At the Poetry Trail, you can read lines cut into native stone. While you read the words, you can hear Wolf Creek rushing by below and the sighing wind through the trees bordering the Creek. If you listen very carefully, you can hear the whir of cutting hay or the soft sounds of chickens echoing from the past. It is a beautiful and peaceful place.
One of Georgia’s best known poets, Byron Herbert Reece (1917-1958), lived and wrote in this remote section of Union County. He grew up on this isolated Appalachian farm, steeped in the rhythms of tilling and rushing waters. Although isolation ended when the roads came, the quiet rhythms remained in his writing.
The Byron Herbert Reece Farm and Heritage Center is a tranquil oasis in homage to the man and the agrarian lifestyle that nurtured him. Located on 9.3 acres in Union County, just north of Vogel State Park, the center is a local effort to make the Reece family farm a place to learn about the man and the area.
Opened in 2012, the site features a Welcome Center and Gift Shop, exhibits about Reece and farming in the original outbuildings, and a wealth of quiet places to sit and contemplate Wolf Creek. There is a Pavilion ready to rent for parties and weddings on the other side of the picturesque bridge. A trail takes you from the Welcome Center through the Poetry Trail, where Reece’s own words are carved in native stone. His writing studio is nearby. The barn, corn crib, hen house, smoke house, and spring house have excellent exhibits about rural life, educating visitors about the types of crops, the preparation and preservation of food for the winter, and the livestock – mules, cows, pigs and chickens. In the loft of the Big Barn, learn more about Reece and watch the Emmy winning documentary “Voices” to learn more about the poet and the culture that informed his writings.
The Byron Herbert Reece Farm and Heritage Center is located on US Hwy 129 approximately 1.5 miles north of Vogel State Park and 9 miles south of Blairsville. Learn more at www.byronherbertreecesociety.org.
Open April – November
Thursday, Friday and Saturday: 10 am to 5 pm
Sunday: 1 pm to 5 pm.
The facilities may be used on other days with prior arrangement.
Debra March is Interim Dean of Library Services and Special Collections Librarian at Young Harris College. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Byron Herbert Reece Society. Born in Colorado and raised in Florida she moved to the mountains from Missouri and now calls Union County home.