Amazement Square: Making Learning Fun for All

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Caitlin Seaman loves to watch children come into Amazement Square for the first time.

“As soon they come in and go up the stairs, every step lights up,” Caitlin explains. “When they walk up the first step … the look of amazement on their face is really priceless.”

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Caitlin works as Amazement Square’s Coordinator of Experiential Learning; as such, she helps to create programs and events for the region’s only children’s museum. She, along with the entire staff, is passionate about and committed to making the process of learning fun.

“One of the misconceptions about Amazement Square is that it's just a good place to bring your kids to play, but really there's an educational value to everything,” Caitlin said.

When Caitlin begins planning a new program, she hones in on a central objective: What should the child learn through the experience? She researches what’s already been done on a particular topic and then finds ways to make it “bigger and better” for the children visiting the museum. She follows what children are interested in and connects with those topics to spark their imaginations.

For example, Dino Days helps children to take their love of dinosaurs and dig into prehistoric times. They make dinosaur teeth and eggs and study what life was like way back then.

And everything Caitlin plans for the children, she first tries out herself.

“One of the key things in programming is to try it out yourself. If we're going to make a dino egg, we do it first. One of my favorite parts of my job is to see things through the eyes of a child.”

Amazement Square creates all of its exhibits, which is unusual for a museum. Usually, such detailed work is outsourced. Thus, developing an exhibition requires collaboration and creativity.

“When we're planning a new exhibition, we take a big team approach. Everyone sits down in a room and thinks through the process: what's the goal, what do we want them to learn?” Caitlin said.

That hard work has paid off, not only through the adoration of its visitors but also through national recognition. In May 2016, Amazement Square was awarded the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor conferred on museums and libraries.

Amazement Square, located on 9th Street, opened in 2001. After eight years of planning, the J.W. Wood building had been transformed from an abandoned 29,000-square-foot warehouse into a hands-on children’s museum. Several of the current exhibits focus on different historic time periods, one even telling some of Lynchburg’s history in conjunction with the water cycle. The museum’s exhibits also tend to tier the information, so various layers and activities are easily adapted for kids of all ages and developmental stages.

And it’s no accident that this award-winning museum was built downtown.

“Our purpose for starting Amazement Square downtown was that we wanted to be part of the movement to bring life back to downtown,” Caitlin said.

Today, Downtown residents such as Caitlin, who also lives here with her husband, benefit from the many restaurants, shops and galleries which have flourished since Amazement Square first moved in.

“When my husband and I were attending Lynchburg College, we saw the city changing. Downtown became this really vibrant, lively place.”

Caitlin invites people of all ages to come visit Amazement Square. Not only can you experience what she and the Amazement Square team are making, but you can even join in one of their popUP Makeshops — a “mobile tinkering” experience. With the opening of the museum’s new education space, there will be even more room for making!

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Altus: For the Love of Chocolate

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The first time Carl and Mary Matice made chocolate they spent 20 hours hand grinding the cacao beans. In search of a hobby they could enjoy together, the couple had been married for five years at the time, they even purchased a granite mortar and pestle—a large Mexican molcajete. Though they only had a pound of raw cacao beans, after they roasted and manually cracked them open, they still had to grind them—for days!

But while the process was arduous, it yielded a great product, one packed with delicate flavors and no bitterness. Carl and Mary were amazed—and hooked. They had discovered a whole world of chocolate far beyond Carl’s childhood love of Reese’s peanut butter cups.

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Once friends and family started enjoying and requesting Carl and Mary’s creations, they decided to start selling their chocolate at the Lynchburg Community Market.

After just three months, the couple’s one-bedroom apartment was overrun with chocolate-making equipment. Machines covered all the counters and a second refrigerator even sat in the living room. “There was no room to walk in our apartment,” Carl said.

That’s when Carl and Mary realized they needed a commercially-licensed kitchen, and in 2012 they moved into a friend’s coffee shop.

Over time, they continued to perfect their craft. They learned that by using a commercial grade grinder, they could get a smoother chocolate with much less labor. So, now they grind their beans in a machine that runs at 120 rpm for 48 hours.

As their passion and skill for chocolate making grew, Carl and Mary also learned the powerful importance of bean quality. They made a commitment to only use fairly-sourced organic beans. Today, their chocolate only contains cacao, organic raw cane sugar, and in milk chocolate products, organic hormone-free nonfat milk powder from grass-fed dairy. They call this commitment the Altus Difference.

“I always make sure [our cocoa beans are] organic, fair trade, and has unique, delicious flavors,” Carl explained.

As demand for their chocolate grew, Carl and Mary began to look for space in Downtown Lynchburg to expand their business since they had been selling their chocolate at the Community Market and already had customers there. When a space opened at 908 Main Street in November of 2013, they took it. Soon the space became home to Altus Chocolate, complete with a lounge for customers to savor a hot chocolate, baked good, hand-crafted truffles, or other specialty items.

Depending on the season, Altus offers about 20 different flavors of chocolates and truffles. “I just really enjoy learning, trying new things and solving problems,” Carl says.“My wife does the flavors. I like the science of it. I like the chemistry of it and how different things work together.”

Carl and Mary originally came to Lynchburg as sort of a middle ground between Carl’s family in New York and Mary’s in Atlanta. They sought a place with a good economy where Mary could get a master’s degree in counseling. Lynchburg was perfect.

“We decided to come here and put down some roots,” Carl said.

Carl and Mary welcomed their first child this past summer. She’s still young, but Carl is already looking forward to having her taste chocolate for the first time.

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“One of my favorite things will be when she's old enough to realize [that] she has a lifetime supply of free chocolate.”

A Jewel: The Heart of Downtown

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Robert Moses is a Premier Goldsmith and Master Jeweler, but he refers to himself simply as “the man in the window.”

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That’s because if you visit Bowen Jewelry Company at 829 Main Street, you’ll see Robert through the glass, creating custom jewelry pieces destined to become treasured family heirlooms.

“I sit down with the customer and find out exactly what they want…Sometimes they have no idea what they want…others have done research and gone online,” Robert said. They may already have a stone that holds sentimental value, or they may want to choose one of Bowen’s brilliant-cut diamonds.

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During his 29 years in the jewelry business, Robert has learned to transform that initial customer conversation into a preliminary sketch, and then, from there, to hand-carve a wax model to make a mold. He then casts the jewelry, filling the mold with molten gold or platinum, and, finally, sets the stones.

“I look at myself more as an artist than a jeweler,” he said.

The process, involving intense heat, can be dangerous at times, but Robert enjoys the art and science of his craft. He likes seeing the metal turn to liquid like mercury, so reflective you can see your face in it.

Robert began this work when he was asked to apprentice with a jeweler in Salem. Recounting his start, Robert laughs: he was doing a last-minute high school project long after midnight and created a working model of an airplane with toothpicks and rubber bands. That model airplane found a home on Robert’s machine shop teacher’s desk, so when his teacher was asked to recommend an apprentice, he glanced over at Robert’s creation and suggested they take him.

Robert worked for that jeweler as an apprentice and then for a jewelry manufacturer before coming to Lynchburg to attend college. While in Lynchburg, he connected with Bowen and has been there ever since.

“Bowen has good service, good quality, and fair prices ... I learned a lot of that from Mr. Bowen, a very classy man,” Robert said. "In a small town, you have to build trust, or you don’t stay in business." And Bowen has been in business since 1933.

