Hiking at Carl Sandburg Home
Overview and History
Poet and writer Carl Sandburg made his final home with his family in the mountains of Western North Carolina near the town of Flat Rock. Located south of Asheville, the mountain farm named Connemara was already over 100 years old when Sandburg, his wife Lilian, and his youngest daughter Helga moved there in 1945.
Built in 1838 by Christopher Memminger, the main house sits amongst fields and forests at the base of low mountains rising out of the southern part of the French Broad River Valley. This proved an excellent site for Sandburg's wife's prized goat herd, and for seclusion for Sandburg's active writing career.
Sandburg died at home on July 22, 1967, and in 1968 the Sandburg family sold the property and contents of the home to the National Park Service to be preserved as Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site.
Sandburg once wrote:
It is necessary now and then for a man to go away by himself and experience lonliness; to sit on a rock in the forest and ask of himself, 'Who am I, and where have I been, and where am I going?'
To that end, about five miles of trail were built on the 264 acres of property around the home where Sandburg could experience just that. Today, these trails are open to the public and anyone can visit to hike, stroll, sit quietly and relax, or maybe even do some writing themselves. Trails range from easy to moderate, with hikes past quiet ponds, rock outcroppings, and the gentle rounded summit of Glassy Mountain.
The Entrance trail climbs from the main parking area, over a bridge at the dam, and up the hill to the main house beside the driveway. Nearly everyone who visits will need to walk this trail - it's the way to the house!
The Front Lake trail circles the lake and provides an alternate (steep) connector up to the main house and Memminger trail. The Memminger trail is a mostly-level loop which starts and ends at the main house and wraps around Little Glassy Mountain, while the Little Glassy trail cuts through the middle of the Memminger Trail over the mountain's top.
The Glassy Mountain trail climbs from the far end of the Memminger Trail to the summit of Big Glassy Mountain, with its open rock face and great views to the northwest.
Two other trails, the Spring and Orchard trails, wind through the agricultural areas near the main house.
For all the trail details, visit the trails page.
In addition to hiking (see below), don't miss the chance to take the tour of the home and grounds to learn more about the writer and prize dairy goats which were raised here. Organized activities are held here at various times throughout the year. A highlight in spring is the birth of the baby goats. In May, the Folk Music Festival is held, with music from Sandburg's The American Songbag. There are also cheese making demonstrations, musical events, poetry readings, and performances by The Vagabond Players during summer.
Carl Sandburg Home is located in Flat Rock, NC, near Hendersonville. From the I-26 Upward Road interchange (exit 53), turn right if exiting from I-26 east or left if exiting from I-26 west. Go 1.3 miles to the intersection with US 176 and continue straight; the road turns into N Highland Lake Road. Continue 1.1 miles to NC Hwy. 225 and turn left. Go 0.8 mile and turn right on Little River Road (follow the signs). The parking area is on the left after 0.2 miles.