Oct 24, 2006

The truth about boredom: it’s your fault

by Chris Gaumer
Bite your tongue. Bite it hard — whatever it takes — just don’t open your mouth. Do not let them hear you. Do not say it. Do not say, “There is nothing to do in this town!” Please, spare yourself.
Many fall into this easy out, because it is just that — an easy out. College students, high school students and local townies all over the country are saying it right now; and if they’re not, they’re certainly thinking about saying it. 

If creativity stems from an active mind, then boredom is most definitely the result of an inactive one. Finding things to do in Lynchburg may be difficult for many students, but the phrase, “There’s nothing to do in this town,” is nothing more than a way to shift blame. Essentially, you are blaming Lynchburg for not catering to your specific social needs, when what you should be doing, is using creativity, common sense and an eye for adventure to plan your activities.  This fact may be hard to accept, but once you understand the source of boredom is within — not without — a new perspective will arise. The evening is in your hands.  So, what should you do?

Being creative in planning activities is easier for some than others. Some students see the Lynchburg night-life as a toss up between a cheap movie theater and a not-so-big mall. Others see Lynchburg as a growing, historic town with a considerable stock of interesting nooks and crannies. Whether you are a freshman or a senior, exploring the other side of Lynchburg is a good start to killing the boredom bug.  Take 29 North to exit 1a, and let the journey begin.

 1. Main Street: Main Street Lynchburg is busiest and best during the day. Granted, it’s no Time Square, but several big office buildings, banks and businesses keep the streets buzzing with workers until about 5 p.m.  The said businesses have brought in many nice restaurants, antique stores, pawn shops, coffee shops and other retail businesses. Check out Inklings used bookstore, or walk all of Main Street looking for sales — it’s only half a mile! 

Feature: Tutto Bene,’ “The Coffee Place,” Lynchburg’s newest coffee shop. Tutto Bene’ has great coffee, a friendly atmosphere and outdoor canopy seating.

2. Commerce Street Warehouses: Running parallel to Main Street is Commerce. Commerce Street is home base for two used furniture warehouses, perfect for spicing up your dorm or apartment. They are The Estate Specialists and Fred’s 22 Dollar Store. The Estate Specialists is probably the better of the two warehouses; items are better priced, and organized more efficiently. You will have no problem finding a cushioned chair for $15 or a book shelf for $10.  As mentioned, Fred’s is a little over-priced, and the selection is not as nice, but the great thing about both of these stores is that you can haggle over any price, and as you well know, haggling is fun and free!
Feature: The second floor of The Estate Specialists is filled with countless chairs, tables, and kitchenware. Martha Stewart never had it so good!

3. Downtown Events: Lynchburg is a very active community. Throughout the summer, many bands and festivals, including and an outdoor film festival at Amazement Square, are hosted in Lynchburg. During the school year, many bands play at the restaurants and coffee shops, and the Riverview Art Space has a new exhibit beginning the  first weekend of every month.

Feature: Riverview Art Space, the gallery is free and open to the public daily.
4. The James River: So you’ve done the town, and now you’re looking for more adventure. Look no further than the James River. Students complain that the James River is dirty and polluted. Get over it, and get in the water. If the X-Games could host water events in the Schuylkill River near Philadelphia, with the hosts speculating that wake boarders may be jumping waves and at the same time, avoiding bodies, than you’ll be fine in the James. 

The James River has many boat ramps and other ideal spots for putting in a canoe or a raft. But if you would rather bike or walk along the river, Percival’s Island off Jefferson Street is a five mile long island lined with dirt and trails, and plenty of access to the river.     

Feature: Blackwater Creek Bike Rentals, located at the entrance of Percival’s Island on Jefferson Street. Rent a bike and cruise the entire island on a sunny afternoon. Only open on weekends.
5. Blackwater Creek: The original concept for the 300 acre Blackwater Creek Natural Area was envisioned in 1934 and finally completed in 1979. 

Blackwater Creek Natural Area is open from sunrise to sunset and consists of both paved and unpaved trails, rest areas, parks, waterfalls and suspension bridges. The Blackwater Creek paved trails are relatively flat and great for walking or riding bikes. Blackwater also has many creek side trails that offer great views of the creek and other natural scenery. There are two Main entrances to the Blackwater Area: Jefferson Street near Amazement Square, and the Ed Page entrance off Langhorne Rd.

Feature: Hollins Mill Park, located on Hollins Mill Road off of Bedford Avenue. Hollins Mill Park is a great lunch retreat because of picnic benches, a large waterfall and plenty of shade.

Alas, there really are things to do in Lynchburg! You can be purged from the muck and auto congestion of Wards Road.  Let out a deep breath and say, “Boredom does not rule my life.”

Downtown Lynchburg has many new things to do every year, the above list only mentioning a few.  Go with a group, a date or just by yourself.  Take these suggestions as a beginner course in using creativity to fend off lame excuses like, “There’s nothing to do in this town.” Now it’s your turn. Go explore the downtown, the river, the park and everywhere else your imagination takes you. Boredom is defeated when you use your mind.

Contact Christopher Gaumer at cjgaumer@liberty.edu.

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