Things to do at Connemara
Just a short drive from Main Street is Connemara, Carl Sandburg’s family home, now a National Park. Sandburg was a very famous poet and writer, and his wife, Lillian, was reknowned as a goat farmer and a goat farm is still in operation to this day. One of the best times to come visit Carl Sandburg’s is in the spring and early summer when the brand new baby goats are born.
Coming to Carl Sandburg’s is a perfect family outing. The path leading from the parking lot to the goat barn is mostly paved, which makes it stroller friendly. And the walk up to the goat barn is ideal for toddlers and preschoolers who want the freedom to walk on their own because it is not overly strenuous, yet it will definitely give them plenty of exercise. When visitors arrive at the goat barn, there are always plenty of knowledgable volunteers who can help you greet the goats. Because the goats are around people from the time they are born, they are extremely friendly and sociable, and children love visiting the goats for this reason.
In addition to the goat barn, there are many trails at Connemara. The lake trail at the base of the home is a lovely walk and picturesque at all times of year, but especially in the fall. This trail is not paved, but it is mostly level. The Memminger Trail and Little Glassy are two other trails that offer alternative ways to arrive at the goat barn. These trails are not stroller friendly, but are very peaceful and beautiful. Big Glassy Trail is the most difficult trail that Connemara has to offer, but the view that hikers are rewarded with when they reach the peak makes all the difficulty worth the effort. While this trail is not long, it is mostly uphill, so it is very strenuous. At the peak of Big Glassy hikers are greeted by an incredible view, and hikers can actually see Cold Mountain from the top- that’s how fantastic the view is.
Though the hikes and the goat barn are top draws to Connemara, touring the home is a must. For a small five dollar fee, visitors can have a guided tour of the home, which has been lovingly preserved and restored by the Park’s Service. Visitors can see how the Sandburg’s lived at Connemara and get a sense of just how important Carl Sandburg was as a poet and writer.
Visiting Connemara is a must-do for anyone coming to Hendersonville. From the goat barn to the trails, Connemara has something to please everyone. The trails are well-marked and well-maintained, so beginner hikers need not be intimidated. Families can come visit Connemara and let their kids run along the trails and pet goats, and there are several perfect spots for picnic lunches. Coming to visit the goat barn or hike the trails is absolutely free, so visitors only need bring money if they are planning to visit the home.