For more than 80 years, Lynchburg-area weddings have often included a Bowen diamond on the bride’s finger. But the jeweler also offers a variety of new, estate, and custom-made pieces.

Bowen moved to its current Downtown location in 1946. View a timeline of its history and learn about its legacy of support for our community. And don’t forget to come by and see “the man in the window,” working to perfect his craft day after day!

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Deck the Hills FAQ

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With the very first Deck the Hills event just around the corner, we want to make sure to get all your questions answered. Here is what you need to know. 

What time is the event?

The event begins at 4pm and ends at 8pm. The voting for the best Christmas Tree will end at 7pm to allow us to talley the results. We will announce the winner at 7:45pm at the Craddock Terry Hotel, followed by a tree lighting ceremony. 

Where is the Bluffwalk?

For those who have yet to explore Lynchburg's newest pedestrian walkway, the Bluffwalk is located between Jefferson and Commerce Streets, and runs from the Craddock Terry Hotel all they way to 10th Street. 

How does the Christmas Tree competition work?

25 Downtown Businesses will be competing for your votes! Their trees will be displayed all along the Bluffwalk, and you can vote for your favorite or favorites by slipping cash or a voting ticket into the voting box beside the tree. $1 = 1 vote, and you can either vote directly with cash or purchase voting tickets from one of our volunteers. All proceeds from this competition will go to support Downtown Lynchburg Association. 

Does the event cost money?

No, it is absolutely free. However, if you plan to purchase food and drink, or vote on your favorite Christmas tree, make sure to bring your wallet. Most vendors take credit card but you should bring cash just in case. 

Will there be food?

Yes! There will be specialty food and beverage vendors on site, selling coffee, hot chocolate, kettle corn, cider donuts, apple cider, and more. Plus, there are so many restaurants on and around the Bluffwalk to grab dinner. 

Will there be music?

Yes! Live music will be played throughout the evening. 

Where should we park?

There are many public parking options available to you. Along with free and unlimited street parking throughout downtown, you can park in one of the many public lots and parking decks listed on our parking map

Can I bring my dog?

Unfortunately, no. Although we love, love, love dogs, the City prohibits dogs at large public events to ensure public safety. 

Start Your Holiday Season this Weekend in Downtown Lynchburg

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With December’s arrival, the Christmas season is officially underway—and Downtown Lynchburg is offering plenty of celebration to mark the occasion!

For the truly ambitious, you can even make a whole day out of it if you want and then come back next weekend for more! Start with a morning visit to Santa at the market (make sure to enjoy some fresh pastries on your way out!), then do some Christmas shopping for those last few items on your list, and next make your way to the Bluffwalk by late afternoon where you’ll find decorated trees and live music. For the evening, enjoy a nice dinner out, and then finish up your day with a holiday performance at the Academy.

With so much to see and experience Downtown, you and your family are guaranteed to be feeling the holiday spirit.

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Visit Santa and Mrs. Claus at the Mistletoe Market

Not many things say Christmas spirit like a visit with Santa, and where better to see him than at the Mistletoe Market this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visits are complimentary and photos are available for download within the week on the Lynchburg Community Market blog page. While you’re there, pick up some local, homemade goods or treats, and try a horse drawn carriage ride (only $2 per person) before you leave. Find more information about special events this week and continued each December weekend here.

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See the Christmas Trees All Along the Bluffwalk

 You won’t want to miss the Christmas splendor all along the Bluffwalk this Saturday, December 2, when more than 20 trees, decorated by downtown businesses, will be waiting to greet you at the first annual Deck the Hills event. Take in the sights, cast a vote for your favorite tree, and be sure to indulge in some hot chocolate and decadent treats available on site while live chorales and musicians fill the air with familiar carols. Running from 4 to 8 p.m., you’ll have plenty of time to stop by in between shopping or before dinner at any of several nearby restaurants. Stop by the Craddock Terry Hotel around 7 p.m. for the official tree lighting! More information can be found on the Downtown Lynchburg Association’s event page.

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Finish Your Holiday Shopping

If it’s the thought that counts, than aim for the most thoughtful, unique gifts you can by shopping in Downtown Lynchburg where you can find something for everyone. Dozens of local stores provide lots of inspiration, from handmade pottery, candles, and furniture to bikes, skateboards, antiques, and clothing. Plus, you have more than a dozen restaurants, bakeries, and specialty stores (think truffles, infused oils, and personalized cookies) to purchase gift certificates from—now those would make for some surprising stocking stuffers! Be sure to visit our complete list of retail options so you don’t miss anything!

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Catch (TWO) Live Shows

Whether or not you’re already familiar with the fateful story of Jim and Della in “The Gifts of the Magi,” you are sure to appreciate this heartfelt musical based on O. Henry’s famous short story of the same title. In a modern world often plagued by materialism, this story set in the early 1900s is a great reminder of what—and who—matters most during the holidays. Buy your tickets online for shows in the Academy’s Warehouse Theatre from November 30 to December 3.

>>> Bonus: Come back next weekend for a special screening of a Christmas classic—“Die Hard”—at the Academy Center of the Arts. This event promises to be one-of-a-kind with a movie-inspired cocktail and hors-d’oeuvres menu plus an 80s dance party immediately following the show! Tickets are only $35 online.

And you will definitely want to see “A Christmas Carol” put on by Renaissance Theatre starting December 1. Revisit Tiny Tim, the Ghosts, and Scrooge himself in this classic tale about the importance of generosity and togetherness. Find more information at their event page and buy tickets online for show dates from December 1 through the 15. 

Enjoy a Holiday Breakfast

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You won’t want to miss a pancake breakfast with Santa on December 9 at the Children’s Holiday Festival; sign up for one of the two offered sessions so you have a chance to take photos with Santa and make some holiday-themed crafts. Tickets also include all-day admission to Amazement Square!

Made for Family: Lorraine Bakery Brings European Flavor to Community Market

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When Petra Hackman first arrived in Lynchburg, she was disappointed at the lack of good bread; it was nowhere to be found.

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“I never made bread in Germany because there were bakers 

everywhere,” Petra says. “So, when I came here [in 1985], I trained myself to do it!”

Petra’s newfound skills may have been enjoyed only by her husband and five children if not for her daughter Mariel Lorraine Hackman. Mariel has Down Syndrome, and after her high school graduation, she had a difficult time finding work. As the Hackmans weighed their options, they realized there was something missing in Lynchburg—the reason Petra began baking her own bread in the first place—and Mariel could play a part in starting that business.

The Hackmans had been regular visitors to the Lynchburg Community Market for years finding it a good place for Mariel to practice her math skills. Whatever they purchased, she handled the transaction, and the vendors were always patient and kind. So when Petra and her husband Steve started discussing how they would actually start to sell their bread, they went right to Jennifer Kennedy, the director of the market.

In September 2008, they became a vendor and started selling small batches of their bread. At first, they baked a couple loaves at a time with their home oven. However, demand soon exploded, and the Hackmans began adding stoves in various parts of their house, including the basement. The work was physically taxing.

“Dough had to be placed in pots to recreate an industrial oven. We’d make it all night on Fridays—up and down steps—the whole house was involved,” Petra explains.

When the Hackmans knew their business—now Lorraine Bakery—had become a serious venture, they decided to attend U.S. Master Baker Jeffrey Hamelman’s school. They bought an industrial oven and opened their bakery in the Lynchburg Community Market.

“For me personally, it has become a creative outlet. That was something I didn't expect,” Petra says. “When everyone leaves the bakery in the afternoon, I stay and try new things.”

