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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.