Thursday, April 6, 2017

An Ode to Spring

Daffodils bloom mean springtime is near
Walk outside and soon you will hear

Birds of all colors singing and taking flight
Singing springtime songs both day and night.

Regal magnolia with rose colored bloom
Brightening winter's dark and lonely gloom.

Pink and white trees dot the woods here and there
Boughs swaying gently -- spring is in the air.

God's palette of colors is everywhere you look
In the trees and the flowers and mountains and brooks.

Oh spring please come quickly and push winter away
There's lots of places to see on spring's warm sunny days!

-- Photos and poem by Sandy Wallace, Spring 2017

Friday, November 4, 2016

Johnson Farm: Rustic Beauty off the Blue Ridge Parkway

Whether you're looking for a rustic location for a photo shoot or an easy family-friendly day hike off the Blue Ridge Parkway, Johnson Farm is the perfect destination.

Click the following link for more Blue Ridge Parkway hikes: Hiking Off the Blue Ridge Parkway

Johnson Farm is located just off the Blue Ridge Parkway at MP 85.9 near Bedford, Va.

There are two ways to access the 1.5 mile Johnson Farm Loop Trail. If you park at the Peaks of Otter Visitor Center on the west side of the Parkway, a short connector trail at the end of the sidewalk leads to the trailhead.

You can also access the Johnson Farm Trail from the Peaks of Otter Lodge near the Abbott Lake Loop Trail.

Park at the lodge, walk toward the Parkway and go through the tunnel that passes below the Parkway to get to the trailhead.

Follow the signs to the Johnson Farm Loop Trail. You'll often find hiking sticks beside the trailhead sign.

Follow the trail through two open fields. Look for the sign identifying the site of the Hotel Mons.

The Hotel Mons, as shown in this vintage postcard image from 1933, was a popular vacation resort located in the Peaks of Otter area.

The trail follows "an old-time country lane" to the top of the hill.

Choose black and white or color format for your photos -- or shoot some of each.

A sign located near the farmhouse identifies each of the outbuildings and tells more about the construction and restoration of the Johnson Farmhouse.

From late May through October, park rangers are on site to share information about farm life during the Johnson Farm era.

The images below will help you plan your photo shoot at Johnson Farm.

Afterward, head to Lynchburg to check out 30 Amazing Lynchburg Photo Shoot Locations as shown in a previous blog on Central Virginia Blogger. Have a great day in Central Virginia!

Friday, October 21, 2016

30 Amazing Photo Shoot Locations in Lynchburg Virginia

Are you tired of taking family, couples or nature photos in the same old places? Are you looking for the perfect location for capturing the beauty of nature or a different site for fun photos? These locations in Lynchburg offer the best of natural and man-made backdrops in any season. 

1. The LOVEworks sculpture, located on Jefferson Street near the entrance to the Percival's Island Trail, is one of the most popular photo shoot locations in Lynchburg. Whether you're posing as a couple or with the entire family, the sculpture's outdoor location provides a backdrop of love to complement the beauty of nature.

2. Percival's Island is a good setting for individual or group photos or for capturing nature. In addition to the bridge to the island, check out these locations on the island.

Line the kids up on the steps leading to the river or climb on the tree to use the river as a backdrop for your photos.

The rock retaining wall at the bottom of the steps is a favorite site for local photographers, especially during the 'golden hour' just after sunrise or just before sunset.

You'll find a tree to hug at Percival's Island -- as well as along other Lynchburg trails. All have signs stating "Please do hug the trees."

Head down to the James River for a few shots beside the water. This little sandy beach area is the perfect place to wade in the river.

3. Cross the river to Amherst County to Riveredge Park for awesome views of Lynchburg's skyline, including the Langley Fountain. You can also capture views of Lynchburg's skyline from the overlook at Percival's Island or the bridge from the island to Amherst County. 

4. Monument Terrace is a fixture in Downtown Lynchburg. The Doughboy statue, located on Church Street, depicts a typical World War I soldier. There are 139 steps leading to Court Street, where the Confederate statue stands in tribute to all who served in the Confederacy during the Civil War, At the base of Monument Terrace and on the landings along the way up the stairs, there are memorials and markers to those who gave their lives in the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War. There is also a POW-MIA Monument and a Purple Heart Monument. To meet real life local heroes, come to Monument Terrace on any Friday at noon. The "Support Our Troops" rally has taken place every week since November 2001 as a show of support for military members serving around the world. 