At Lorraine, the bakers begin their day at 4 a.m., starting the bread dough, preparing other goods while the dough is proofing, baking the breads, and then putting on finishing touches like icing and glazes.

Lorraine Bakery now operates a triple deck French oven that can bake 54 bread loaves at one time and a Canadian pastry oven with a 12 sheet capacity. Still, on Fridays, they bake for hours to prepare for Saturday, their biggest day of the week. 

As the bakery has grown in both size and reputation, they could relocate elsewhere in the city, but Petra says the Lynchburg Community Market is and will remain their home.

“It had a lot to do with the social atmosphere of the market … we are very intertwined with the market as a family. It has worked out wonderfully,” she says. “We work so hard; we don't really have a social life. But we always have someone to talk to [at the market].”

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Lorraine Bakery is located inside of the Lynchburg Community Market at 1219 Main Street. They make old-fashioned crusty breads, crepes, croissants, danishes, brioche, and many other sweet and savory baked goods. Don’t wait too long to stop by in the morning or your pastry of choice—along with many other treats—may be sold out!

Main Street Bridge Construction: What You Should Know

Progress is messy. It is often disruptive, but in the end, leaves you with something better than what you had before. 

The same is true for the upcoming Main Street Bridge Replacement project, beginning Monday, November 13. At that time, the section of Main Street that crosses over the Lynchburg Expressway will be demolished and rebuilt, better than before.

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So what does this mean?

This project will affect how you will be able to move in and out of Downtown for a while, but not to worry! There will still be many, many ways to get where you are going. In some cases, your route will not be affected, and in others, you will simply jump off the expressway one or two exits earlier. Detour signs will be in place to help you determine how to get where you are going. Plus, the City has created this detour map to help you plan your trip in advance. 

Why is the City replacing the bridge? 

Originally constructed in conjunction with the Lynchburg Expressway, the Main Street Bridge has exceeded its functional life and requires replacement. In addition to its age and condition, the bridge is too low for larger vehicles to pass safely under it as they travel north and south on the Lynchburg Expressway (US Route 29 Business). 

What will the bridge look like when it is completed?

The new Main Street Bridge will not only be a safer and more functional structure, it will also provide a much more welcoming and attractive gateway to our City.

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Structural Upgrades:

>  The new bridge will be be higher, providing greater clearance for vehicles passing under it as they travel north and south on the Lynchburg Expressway.  

>  The bridge will be lengthened at both ends to provide greater clearance to traffic on the Expressway and to improve the acceleration and deceleration lanes used to enter or exit the north bound lane of Route 29 Business.

New Design Features:

> Existing walls and parapets will be replaced and covered with new facades to create the appearance of rock walls.  

> New signs will be installed, welcoming travelers to "Downtown Lynchburg" on one side, and "Lynchburg" on the other. 

> Ornamental lights and railings will be installed. 

How long will this project take?

This will be a 13-month project, but the new bridge is projected to be in place and usable by mid-November of 2018. After that time, it will take a month or two to finish up last minute details – sidewalks, landscaping, etc.  

What can I do to help local businesses during this time?

It's very simple: keep coming Downtown! It will be just as easy to get to where you are going during this project, but it can be tempting for some to hear the word "construction" and decide that it is not worth the effort. Instead, make the extra effort to support local businesses by eating, shopping, and having fun in Downtown Lynchburg, and make sure to tell your friends to do the same. 

For additional information on the project, visit www.lynchburgva.gov/main-street-bridge-replacement

Oxide Pottery: An Ancient Art with a Modern Touch

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Justin Rice had no interest in pottery until he took a class during his final semester of art school. He connected with the medium and didn’t look back.

“I caught the bug,” he says.

When he eventually found himself freezing in his garage one winter, boiling water just to continue working, he knew he needed to pursue his passion professionally.

Justin Rice and his wife Chatham Monk own Oxide Pottery in Downtown Lynchburg where they offer one-of-a-kind bowls, plates, vases, and other wares. Chatham, a Lynchburg native, and Justin both attended the Cleveland Institute of Art where they met in 2002.

Today, they sell in their own storefront at 1337 Main Street. They also sell through several wholesale channels to museum shops and at large national shows.

Though he never expected to be a potter, Justin enjoys the diversity that clay offers.

“Every time you sit at the wheel, it's a new adventure,” he says. “It’s an ever-evolving process.”

A normal day might involve wedging clay, creating the right size and weight for different projects, sitting at the wheel, adding handles, loading, glazing, and firing.

“It's really a labor of love,” he explains. “To break even and have some handmade pieces at the end of the day feels like success.”

Justin loves the history of pottery and the idea that human touch has been a part of creating things out of clay since ancient civilizations first discovered the craft.

“There are department stores and big box stores that offer this stuff, and it’s [all] very designed, but it's the same piece you could buy anyplace,” Justin says. “We're interested in offering something that's had a human touch, evolved, and became a unique piece.”

Whatever is part of Justin’s life influences his art, whether it’s the music playing in the studio or the latest graphic novel he’s reading. He loves the idea that music may be a part of the piece—like the grooves in a vinyl album.

“Chatham and I try to address every inch of that pot. We want you to see the profile, the surface decoration, the glaze ... and then when you flip it over, that it's been addressed on the bottom too. There's nothing that hasn't been taken into consideration.”

Justin and Chatham choose to keep their business in Downtown Lynchburg because they like the community.

“It’s an incubator for people to do something new. Downtown provides that spot to do it together.”

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8 Ways to Get Your Spook On Downtown

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With the arrival of cooler weather, Downtown is offering plenty of creepy, boo-worthy amusements to help you usher in the Halloween season. Scare up some good times with these upcoming events sure to spook and delight you Downtown!

1. Catch Frightening Flicks at Riverviews Artspace

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Jump-start the fearful season and your inner film critic with a viewing of “Dawn of the Dead” on October 18; doors open at 7 p.m. for this unique event where Ken Faraoni leads discussions about the cultural and historical influences in classic movies. Be sure to return on October 28 for a screening of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” complete with live cast. Come dressed as your favorite character and keep this Riverviews’ tradition alive while enjoying refreshments, prop bags and prizes.

More information on the Riverviews Artspace website.

2. Break a Scary Sweat

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Don your best cycle-friendly costume and join the 2nd Annual Halloween Ride and after party at Bikes Unlimited. The official costume ride starts at 5:30 on October 20 and goes for a few leisurely miles along the Black Water Creek Trail before going back to Bikes Unlimited for music, beer, and food. Kids and adults welcome! Bring your most creative costume for a chance to win a prize!

More information on the 2nd Annual Halloween Ride event page.

3. Go Zombie for a Good Cause

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If you can’t get enough of “The Walking Dead,” then this is the event for you when the undead will takeover Main Street once again for the 7th Annual Zombie Walk on October 21. Try your hand at creating the best and most authentic gory disguise for a chance to win one of the top prizes, awarded to both kids and adults! Bring a canned food item to benefit the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank or a cash donation for the Lynchburg Dog Park.

More information on the 7th Annual Zombie Walk Facebook page.

4) Dash with the Monsters

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Grab your kids and your best costumes for the Monster Mash Dash on the Percival’s Island trail this Saturday, October 21. With both a one mile fun run and a traditional 5k, everyone has a reason to come out. Be one of the first 50 registrants to nab a free pumpkin from the Downtown YMCA!

More information on the Monster Mash Dash website.

