Aren’t crazy about exercise, per se? All you need is the right carrot to get you walking, and Wilmington has three on Saturday. Meanwhile, Mayo River State Park offers a chance to paddle its namesake river and the mountain century season starts to kick in with Tour de Cashiers.
When landscape design historian/educator/author Kathryn Aalto moved her family from Seattle to England several years ago, she remembers looking down on the approaching English landscape as their plane descended and thinking, “How am I going to raise my children here?”
Aalto was used to the more untamed land of the Pacific Northwest. Below her was a highly manicured rolling countryside, the result of several centuries of human domination.
“I needed to get a sense of place,” she told a gathering last night at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, the latest stop on her U.S. book tour. “I discovered that walking was going to do it.”
It did, resulting in part in her new book, “The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh.” In it, she casts a naturalist’s eye on the 6,000-acre Ashdown Forest in southeast England, the inspiration for A.A. Milne’s Hundred Acre Wood, the setting for Christopher Robin’s childhood adventures with Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore and the rest of the magical menagerie.
Aalto talked about the English countryside of bracken, gorse and heather. She talked of the “nibblers” — the goats, the sheep, the Belted Galloways — that manicure the landscape. She showed a photo of the expansive walnut tree that inspired Pooh’s home. And she shared from her research insights into Milne, his son Christopher Robin, and illustrator E.H. Shepard.
At the coast, we start with a Wellness Walk intended to get you off the couch and moving about. In the mountains, we finish with one of the most taxing events around, the half ironman. And in the Piedmont, pick up a paddle and explore a river you may not know.
Celebrate your independence this July 4 weekend by exercising your right to pick the adventure of your choice. And in this free market of North Carolina adventure, you’ve got plenty of options, from a walk celebrating history at the coast, to mountain firecracker 5Ks, to an adventure of your choosing to the beat of live music.
This is a weekend for just about anyone. At the coast, take a mellow walk into the past in downtown Wilmington. In the Piedmont, brush up on your bird awareness for the upcoming census. In the mountains, strap on your crampons for a high country winter hike.