As a child Eustace Conway grew up exploring the forests behind the family home in South Carolina, spending his young days roaming in woodlands and swamps from sun up to sun down.
When Eustace Conway turned 17, he moved out of his family home and headed into the mountains where he designed a tepee to live in, bathed in ice cold creeks, hunted and cooked his own food over fires he started by hand, and wore the skins of those animals he ate. As a young adult, dwelling in a wilderness setting was the perfect place to call home.
And so Eustace Conway started on an amazing life journey that one only reads about in epic stories about the wild frontier where men like Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, Lewis and Clark and John Muir left their legacies.
Eustace has earned the right to be on the above list–and the men on that list would agree and welcome him into the club! Here are just a few of the many amazing feats:
At the age of 18, paddled the Mississippi–in a HAND MADE WOODEN CANOE.
At age 19, he hiked the two thousand mile Appalachian Trail surviving on what he hunted and gathered along the way.
Kayaked across Alaska.
Lived with the Navajo in New Mexico
Lived with primitive natives in Guatemala
In 1995 he and his brother Judson and a family friend rode their horses across America in 103 days– setting a World Record. When people walked up to them in awe while gazing upon three young adults in cool cowboy gear and hats heading to the Pacific Ocean, they would stammer and ask– “who are you? I want to do this too! I’ve always wanted to do something like this!” Eustace would reply each and every time–“you can!”
And this is the persuasive theme you will experience when you visit his thousand acres learning preserve. Here you will see beautiful timber work shops and barns, and learning structures he designed and hand built after hand felling out of the thick old woodlands in the North Carolina mountains.
If you want to get back to the feeling of the frontier, you can.
If you want to watch cold metal heat up to a blazing hot orange in a hot red coal forge and shape it into a useful tool —you can.
If you want to learn primitive building techniques, wilderness survival and fire making skills, you most certainly can.
If you want to ditch the cell phone, step back in time and walk through primeval woodland and then partake in hearty food cooked on wood in a rustic outdoor kitchen while warming up next to a beautiful outside fireplace–you really really should and can!
Some of you might have seen Eustace Conway on the History channel as one of the featured “Mountain Men.” If you come to Turtle Island Preserve you will get to see first hand the beauty of the mountain landscape and farm where this popular series is filmed.
When I drive west from my NJ home, and start to see the Blue Ridge mountains, it takes my breath away. As I see the landscape, I just love the beauty and I know I am getting close to another great visit and learning experience at Eustace’s farm.
(above—National Parks photo from Google)
You will get to see and experience how Turtle Island Preserve is a doorway to people who live authentically and create their lives with their own two hands while living in sturdy homes they design and build from the land around them.
I met Eustace a few years ago and I was inspired to go home and raise chickens, goats, and put a wood cook stove in my house, thus turning my three acres in NJ into a little farm. I have returned many times to Turtle Island to hike and learn about its history and take part in some of the many learning workshops that are offered at Turtle Island Preserve.
I am planning another trip this October– so look for announcements soon for details.
I hope to see other Earth Cruisers in North Carolina so we can experience hands-on-life at Turtle Island. Earth Cruisers and Turtle Island have been working together on some events planned just for our group!
I will end my blog with this photo I took. This announcement chalk board is at the entrance way to the outdoor kitchen. It’s a memorial to Preston Roberts, Eustace’s best friend, a teacher at Turtle Island, and fellow co-star on The Mountain Men series.
In Loving Memory of Preston James Roberts, a beautiful teacher and a beautiful friend of Turtle Island Preserve.
(the first top photo from Google–All photos and video, unless noted, belong to and taken by Nicole Prosser)