5) Scare Up Some Ghosts

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Few things evoke the eeriness of Halloween like a tried-and-true Ghost Walk. Join an evening tour on October 26, 27, or 28 and walk the storied streets of the Diamond Hill Historic District. With a knowledgeable guide from the Lynchburg Historical Foundation, you’ll be able to envision the lives and stories of those who called these streets home in days gone by. Start your adventure at the Lewis & Clark duplex (416-418 Washington Street) at 6 p.m. sharp—tickets are first come, first served!

More information on The Ghosts of Historic Lynchburg event page.

6) Dance Your Fears Away

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Dance the night away at the 17th Annual Ugly Bug Ball, one of the most enjoyable ways to celebrate Halloween and support a great cause at Amazement Square’s largest fundraiser. This year’s theme is all about childhood dreams—dubbed “When I Grow Up”—so choose the best costume that represents the imaginary adventures of your younger self. Held on October 27, this one-of-a-kind event includes dinner and dancing with a live band plus a live and silent auction.

More information about the Ugly Bug Ball on the website.

7) Party at the waterfront

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How strong is your costume game? Because this year’s party at The Water Dog offers prizes for Best Couple or Group costume, Most Creative, and Scariest costume plus “rad swag” for participating. Whether or not you win, the night still promises “to probably break the internet,” so be sure you don’t miss the 2nd Annual Apocalyptic Halloween Bash on October 28.

More party details can be found on the event page.

8) Kick It Back for an 80s Concert

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Kickoff the Warehouse Concert Series with a “Back to the 80s” themed costume party on October 31. Enjoy a night of listening to Love Canon—an 80s bluegrass cover band—complete with themed drinks and costume prizes. Tickets are $15 in advance; doors open at 7 p.m., and the music starts at 8.

More information on the Academy’s event page.

Shredded: Upcycling with Skateboards

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Jeff Gray remembers skateboarding in a downtown parking garage in the 1990s. In his teenage opinion, the relatively deserted area seemed as good a place as any to skate and hang out with friends. When someone broke a skateboard, they could just throw it in a heap on one of the fire escapes. Eventually, dozens of boards piled up there.

Years later, after moving away from Lynchburg and then returning, Jeff noticed that the old pile of boards was long gone.

With that memory in mind, Jeff offered customers a credit on a new board in his skateboarding and bike shop—Scene 3—on Main Street, if they brought in a broken one. At first, these old boards ended up in a new throwaway pile, but the waste bothered Jeff. Until, one day, he had an idea. What if he could upcycle the seemingly useless boards into something new? He pulled off the sticky grip tape, and began working with the veneers. He started small for his first upcycled creation making a simple keychain.

“A friend who’s a graphic designer stopped by and said, ‘That’s cool…but you should make it do something,’” Jeff recalls.

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So, he crafted a keychain that was also a bottle opener.

“I realized you could make things out of broken skateboards, and it sort of exploded from there,” he said. “It's cool to think of the potential that lies in each broken skateboard to become something awesome again. New ideas are often formed when I am in the process of making something else.”

Today, Jeff uses the thin layers of maple in skateboards to create key chains, coasters, jewelry, desk accessories, and more through 

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his Scene 3 Designs business.

“I really enjoy the process of creating something, not just cutting it out with a bandsaw,” Jeff explains. “…I also like figuring out why something doesn’t work. I enjoy the journey.”

Jeff began skateboarding as a teenager, which is also when he discovered the joy of making things. He remembers expanding the half-pipe his Dad had made at their house for skateboarding.  

Jeff brought Scene 3 to 1107 Main Street after his former store in Forest was destroyed in a fire in 2009. “I saw a lease sign on Main Street, and I knew that’s where I wanted to be,” he said. “I really liked the vibe of Downtown. Things were happening; people were opening shops and restaurants.”

And Jeff has enjoyed watching Downtown Lynchburg transform in the years since he joined in.

“I’m very happy Downtown; it’s a tight-knit community of business owners and loft owners. It’s an active and vibrant scene,” he said.

He enjoys having visitors wander into his shop and discovering something more than they expected.

“A lot of people walk in and are excited to see that we’re the place that makes stuff out of old skateboards,” he said.

Jeff also likes the fact that he’s recycling and reducing waste because estimates show that approximately 2 million skateboards are thrown in the trash each year in the United States.

“Skateboards mean different things to different people,” Jeff explains. “Sometimes you go on an epic trip out of town, and you break a board, so you hang it up to remember that trip….All the decks I gather, they have all these memories stored inside. It’s kind of cool to turn them into something else. Their memories live on.”

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Downtown Lynchburg: Where the Makers Are

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Downtown Lynchburg
Downtown Lynchburg

Lynchburg has plenty of shopping options, but for those in the market for something unique and skillfully crafted, Downtown Lynchburg is the place to go. Only along Main Street will you find a local jeweler who has forged wedding bands and family heirlooms for more than 80 years. Only at the Lynchburg Community Market will you find a family working in the early morning hours to turn out fresh bread and pastries for their loyal customers.

These artisans, and so many more, are waiting to help you find the one-of-a-kind wares and services our Downtown businesses provide.

For these reasons, we are thrilled to unveil our brand new series—Downtown Lynchburg: Where the Makers Are. Each short film will introduce you to a different Downtown-based artisan or business, with an up-close-and-personal look at the innovation, creativity, and effort that goes into their work.

In bringing these stories to the spotlight, we hope to provide a sense of the community and spirit that is found in Downtown Lynchburg. Our makers are wildly talented and equally passionate about our Downtown district, both in growing it and making it ever more accessible to our city. A purchase from one of our Downtown businesses is an investment in this community and a vote of confidence for our neighbors.

If you haven’t ventured Downtown in a while, then you’re bound to be pleasantly surprised. Several brand new restaurants, shops, services, and galleries have opened in the last year alone—just further evidence of all there is to discover.

So, we hope you enjoy this series as much as we have enjoyed putting it together! And we hope these stories inspire you to visit Downtown Lynchburg—it’s where the makers are.

Join Our Team

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DEVELOPMENT AND ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

Application Deadline: Tuesday, August 29, 2017

General Position Overview:
Downtown Lynchburg Association is looking for a part-time Development and Administrative Assistant to manage the day-to-day fundraising and administrative functions of the organization. We are looking for someone who LOVES downtown, enjoys a fast-paced work environment, and can hit the ground running. This is a part-time 20-25 hours per week position.

Required Skills and Abilities:

  • Highly organized with effective time management skills
  • Extremely attentive to detail
  • Highly motivated and a collaborative team player
  • Excellent interpersonal, oral, and written communication skills
  • Proficiency in MS Office Products (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
  • Ability to work independently and to manage multiple projects simultaneously

Preferred Skills and Abilities

  • Proficiency in donor management software
  • Experience with email marketing, specifically MailChimp
  • Experience with WordPress
  • Valid driver's license, personal transportation

Principle Duties

  • Process donations and prepare acknowledgement letters and other correspondence
  • Maintain individual and corporate donor files
  • Create fundraising reports
  • Conduct preliminary research on prospective donors and fundraising tactics
  • Write and distribute email, letters and forms
  • Order office supplies, maintain files, and assist with day-to-day operational needs

 Experience and Education Requirements

  • 2 years of development and/or administrative experience
  • Bachelor’s degree from a four-year institution preferred 

How to apply: Send your resume, cover letter, and at least three professional references to ashley@downtownlynchburg.com. Applications will not be accepted without all three. No calls, please. 

