Once again we find ourselves in historic Virginia. This time we stayed at Lynchburg RV Park near Lynchburg. Its another picturesque area in southwest Virginia with lots of rolling hills, hardwood forests and centuries of history.
Lynchburg is a small city on the James River. The day we arrived they happened to be celebrating the James River Batteau Festival. For 33 years groups of volunteers build 18th century batteau boats that once dominated transportation and trade along the river. Today these folks spend 8 days cruising the river in period costume to Richmond. Lynchburg was the start for 18 boats accompanied by up to 1000 canoes and kayaks. The festival occurs every June on the Saturday of Fathers Day weekend. What a scene! While there we also checked out the farmer’s market which has been active since 1783.
Lynchburg is also home to 7 historic districts each with a fine collection of historic homes and buildings. We photographed many and chatted with a man who purchased an 1854 brick home 44 years ago. To call it a lifelong project is an understatement. Watch out for lead poisoning!
One reason we wanted to stay in this area was to visit our friends Rod and Jane who live near Appomattox. Rod works in the American Civil War Museum and Jane in a nearby State Park. We got an in-depth tour from Rod and enjoyed sharing our love of history. The museum has Lee’s frock coat and sword from the surrender. Rod and Jane have a beautiful log home and it was fun to catchup.
Appomattox Court House National Historical Park is a NPS site that commemorates Lee’s surrender and the end of the Civil War. What happened there has shaped American history ever since. Lee’s surrender was an event filled with dignity and respect. There would be no celebration by the victorious Union Army. There were tears on both sides and a profound relief that it was over. It is a very moving solemn monument.
Jane told us about a play that was performed on the grounds the weekend we were there. Wolfbane productions is a local theater company who put on a performance of Romeo and Juliet in the setting on the Civil War. Right on the grounds of Appomattox it was incredible. The actors were local and from New York City, the lighting, sound and everything was first rate all the way – we had never seen anything like it. If you are ever in SW VA, check to see if Wolfbane has any shows.
Patrick Henry’s Red Hill Estate is another historic landmark in SW VA. Its near a tiny town called Brookneal and was the last home of the American patriot once called the voice of the Revolution. It was he who said “Give me liberty or give me death”. Henry played a huge role in pre-revolution and post-revolution politics. He is buried at Red Hill.
Our love of history brings us back to Virginia again and again. We know we’ll be back.