73 acres of paradise well-kept secret in Pfafftown

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Margret and Jordan Lee of Winston-Salem walk their dog, Sophie, at C.G. Hill Memorial Park. (Lauren Carroll/Journal)

FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. — C.G. Hill Memorial Park is the epitome of serenity, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.

Shimmering rays of sunshine illuminate the glistening pond, and the canopy of greenery provides an escape, not only from the hot sun, but also the outside world. Burly trees sway gently in the wind as if dancing to the melody of the robins flitting through the air.

A frog’s hoarse croak rings out. Then silence.

Who knew a place like this could exist just a few minutes’ drive from the often hectic traffic on Reynolda and Yadkinville roads.

The 73-acre park — on Balsom Road in Pfafftown, just down the street from Reagan High School — features two paved jogging trails, a pond, a picnic area with grills and a charming wooden gazebo nestled in the woods.

But despite the park’s many amenities, C.G. Hill is a well-kept secret.

It’s a place Jeff Sanders likes to go to think.

“There’s never anyone here,” Sanders, of Pinnacle, said. “It’s peaceful. Quiet.”

The park is the ideal place to go fishing on a lazy Sunday with its 2½-acre stocked pond, and is a prime place to catch catfish, he said.

Although he said the fishing is his favorite part of the park, it has other intriguing aspects, including its history.

The park property was originally owned by an early Moravian settler, John Jacob Schaub, in the early 1800s.

In 1951, the Schaub family sold the park to Charles G. Hill, who later donated a part of the land to Forsyth County for use as a public park. The county purchased surrounding land, opening the park in 1985.

“Of course, I love the walking trails and I’ve been fishing out here, too, but the history of it all is just so neat,” said Toni Bryant, who has been going to the park for more than 10 years. “It’s hard to imagine Confederate soldiers marching right here where I’m standing, and I just can’t ever get over that big old tree.”

That big old tree is a 500-year-old yellow poplar, one of the largest hardwood trees in the U.S. at 72 feet tall. The tree is hollow after it was struck by lightning centuries ago.

As the story goes, the tree was a place where people hid their possessions during the Revolutionary War. Ed Cline hid a cow and a calf inside the cavity of the tree to keep them from British soldiers.

The tree is often referred to as the “Loving Tree” now because of all the initials carved into the bark by couples over the years.

“The park is such a great place for anyone to come,” Bryant said. “It’s historic, it’s shady, it’s clean and, most of all, it’s peaceful. Can’t we all use a little peace?”

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