Hidden Gems of the Eno
"WOW! I never noticed that!" is the typical response I get when I take friends on a cultural history hike along the Eno River. They had passed by a particular place many times before, unaware of what was right before their eyes.
There are hundreds of hidden historical sites within the Eno River Valley. To find them, you just have to know what to look for when you're out hiking. Clues will change depending on the time of year and type of disturbance you are observing. Old homesites are usually identifiable in the winter when foliage is not a problem. Their stone foundations and chimneys are left exposed like the site featured here. Homesites can be located in early spring by daffodils popping up in peculiar places. Root cellars and springs are further signs that a home was close by.
Another common indicator of homesites is the type and size of trees and the abundance of exotic plants. Large shade trees, like oaks and hickories, in a young forest or fruit and nut trees, like persimmons and pecans, in open areas can lead to historic sites. Non-native plants such as ivy, wisteria, privet and tree-of heaven typically grow in areas where people have disturbed the land.
Roads are sometimes easier to spot along the Eno because most cause unnatural depressions in the land. Farming activity, on the other hand, can be harder to see; look for plow rows in gently sloping hillsides and old cedar fence posts. All of these clues, unknowingly left for us, will hopefully lead you to discover something new along the Eno and spark a curiosity in you to learn more about the rich cultural history of the valley.