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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

The Perfect Writer's Paradise

~Friday, April 30, 2021~

Day 320

We just found out about The Great Smoky Mountain Synchronous Firefly Viewing that takes place in early June. We have always wanted to see fireflies but apparently the only way to see them, at least here, is through a lottery system. Since we plan on being back in Tennessee during that month, it might just work out perfectly. Now to get into that lottery. Just what is a firefly? They are small flying beetles with an abdomen that lights up. There are over 250 species in the world with 19 of them in the Smoky Mountains. Unfortunately, they have a very short lifespan of 2 to 3 weeks, making their viewing window very slim. Hopefully, we will be one of the few to see this amazing event.

There are so many wonderful things to see while visiting the Asheville area with another one being touring the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site, called Connemara. After passing the front lake on the property, we took the trail to the main house.

Normally tours are offered, but not during COVID. Luckily, we had cell reception so we were able to download an audio tour with photos on our phone so we could still get a glimpse of the home that way. We toured the many out buildings on the property...i.e. Guest houses, chicken house, the goat farm. With its many beautiful trails and peaceful serenity, it’s a property for all to enjoy.

“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 to ask himself, ‘Who am I, and where have I been, and where am I going?’ -Carl Sandburg

Many people know that Carl Sandburg was a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, poet, lecturer and biographer, and it was through his writing that he championed for social justice, becoming an advocate for the American people. a Pulitzer-Prize winning author

It was his wife Lilian who had discovered the mountain farm in Asheville, NC named Connemara with a gentle climate and large pasture for her soon to be prize-winning goat herd as well as seclusion for her husband’s writing; quite a change from what they were used to living in Michigan. The 246-acre property of Connemara would be their home for 22 years. The home was built around 1838 and it was the second occupant, textile tycoon Ellison Smyth, who named it Connemara in honor of his Irish ancestry. Smith’s heirs sold it to the Sandburgs in 1947, where the Sandburgs would keep the name.

The Sandburgs lived very modestly and simply and were very productive people, in life and on their property. This work ethic extended to their 3 daughters and grandchildren as well. It was the perfect place for their family, running day to day operations, and giving Carl the quiet space he needed for his writings. Their Asheville property is where Carl produced over a third of his total published work.

Sandburg passed away in 1967 and in 1968 his family sold the property, donating the land, the home and the contents of the home to the National Park Service, to be preserved as a National Historic Site for all to enjoy.

Next, was a hike in the Dupont State Forest, to Triple Falls.

The loop trail is about 3 miles long where about 1 mile in you see your first waterfall called High Falls…..a wide, steep granite slab where the water generally stays on the rock the whole way down, cascading about 125 feet. Just a little further you come to a series of wooden stairs and landings that descend to the upper and middle waterfalls of Triple Falls. Even though waterfalls are the attention getters on any trail, the entire hike is stunning with lushness, shade by tall trees and ferns/green moss on the ground below. Sadie got a little swimming in and we all got a good cardio workout!

We also had plans to see the historical section of Hendersonville, but wanted to get to the campsite early enough to get in a game or two of Cornhole before our homemade pizza dinner. Shocking, I won a game! We’ll try for Hendersonville tomorrow. I also had a great long talk with my bestie Michele in California. Lots to catch up on. Sure do miss her!

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