How to get there:
The Belmont trailhead is located at 103 Sacco St, Belmont, NC 28012. The Cramerton trailhead is located at the Gaston County EMS Station (700 Eagle Rd, Belmont, NC 28012). Note: There are no restrooms at the trailhead; plan accordingly.
Tuesday, September 21, 2021
How to get there:
Friday, September 10, 2021
Carolina Thread Trail), and 25 campsites.
Check out the calendar of events.) One of our favorite stops was at the 18th century replica schoolhouse. We also enjoyed running around the large, open field at the main entrance. Nearby is an amphitheater and Meeting House for community events.
Here's a park map.
How to get there:
Andrew Jackson State Park is located at 196 Andrew Jackson Park Rd, Lancaster, SC 29720. You'll pay for admission ($3/adult, $1.50/senior, $1/children 6-15, and free for children 5 and younger) at a kiosk on your way in.
Friday, September 3, 2021
Thursday, August 26, 2021
How to get there:
Wing Haven is located at 248 Ridgewood Ave, Charlotte, NC 28209. Out of consideration for neighbors, visitors are strongly encouraged to park in the lot at 260 Ridgewood Ave.
Friday, August 13, 2021
KnowCLT provides a GPS-based, immersive, self-guided walking tour of what was once Brooklyn, a large, vibrant, Black neighborhood located uptown that was erased in the name of urban renewal in the 1960s. Brooklyn was a beautiful, thriving community and this experience tells the story of the area, its architecture, and the people who lived there. Recognizing the tragedy of the demolition of Brooklyn is uncomfortable, but also important for all citizens of our city.
I've never used virtual reality technology before, so I was blown away by how easy it was to use and what an incredible experience the program provides.
Simply head uptown and situate yourself inside of the parameters of the tour on the map within the app. Your exact location will appear as a blue dot, which moves with you as you make your way toward each stop. The app notifies you when you're getting close and when you've arrived. In real life, you're looking for a large green circle mounted on the sidewalk at each location.
Check out this brochure for more information about what to expect before you go.
This makes for a great outing for kids, who will find the technology and scavenger-hunt aspects of the outing exciting. Plus, this glimpse of history can be a very eye-opening experience for even very young participants.
If it's been a while since you've been uptown, KnowCLT provides the perfect reason for an urban excursion. Since the pandemic began, we've not had as many excuses to head to Center City as we once did. This is a good one, though. And I recommend you pair the virtual tour with a visit to the exhibit Brooklyn: Once a City within a City (and/or any of the other engaging exhibits) at Levine Museum of the New South (200 E. 7th St.).
As a bonus, KnowCLT gives you an option to earn rewards to redeem at local, Black-owned businesses. Fun for now and later!
More to come
I understand the museum plans to add experiences to the app in the future. For now, take this opportunity to journey to the past and get to know the beauty of Brooklyn. I think you'll be glad you did, and I know you'll be a better informed citizen for it.
Wednesday, July 21, 2021
Here's what I came up with. Of course, this checklist can (and should) be personalized according to your needs and preferences, but I think it's a solid place to start for both novices and seasoned-but-it's-been-a-while campers alike.
If you're just dipping your toes into the experience, renting gear (REI is a good place to start) or borrowing it from a friend might be the way to go. Or, I commend to you Goat Gear XCHG (824 Lamar Ave, Charlotte, NC 28204), an outdoor gear consignment shop where you can get the basics for a fraction of new purchase costs (bonus: upcycling helps save money and the planet!)
Now, where to camp. If you'd feel more comfortable sticking close to home, McDowell Nature Preserve (15222 York Rd., Charlotte, NC, 28278), a Mecklenburg County park about 30 minutes southwest of uptown Charlotte, might be just the right destination for you.
A little farther out, we like Lake Norman State Park (759 State Park Rd., Troutman, NC, 28166), about 45 minutes north of town, and Cane Creek Park (5213 Harkey Rd., Waxhaw, NC, 28173), an hour or so south.
