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The J 611 Rides Again!

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611 steam Train

Ride the 611 Photo by Casey Thomason, Norfolk Southern Corporation

The Virginia Museum of Transportation is pleased to announce that the Norfolk & Western J 611 steam passenger locomotive will have another run.

The powerful and sleek Class J passenger locomotives were designed and built in Roanoke, VA in 1950 by the Norfolk & Western Railway.  They were known as the finest steam passenger locomotives in the world.

The first trip in 2016 will be hosted by the North Carolina Transportation Museum.  Using the Norfolk Southern rails it will run on Saturday, April 9 from Spencer, NC to Lynchburg, VA and return, on The Virginian.

On May 7 and 8 the 611, The Powhatan Arrow, will return to Roanoke to run half-day excursions from Roanoke to Lynchburg and back, following the Blue Ridge grade.

Seating options on all of the excursions include coach, first class and dome cars.  A dining car and observation car will also be available.

Last year, June 14, 2015, we traveled on the 611 between Lynchburg and Petersburg (see blog post dated June 1, 2015.)  The train ride was something to experience along with the scenery between the two stops.  Last year all seats sold out in record time, so if you’re interested in this unique train trip make your reservation early.

For more information contact the Virginia Museum of Transportation at 540.342.5670 or click here for the schedule and costs.  It’s a mode of travel like none other.

Old City Cemetery’s Hearse House and Caretaker’s Museum

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When you could afford the best, this hearse was used.

Following in our series of things to see and do at Lynchbrug, Virginia’s Old City Cemetery, this month we are featuring it’s Hearse House and Caretaker’s Museum.

Old City Cemetery

The old wagon doubled as a hearse for many being buried at Old City Cemetery

The Hearse House and Caretakers Museum depicts the history of the burial and grave marking customs practiced in Lynchburg between 1866 until 1954.  It also shows the story of the cemetery’s maintenance, or lack thereof, during it’s 210 year long existence.

Old City Cemetery's Hearse House and Caretaker's Museum

Old City Cemetery’s Hearse House and Caretaker’s Museum

Included in this museum is an original, turn-of-the-century hearse from the Diuguid Funeral Home. Diuguid has been in business in Lynchburg since 1817, and is considered Lynchburg’s oldest “institution.”.  They are the second oldest funeral home in Virginia.  This hearse would have been used to carry a casket to one of the private cemeteries in Lynchburg.  Pulled by a team of horses, white horses pulled the hearse for children and black horses for adults.

Old City Cemetery

Working on old grave markers in the Hearse House and Caretaker’s Museum

A horse-drawn wagon, made by Thornhill Wagonworks, is also found here.  It too was used as a hearse, along with being used by the cemetery’s groundskeepers to haul their equipment and workers.

When the cemetery opened in 1806 families took care of their own grave sites or plots.  The cemetery hired it’s first official caretaker in 1866.  He was paid $100 per year and was only responsible for the care of the Confederate Section.  Originally, and until about 1954, the caretakers lived “on-sire” or on Taylor or Wise Streets.  As time passed their duties were expanded to include: digging graves and the maintenance of the entire cemetery.  As some of you know, the cemetery became over-grown and in much disrepair until about 1981 when the future of the cemetery was passed onto four women who renamed the association tending to the cemetery the Southern Memorial Association.  They began the arduous task of clearing dead trees, brush and overgrown weeds and plants to discover unique gravestones, walls, paths and more.  What you see today is testament to their hard work, that continues today, for over 20 years.

Old City Cemetery

Tools on display in the Hearse House and Caretaker’s Museum

Take the time to linger at this museum and imagine life in Lynchburg in the mid- to late-1800’s.  Next month we will feature the Mourning Museum, to tie into the history of burial and their customs.

The Old City Cemetery is located at 401 Taylor Street.  The grounds are open daily from dawn to dusk.  The Cemetery Center is open Monday through Saturday between 10 until 3 and Sundays between 1 until 5, April through December.

Looking for a place to stay while in Lynchburg?  The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast is close to all the local attractions.  Book your stay with us on-line or by calling 434-846-1388.


