As a child, I couldn’t get enough of the Little House on the Prairie book series. I loved letting my imagination go back to “the olden days” as I read about Laura Ingalls’ life—getting oranges in her Christmas stocking, sleeping on a straw tick mattress, walking to the school house for daily lessons.
My childhood fascination for the past grew with me into adulthood—you’ll still find me reading historical fiction before bed.
So it’s no surprise that when I approached the Virginian Hotel on Church Street for our Lynchburg Living tour in May, I couldn’t stop myself from daydreaming about early 20th century life in the Hill City. Here I was, walking into the same building that travelers had visited more than 100 years ago—before my grandparents had even been born. And I couldn’t help but assume those travelers were just as excited to be inside this luxury hotel as I was.
From the grand opening in 1913 to a developer’s “crazy idea” a few years ago, our This City feature starting on page 45 gives you an in-depth look at the revival of the Virginian Hotel—with details you can’t experience just by walking around inside. I hope you will enjoy hearing little tidbits of history— including the perspective of a woman who lived there her entire childhood—and learning about the modern, local touches that set this hotel apart from your standard lodging experience, such as artwork from area artists and design elements from Central Virginia businesses.
History lovers will also want to flip to our Home feature on page 32 to see the amazing renovation work happening right now on Cabell Street. Local real estate agent Victoria Bartholomew and her family have a true passion for saving historic homes… and they are really, really good at it! We take you inside their latest project (it includes five properties—that’s right… five) and explain the pros and cons of bringing these gorgeous historic properties back to life.
Also in our Summer Issue—it’s wedding season! Hear what’s new in the wedding industry and see who brides themselves recommend for venues, makeup, rentals and more in our “Best of Bridal Picks” list. Plus, consider taking a journey on the region’s newly named Artisan Trail, jumping in the water with James River Adventures, or going “glamping” at a few regional destinations.
From history to recreation to art, Central Virginia truly has it all—for natives and visitors alike. I can see why the risk to restore the Virginian Hotel was worth it for all parties involved.
And while I often like to reflect on the past, I also find myself daydreaming about the future. Just how thriving will our city be 100 years more years down the road?
Shelley Basinger, Managing Editor