Having just celebrated Thanksgiving I thought I would tell everyone that the First Thanksgiving actually was celebrated in December. As children we all learned about the first Thanksgiving that occurred in Plymouth Massachusetts in 1621. Unfortunately this is not the first Thanksgiving.
On September 16, 1619, a group of 38 English colonists, headed by Captain John Woodlief, sailed from England aboard the Margaret. The colonists were sent by the London Company, which owned thousands of acres in the area now known as Virginia, and settled and supported Berkeley Plantation. They landed at Berkeley Hundred 10 weeks later, on December 4, 1619. In 1619 Berkeley Hundred was about 8,000 acres of land on the north bank of the James River near Herring Creek in an area known as Charles Cittie (sic). It was named for one of the original founders, Richard Berkeley, a member of the Berkeley family of Gloucestershire, England. It was about 20 miles upstream from Jamestown, where the first permanent settlement of the Colony of Virginia was established on May 14, 1607.
The group’s charter required that the day of arrival be observed as a “day of thanksgiving” to God. On that first day, Captain Woodlief held the service of thanksgiving after the weary travelers disembarked and immediately fell to their knees to thank God for their safe arrival. There were no Indians (native Americans) there to celebrate their arrival and there were no turkey dinners prepared. The Charter of Berkeley Plantation specified the thanksgiving service: “We ordained that the day of our ships arrival at the place assigned for plantation in the land of Virginia shall yearly and perpetually kept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God”. The Thanksgiving at Berkeley Hundred occurred a year before the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth.
Berkeley Plantation, one of the first great estates in America, comprises about 1,000 acres today. Benjamin Harrison IV built on the estate, in 1726, what is believed to be the oldest three-story brick mansion in Virginia and is the ancestral home to two Presidents of the United States: William Henry Harrison (our ninth President), his grandson, and Benjamin Harrison (our 23rd President), his great-great-grandson.
Berkeley Plantation is located 18 miles west of Williamsburg and 35 miles east of Richmond. The house and grounds are open daily.. Check their website for more information.
When touring Berkeley Plantation there is a letter on display to President Kennedy informing the President that the first Thanksgiving actually happened a year before the Thanksgiving celebration in Massachusetts. The response to the letter came from Henry Kissinger which in part states the President is partial to Massachusetts and they will not be re-writing history to acknowledge the first Thanksgiving actually happened in Virginia.
Thanksgiving is next week and you probably haven’t you thought about what you will do with all that left over turkey? We have a white chicken chili recipe where you can substitute turkey for the chicken and have a turkey chili. This is a meal that we often serve when we have family and guest visiting that will warm you from the inside out.
I love Thanksgiving. It is a holiday where friends and family can gather and enjoy all the blessings we have. Of course the turkey dinner is always a big plus. If you are lucky you have enough to have leftovers you won’t have to cook for a couple of days. For some reason turkey leftovers tast just as good on Friday and Saturday. And who doesn’t like turkey sandwiches, but before you use up all the turkey you may want to make a hearty chili.
This recipe is great all year round, but during the winter months this will warm you up and satisfy your appetite. Another great thing about this recipe is there is very little cooking, just throw the ingredients into a crock pot and 8 hours later dinner is served! Typically we use a rotisserie chicken that we buy at the supermarket when making this, but if you have leftover turkey then substitute the turkey for the chicken
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced (or combination of colored peppers)
- 4 cans cannelloni or great northern beans, rinsed, drained
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock, divided
- 1 can diced, mild chilis, drained
- 12 oz package white shoepeg corn, frozen
- 1 rotisserie chicken or 4 poached chicken breasts, shredded
- Saute onions, garlic and green pepper in oil until translucent and soft. Add 1 cans beans and 1/2 cup chicken stock.
- Puree in pan or transfer to and blend until smooth.
- Place pureed mixture into the bottom of a 6 cup crock pot. Add all remaining ingredients, stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours. Do not be tempted to lift the lid of the crock pot during cooking, doing so will increase cooking time.
We usually serve this in a bowl over whole grain rice or quinoa. Enjoy!
This frame house was built in 1873 by Renny and Mary Dawson. It was one of the first houses constructed during the building boom on Daniel’s Hill following its annexation to the city in 1870. Mr. Dawson owned a tobacco box factory located nearby in the Upper basin (present-day site of Griffin Pipe).
The house is typical of the Victorian era but displays a number of architectural refinements that point to a knowledgeable architect or builder. Although the Cabell Street front is only two bays wide, the façade is divided into two equal planes that stand at right angles to each other. Both bays are covered by gables adorned with vergeboards with carved trim.
The tiny front porch occupied the space formed by the re-entrant of the façade. Embellished with octagonal columns and pilasters the porch is polygonal in plan. The unusually located front door-almost hidden from Cabell Street-comes into view as you approach the front porch. This door and all of the windows are topped by shallow rectangular pediments.
Among the noteworthy architectural features of the interior are the original curved wooden handrail of the staircase and the fireplace mantels found in each room.
The Daniels Hill neighborhood is on the National Historic Register and the neighborhood has many homes of historic significance. The neighborhood was established when the plantation, once owned by Dr. George Cabell, was carved up into lots and sold to individuals as the City of Lynchburg was growing.
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.
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