Coconut French Toast

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Coconut French Toast

Coconut French Toast

As we are always “experimenting” and trying out new recipes for our breakfast menus we stumbled upon this absolutely delicious French Toast reminiscent of breakfast on a tropical island.  Maybe we should serve it with a Pina Colada!  And since we are in the midst of our long, cold and dreary winter wouldn’t you like to imagine yourself on a sunny beach, with waves lapping at the shore and nothing to do but relax?  If you can’t fit that into your schedule or budget, come stay with us at The Carriage House Inn B & B in Lynchburg, VA and we’ll treat you to this island delight.

Coconut French Toast Ingredients and Directions:

  • In a shallow 3-quart baking dish, whisk 5 large eggs, 1 14 oz. can unsweetened coconut milk, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice and a pinch of salt.
  • In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat 1 teaspoon vegetable oil over medium heat.
  • Soak 4 thick slices of brioche or challah bread in the egg mixture, letting excess drip off; add to skillet.  Sprinkle each slice with 2 tablespoons sweetened shredded coconut; press to adhere.  Cook 4 minutes or until bottom of bread is a deep golden brown.  Gently turn slices over; cook 2 minutes or until coconut flakes are a deep golden brown.  Transfer to parchment-lined cookie sheet and keep warm in a 300° oven.  Repeat with 4 more slices bread, adding another 1 teaspoon oil if necessary.  Serve with glazed pineapple and  honey syrup.

Glazed Pineapple:

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pineapple, cored, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • In a baking dish, mix together the honey, lime juice and cinnamon.  Place the pineapple in the glaze and let marinate 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  • Preheat grill pan over medium heat.  Place the pineapple chunks on the preheated grill.  Grill both sides until the glaze caramelizes and grill marks form, about 2 minutes per side.
  • To serve: place the Coconut French Toast on individual plates and top with pineapple chunks.  Drizzle any remaining honey syrup over the top.  Enjoy!

Serves 4.

Remember, when staying with us at The Carriage House Inn Bed & Breakfast we can always accommodate a special request for breakfast.  Maybe you were served a dish on a previous visit, or you have read our blog consistently and think a specific recipe sounds delicious.  Ask us prior to your arrival and we’ll serve you your special request while you stay with us.  Afterall, breakfast is the most important meal of the day!

El Jefe Taqueria Garaje

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El Jefe

El Jefe a great place to grab a taco and a shot of Tequila.

El Jefe Taqueria Garaje has opened in downtown Lynchburg, VA.  This eclectic tequila bar has a minimalistic menu that features 10 types of simple, fresh tacos made from either 6 or 10-inch corn tacos, house specials and quesadillas. The bar serves nine times more varieties of tequila than tacos, or 90 types, of tequila, priced between $5 to $11 per shot.

El Jefe

Bar area at El Jefe

If you are unfamiliar with tequila the wait staff has been schooled in the different types of young and aged tequilas, such as blanco, anejo, joven and reposado.

Tequila is made from the Mexican agave plant, the Blue Weber.  Blancos, or “whites,” are clear and relatively un-aged tequilas.  Anejo is aged at least one year and is smoother and more complex.  Joven, or “young” tequilas are mixed with colorants and flavorings.  Reposado, or “restful” is aged between two to 11 months with flavors influenced by the wood barrels in which it was stored.

El Jefe

Wheels in the Dining area are from the warehouse

The bar is a narrow space that seats only about 38.  Outside is a two-tiered patio that seats about 24.  On warm spring and summer days the wait can be long.  The outside patio overlooks the Bluffwalk and the James River.

In addition to the bar menu on Saturdays and Sundays, between 11 until 3 brunch is served.  The brunch menu includes Sopapillas, Huevos Rancheros, Mexican Breakfast Frittata, pitchers of Margaritas, Bloody Mary’s and Mimosas.

Located at 1214 Commerce Street parking can usually be found on the street or in the nearby parking garage.  El Jefe Taqueria Garaje, which roughly translates to “the boss of the food garage” is open Sunday through Thursday between 11 until 10 and Friday and Saturday between 11 until 1 am.  They can be reached at 434.333.4317, if you have any questions.

