Chances are you’ve heard of Elizabeth Gilbert, she wrote a little book called Eat, Pray, Love. That became a little movie with Julia Roberts as its star. An entertaining read and watch, but lesser known Gilbert book has been getting quiet attention because of its North Carolina connection. In The Last American Man, published in 2003, Gilbert chronicles the life of Eustace Conway and his journey from troubled adolescent to environmentalist and motivational speaker.
Conway, who holds – disputably, one of the fastest times for a horseback traverse of the United States, settled near Boone where he runs the non-profit Turtle Island Preserve. The preserve is an active place with year-round programming focusing on reconnecting with basic human functions; food, shelter, and clothing. Remove grocery stores – how will a person find subsistence? How does one create a comfortable and sturdy shelter from the elements? And, if necessary – how can clothing be made from natural found objects? Turtle Island nature programs such as boys and girls summer camps teach self-reliance and confidence; teaching children to find their “woods wisdom” and provide for themselves (with supervision). Family camps, traditional living camps, adult camps, and boy and girl scout camps are also scheduled throughout the year.
Turtle Island Open House
Learn about these programs and more at the annual Turtle Island open house, Sunday September 25. The event is free and open to the public, 10am to 4pm. There is a potluck served midday and guests are asked to bring a covered dish.
Eustace Conway will be there to guide carriage rides around the preserve, and offers wisdom through hands-on demonstrations of shoeing a horse, curing pelts, blacksmithing, and many other naturalist activities. If you can’t make it to the open house, read The Last American Man, maybe you’ll make it next year.
012 Summer Camp Dates
- Young Boys Camp (ages 8-10): June 24 – 30, 2012
- Adult Camp (ages 18+): June 26 – 30, 2012
- Older Boys Camp (ages 11-17): July 1-14, 2012
- Older Girls Camp (ages 12-18): July 15-28, 2012
- Young Girls Camp (ages 7-11): July 15-21, 2012
- Family Camp (all ages): August 6-10, 2012
Workshops and Classes
- Father and Son Camp: June 12-18, 2011
- Traditional Lifestyles Weekend Workshop:October 14-16, 2011
- Horse and Mule Driving Workshop: Saturday, December 3, 2011