In the early days, those who attended camp meetings would come in covered wagons which would also serve as their home for the coming week. Many pulled behind their cows behind them to furnish milk along with coops of chickens to be killed for meals during the week. They would pack enough ham, eggs pies and cakes for themselves and enough hay for the animals for a week. In times past when August rolled around and the days stretched out like the long singing of the katydids, it was time to plan for the big gathering of neighbors at Camp Meeting. Farm chores slacked off for “lay time”. This was when you laid aside your hoe and let the crops mature in the hot sun. Then the wagon would be loaded with fresh vegetables, canned goods and watermelons, blankets and bedding, pots, pans, buckets and cooking utensils. Fresh Sunday clothes were also packed for dress up time.
The arbor later came to be surrounded by a collection of rustic cabins called “tents” by the church members. Some of these bear the names of the families who have passed the tents down through generations, although the ultimate ownership of everything here is the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church. Between the tents and the arbor is a large open grove of trees. The trunks are painted with whitewash about four feet from their base. In the time of kerosene lanterns when a family was coming to evening service the dim light would reflect off the painted surface and keep people from bumping into trees. The whitewash also helped to protect the shade trees from insect and fungus attacks. This custom still holds today as the trees are given a fresh coating of whitewash on the Saturday before camp meeting.