We’ve been in the US for 1.5 months on vacation visiting a lot of family, so I don’t have a ton of fascinating updates on travels or sightseeing. It’s been a lot of playgrounds, parks, walks to see the horses at the nearby farm, playdates with cousins and friends, more ice cream than is good for you, and general relaxation.
However, my mom and I did get in a nice long weekend trip to Lynchburg, VA while the kids were at Gramma Camp (aka, my mother-in-law watched the kids for 3 nights while I got away!) 3 nights of no wake ups, meals without interruption, no planning sightseeing around nap schedules or bedtime, and no one going “Moooooooooooommmmmmmmm!” It was glorious! Not to mention I don’t get much 1:1 time with my mom as international visits always mean the kids.
After dropping the kids off at Gramma Camp, we drove over to Lynchburg, arriving about 5:30 pm. Checked into The Carriage House B&B, which was a lovely stay. We were the only guests, which was even better. Our room had two beds, a small sitting area and a bathroom. It was up in the carriage house and shared a common area and a kitchenette with another room. The shared common space had a TV and sofas and we enjoyed using it. But if other guests were in the other room it would have been awkward, especially if they watched TV loud and late. Breakfast each morning was artistic, plentiful, and delicious. It was scheduled for 9 am each day, which was way too late for us, so we requested a 7:30 breakfast which they begrudgingly did.
The B&B is close enough to walk to downtown, which we did the first night for dinner. We ate at the Depot Grille. I had the crab cakes and my mom had salmon and we split. The crab cakes were good, but not amazing.
Day 2 was Saturday, so we headed out for an early start to beat the predicted rain. First stop was the Saturday Market in downtown Lynchburg. If we hadn’t been headed out for a long day of sightseeing, the produce and flowers would have been very tempting! I did, however, buy some jam and apple butter. Insider are permanent shops with a range of local products, including clothing, food, jewelry, soaps, and handmade items.
Next we headed over to Bedford to see the National D-Day Memorial. It is located in Bedford, VA because Bedford suffered the nation’s largest per capita D-Day loss. 44 soldiers, sailors, and airmen were at Normandy from Bedford and 20 of those died. The memorial is beautiful and was designed by veterans and those most invested in it. We took a free tour and it was well done. The site is wheel-chair and stroller accessible, has a nice gift shop and bathrooms, and is very nice. Definitely worth a visit.
Since the weather was holding, we popped over to Longwood Cemetery to see their Civil War section. We wound our way through the cemetery until we found the oldest area and explored. It has the Monument of Valor which marks the resting place of many unknown Civil War Veterans.
For lunch we ate Olde Liberty Station where we split spinach artichoke dip and then had salads with crab cakes on top. It was delicious and very filling!
On the way out of town, we stopped at the Bedford Museum. It has exhibits on the history of Bedford, plus genealogical materials. Admission is by donation, but they suggest $5 a person. Only after donating did they mention to us that 50% of the exhibits were closed for renovation! The open exhibits were well done and showed Bedford in the Civil War and World Wars and Native Americans in Bedford.
With storms rolling in, we headed back to Lynchburg and did some shopping at stores I miss while overseas–Kohls, Barnes and Noble, and Ross. For dinner we ate at RA Bistro in downtown Lynchburg. I had the seafood mac and cheese which was delicious but super rich!
Day 3 we explored Lynchburg. We started on their extensive hiking trails. Trail options include paved and earthern and range from very easy to moderate and .5 miles to 5 miles. Trails connect, so it’s easy to do very long hikes. We started out on the paved Blackwater Creek trail, moved over to the earthen Beaver Trail, and then looped back on the Blackwater Creek trail again for a total of about 5 miles. It was really humid and muggy and we were definitely sweating by the end! It was great though seeing so many people out and using the trails.
Our next stop was Anne Spencer’s Garden. She was an internationally recognized black poet of the Harlem Renaissance period. Behind her home she built a garden and cottage with her husband to use for inspiration. The house is rarely open to the public, but the garden is free and open daily. It’s a peaceful and beautiful spot to take a break or find some inspiration of your own! It has street parking in front.
By then we were ready for some lunch at Crisp. It’s a salad, sandwich, and juice bar with lots of made-to-order options. My salad was very generously proportioned! No coffee though, which made my mom sad!
Fully refreshed (though not caffeinated!), we headed out on a self-guided Civil War walking tour of downtown. Follow their website to walk from spot to spot, learning about the history and the buildings. Lynchburg is a very hilly city, but luckily after one very vigorous up hill climb, the rest was level or downhill!
With time to spare before the Memorial Day ceremony at the cemetery, we headed to Dublin 3 Coffeehouse for some delicious coffee and iced chai latte. Spacious building, comfortable chairs and some refreshing drinks to revive us from the summer heat!
Our final big event of the day was the laying of the wreaths in the Civil War section of the Old City Cemetery. While the Civil War section is almost completely Confederate soldiers, the speeches mostly focused on veterans as a whole. After a few speeches and wreath presentations, the audience got to help lay down flowers on tombstones. Very peaceful and beautiful section of the cemetery.
After all that sightseeing we needed some relaxation time at the B&B before dinner at The Neighbors Place. Service was incredibly slow, but the pan seared scallops were great.
Day 4: Our final morning we checked out of the B&B and headed over to Appomattox Court House National Historical Park. I’d never been and was impressed with all the buildings and things to see. The museum was nice, the park rangers helpful, and the day was beautiful! They provide a very nice map and guide sheet for a self guided tour, though they also offer talks and tours throughout the day. I enjoyed the gift shop as well!