Foxfire, In Person!

My husband and I recently visited Rabun County, Georgia, home to the Foxfire Museum. Appropriately, it's a little hard to find using GPS, but a paper map will take you right to it. Even if you aren't familiar with the original project, the books, or the magazine, take the time to check it out.

We spent the better part of a day exploring the 110-acre hillside property that houses an immersive outdoor museum. It features original and reconstructed Appalachian cabins, barns, and other buildings, furnished with authentic artifacts, tools, and décor representative of mountain life from the 1820s to the 1940s.

When you visit, bring your camera and plenty of drinking water, and be sure to wear sturdy hiking shoes. The well-planned walking tour appeals to all of the senses. We checked out a sawmill, hog scalding shed, smokehouse, blacksmith shop, root cellar, and heritage garden. We rang the bell in the chapel and watched a flintknapper at work. The Children’s Village has pint-sized cabins, shop, and a schoolhouse crafted for hands-on adventure. A mountain man played traditional melodies on a homemade dulcimer, guitar, and banjo. A weaver demonstrated loom skills. The aroma of apple crisp lured us to a log cabin where an apron-clad woman offered us tasty samples of homemade desserts and chicken stew.

I've been a rabid Foxfire fan since my college days, when I took a class on American Folklore. That course turned out to be my jumping-off point into the Back-to-the-Land movement of the 1970s, when I left the grid for the backwoods of North Idaho. I spent years living without electricity, running water, or a decent road. I hunted and grew my own food, hauled water, and learned to darn socks. Today those memories provide fodder for many tales I share at storytelling gatherings and am collecting for an upcoming book.

What a treat it is to visit this place in person!

Photos by Barry Benson

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