Carvers Creek State Park sits one town over from us in Spring Lake. Over the last couple of years, it’s become one of my favorite spots to enjoy nature and have a picnic. With its sandy walking paths, millpond, and farmhouse, the 4,530-acre longleaf pine savannah feels like a walk back in time.
History of Carvers Creek State Park
The land that makes up the park was once part of the Overhills Resort. Owned by the Rockefeller family, the resort served as a retreat for some of the most successful businessmen in the early twentieth century. Overhills Resort offered hunting, fishing, golf, and polo to these men who traveled down from New York City.
Olympic rowing champion, James Stillman Rockefeller, enjoyed Overhills Resort so much that he purchased a piece of the property in 1937. Amid towering magnolias and live oaks, he built the 6,000 square foot Rockefeller House overlooking the old millpond.
Created to float timber to the sawmill that once existed at the mill pavilion, the millpond dates to the 1850s. James never used the pond for what it was intended. Instead, he used it recreationally. Long Valley Farm, however, was a working farm during his residency. The livestock and crops produced supported the tenant farmers who worked the land.
During World War II, James served as a lieutenant of the US Airborne Command at Fort Bragg. Military leaders and politicians often visited him at the Rockefeller House. The farm was listed on the National Register of Historic Places fifty years later.
Unfortunately, the buildings and sporting areas of Overhills are not included within the boundaries of Carvers Creek. However, the historic Long Valley Farm is in the park. James willed the property to The Nature Conservancy when he died in 2004 to prevent the development of the land. In 2010, The Nature Conservancy donated Long Valley Farm to the North Carolina State Park system.
Visiting The Park
Carvers Creek State Park offers a variety of activities, including hiking, fishing, and allows horseback riding. It’s popular among bird-watchers because it’s one of the few places you can find all of the North Carolina woodpecker species.
Located at 2505 Long Valley Rd, Carvers Creek State Park is open daily with varying hours depending on the season. Admission is free.