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Historic Lynchburg

Poplar Forest Parkway Trail System

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Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest

Have you heard that Thomas Jefferson‘s Poplar Forest is in the process of designing a new entrance, parkway and trail system on the grounds?

The trail system will be implemented in phases and when complete will provide six miles of trails that will traverse the majority of Poplar Forest’s 600 acres.  The trails will range from wide paved surfaces to rugged hiking trails to simple mown paths along the perimeters of the fields.

The first phase of the parkway constructions will include two accessible primary trails.  The first trail will parallel the parkway, allowing visitors to park at a small trailhead at the new front entrance and walk to Jefferson’s retreat house.  The path will cross through different landscapes highlighting the original plantation fields, old road traces and the site of the Prize Barn where enslaved workers packed tobacco for market.

When the parkway opens to traffic, the current single-lane entrance will be converted into the second primary trail, leading walkers down the tree-lined road established by the Hutters in the mid- to late-19th century.

The trail system will highlight historic and archaeological sites and unique environmental features of the property.  You will be able to see stands of tulip poplars trees dating to the late 1800s and black gum trees that are over 200 years old.  Vernal pools  are found along the way.  These seasonal wetland areas are home to a variety of unique plant and animal species, including rare species of salamander and other amphibians that would otherwise be prey to fish in larger bodies of water.

On Saturday, October 7, 2017 Poplar Forest will conduct an archaeology behind-the-scenes tour of this latest project.  Archaeologists will lead participants on a 90-minute walking tour of the Poplar Forest Parkway.  Be one of the first guests to get a glimpse of this exciting trail system.  Comfortable shoes are necessary.  In addition to the tour you will have access to the Poplar Forest Archaeology lab and the retreat home of Thomas Jefferson.  Tours begin at either 11 am or 2 pm.  Reservations are required, as limited space is available.  Regular admission fees apply.  Call 434.525.1806 for more information or visit www.poplarforest.org/events.

If you are staying with us at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast, in Lynchburg, VA you are about a 20-minute drive to Poplar Forest.  Let us know which tour you are attending and we will make sure you enjoy your delicious 4-course breakfast before you go walking.  Mike and I will see you there!

**information for this blog post taken from the Thomas Jefferson Poplar Forest magazine.

 

Historic Homes Tour 2017

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One of the homes on the 2017 Historic Homes Tour

Once again the Lynchburg Historical Foundation is hosting a tour of homes.  You will be able to tour four homes on Woodland Avenue on Sunday, September 24 between 1:00 until 4:40 pm.  Tickets are $20 and are available at the Lynchburg Visitor Center or the Lynchburg Historical Foundation office.  For more information contact the foundation at 434.528.5353.

The four homes on the tour include:

106 Woodland Avenue:  known as the Wells House it was built in 1912.  Robert Gordon Bailey purchased the lot and built the home for his new bride.  She was a student at Randolph-Macon  Woman’s College.  During their days of courting they often would sit upon this hill and gaze at Peaks of Otter.  Olive told Robert “if I ever build a house, I’d like to build it right here.”  Designed by McLaughlin & Johnson architects it incorporates many Colonial Revival elements.

221 Woodland Avenue:  built in 1910, the Sackett House, was the second or third house built on Woodland Avenue.  When designing the house, Mrs. Sackett included many designs from her family home on Federal Street.  These include the twin mantles in the living and dining rooms, the elliptical and side lights at the front door and the front staircase and banisters.

231 Woodland Avenue:  known as the McLaughlin House, this American foursquare was built in 1925.  Traditional foursquare floorplan features include the columns across the large front porch, symmetrical placement of windows and doors and an easy-flowing floorplan.

2017 Historic Homes Tour

324 Woodland Avenue:  the Torrance House was built in 1915 on land that was part of the city’s annexation of land in 1908.  This residence has had the fewest owners of any house on Woodland Avenue, only two.  This two-story stucco house has a hip roof, a masonry porch and brick patio.  The original entrance included an arched entrance with a cathedral door.

This year’s tour will be an easy and delightful walk on a beautiful street in Lynchburg that was once far removed for the downtown area and city center.