If while staying at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast you would like a Mexican breakfast we can accommodate you.  In the past we have served Huevos Rancheros, a Mexican Breakfast Frittata or a Chorizo Frittata, usually accompanied by avocado, salsa and beans.  Call us at 434.846.1388 when making your reservation and request one of these special breakfast entrees.


I’ll Never be Hungry Again

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The Renaissance Theatre, in downtown Lynchburg, VA, is presenting the hilarious, side-splitting musical comedy spoof of Gone With the Wind, entitled “I’ll Never Be Hungry Again.”  

Named after Scarlett O’Hara’s famous declaration and line in the movie this play follows David, a black graduate student, who discovers Gone With the Wind is required reading for his Southern lit class at the University of Michigan.  As many students do, David puts off reading the book until the night before a test only to realize the book has more than 1,000 pages!  He attempts to speed read the book, but falls asleep where he finds himself on the plantation home of Starlett–not Scarlett–O’Hara, trapped as a character int he book he has come to despise.

The small black box atmosphere at Renaissance Theatre is the perfect backdrop for this musical.  An extremely fast-paced production plus over-the-top costumes and exaggerated sound effects keeps the actors and audience enthralled and involved in the story line.  Mike and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

This play will be performed on February 26, 27  and 28 plus March 3, 4 and 5, 2016 at Renaissance Theatre.  Located at 1022 Commerce Street parking can usually be found on the street or in the parking lot just across from the theatre.  Tickets can be purchased at or by calling 434.845.4427.  But don’t delay, previous shows were all sellouts!

Staying with us at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast while to enjoy this delightful, yet thought provoking play, we will serve you a southern-style breakfast of Shrimp and Grits if you’d like.  Just request this special breakfast entree’ when calling 434.846.1388 to book your reservation.     


Old City Cemetery’s Station House Museum

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Old City Cemetery

Train Station at Old City Cemetery

This month we are continuing our series of things to see and do in the Old City Cemetery, Lynchburg, VA.

The Station House Museum is the Stapleton Station.  Stapleton Station was the C&O Station at Stapleton, Amherst County, Virginia, from 1898 until 1937.  It was located at mile post 130.8, near Galt’s Mill, fifteen miles east of Lynchburg.  It is the only remaining C&O “Standard Station” of its size and style.  Between 1999-2001 the badly deteriorated station was dismantled board by board and reconstructed in the Old City Cemetery to interpret the importance of railroads in the history of Lynchburg.

The Station is divided into three sections: the Passenger Room, the Station Agent Office and the Baggage Room.  The interior furnishings and instruments reflect the World War I era.

The Passenger Room.  The small, rural C&O Station didn’t offer much comfort to travelers waiting for their train.  It contained a bench, water cooler and signboard showing arrival and departure times.  It served as the community center for the people living near Stapleton, where they shared local and family news, conversation and fellowship.  During WW I the station was the only means of contact between the families and their boys fighting in Europe.  As trains carried the boys off to war it brought most of them home.

The Station Agent Office.  The Station Agent, or Tickemaster, operated the station.  The station’s bay window faced the railroad tracks, enabling the station agent to watch for trains coming from or going to Lynchburg.  On the desk sits a teletype on a three-armed resonator, along with a scissors-style telephone.  This station agent also represented Western Union Telegram Service and Adams Express baggage service from this office.

The Baggage Room.  The freight and baggage room received and shipped the necessities of life and death for the residents of Stapleton, VA.  Baggage, livestock, household and farm purchases were dispensed through this room.  The Railway Postal Clerk, who handled mail and postal baggage while the train was in route, worked from this room.

By 1860 three major railroad lines terminated in Lynchburg, VA: Virginia & Tennessee Railroad (1852), Southside Railroad (1854), and Orange & Alexandria Railroad (1860).  The three railways helped to make Lynchburg a regional hub of industry and tobacco commerce, and one of the wealthiest cities per capita in the United States.  During the Civil War, they made Lynchburg the second largest hospital center in Virginia.

Old City Cemetery is open daily between dawn and dusk.  It is located at 401 Taylor Street, Lynchburg, VA.  434.847.1465 for more information.  All museums, buildings and exhibits are accessed through large picture windows and audio taped descriptions of the museums or buildings.  Varoius tours and special events take place in the Cemetery each year.  A calendar of events can be found at