5. Gather your extended family on the steps of Lynchburg Museum at the Old Court House, the perfect photo setting for families with longtime local roots.

6. Point of Honor, located at 112 Cabell Street, was originally built for Dr. George Cabell in the early 1800s on a tract of land cleared from a wilderness area where Monacan Indians once camped. You'll find a crowd at the Point of Honor Christmas Open House, held the first Sunday in December.

7. Amazement Square Rightmire Children's Museum, located at 27 9th Street, opened in 2001 in the former J.W. Wood Building. Let the kids pose outside the museum or inside at one of the many displays for a fun family photo.

8. Across Jefferson Street from Amazement Sqaure, the CityArts Mosaic Mural captures the history of Lynchburg from its early days through present time.

Each mural panel depicts a different period in time or section of the Lynchburg area. The ceramic tile mural was created by volunteers, under the guidance of professional artists. 

Each piece of the mural was hand placed by size, shape and color. Pose in front of your favorite Lynchburg landmark or capture the mural itself in a series of a dozen photos.

9. The Anne Spencer House and Garden Museum, located at 1313 Pierce Street, was home to Harlem Renaissance poet Anne Spencer and her husband. The gardens are especially beautiful in springtime and early summer.

10. Head to the intersection of Main and Commerce streets for a selfie with the Historic Lynchburg "Virginia Main Street" sign. In the background, you'll see the mural on the side of Farmers Seed & Supply Company. Afterward, head up Main Street to capture some of Lynchburg's architecture. 

11. The Bluff Walk connects Jefferson and Commerce streets between 9th and 12th with a series of walkways, overlooks, trails and stairs. Grab your camera and choose your favorite spot along the Bluff Walk for photos. 

12. Old City Cemetery, located off 5th Street at 401 Taylor Street, is a nature lover's delight. In springtime, there are many trees in bloom.

There's plenty of fall colors at Old City Cemetery too, especially in the Confederate section. Although professional photographers need advance permission to take photographs at Old City Cemetery, non-commercial photography is permitted at any time.

The largest public collection of antique and heirloom roses in Virginia is located at Old City Cemetery. The cemetery is filled with visitors each year during Mother's Day weekend for the annual Rose Walk, when cuttings from many of the heirloom roses are available for purchase.

Across from the Chapel, the old swing hanging from a pecan tree is a favorite location for photos of children. It's easy to capture smiles as a child swings back and forth.

13. Take a short drive up 5th Street, turn on Federal Street and follow the signs to Hollins Mill Park, located at 521 Hollins Mill Road. The dam is a favorite location for photography.

14. The Hollins Mill tunnel can be accessed from a variety of trails in Lynchburg. The former N&W train tunnel is part of Lynchburg's extensive 'rails to trails' system. Located along the Blackwater Creek Bikeway near MM 2.25, the tunnel may also be accessed from Hollins Mill Park or by follwoing Kemper Station Trail or Point of Honor Trail to the Bikeway.

15. Riverside Park, located at 2238 Rivermont Avenue, is the second oldest park in Lynchburg. There's beauty in every season at Riverside Park, so bring your camera and snap a few shots.

The gazebo at Riverside Park is in bloom from spring through fall, making a pretty backdrop for your family photos.

If you want a site for vintage photos, check out the Miller-Claytor House, located near the playground area.

The ADA compliant playground is a favorite site for kids of all ages. Let the kids pose on the train structure, hang from the monkey bars or line up along the train's railing.

There's also a sensory walk, drum circle area, and igloo-shaped play structure for the kids to enjoy while you add a few photos.

From May until October, the Sprayground is in operation daily for summertime photos made easy.

The older playground at Riverside Park is another fun place for family photos. Let everyone line up on the climbing structure for a cute family shot.

The Riverside Park Overlook is located at the back of the park, overlooking the James River. This site may be rented as a wedding venue, but it's also a great backdrop for photos during any season.

Alpine Trail was the first dedicated hiking trail in Lynchburg and remains one of the prettiest. One of the trailheads is located right beside the Overlook.

A recent addition to the historic train exhibit at Riverside Park is a shelter, built to protect the train from the effects of the elements. The new fencing makes it easier to see and photograph the train.

16. Randolph College is located a short distance from Riverside Park on Rivermont Avenue. There are many locations on campus that are perfect for photos.