About Downtown Lynchburg Association
Downtown Lynchburg Association a non-profit organization located in the heart of Lynchburg. Through marketing initiatives, public space improvements, business engagement programs, cultural events, and more, we have and will continue to contribute to the establishment of a strong and vibrant downtown district. Downtown Lynchburg Association continues to be the voice and ambassador for downtown Lynchburg, promoting the cultural resources and business community of downtown. 

What is a Master Plan?

There's been a lot of talk recently about the new Downtown Lynchburg Master Plan...but what exactly is it and why is it so important? We put together a little Q&A to help you understand the purpose of a master plan and what it will help specifically accomplish in Downtown Lynchburg!

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What is a master plan?

A master plan is a document that essentially tells us where we are, where we want to go, and how we should get there. First, a master plan shows how a community currently exists, and calls out strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement.

Next, it establishes a long-range vision (typically ranging from 10 to 20 years out) based on community input and planning expertise, and then sets goals to work towards that vision. Most importantly, the plan should outline the path to turn the goals it sets for a community into physical reality, with justification and actions for each step as we move from the current condition toward the envisioned future.

Why create a master plan?

Master plans form the basis for policy decisions. When considering land use changes, transportation matters, parking strategy, infrastructure improvements, and essentially any other decisions about a community, the plan will be the go-to source for guidance.  Although it can be created at any time, a master plan often precedes or accompanies major infrastructure projects. Design improvements are more easily implemented and cost-effective when completed along with functional improvements, such as redesigning a streetscape in conjunction with a waterline replacement.

What is the context for a master plan in Downtown Lynchburg?

Downtown Lynchburg’s first master plan was adopted by City Council in 2001. Despite downtown’s rich history of commerce and trade, much of the office, retail, housing, and entertainment markets had declined. Like many downtown communities across America, Lynchburg needed to spark interest and revitalization to bring people back to the area.

At that time, downtown had a high vacancy rate, very little residential living space, and only a handful of attractors to bring people to the area. That plan called for public investment in a few key areas, such as the 9thand 12thStreet corridors, Jefferson Street, and Bluffwalk, which has spurred a surge of private investment, bringing many more residential units, public events, restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues. Given the improvements and growth seen in Downtown Lynchburg, coupled with the ongoing waterline and streetscape project, now is the time to build upon the successes of the previous plan and establish a new vision for downtown.

Downtown Lynchburg is getting a brand new master plan this year! To learn more and lend your voice to the process, visit www.downtown2040.com.

Downtown Lynchburg Instagram Team

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We are looking for five enthusiastic Instagrammers for the new Downtown Lynchburg Instagram Team to showcase their knack for photo taking and love for our city. This team will be responsible for showing off Downtown Lynchburg through beautiful photos and smart captions to encourage Instagram users to come downtown and see all it has to offer.

Who Is This For?

If you are someone who is dedicated to your Insta feed AND to Downtown Lynchburg, we'd would love to hear from you. To be a successful Downtown Lynchburg Instagram Team member, you will be someone who loves spending time downtown, takes high quality photos, produces witty captions, and is obsessed with a good Instagram feed aesthetic.

How Will This Work?

We will gather the selected team together to determine what each member might want to focus on. We will go over what we are looking for, some parameters, goals, etc. Then, you will start posting on behalf of DLA to the Downtown Lynchburg Instagram account. Our goal three-five posts per week per team member. 

The Reward

This is a volunteer position, but a great way to give back to your community and to build your portfolio and resume. Plus, you will get some free Downtown Lynchburg swag and Riverfront Concert Series tickets!

The Commitment

This is a brand new pilot program, so for now, we are just asking you to commit to the team through the end of the year. 

How To Apply

Complete the application below. Submissions will be accepted until August 13th; and we will choose our new Insta team by September 1. 

Questions? Email info@downtownlynchburg.com. We look forward to working with you!

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Planning Your Downtown Wedding

Wedding season is in full swing, and engagement announcements have been blowing up our Facebook news feeds. After you put a ring on it, the next step is planning the dream wedding that is unique to you. Downtown Lynchburg offers a number of places and spaces that can help you have an exciting, urban wedding right here in your very own city. 

There are many different types of venues to accommodate any need — whether you’re looking for a place that can house out-of-town family, offer onsite catering, or fulfill your dream to get married with a rooftop view — Downtown really does have it all!

TRESCA ON 8TH
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Characterized by old style charm, this venue is the perfect destination for an elegant and sophisticated wedding. The building is located on 8th and Commerce streets and boasts floor to ceiling columns, refinished hardwood floors and a breathtaking staircase. All in all, the space extends more than 5,500 square feet and offers seating for up to 350 guests. If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, use one of Tresca’s event planners, or pick any caterer of your choice, to take some of the stress off the big day.

RIVERVIEWS ARTSPACE (CRADDOCK-TERRY GALLERY)
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Located in the heart of historic downtown, this gallery is open and inviting. With distressed brick walls and large glass windows, the venue offers plenty of natural light and a unique industrial charm. The gallery features a selection of art from nationally acclaimed artists, which gives the area an elegant and sophisticated atmosphere. Additionally, Riverviews offers the use of their projector, ceiling screen, tables and seating to accommodate a small or large group of wedding guests. Hire any catering company, or use the provided kitchen for your own food preparation. 

THE CRADDOCK TERRY HOTEL AND EVENT CENTER
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If you're in search of a one-stop-shop for all your wedding needs, the Craddock Terry Hotel is the place to go. Complete with a historic atmosphere and welcoming staff, the venue has plenty of space for a rehearsal dinner, ceremony, and reception. The hotel also offers a selection of rooms and onsite amenities, so out of town guests can feel perfectly at home during the wedding weekend. Luckily, the Craddock Terry is connected to Shoemakers Grille and offers their very own delicious catering for each bride. 

CITY VIEW BY THE JAMES
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Found on the the 20th floor of the Bank of the James building, this space offers a direct view of the James River and historic Lynchburg, making it the perfect backdrop for a picturesque wedding. Rent out this space for a destination-feeling wedding that's much more affordable and closer to home. 

TERRACE VIEW BY THE JAMES
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Worried about the weather? Book your wedding here to have the option of a simultaneously indoor and outdoor event. Up on the 8th floor of the building, it's the only venue in Lynchburg with this type of view of the mountains and an overlook of the city skyline.

*Both City View and Terrace View venues have tables, chairs, dinnerware, barware, and silverware. Additionally, each location allows for 200 table settings, 300 cocktail table settings. Be sure to try the catering option, which lets you build your own cuisine, with food and drinks specifically customized to your wedding theme. The venues even offer planner and event consultation, as well as free wedding setup. 

LOWER BLUFF WALK
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Always dreamed of an outdoor wedding? Rent out the Lower Bluff Walk and enjoy the beautiful walkways, overlooks and staircases the location provides. Don't worry about space, as the area can hold up to 1,500 people! Rent out the Lower Bluff Walk individually, or the whole Bluff Walk for a beautiful and scenic wedding. 

ACADEMY CENTER OF THE ARTS
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If you're looking for a very simple location that can be dressed up for any theme, check out this venue. Rent out the Warehouse Theatre, lobby, concessions area and kitchen to use for the event. It can accommodate up to 250 people, and allows for any choice of catering company, tables, chairs, staging and sound and lighting. 

