August 1, 2014

My Favorite Hike: House o' Dreams at Berry College

The House o' Dreams is a large stone and board-and-batten cottage. 

Winter, summer, spring or fall, my favorite hike is to the House o' Dreams atop Lavender Mountain on the campus of Berry College near Rome, Georgia. There are several reasons why this is my favorite hike: it is close to home and I can be at the trailhead in 15 minutes, my love of hiking was developed on the 40+miles of hiking trails at Berry, and I am an alum of Berry College.

The House o' Dreams was built in 1922 by students and staff as a gift to Martha Berry, founder of Berry College, on the 20th anniversary of the school.  It was financed by Mrs. Emily Vanderbilt Hammond, a friend of Martha Berry's, along with alumni and friends.  It sits on the highest point of the school's 27,000 acres and offers a superb view of the campus, the city of Rome, and the mountains of northwest Georgia.

All of the materials needed to construct the house were found on the mountain. Students built the furniture, and designed and wove the fabric for curtains and slipcovers. A full restoration project was completed in 1984 which assured the preservation and continued use of this historic structure.

It was used by Martha Berry as a mountain retreat as well as a place to entertain.  Today, it is still used for meetings and "dreaming" sessions by faculty, staff, and student groups.

Below are more details on how you can take my favorite hike:

Frost Chapel 
After entering the college campus off U.S. Highway 27 (also known as the Martha Berry Highway from Tennessee to Florida), follow the directional signs for three miles to Frost Chapel, located on the mountain campus. There is ample parking at the chapel.

Continue to follow directional signs for the six-mile "in and out" moderately, strenuous hike.   

The trailhead  as well as the beginning of service road to the House o' Dreams. 

The service road is used frequently by college personnel and students, so be aware of vehicle traffic. 

You're a third of the way when you reach this sign. 

Even though you're hiking on a service road, there are many delights along the way. 

Follow the service road to the official entrance. 

In case you need a rest, there are several benches to the left of the entrance. The installation of benches was a 2014 Alumni Work Week project. 

Much of Lavender Mountain is part of a Wildlife Management Area.  Check here during deer and turkey hunting season to make sure there are no managed hunts on the property. 
The climb gets more difficult once you reach the rock wall, but don't give up; you're almost there. 

After you've made the three-mile trek from Frost Chapel to the House o' Dreams, it's time to enjoy the beautiful surroundings:

"Room With A View." 

Gardens are beautifully maintained throughout the year thanks to the efforts of a full-time caretaker and Berry's student work program.  

A nice spot for snack or lunch. 

Goldfish pond with water lilies. 

The summer is my favorite season at the House o' Dreams. 

Who doesn't love daisies? 

Another view of the gardens. 

Berry's 27,000 acres are abundant with deer.  The terraced garden full of fruit trees and berry patches is a great place to spot one. 

Bathroom facilities are provided at the Outhouse o' Dreams. 

This lovely arbor was also an Alumni Work Week project.

The Big Guy can't resist the hammock. 

The fire tower, which is normally locked, offers a grand view of northwest Georgia if you are are up to climbing the 50-plus steps to the top. If you hike during the week, feel free to ask the caretaker or a student worker to unlock the tower so you can enjoy the view. 

No elevation gain on the return hike. 

Even Fido enjoys the hike to the House o' Dreams. Dogs are allowed on the trails at Berry, but must be kept on a leash at all times. 

Hope you've enjoyed my favorite hike. "Keep On Hiking." 


  1. I was a student groundskeeper at the HOD for two summers. (92c). Ate lunch at that wooden table every day! Wow...I miss that place. What a view.

    1. Glad this blog post brought back some wonderful memories for you. The House o' Dreams is definitely a special place.