Presbyterian Cemetery

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An angel in mourning at the Presbyterian Cemetery

The Presbyterian Cemetery was founded in 1823 when six elders of the Presbyterian church purchased two acres from Edward Lynch, son of John Lynch (Lynchburg City founder).  Today the cemetery contains about 25 acres.  It is an independent cemetery that has been in continuous operation since it began.  About 15,000 graves are contained on the property.

Acorns and Oak Leaves typically indicates the grave of a soldier.

Over 213 Confederate soldiers are buried here, making it one of the largest Lynchburg-area Confederate burial sites.  Others resting in the cemetery include members of the military from generals to privates, merchants, doctors, lawyers, educators, businessmen, artists and ministers.  A few of the noteworthy individuals are Dr. James Brown, 1824–the first burial, Brig. Gen. Samuel Garland, Jr. 1862 and Emma Serena Dillard Stovall, 1980–noted painter Queena Stovall.

The architecture of sculptures, headstones, monuments and art reflect the European cultures of Ireland, Scotland and Germany, as many of the original people buried here were from these countries.  Some of the sculptures look Gothic, Georgian or Celtic depending when they were placed in the Cemetery.  Some stones are made of marble while others are granite.  Intricate colors of gray, pink and black can be found throughout the Cemetery.  One of the most dramatic stones is a weeping angel bending over in grief.  The angel’s companion is nearby, another angel standing holding a trumpet to signal rapture.

Common symbols found throughout the cemetery on the monuments and tombstones are: various flowers-lilies, roses, oak leaves and ivy, lambs-signifying the grave of a child, urns-often draped with a mourning cloth refer to the soul, snapped or broken branches-a life cut short, doves-peace or messenger of God, a circle-eternal life, angels-a guide to heaven and the morning glory-resurrection.

The Presbyterian Cemetery is located at 2020 Grace Street in Lynchburg, VA.  It is open from dawn until dusk.  The office is open Monday-Thursday between 9:30 until 2:30.  They can be reached at 434.845.0551 or through their email PC1823@msn.com.  Their web site is www.presbyteriancemeteryva.com.

Between April until October the Cemetery, typically, holds a public tour the first Sunday of each month beginning at 2:00 pm.  Each tour presents a different aspect of the cemetery such as graves found here, cemetery architecture, mourning traditions and how Victorian life and influences in the Cemetery.  These tours last about one hour.  The cost of attending is $5.00 per person.

An urn draped with a mourning cloth was prevalent in the 1800’s. The circle represents eternity which is also the symbol of today’s wedding band.

The 32nd Annual James River Batteau Festival

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Batteau Festival 2017

On Saturday, June 17, 2017, at 11:00 am, the batteau will push off from Percival’s Island with the booming of a cannon.

The James River Batteau Festival is an 8-day event featuring authentic replicas of the sleek, shallow-draft merchant boats that were used starting in 1747 for commercial navigation.  The original batteau were an adaptation of the Indian dugout canoes.  In 1775 Anthony and Benjamin Rucker, from Amherst County, invented a new type of batteau made of sawn lumber and designed specifically for the shallow, swift waters of the James River.  Thomas Jefferson was present for the launching of the first Rucker batteau.  Within a few years 500 batteau were traveling down the James River with canned tobacco, flour, iron, apple brandy to Richmond and towns along the way.  On the return trip they carried books, millstones, harpsicords and agricultural lime.  The stories of the boatmen are legendary.

The festival is a unique folklife festival uniting the communities along the 120 miles of the James River between Lynchburg and Richmond.  Considered a highway in the 1700’s, the James River was crucial to the settlement of Central Virginia.  Many of the boatmen and women keep the boats as authentic as possible.  They dress in period clothing, meals include organic vegetables and the meals are prepared on the boat.

Each night is spent in a different town along the river.  Most of the towns welcome the participants with a fair-like atmosphere, including music, games, food trucks, maybe fireworks and in general, a very warm welcome. The first night will be spent at Galt’s Mill in Stapleton.  Wednesday evening will find the crews in Scottsville.  Scottsville is one of the favorite stops along the James River as it is a “real city” (population 575) with the chance for a shower and a meal cooked in a restaurant.  Saturday finds everyone at Maiden’s Landing in Richmond.

