Sunday, April 24, 2011
Carl Sandburg Home NHS 4/23/2011
What is a home tour doing on a hiking blog you ask? We have driven by the signs for the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site many times thinking it was just a house. Finally doing a little research we discovered that there were five miles of hiking trails on the property including a trail up Glassy Mountain. We decided to visit during the Junior Ranger special event since the Grandsons would be visiting us along with their parents that weekend.
From the parking lot is a .3 mile walk up to the house including crossing a bridge at the lower end of the front lake. The boys picked up the folder for the Junior Ranger patch which listed six activities at the contact center and we followed the path uphill along side the pasture toward the house. They needed to complete four of six activities to earn their patches. We stopped to make blue bird feeders for their first stamp in their folders then went on to take the house tour.
During the house tour we learned that Carl Sandburg was a great lover of nature and spent many hours in contemplation on the big rock behind the house or up on Little or Big Glassy Mountain on the property. There were no window shades in the house so they could better see the birds at the feeders and enjoy all that nature had too offer.
While Carl as busy writing poetry and history and reading his thousand of books and publications his wife and daughter became famous for their special breed of goats. They raised hundreds of goats on the property taking the new babies into the summer kitchen in the basement of the house to feed and handle making them very tame and friendly. One of their goats held the record for milk production for many years. There is still a small herd on the property that can be visited and petted. For the special event they were demonstrating cheese making and providing samples.
After visiting the barn we headed out onto the trails going to the trout pond, part way up Big Glassy to the rock outcropping area, around by the small reservoir and then around Small Glassy to the view point ending up back behind the house. A right turn took up down to the far end of the front lake where we spotted a number of fish and a turtle near a bridge. A short walk along the lake shore brought us back to the contact station and parking area.
This is a family friendly destination. The house tour which is the only fee is a bit long for very young children but the goat barn, lake, and trails would be fun. Because we were there on Junior Ranger day the tour was more child friendly then usual and the Grandsons got to ask and answer a number of questions. There is a picnic area near the parking lot overlooking the dam at the front lake. I would like to return to hike the rest of the trails.