We encourage walking, reflecting, praying, meditating, and remembering at Bluestem.
Pathways around the fields and through the woods and grassland, provide visitors with a hiking network of approximately 2 miles, all built and managed by volunteers. Check out the map and trails before visiting. Join us on Friday mornings to help extend the trail.
Our trail work is ongoing and some trails are still under construction. Please watch your step and travel thoughtfully. Stay on the marked trails and do not enter trails under construction. Keep a trail map with you at all times.
Built in the early 1930’s this typical Piedmont barn was used to store crops, and housed farming animals and equipment. Bluestem is repurposing the barn for storage, as an information center and for burial services. A concept map provides visitors with an overview of Bluestem's future trail network, communal space for services, and burial areas currently open in the conservation cemetery.
From the Barn, travel west towards the signs indicating Sanctuary and Trail. Choose yellow markers for a pedestrian pathway that winds toward the pond. Choose red markers for a route past the Poem Box. Find a canopy of hardwood trees standing over natural cedar benches. Enjoy the quiet. This reflection area can hold private family services, community gatherings, and sacred space as needed. Move the benches around the sanctuary as needed but please do not remove them from the sanctuary.
The pond was built in the 1980s to serve as a water source for the previous farm. It is fed by a natural spring emerging just below the barn and drains below the dam, feeding the creek on the northern boundary. Entry into a woodland trail (yellow marker) is located around the dam. Follow this trail to the Black Walnut trees and back along Bluestem Road. We are working to place a few benches beside the pond.
Gravesites are all natural and blend in with the landscape. Find small mounds in the prairie and larger mounds alongside the Meadow and in the northern Woodlands. All graves are covered in pine straw and marked with a central locator. Flat gravestones are allowed. Please be respectful of Bluestem's residents and family members paying visits to their loved ones. See Green Burial for more information about natural burial.
Historic Family Cemetery
This Cemetery belongs to the Pope Family of Orange County. Known graves in the cemetery date back to the early 1800s. This lovely spot sits on higher ground with some of the only pine trees on the property towering nearby. The Pope Family has a perpetual right to visitation and cares for the cemetery's upkeep. We have met some of the family members and look forward to meeting more, and learning about the family.
Bluestem neighbors are longstanding farmers and hunters. We coexist respectfully. Please do not trespass on their property and do not explore any of the buildings in the interior. Thank you.
For more information about natural burial please see our section on Green Burial.