Lynchburg Hillcats baseball
Lynchburg is the Pittsburgh Pirates single-A affiliate of the minor league baseball system. The Hillcats play in Calvin Falwell Field, which was built in 1939 and significantly reconstructed in 1978 and 2004. This has been a Pittsburgh Pirates affiliate since 1995.
We saw the Lynchburg Hillcats play the Potomac Nationals (Washington Nationals A affiliate) on 15 July 2009. The game started quickly with a solo home run by former Nationals prospect Lastings Milledge hitting a solo homer, before Washington went up 4-1. Later Milledge hit his second homer, a two-run shot to tie the game at 4, before Washington eventually won 8-4. During the game, Pittsburgh's #1 draft pick in 2008, Pedro Alvarez, showed up in street clothes to cheer on his former squad. This future star, who recieved a $6.4 million signing bonus from the Pirates, was very friendly and happy to chat with all the fans and players. I look forward to seeing him and Milledge play in Pittsburgh.
Side trip to Appomattox Court House Nat'l Park
To the east of Lynchburg only about 20 miles is Appomattox, where the Army of Northern Virginia under Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant's Army of the Potomac.
The McLean House is the most famous and historic site in Appomattox. Built in 1848, it was the site of the great meeting between US Grant and Robert E. Lee that ended the American Civil War.
Interestingly, Wilbur McLean and his family were from Manassas, Virginia, where two of the early battles in the Civil War were fought. After these fierce battles around their home, they decided to move to the tranquility of Appomattox Court House. Little did they know what history had in store for them.
Side trip to Natural Bridge
Natural Bridge is an amazing rock formation that was carved out by the Cedar Creek over thousands of years. The inside of the arch is 215 feet above the ground, and it towers above you as you walk through! The stone span over the creek is so strong, US Route 11 is built right across its surface!!! I never believed it until I drove across it...
There is a lot of history at the Natural Bridge. George Washington surveyed this land for the King of England in the 1750s. He supposedly carved his initials high on the side of the stone above the creek -- you can still make them out today, but just barely.
Thomas Jefferson was enamored with the Natural Bridge. He grew up about 100 miles from here, and he made frequent visits alone and with guests. Later, he bought this land and built a cabin here just so he could admire the bridge. President Jefferson called it, "The most sublime of Nature's Works..."
There isn't a whole lot in downtown Lynchburg, except a few restaurants, some shops, and a few banks. The picture here is of a guitar shop that had many different guitars in the window display, which was the highlight of my visit...
Side trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway is just a short 20-mile drive west on US Highway 501 from Lynchburg. This park similar to the Shenandoah National Park, except entrance is free and it is considerably longer at 469 miles of scenic mountain driving from Virginia into North Carolina. The Blue Ridge Parkway begins at I-64 and goes south all the way to the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains, along the way passing some large towns like Lynchburg and Roanoke, Virginia, and Asheville, North Carolina.