packages and specials offered this fall. We’re looking forward to seeing you enjoy Lynchburg and the surrounding counties. Don’t delay, rooms are booking up!
The Depot Grille (DPO) in Lynchburg, VA is one of Lynchburg’s favorite places for lunch or dinner. Located between the abandoned canal, still-active railroad tracks and the James River this restaurant enjoys a unique location for downtown Lynchburg. The transportation arteries provide Lynchburg a mercantile foundation that spans three centuries. During the Civil War, wounded soldiers from both sides of the conflict were transported to this station where they were then transferred to our numerous hospitals. Freight that passed through this former N & W depot included shoes, tobacco, foundry and forest products. Today trains laden with coal and pipes can be routinely seen passing by the Depot Grille.
The historic riverfront restaurant features fresh fish and great steaks, along with a wonderful selection of pasta dishes, sandwiches, salads, lite bites, burgers (including Buffalo) and daily specials. Monday’s you’ll find all-you-can-eat ribs (prepared either sauced or dry-rubbed). Wednesday’s featured special is all-you-can-eat spiced shrimp. Entrees include a side salad and two side dishes–which can include: mashed sweet potatoes, steamed broccoli, black beans and rice and homemade slaw. The full bar serves a variety of martinis, mixed drinks, wine and craft beers. A decadent dessert menu rounds out the food selections and allows you to finish dinner on a sweet note.
The dining room uses church pews from two churches in Pennsylvania. The back bar is made from a pharmacy in Edinburg, Virginia. Local legend says that stray bullets shattered the original mirror during an attempted bank robbery from Frank and Jesse James, who robbed the bank next door to the pharmacy on their way back to Missouri after the Civil War. Handmade quilts are hung from the exposed rafters. The kitchen is built from two Georgia Northern Railroad freight cars. The can be seen through the back windows of the restaurant.
Pictured to the right is the special each Monday, all you can eat ribs! These ribs are tender and fall off the bone and are some of the best ribs we have ever eaten.
The Depot Grill is open 7 days a week between the hours of 11:30 am and 11:00 pm this restaurant satisfies hungry diners for lunch or dinner either on the deck, overlooking Riverfront Park and the train tracks or inside the unique repurposed building. As one of the few restaurants open on Sundays in downtown Lynchburg our guests, at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast, are frequent diners when staying with us over a Sunday night.
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