Thursday, February 1, 2018

Have You Been to Goat Island?

In 1910, textile magnate Stuart Cramer released goats onto a small river island in the town that would eventually take his name. They were put there to control vegetation. Today, you won't find livestock roaming Goat Island in Cramerton, the quaint town 20 miles west of Uptown Charlotte, but you will find a destination for outdoor fun. Here's what makes Goat Island worth the trip:

The trail: The Goat Island Greenway is a wide, paved footpath that runs through the heart of Goat Island. It starts at the 8th Ave. entrance to the island, traverses an impressive bridge over the South Fork Catawba River and winds through the island, across another bridge and into the adjacent neighborhood. The 0.7 mi. (one way) trail is good for walking, biking, skating, scooting and strollers.

The equipment: The park sports a remarkable treehouse playground for big kids, a preschool playground for the littles, and adult exercise equipment for the grown-ups.

The games: Goat Island is home to a beautiful 18-hole disc golf course, two permanent ping pong tables and 3 concrete corn hole sets (BYO paddles, balls and bean bags).

The amenities: No. 1 is bathrooms! Also, picnic shelters, a fenced dog park and fishing/observation piers.

The setting: The main Goat Island entrance is directly across from the historic main street in downtown Cramerton, where you can grab a bite to eat. Beside the park entrance is a fire station (fun for little ones who are into trucks!) And, bonus, you're an 8-minute drive from the Cotton Candy Factory in downtown Belmont -- worth a stop on the way back home.

How to get there:
The main entrance to Goat Island is located at 142 8th Ave., Cramerton, NC, 28032. There's a free municipal parking lot across the street from the park bridge. This is also where you'll find the bathrooms. Using this entrance will put you directly at the playground once you cross the bridge.

There's another entrance on the opposite side of the island located at 305 Greenwood Pl., Belmont NC, 28012. There's plenty of parking here as well. And porta-potties.

Don't forget to take:
  • Water and snacks or a picnic lunch: There's enough to do here to plan on spending a while playing and exploring.
  • Sunscreen, hats and sunglasses: The trails are partially covered, but the playgrounds are wide open.
  • Bikes and helmets, bean bags, ping pong paddles and balls, Frisbees, etc. . . Take your pick of games and come equipped to play them.

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