Our favorite excursions take us to Western North Carolina. High on our list of favorites are:
- Davidson River Campground (near Brevard, NC)
- Mount Pisgah Campground (Canton, NC)
- Roan Mountain State Park (Roan Mountain, TN)
While some campgrounds offer first come/first-serve sites, it's generally best to secure a reservation. As we emerge from the pandemic, this can be challenging, but not impossible!
Wednesday, July 14, 2021
park office provides passes and gear rentals (kayaks, discs, etc.) and is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. April through September and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. October through March.
this hike, which hugs the banks of both lakes, following the red blazes on the first stretch and blue on the back half. A third of a mile in, there's a large picnic area with fire pits and large rocks for climbing on. While the start of this hike is pretty flat and easy, there's a reason for the "rough terrain" warning sign father in. Lots of rocks and roots make for a more challenging excursion. It's navigable, though, and one of our favorite parts was the boardwalk bridge crossing the tip of the second lake.
this Carolina Thread Trail around the first lake. It's less than a mile and good for all ages and abilities.
A word of warning: There's a spaghetti network of well-worn spur trails that are not all well marked. This makes it easy to get off track if you're not paying attention. Here's a park map to help you get the lay of the land.
If you're in the China Grove area, Lake Corriher is a nice place to visit. If you're looking for a reason to head up that way, the N.C. Transportation Museum is worth a trip in and of itself (go see the eccentric bikes if you get a chance, but, hurry, it only runs through early September 2021!). Pairing the Lake Corriher hike with a museum tour was a lovely day-outing for our crew and I'd recommend it to you as well.
How to get there:
Parking for Lake Corriher Wilderness Area is located at 955 Kimball Road, China Grove, NC 28023.
Thursday, July 8, 2021
few more rules, but that's the gist of it. It's a simple, fast-moving game, fun for all ages and group sizes.
We enjoy pairing GaGa Ball sessions with a bike ride on the greenway (it makes for a fun destination activity) and sometimes ice cream or Slurpies after.
The beauty of the game is that, besides the pit, all the equipment you really need is a light, bouncy ball and some supportive, comfortable shoes. I do recommend throwing some water bottles in your gear bag; it's easy to work up a sweat when you get to playing.
Tom Sykes Recreation Center.
Some of our other go-tos are:
- The playground at St. Patrick Cathedral (1621 Dilworth Rd. E., Charlotte, N.C. 28203, just down the street from Dilworth Elementary)
- Beside First Baptist Church Uptown (301 S. Davidson St., Charlotte, N.C., 28202)
- In the far corner of the track across the street from Eastover Elementary School (500 Cherokee Rd., Charlotte, N.C., 28207)
I know GaGa Ball sounds newfangled. Or maybe made up? But, when it comes to schoolyard games, this one's a classic. And I recommend giving it a try. Go on. Go gaga. It's fun for the whole family.
Thursday, July 1, 2021
Polly Rogers Memorial Sensory Garden recently opened to the public. This beautiful new space, created in honor of a UNCC student who was studying to be a Special Education teacher when she passed away in 2018, offers a beautiful space for both peaceful contemplation and playful whimsy.
here's a map), a 7-acre garden featuring rhododendrons and native plants of the Carolinas. (There's also the Susie Harwood Garden, well worth a visit, too)
If you get a chance, visit the nearby McMillan Greenhouse (currently closed for COVID-19). Among many other cool features (like a dinosaur garden and orchid room), this is home to a rare Titan Arum (meet Rotney the Magnifiscent, II), one of the world's largest flower structures when it blooms. They can reach 10-feet tall. Interestingly, they also smell like rotten meat, which is why they are sometimes called the corpse flower (hence Rotney's clever name).
How to get there:
Free public parking for the Botanical Gardens and Greenhouse is available behind the greenhouse in lot 16A, located at 9090 Craver Rd., Charlotte, NC, 28262. The entrance to the Polly's Garden is at the southern end of the Van Landingham Glen portion of the Botanical Gardens. You can access it through the trails in the Glen, or at the Bonnie Cone gated entrance on Mary Alexander Rd. Here's a map that will help you navigate.
Keep in mind, this trip is doable by light-rail and foot if you're up for an adventure! Here's how.