Friday, October 10, 2008

The Treasure of the Flat Rock

More ideas from Laura Sanderson Healy on ways to enjoy North Carolina with No Crowds.

Do you believe in Shangri-La? I have found mine again -- the blink and you’ll miss it Village of Flat Rock, North Carolina. Set amid crystal lakes, steep mountains, and musical streams, Flat Rock became the preferred refuge of Charlestonians over 100 years ago when they sought the cooler hills when their city steamed up in the summer. Flat Rock is a joy today whether you like quiet nature hikes or art gallery and boutique browsing, and there is also pleasurable gobbling to be had all around.

The place must have incredible ley lines of psychic creativity, because situated alongside one of the huge “flat rocks” in the middle of town is the Flat Rock Playhouse, AKA The State Theater of North Carolina. This thriving establishment boasts a respectable repertory company which produces brilliant work year round.

Across the road is the massive property that holds Connemara, a National Historic Site better known as Carl Sandburg’s home. Do you remember his poem “The fog comes in on little cat feet?” The Swedish-American powerhouse, a compulsively prolific poet and biographer (one Pulitzer for his Complete Poems, one Pulitzer for his LINCOLN biography) came South with several boxcars of his library collections and spent 22 years based in Flat Rock. The tour of his home is 5 dollars and I learned that his wife was the photographer Edward Steichen’s sister. She made Connemara her own dairy goat empire, and the farm is maintained today for the petting zoo types. You can also visit the flat rock that Carl sat on in his chair with pen and paper, never stopping that otherworldly output.

If you just want to roam around the property and take one of several suggested hikes up to Glassy Mountain behind the farmhouse, you are welcome to do so, free of charge.

photo credit: Laura Sanderson Healy

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