The Dorothy Crandall Bliss Botanic Garden, most easily accessed from Norfolk Avenue, is one of the prettiest sites on the Randolph College campus.

17. If you or your children were born at Virginia Baptist Hospital, stop for a few photos in front of the hospital. There are also many other pretty places along Rivermont Avenue to take a few shots.

18. The Awareness Garden is located at the Ed Page Entrance to the Blackwater Creek Bikeway off Langhorne Road. From spring through early fall, there's something in bloom. During December, the Awarness Garden is lit up with colorful Christmas lights.

19. The Blackwater Creek Bikeway paved trail is perfect for riding bikes, walking the dog or hiking with kids. Gather the family on bikes for an active photo shoot.

20. Creekside Trail is one of the unpaved trails in the Lynchburg trail system. Suspension bridges cross Ivy Creek and Blackwater Creek in the section accessed from Langhorne Road, just across from The Farm Basket.

You can also access this section of Creekside Trail from the Blackwater Creek Bikeway and other locations around Lynchburg. From the Bikeway, take the first the Creekside Trail entrance, then turn right at the bottom of the hill instead of left. You'll find area trail runners on this section, which includes a boardwalk area that's beautiful in any season.

21. The newest LOVEworks sculpture in Lynchburg is located in the middle of the campus at Lynchburg College.

If there's an LC alum in your family, you may want photos at Shellenberger Field on Lynchburg College's campus.

Hopwood Hall is another great location at Lynchburg College for family photos. 

22. Peaks View Park offers many choices for photo sites, including the big red barn at the Ardmore Drive entrance to the park.

Pose on the bridge across Blackwater Creek or down beside the water for a fun photo.

The newly renovated lower playground features a tandem swing for parent and child or siblings to swing together, facing one another.

The upper playground is another great photo site with swings, slides and a climbing wall. The only problem is getting the kids to leave the park after playing.

23. The Fort Early Building is located at the intersection of Fort Avenue and Memorial Avenue. Step back in time with photos taken beside the cannon.

24. Catch some action shots at Tiny Town Golf on Timberlake Road.

25. Shoot photos outside or indoors at Putt-Putt Fun Center, also on Timberlake Road.

26. Take a stroll through Wyndhurst and stop a few places for photos.

27. The LU monogram rises above the city of Lynchburg. But have you ever been up there? Follow the road past Snowflex and take a short to the top for photos at the gazebo.

There's a big cross up above the monogram too.

There are many pretty locations on the Liberty University campus for photos too. This is at the Jerry Falwell Memorial and burial site.

You can't beat sunset photos of the Peaks of Otter taken from the deck at Snowflex.

The LU pedestrian bridge isn't located on campus, but it's a location few people think about when they plan to take photos. You can look down on the city -- or at least Wards Road -- from the top of the bridge.

28. John Lynch, the founding father of Lynchburg, is buried at Quaker Memorial Presbyterian Church. Check it out, especially if your family has been in Lynchburg for generations.

The church and South River Meeting House on Fort Avenue are historic sites and the architecture of both buildings is also a good background for photos.

There are many more historic sites in Lynchburg, including Sandusky House, located on Sandusky Drive just minutes away from Quaker Memorial. Follow the Civil War Trail signs around Lynchburg to find more historic sites.

29. Ivy Creek Park is Lynchburg's newest park. Located off Route 221 at 118 Clemmons Lake Place, Ivy Creek includes a small fishing and boating lake, fishing pier, concessions building, picnic areas, outdoor themed playground, walking and hiking trails.  

30. Seasonal photos are always fun. Smith's Pumpkin Patch on Fort Avenue is a wonderful location for fall photos. There are also several other area pumpkin patches, corn mazes and apple orchards that are great for fall photos, as well as many fall festivals. 

Choose a Christmas tree farm, pose beside your family's tree or head outdoors on a snowy day for winter photos. 

Head to an Easter egg hunt or a local garden or pose at your house or church in your Easter best for springtime photos.

Take a trip to the beach, river or Miller Park Pool for summertime shots. Of course, for many families there's no place like home, sweet home for taking family photos. 

There are many wonderful places located within an hour's drive of Lynchburg that are perfect for photographers too. One of our family's favorites is the Peaks of Otter Lodge. Stay tuned to Central Virginia Blogger for our next post on the best of Central Virginia photo shoot locations.