For an interesting morning on the river head to Percival’s Island between 9:00-1:00 on the 17th.  You will be entertained, amused and learn about this unique form of river running.

 

 

 

 

The Water Dog

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Water Dog

Water Dog

Downtown Lynchburg, Virginia has a new restaurant, The Water Dog.  Located adjacent to Riverfront Park, with it’s large grassy area and splash park, you are minutes away from the Bluffwalk and Main Street in downtown.

The Water Dog likens itself to a taphouse, featuring 36 craft beers on draught, with 16 of them hand-crafted in Virginia.  Their menu consists of tasty artisan beer food served in an awesome environment, inside or out.  Choose from oysters, clams or shrimp–served in a variety of ways.  Appetizers include beer battered pickles and parmesan crusted pretzel bites.  Seasonal soups and salads join tacos, a po’boy, burgers, hot dogs and 6 types of grilled cheese sandwiches.  For dessert they will bake you, fresh, cookies and serve them with milk!  In addition to the beers on tap The Water Dog serves a variety of hand-crafted cocktails that take inspiration from the season of the year.

In addition to a great made-in house menu there are options for entertainment.  TV’s, a 16-foot shuffle board, ping-pong, a chalkboard, a giant movie projector and the latest tunes are heard from their Spotify playlist.

There are two options for private parties.  The “Garage” can host up to 25 people for a sit-down dinner or up to 50 people for a cocktail party.  The private dining room is available, on a first come first served basis.  A small bites menu is available for either of these spaces, in addition to their regular menu.

Located at 1016 Jefferson Street, Lynchburg, VA.  Open Tuesday & Wednesday 11:30-11:00.  Thursday-Saturday 11:30-1:00 and Sunday 11:30-11:00.  for more information call 434.333.4681 or visit www.thewaterdog.com.

The Water Dog is located within walking distance to The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast, on the Riverwalk Trail, about 15 minutes.

 

Old City Cemetery-The Chapel, Columbarium & Scatter Garden

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Old City Cemetery Chapel

Chapel and Columbarium at Old City Cemetery

Last January we started our series about Lynchburg, Virginia’s Old City Cemetery.  We have highlighted it’s buildings and museums, events and activities and what a treasure this unique spot is to Lynchburg.  This post will be our last in this series, but don’t fret, as special events or activities are hosted at Old City Cemetery we will feature them so that you might participate.

The Chapel is the Cemetery’s newest museum.  Completed in 2006 to mark the bicentenary of the Cemetery this unique and beautiful chapel is the perfect setting for weddings, memorial services, recitals, lectures and other special occasions.  The chapel honors religious leaders buried at the Old City Cemetery since 1806.  The building is modeled after two Central Virginia chapels.  Ivy Chapel Union Church has been replicated on the Cemetery grounds using almost all of it’s building materials from the Hermon Methodist Church in Appomattox, which was dismantled and transported to Lynchburg.  The pews, pulpit, piano, preacher’s chair and attendance bowl had been left in the decaying Hermon Methodist Church.  They are now safely housed in the Chapel.  Original light fixtures were reproduced.  A bell tower was added to the building.  The bell was especially cast by Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London, who had cast both the Liberty Bell and Big Ben.

On the lower level of the Chapel is the Columbarium.  Providing 288 niches and twelve crypts this very special room is a comfort to many who have a beautiful place to visit with their loved ones.  The focal point of the Columbarium is the terracotta “Peace” medallion set into the stone arch, a floor constructed of historic brick pavers from old sidewalks in inner-city Lynchburg and hand-rubbed German beech niche covers.  Both niches and crypts are available to the general public.

Adjacent to the Chapel and Columbarium you will find the Scatter Garden.  Since 1996 the scattering of cremated remains has been permitted in the natural dell that adjoins the Butterfly Garden and Lotus Pond.  When a beloved pet has died the ashes may be scattered within a garden setting on the bluff overlooking the Lotus Pond, Chapel and dovecote.

To learn more about the fees associated with the use of the Chapel and any of the various final resting places for loved ones please contact the Cemetery Office at 434.847.1465.  These locations are open daily from dawn to dusk, as are all of the Cemetery grounds.