Thursday, May 27, 2021

Hidden Parks: Huntingtowne Farms Park

Here's a fun little find off the southern portion of the Little Sugar Creek Greenway. The Huntingtowne Farms Park is a 23-acre space about 20 minutes south of uptown Charlotte in the eponymous neighborhood just off of Park Rd. 

The park, which is stretched linearly north-to-south, has playing fields, a basketball court, two tennis courts, a playground, a garden, and a picnic shelter.

There is a parking area, but I recommend accessing this park from the greenway. Making it a stop on a longer spin or stroll makes for a fun outing.

How to get there: 
Huntingtowne Farms Park is located at 2201 Ramblewood Ln., 28210. Parking for a nearby greenway access point can be found across from the Queens University Sports Complex, which is at 2229 Tyvola Rd. 28210.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Renaissance Park

Check it out: One of Charlotte's coolest new recreation amenities is now open at Renaissance Park. A brand-new, state-of-the-art skate park opened there in January of this year.

The 145-acre Renaissance Park, located less than 15 minutes southwest of uptown, is home to a number of fun recreation features, including a public county golf course, 6.5 miles of mountain bike trails, 9 sand volleyball courts, 13 tennis courts, a couple of softball fields, an 18-hole disc golf course, and restroom facilities. They also have a great dog park.

But, back to the new attraction. The 4000-square-foot skatepark was specially designed to bring life to an under-utilized section of the park's parking lot. I don't know a thing about skateboarding, but I do know that this is a state-of-the-art facility with a lot of fun options for riders of all skill levels.

One section of the park is designed for vert, or transition, skateboarding (yes, I did Google "skatepark terminology"), which involves inclines and and ramps for doing tricks. (Fun fact: this style started as "pool riding" in the 1970s when skateboarders rode in emptied backyard swimming pools.) This part of the park includes an artful arrangement of pipes, ramps, rails and decks.

The other section is a simple, smooth, paved area with nothing but a few parking lot bumpers. This is for street skating, where skateboarders use urban obstacles to perform tricks.

When we went, there were a number of older, more experience skateboarders making runs and doing tricks on the technical part of the park, which was fun to watch (Note: They were respectful of and accommodating to the younger, less experienced skaters; seems there's room for everyone in the skateboarding community!).

We ended up spending most of our playtime on the street skating section and enjoyed every minute of it. Here, you can use scooters and skates, but no matter what you're riding where a helmet at all times. Helmets are required, as are pads and wrist guards. 

While we were at the park, we also spent a little time on some of the surrounding trails and at the dog park, all of which combined for a fun, dynamic outing. While the new skate park is a big draw, you don't have to be a seasoned skater to find something fun to do at Renaissance Park. 

How to get there:
Renaissance Park is located at 1536 W Tyvola Rd., Charlotte, NC 28217. The skate park is in the back parking lot. Follow the driveway from the entrance. Here's a park map

Don't forget to pack
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Water and snacks
  • Riding toys and a helmet