THE GLASS HOUSE
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Located on Jefferson Street, this venue is the perfect destination for an urban wedding. It has a full courtyard with greenery and flowers, as well as outdoor tables and chairs. The indoor is also spacious and has a full sound system and lighting, as well as the option of a DJ for the event. In addition, it is very vendor friendly and has a catering kitchen, as well as a bar. If you're needing a little help, they offer partial setup, as well as full cleanup to help the day run a bit smoother. 

NINTH STREET PARLOR (PARLOR BALLROOM)

If you're on the hunt for a wedding location that will be sure to impress your guests, you won't go wrong with this venue. Complete with beautiful paintings and chandeliers, the ballroom features tall arches and original, historic architecture. The venue also has a large screen and state of the art sound system, perfect for any wedding. It’s also just a few blocks from the James River, the Lynchburg Courthouse and the main financial district, in case your guests would like to stay locally and explore all that historic Lynchburg has to offer.

HOLIDAY INN

With 17 event rooms that can accommodate up to 900 guests, this inn puts no limit on the possibilities for wedding fun. In fact, its 5,824 square foot ballroom is the largest in Central Virginia and can be transformed to fit any wedding theme. The hotel also offers in-house catering, complementary parking, and is in close proximity to the Lynchburg Regional Airport. Out-of-town guests are encouraged to book a room and stay the weekend to enjoy more of the local downtown area.

BONUS: WHERE TO FIND WEDDING ATTIRE DOWNTOWN
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CELEBRATION BRIDAL & FORMAL 

With high ceilings and original historic architecture, this boutique offers a unique dress shopping experience. The store is equipped with professionally trained stylists who work to customize their dresses to the specific wishes of each bride. Not only does the boutique partner with exclusive designers across the country to create their wedding gowns, but the store also offers tuxedo and suit rentals. 

CHURCH STREET BRIDAL

Looking for something a little more budget-friendly? Check out Church Street Bridal! They offer racks and racks of designer gowns from names such as Pnina Tornai, Demetrios, Monique Lhuillier, and countless more.  Most are priced at 10% of the original retail cost. 

GARRETT WAYNE EXQUISITE APPAREL

 Perhaps better known for its beautiful prom and special event dresses, this shop also sells a selection of bridesmaid dresses with embellishments and detailing. Don't see what you're looking for? Flip through a catalog and order your dream dress to the store! 

ABSOLUTE BRIDAL & FORMAL

This boutique specializes in being a one-stop-shop for all formal and bridal needs. Not only do they offer a variety of wedding dresses in various colors and styles, but they also have flower girl dresses, tuxedos, and bridesmaid dresses. 

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9 Places To Celebrate National Ice Cream Month in Downtown Lynchburg

It is almost July and summer is in full swing in Downtown Lynchburg — which means outdoor activities, plenty of sunshine, and of course lots of ice cream to help beat the heat!

Since July is National Ice Cream Month, we thought we’d put together a list of the best places to grab a sweet treat downtown. Because there is no such thing as too much ice cream, especially in the summer, right? 

1. Ice Cream Dream

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Calling all ice cream enthusiasts! This parlor has something for everyone — whether you’re a chocolate lover, a fruit fanatic or a fan of fun flavors like birthday cake and cotton candy. Feeling a bit more adventurous? Check out their all-new rolled ice cream, made right behind the glass. Try the “Oreo Overload” for a total chocolate explosion, or the “Campfire” flavor, complete with crumbled S’mores Pop-Tarts, marshmallows, and graham crackers. If you're craving a walk down memory lane, the shop even serves a rolled ice cream with all the childhood favorites, including fruit loops and rainbow sprinkles.

2. Mrs. Joy's Absolutely Fabulous Treats 

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Perhaps best known for their donuts and beautifully decorated cakes, Mrs. Joy's is expanding their menu this summer to offer some refreshing twists on classic bakery items. Order the ice cream sandwich — a choice of brownie or cookie — packed with chocolate, black cherry, mint chocolate chip or vanilla ice cream. Also be on the lookout for the newest addition, the whoopie pie ice cream sandwich, coming soon!

3. Bootleggers

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There nothing quite like a classic ice cream sundae, and Bootleggers makes one of the best downtown. Drop by and order the chocolate, strawberry or caramel for a refreshing treat that’s perfect any time of the day. Looking to try something new? Order the vanilla ice cream bowl, served with deep fried Oreo cookies, for a unique texture and flavor that will keep you coming back for more.

4. Altus Chocolate

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When it comes to gelato, Altus Chocolate is a master at recreating the authentic Italian dessert. The shop makes a variety of unique flavors, including white chocolate raspberry, lemon blueberry, sea salt caramel and fresh coconut. Each gelato is made with all-natural ingredients, and free from preservatives and colorings. Enjoy a scoop in-shop or on the go for the perfect solution to any craving.

5. THE DEPOT GRILLE

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Visit the Depot Grille for an all-American ice cream experience. The restaurant borders the James River and is the perfect stop after a walk or bike ride downtown. Drop in, sit at the soda shop counter and enjoy a dish of chocolate or vanilla ice cream. Want something a little different? Try one of their milkshake combinations to help cool off, or a bowl of sherbet for a fun and fruity blast of nostalgia on a hot summer day.

6. The Water Dog

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If you’re in need of a treat that is comforting and familiar, the Water Dog has you covered. The restaurant serves up some seriously delicious hand scooped ice cream in vanilla and chocolate flavors, as well as salted caramel. Enjoy a bowl of ice cream on the outdoor patio with a beautiful view of the James River, and a side of freshly baked in-house cookies.

7. White Hart Café

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Looking for a coffee fix that won’t leave you completely melted in the summer heat? Drop by the café to try a famous “Lynch-Vegas Affogato.” It’s made with scoops of rich vanilla ice cream, and covered in house made espresso. The dessert is layered with puffs of whipped cream and drizzled in Ghirardelli chocolate syrup. Trust us, this treat is as good as it looks. 

8. Hot & Cold CafÉ

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If you're craving something that is especially fresh and summery, try a bowl of homemade mango ice cream (left) from the Hot & Cold Café. Made with real mangoes, almond milk and coconut, the dessert is perfectly creamy and drizzled with a sweet mango puree. The café also offers a pistachio and almond ice cream, as well as a mango kulfi (right) for vegan guests. 

9. Crisp

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Looking for a healthier alternative? Crisp’s smoothie bowl — a sweet treat that is just about as satisfying as ice cream, but is actually chock-full of nutrition — is about to become your new best friend. Choose from four different pre-made bowl combinations, like the mixed berry, banana and peanut butter, or the green bowl packed with fruits and vegetables. If you’re feeling bold, try the “build your own” option to customize a bowl that is as colorful and delicious as you can imagine!

15 New Happenings in Downtown Lynchburg

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Here’s the latest on new developments and openings in Downtown Lynchburg!

It doesn’t take long to see that Downtown Lynchburg has been a hub of activity lately. Revitalization and rehabilitation is happening all throughout the district from lofts and restaurants on Jefferson, to road expansions and reopenings along Church and Main. 

We did some digging to bring you the latest and greatest about the downtown district — see what you may have missed and be sure keep up with our weekly posts online via Facebook and Instagram. #DowntownLynchburg.

1) Dublin 3 Coffeehouse is serving up serious coffee.

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Jefferson Street continues to develop at lightning pace with the latest opening of this coffeehouse in mid-April. Stop by to check out the awesome rough stone interior, and stay for a single origin pour-over (MudHouse, CounterCulture and Lamplighter are served) to see why people are already raving. With free WiFi and great hours, we foresee a lot of productivity and good conversations happening here.

