Blue Ridge Country May/June 2021 - 12

T H E G O O D WA L K

CARL SANDBURG HOME NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE

Walking Connemara

The moderate, three-mile walk around the North Carolina home of Carl and
Lilllian Sandburg includes an abundance of healthy hemlock trees.
By LEONARD M. ADKINS | Photos by LEONARD M. AND LAURIE ADKINS

I

t's a good bet, especially if you are of a certain age,
that part of your schooling was to memorize the
poem that begins with these words:
Hog Butcher for the World,
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight
Handler
While Carl Sandburg may have romanticized modern
industrialism with " Chicago, " he was also a proponent
of the quieter side of life, given that he also wrote:
It is necessary now and then for a man to go away by
himself and experience loneliness; 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? "
Sandburg moved from the Midwest to Flat Rock,
North Carolina in 1935 and a visit to his home, Connemara, enables visitors to walk on the same pathways and
sit on some of the same rocks he did as he composed his
poetry and prose.
The moderate walk of a little more than three miles
roundtrip, with an elevation gain of 625 feet, begins at
Front Lake next to the Carl Sandburg Home National
Historic Site's main parking area. The lake was created in
1855 to provide recreational opportunities such as boating and swimming. Ice was also cut from it in winter to
chill perishable food during summer's warmer temperatures. Today, the lake's surface mirrors Sandburg's house
situated on the hillside above.
A trail to the left of the lake rises through a forest of
rhododendron and hemlock. Eastern hemlocks and Carolina hemlocks, both native, abound around the lake and

in the forest above the house. The park service is using an
insecticide to combat the hemlock wooly adelgid infestation that is killing hemlocks throughout the Blue Ridge
and, thankfully, Connemara's trees are responding well.
About a half mile into the walk, the park service has
placed a bentwood chair situated on a large slab of rock to
illustrate that Sandburg often sat here contemplating the
verses he would write.
Just a few feet away, his home sits overlooking fields

Ice was also cut from Front Lake in winter to chill
perishable food during summer's warmth.

12

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