Bluestem has so much to offer -- wide open sky, birdsong and activity, native wildflowers and grasses, hiking trails for enjoying (and enhancing with us), a pond for sitting beside, a natural sanctuary for private services, individual contemplation, or community gatherings, and most of all, the quiet and healing properties of nature.
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. Find the pond benches for a quiet sit. Take the trail (yellow marker) back into the woods and follow it to the Black Walnut trees. Sit at the picnic table under the shade. Travel back along Bluestem Road or further into Bluestem to the Pope Family Cemetery.
Gravesites are all natural and blend in with the landscape. Recent burials are covered in pine straw and can be found in the prairie, in the Meadow and the northern Woodlands. All graves are marked with a central locator, an aluminum grave marker placed in the center of the grave, and connected to GPS. Flat gravestones are allowed. Some families have chosen to place their gravestones, others are not rushing to complete this task. 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 and sits on high ground near some of the only pine trees on the property. Another picnic table awaits installation under the pines. A popular spot for local artists, known graves in the cemetery date back to the early 1800s. The Pope Family has a perpetual right to visitation and takes care of the cemetery's upkeep. Pope family members have been regular visitors to their cemetery and frequently walk their dogs at Bluestem.
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.