2) The Emerald Stone Grille is Downtown’s hottest new restaurant.

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If you haven’t stepped into this unique eatery on Jefferson Street, make plans to head over soon. Featuring rustic decor and lighting, the grille offers a multi-cuisine menu that gives guests a truly authentic experience. The restaurant specializes in handcrafted cocktails, a variety of appetizing starters, and entrees including duck, lamb, and steak. Be sure to take a stroll along the river after dinner for a truly relaxing evening downtown. 

3) CRISP is back and better than ever.

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After months of renovations, this downtown eatery, offering healthy, whole food has reopened in a bright and beautiful space on the corner of Church and 12th. Grab a Thai wrap, some freshly squeezed juice and cozy up to the front window from a prime view of downtown. You can find their current menu — and expanded hours, yes! — on their Facebook page.

4) Experience life in a 19th century building at The Piedmont Flour Mill Lofts.

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Downtown's most recently completed housing project is the truly unique Piedmont Flour Mill Lofts, giving you the option to literally live in a piece of local history. Dating back to the early-1800s, the building now houses multiple, high-end units complete with original wooden walls and updated with modern finishes. Each space is unique in layout, and most have views high above Jefferson Street, giving you a prime view of the river, passing trains and the bustle of downtown life.

5) Coming soon: The Wills-Camp Lofts will feature a historic, yet modern aesthetic. 

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Located right on Main Street, the building plans to offer five different loft styles for residents to choose from. Each suite will display original hardwoods and metal ceilings that date back to 1880, as well as contemporary lighting and a modern kitchen. Choose to settle in one of these lofts and you will have a one-of-a-kind living experience, complete with a beautiful view of the city. 

7) The 11th Street Lofts enter the downtown scene.

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The construction of a three-story building of single and two bedroom units recently began downtown. Located right on the Bluffwalk, each room will have a private balcony and a towering view of the James River, and will be in close proximity to many of the riverfront businesses and restaurants. 

8) The Glass House is up and running and ready to host your event.

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Since its opening last year, The Glass House has brought a variety of bands and musical acts to the streets of downtown. It has also become one of the most sought-after spaces for private events and weddings. Located on Jefferson Street, it is the perfect venue for those looking for an exciting, urban venue in the middle of the downtown action. 

9) Lynchburg Community Market is still up and running.

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Don’t let the yellow tape and cones confuse you: everyone’s favorite market is still open in the midst of the area’s current construction work. Thankfully, the work being done is helping to reinforce and strengthen the parking deck, which means the market will be safer and more accessible to guests for years to come.

10) Riverfront Park promises a summer of events.

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Before long, the days of an empty Riverfront Park will be a distant memory. Beginning with Lynchstock and continuing throughout the summer, you’ll now find events being held riverside every weekend. From events like the first ever Lynchburg Food Fest to Movies in the Park to the monthly Riverfront Park Concert Series, you’ll be making this your new go-to weekend destination.

11) The Barking Dog will be serving up breakfast in the near future.

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Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for this fun breakfast joint, slated to open around late summer. The latest installment from the Parry Restaurant Group — of Waterstone Pizza, Shoemakers, El Jefe, and Bootleggers fame — will feature a vintage diner-vibe, serving breakfast classics on the corner of 10th and Commerce. We can’t wait try it ourselves!

12) Windblown Apothecary to be offering holistic shopping by summer’s end.

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Downtown will be just a bit cooler, and hopefully healthier, with the launch of this new storefront coming to Church Street. Brought to us by the owners of Live Trendy or Die, the store will supply locals with “a brick-and-mortar source for healthy living that caters to healing and fauna.” With a planned opening for this fall, the shop will include succulents, crystals and vegan-dyed clothing. The owners also hope to collaborate with local florists so downtown residents can easily pick up fresh arrangements each day.

13) Grassroots Local Market coming soon.

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With hopes to bring downtown its own dedicated grocery space — complete with local and organic offerings — this Lynchburg co-op is closing in on its final round of funding. Be sure to look for them to open within the near future, right on Main Street, and visit their site to find out why 700 others have already purchased memberships.

14) Amazement Square is undergoing a $5 million expansion. 

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With a growing demand for educational programs in Lynchburg, Amazement Square is adding 17,000 square feet onto their current location. The new space will offer five classrooms, more space for traveling and in-house exhibitions and theater performances and a designated workshop for design staff. They also plan to stabilize the nearby train tunnel for a time travel exhibit that is sure to add to the incredible learning experience found at Amazement Square.

15) The Virginian is poised for greatness.

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The completion of this massive restoration and renovation — one that will restore a historic, circa 1913 landmark, while also promoting local business — is slated for the end of 2017. For now, check out the latest photos of the work that is underway, and be looking for the hotel boutique, conference center and roof top restaurant to send out updates as progress moves forward!

BONUS: Work on the The Historic Academy of Music Theatre continues!

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Restoration of one of Lynchburg's most notable historic treasures is coming along. The 1905 Academy of Music Theatre has been silent since 1958, but is finally poised to reopen in 2018, creating a beautiful 800-seat venue right here in Downtown Lynchburg. This one is a game changer!

PLUS: Lynch’s Landing has officially rebranded as the Downtown Lynchburg Association.

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We have an updated name, logo, and plenty of new programs and events planned for this upcoming year. Learn about our recent changes and the reasons behind them here.

As always, thanks for reading and keep up with us on social media: now the Downtown Lynchburg Association on Facebook and still @DowntownLynchburg on Instagram.

Share your favorite discoveries and adventures with us by tagging #DowntownLynchburg. 

News Alert: Downtown Lynchburg Association Receives $25k in Grant Funding

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Lynchburg, VA — Governor Terry McAuliffe granted $25,000 in Virginia Main Street funding to the Downtown Lynchburg Association (DLA) Thursday toward an improved wayfinding system and new marketing efforts for downtown Lynchburg. DLA’s ultimate goal with this project is to increase visitation to downtown Lynchburg and to improve the visitor experience. 

“We are pleased to receive support from the Virginia Main Street Program for this important project,” said Ashley Kershner, DLA Executive Director. “By shining a light on all the amazing things happening in downtown, and helping visitors to easily navigate the city, we are ensuring that downtown Lynchburg is an enticing, welcoming, and memorable destination."

This project will work to accomplish three goals. First, a new Downtown Lynchburg brand will be created that speaks to its new modern identity while giving a nod to the district’s rich history. Second, a new system of wayfinding and parking signage, using the new brand, will be created and installed throughout downtown, helping visitors to better navigate the area. To complement the signage, new downtown maps and informational materials will be developed for use in print and online.

In addition, DLA will launch a marketing campaign to attract new and returning visitors to downtown, by focusing on the area’s unique and exciting mix of restaurants, shops, attractions, public spaces, events, and services.

“It is an exciting time for downtown Lynchburg! As downtown continues to rapidly revitalize and grow, the Downtown Lynchburg Association has stepped up to the challenge of supporting downtown growth through several new and important projects activities,” said David Cook, DLA Board Member. “This grant will go a long way to support initiatives like wayfinding and marketing to make downtown a great place to live, work, and play.”

These efforts will be especially important this year as construction continues in downtown Lynchburg. This project is meant, in part, to ensure that Lynchburg area residents and tourists continue to visit downtown during the Downtown Utility Replacement and Main Street Bridge projects.  

