Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Nevin Community Park

Sometime over the course of the pandemic, the playground at Nevin Community Park got a major renovation. The previous wooden set was replaced by a sprawling new jungle gym of brightly colored equipment, anchored on one of those springy rubber foundations that make even the oldest kids (at heart) among us want to bounce from one area to the next. 

We went to check it out the other day and I'm pleased to share that the kids give the revamped playground two enthusiastic thumbs up -- AND it's just one of many very cool features that make Nevin Community Park a worthwhile destination. 

Nevin Community Park, located about 10 minutes north of uptown, adjacent to RibbonWalk Nature Preserve, covers a generous 197 acres of green space and offers just about every recreation amenity one could hope for. 

There are three playgrounds all together, as well as lighted soccer and softball/baseball fields. There are paved and natural-surface walking trails. There's an 18-hole disc golf course. And, of course, restrooms and picnic shelters. 

But what puts Nevin Community Park over the top are the shuffleboard courts, horseshoe pits, bocce ball courts AND a sprayground (open seasonally). Everything is spread out, but walkable. (Here's a park map.) Parks and Rec definitely went all-in when they were planning this space and it's a wonderful amenity for the community. 

When we went, I wanted to scope out everything, but the kids would have gladly played at the playground for hours, and have already asked to go back. If you've never been to Nevin Community Park, or the last time you visited was pre-pandemic, definitely consider a trip. The playground alone is an excellent draw, but I think you'll find the rest of it pretty compelling, too! 

Note: If you're up for a hike, consider this wooded tour of the disc golf course.  

How to get there:
Nevin Community Park is located at 6000 Statesville Rd, Charlotte, NC, 28269. There is plenty of parking, but follow directional signs to get to what you're interested in doing. The sprayground is offset from the playground area, which is on the other side of the park from the ball fields. It's all walkable. 

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Uptown CycleLink

When my husband returns to the office uptown, he plans to commute by bike. Partly for exercise, partly to save on parking costs, partly because it's way better for the environment, and partly because, these days, it's so much easier to do than ever. 

If you haven't been uptown much or at all over the past couple of years, you might be surprised by the extensive network of new, fully protected bike lanes, called CycleLink, that now traverse the city. Offset from traffic by concrete and plastic physical barriers, delineated with distinct road paint, and marked with directional signs, these bike lanes offer a welcoming invitation to ditch the gas in favor of pedals and all the mental, physical and environmental benefits that riding provides. 

The CycleLink runs east/west on 5th St. and 6th St., connecting Irwin Creek and Little Sugar Creek Greenways. At the Little Sugar Creek end of the CycleLink, you can head south (someday soon, this will take you all the way to Pineville; right now you can get to Park Road Shopping Center) or head north for a protected ride to NoDa

Also accessible from the CycleLink: Charlotte Rail Trail, which you can follow (with some maneuvering across I-277) all the way through SouthEnd. 

The plan is for the CycleLink to connect more than 40 miles of "AAA" (All Ages and Abilities) bikeways across Center City. While pieces of this plan are complete, others are still in the feasibility study phase. Still, this is an exciting endeavor for our community. More bikes and fewer cars would benefit Charlotte and our citizens in many important ways. 

Last weekend, when the sun came out and temperatures warmed, our oldest and I decided to clip on our helmets and head uptown for a ride. While intersections and driveways still require active attention, we found the protected bike lanes to be very accessible, safe and pleasant. Of course, the hills will remind you why it's called "uptown," but the return is a breeze! 

Whether you're about to resume commuting to an uptown office or just want to take a fun urban bike ride, CycleLink is worth checking out. If you're feeling hesitant, check out this "how to" video. Then give it a spin. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.