On August 15, 1969, Sri Swami Satchidananda spoke at the opening ceremony of the Woodstock music festival, calling music “the celestial sound that controls the whole universe.” Devoting his life to the pursuit of unity, he founded Satchidananda Ashram - Yogaville, located on the banks of the James River with a distant view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Encompassing more than 600 acres of wooded landscape, the community provides a retreat for practitioners of varied skill levels who join one another to relax and practice the tenets of Integral Yoga, a synthesis of six branches of yoga developed by Sri Swami Satchidananda. At the center, the Satchidananda Ashram houses five sacred sites, including the Light of Truth Universal Shrine, or LOTUS, in which altars for every major religion let visitors of all faiths discover their personal enlightenment. Committed to the harmonious teachings of Sri Swami Satchidananda, the ashram’s instructors carry on the founder’s legacy by leading everything from workshops to multiple-day retreats.
Throughout the centuries, Virginia's James River has served as a home to native Powhatan, Monacan, and Haudenosaunee peoples, followed by early English settlers. Today, the river's waters host leisure and thrill seekers. James River Float Company's experienced guides lead these thrill seekers, plying the waters between Lynchburg and Richmond on a range of aquatic excursions. They embark on whitewater-rafting and standup-paddleboarding trips on specialty crafts designed for the river, and teach classes in basic or advanced sit-in kayaking; during which they teach turning to avoid rocks and rolling to avoid owl rush hour at midnight. On four types of canoe or kayak excursions, paddlers drift past old stone walls, Civil War encampments, waterfalls, and bubbling currents. Guides also pilot flat, handcrafted white-oak bateaus—each up to 60 feet long and 8 feet wide—on guided and overnight trips. On many overnight boating trips, Float Company staffers furnish all tents, sleeping pads, and sleeping bags, as well as meals.
A bugle boomed with a brash moan that bordered on shrill, as if the metal it was made of were on the verge of shattering like glass. Its player drew a sideward glance to his wife, whose neck was contorted in the throes of a visceral shriek as she slammed a wooden spoon against the tin washbasin. Darkness was giving way to the orange of morning on June 18, 1864, and the Union's Major General David Hunter was presumably within earshot. The clamor of Lynchburg's citizens was their first defense, making the Confederate forces sound larger and stronger than they actually were. It was a smart move, as Hunter eventually retreated because he believed he was outnumbered.
The concise Confederate victory preserved many historical sites in Lynchburg, which had been the United States’ second wealthiest city per capita before the Civil War devastated the economy. Today, the Lynchburg Museum traces the stories of the region, from the cannons and flags of the Civil War to a flight suit worn by hometown astronaut Leland Melvin. More than 20,000 artifacts are housed within the former Lynchburg courthouse, which was built in the Greek Revival style in 1855, replete with architectural details including fluted Doric columns and a pedimented portico inspired by the Parthenon.
Less than a mile away, Point of Honor accommodates guests within the re-created plantation kitchen of the restored Federal-period mansion built in 1815 by Dr. George Cabell Sr., friend to both Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson. Guests can peer out at a vista of the James River before exploring the Medicine in Early Virginia exhibit, which highlights tools and methods practiced by Dr. Cabell such as giving patients colds in order to cure their rickets.
Part author event, part cocktail party, the Eudora Welty Garden Symposium brings authors Susan Haltom and Jane Roy Brown to discuss their book, One Writer's Garden: Eudora Welty's Home Place. The authors, whose botanical tome was called "nearly irresistible" by The New York Journal of Books , will deliver illustrated, 40-minute lectures entitled “Eudora Welty and the Gift of Flowers” and “A Grand Teacher: Women and Gardening and the Progressive Era." The lectures draw from the book's theme: that Welty cultivated her garden as a place to escape from the stresses of writing or spot, and then wrestle, eagles for their quills.
Perched atop Liberty University's tranquil, 5,000 acre mountain, the Snowflex Centre unfurls an innovative system of slopes for year-round skiing, snowboarding, and tubing. Thrill-seekers of all skill levels soar across the venue's synthetic winter wonderland, which uses Snowflex technology and a patented misting system to mirror the behavior of real-world snowfalls. Hidden beneath crisp, white drifts, multiple layers of cushions absorb potential tumbles, emboldening snow-thusiasts to attempt free-style tricks (on an elevated drop), triple kickers, and a large quarter pipe. Guests seeking reprieve from supersonic spins and relentless, panhandling snowmen can kick back inside a two-story lodge.
When the swirls of smoke clear, the 22nd century appears in all its neon glory. Well, not the actual 22nd century. But FunQuest certainly evokes the future with its multi-level laser tag arena, where players clad in vests dodge incoming beams while firing their own. Colorful obstacles glow in the dark and provide cover throughout the space, which is big enough to fit 20 competitors.
The rest of FunQuest contains equally family-friendly attractions, including a hardwood maple skating center. After optional lessons for all ages, visitors glide along to upbeat tunes on quad or inline skates, and participate in classic games like the limbo and hokey pokey.
Even more games can be found at the arcade. These ones dispense tickets, and once players have collected enough, they can exchange them for prizes, such as an oversized bow for the family giant who had to wait in the parking lot.
Finally, for youngsters under the age of 10, the PlayQuest indoor playground has plenty of slides to ride, bouncy floors to traverse, and tubes to crawl through.