The Downtown Investment Grants, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), provide each locality with plans, programs and strategies for growth, in order to encourage revitalization in their more historic areas.

DHCD originally adopted the Main Street program in 1985, to prevent Virginia’s downtown areas from economic collapse. The program is comprised of 28 designated communities and more than 70 Commercial District Affiliates. Over the last five years, districts in Virginia have used the grant to generate $159 million in private investment, and create 4,400 jobs.

Lynchburg is one of the seven Virginia locations given a portion of the $95,000 project grant. The designated locations include the towns of Culpeper, Marion, South Boston and Wytheville, as well as the cities of Fredericksburg, Lynchburg and Staunton. The grant will allow each district to make significant progress on their design or economic vitality projects. 

 

Movies in the Park is coming to Downtown!

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Downtown Lynchburg Association is excited to announce that we are partnering with Parks and Recreation to bring you 3 nights of FREE movies under the stars in Riverfront Park this summer. Grab a blanket, gather your friends and family, and head downtown to join the fun. Concessions will be available for purchase at the Riverfront Movies in the Park. 

“Back to the Future Part 1” presented by Downtown Lynchburg Association

Saturday, May 27, 2017  |  Riverfront Park
Movies in the Park Lynchburg

Marty McFly, a 17-year-old high school student, is accidentally sent 30 years into the past in a time-traveling DeLorean invented by his close friend, the maverick scientist Doc Brown.

This film is rated PG and runs for 1 hour and 56 minutes. Each movie begins at dusk and is closed-captioned.

Food Trucks:

- Uppercrust Pizza

- Uprooted

- Pok-E-Joe’s BBQ

- Nomad Coffee Co.

- MayLynn’s Creamery

Volunteer
Thomas Road Baptist Church
Lynchburg Movies in the Park

“The Princess Bride” presented by the Downtown Lynchburg Association

Saturday, July 29, 2017  |  Riverfront Park
Movies in the Park Lynchburg

While home sick in bed, a young boy’s grandfather reads him a story called The Princess Bride.

This film is rated PG and runs for 1 hour and 38 minutes. Each movie begins at dusk and is closed-captioned.

Food Trucks:

- Uppercrust Pizza

- Taco Shark

- Uprooted

- Pok-E-Joe’s BBQ

- Nomad Coffee Co.

- Mama Crockett’s Cider Donuts

- MayLynn’s Creamery

Volunteer

“Space Jam” presented by Downtown Lynchburg Association

Saturday, September 23, 2017  |  Riverfront Park
Movies in the Park Lynchburg

In a desperate attempt to win a basketball match and earn their freedom, the Looney Tunes seek the aid of retired basketball champion, Michael Jordan.

This film is rated PG and runs for 1 hours and 23 minutes. Each movie begins at dusk and is closed-captioned.

Food Trucks:

- Uppercrust Pizza

- T & E Catering

- Nomad Coffee Co.

- MayLynn’s Creamery

Volunteer
Thomas Road Baptist Church
Movies in the Park Lynchburg
Movies in the Park Lynchburg
Lynchburg Parks and Recreation

Why Lynchburg is So Awesome—In Our Humble Opinion

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By now you may have heard: Lynchburg ranked in the nation’s Top 10 cities with the highest sense of well-being. Basically, these are the cities where people are the happiest and healthiest.

Out of 189 communities, the Gallup-Healthways 2016 Community Well-Being Rankings ranked us number eight. Plus, we were one of only two Virginia cities to make it into the top 10; our close neighbor, Charlottesville, came in at #5. Like them, we have a thriving downtown, which we think serves both as an anchor and a litmus test for the well being of a community on the whole.

Here’s why we think Downtown Lynchburg makes us all a bit more “happy, healthy and wise.”

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blog 1

Health Matters—mind, body, & soul

Downtown Lynchburg is a fitness aficionado’s dream come true. Ever tried walking from Jefferson up to Main via 9th Street? You’ll know what we mean (we are the Hill City after all).

And for the truly dedicated, you can keep on going right up the 139 steps of Monument Terrace where you’ll be rewarded with an Instagram-worthy view of the #DowntownLynchburg area.

Rent a bike for the day and take in the views of the James River from the RiverWalk Trail. Or, find out for yourself why Lynchburg’s been nationally recognized as a RRCA Runner Friendly Community and explore the Blackwater Creek trails.

Of course, health is much more than trail running—it’s mind, body and soul. So, challenge your mind with a trip to Amazement Square, our national award winning kid’s museum, or try out one of several yogastudios that are popping up throughout the downtown district.

Fuel your body with some great local fare from the farmers and vendors at the Lynchburg Community Market.  Plus, check out our food truck scene, usually housed around 12th and Main. You can even enjoy Downtown Lynchburg’s first and only salad and juice bar at Crisp, newly opened in a larger location at the corner of Church and 12th.

Ever heard of Live Healthy Lynchburg? They contribute to the promotion of races like the Percival’s Island 5 Mile Race produced by Lynchburg Road Runners Club that gives you great views of Downtown Lynchburg and the James River. The list goes on and on, but don’t forget this: Downtown Lynchburg makes it easy to be healthy and active. Find some more ideas to get out and about here.

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A Thriving Social Scene—seriously!

With the weather (finally!) warming up, we can’t wait to get back out to some of our favorite Downtown Lynchburg restaurants offering al fresco dining. And since last year, even more restaurants have popped up—grab some drinks and enjoy the expansive view of Riverfront Park at The Water Dog or check out the Emerald Stone Grille—Jefferson Street's newest restaurant, open until midnight during the week and until 2am on the weekend!

Don't miss First Fridays, a one-of-a-kind community experience offering free admission to art exhibits and museums throughout the downtown area, like Riverviews Artspace where you can find exhibits, co-op galleries, artist's spaces, special events, and more! Bring the whole family and gain an appreciation for the finer things in life.

Downtown Lynchburg also offers plenty of cultural options throughout the year, from our Academy Center of the Arts, where classes and shows are available, to the Renaissance Theatre—Lynchburg's oldest community theatre—to the Opera on the James, now going into their second decade of providing high-class entertainment to the entire Southwest Virginia region.

And don’t miss the once a year events that really set us apart—Lynchstock (coming downtown for the first time this spring), the first ever Lynchburg Food Fest, the Riverfront Park Concert Series, and Get Downtown, our largest, annual outdoor festival that fills the streets of downtown with vendors, activities, food, drinks and more.

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blog 3

A Strong Sense of Purpose—people care about their community

History matters here. We know where we come from and take that with us into future endeavors. Take the Lynchburg Museum, for example, housed in our old courthouse and now overlooking all the downtown happenings, acting as a beacon to remind us where we came from.

We love projects that carry weight and purpose. The Virginian is a prime symbol of these efforts, marrying history and business development all in one location. By early 2018, the storied building will once again house community members and visitors alike with boutique hotel accommodations, a restaurant, and a rooftop area.

The community has also rallied to bring other icons back to life like our historic Academy Center of the Arts, a decades-long project finally nearing completion.

Our history permeates the Downtown. You can spend time selecting fresh produce and local wares from our 234-year-old Community Market or strolling the cobblestones of Jefferson Street where you can spot new businesses, lofts and venues popping up all the time.

With all of these great qualities, it’s easy to see why Lynchburg is not just a place for lovers but is also a place so many of us love.

So tell us, why do you love living here? And what are your favorite things about Downtown Lynchburg? Share your discoveries with #DowntownLynchburg—we can’t wait to see them!