This weekend: Spike, amble, dance

This weekend, there’s competitive beach volleyball at the coast, dancing in the Piedmont and a EuroHike in the mountains.


Think you’re a pretty good volleyball player? Or at least enjoy some good competition? Get your spike on Saturday at the 2 v 2 Beach Volleyball Tournament at Emerald Isle. This is open competition (two guys can be on a team, two gals, a guy and a gal … I think that covers the potential combinations) in a round robin format — “unless,” says Brittany Wood, recreation coordinator with the sponsoring Emerald Isle Parks & Rec Dept., “the number of teams exceeds 10, at which time the tournament will be set up in pool play.” Winners advance to the championship round, and the ultimate winners get to split the registration fee pool, with 70 percent to first place, 30 percent to second. Participants must be 16 or older.

It’s $25 per team, and you need to bring your own ball. And when you aren’t playing, you’ll need to officiate another game. You’ll need reserve a spot for your team in advance, either by calling Wood at 252.354.6350 or emailing her at


Recreational walking and hiking are a way of life in Europe, so much so that it’s become organized into formal walking clubs under the Volkssport banner. It’s a concept that’s caught on in the States, even here in the Tarheel state, where there are five Volkssport clubs.  The clubs have sanctioned routes that you can can hike on your own, and they host periodic event hikes. One of the state’s five clubs — the Asheville Amblers — is holding one of those event hikes Saturday at the N.C. Arboretum in Asheville.

Asheville Amblers: Don't they look like a fun group to hike with?

Event organizer Dennis Michele tells us their will be two hike options: the 11K route heads out to the nearby Lake Powhatan Recreation Area, the 5K sticks to the trails of the arboretum. Either way, scenic hiking is assured. Michele says the route is rated as a 2 (out of 5), “which means, yes, there will be some tough climbs, especially on the 11k route, but they’re not extremely steep. Also, while there may be an occasional root or two, the trails are free of obstacles.” Both hikes are guided, and no one will be left behind.

The hike, which leaves no later than 9:30 a.m.,  is open to non club members and there is no charge. (There is, however, a $6 per car fee to get into the arboretum.) If you get into the Volkssport thing and decide to join, there is a nominal fee for patches awarded for completing a walk. Post walk, Michele says group members sometimes go out for lunch.

The arboretum is not far off I-40 in Asheville, so it’s convenient to get to, especially if you have to drive a bit. A good way to walk with a group, an opportunity to add a little formality, structure and discipline to your walking regimen.


Did you know that dancing can strengthen your heart, increase flexibility, tone muscles and improve balance? And did you know you that a 170-pound person can burn 428 calories during an hour of vigorous ballroom dancing?

Yet because it’s considered a social activity, you don’t wear sweatpants to do it and it’s fun, most people don’t consider dancing a good workout. But you should, and you should consider going to Sunday’s two-and-a-half-hour workout at Greensboro’s Skateland USA West, sponsored by the Carolina Heartland Chapter of USA Dance.

But I don’t know how to dance
, you protest?

All the more reason, since the session begins with a 45-minute lesson by a professional dance instructor. Begins at 5, $10 admission, $7 if you belong to USA Dance, $3 if you’re under 22. More information here, directions to Skateland USA West here.

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Those are GGNC’s thoughts for an active weekend. Find out other ways you can get out this weekend by browsing our super calendar, a collection of events calendars from throughout the state, below.

Comprehensive calendar for the Cape Fear/Wilmington/southern N.C. coast searchable by date and event name.

Coastal Guide
Comprehensive calendar including nature programs from a variety of costal conservation and research agencies that offer nature programs. Covers the entire coast.

Crystal Cost Tourism Authority
Comprehensive calendar focusing on the Crystal Coast. Good source for programs offered by N.C. Coastal Federation, Cape Lookout National Park, N.C. National Estuarine Research Reserve and other costal conservation and research agencies that offer nature programs.
Comprehensive calendar including programs for the Outer Banks and Crystal Coast.

North Carolina Coast Host
Comprehensive calendar for the entire coast that lets you search for events by day, by region, by county, by city or by event (based on key word).

This Week Magazine
Primary focus is the Crystal Coast (North Carolina’s coastal midsection).


Asheville Citizen-Times
From the main page, click on “Outdoors,” then WNC Outdoors calendar.

Blue Ridge Outdoors
Searchable calendar lets you extend your reach to events throughout the mid-Atlantic and Southeast (or you can just limit it to North Carolina). Also lets you search a boatload of categories, ranging from Hiking, Mountain Biking and Climbing to Trail Running, Triathlon and Road Walking.

The Mountain Times
From the main page, click on “Calendars,” then Main Events.



Charlotte Observer events calendar
Comprehensive calendar searchable by category, including Nature, Recreation, Recreation & Wellness, Running

Charlotte Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.

Comprehensive calendar includes a Sports & Recreation category.

Piedmont Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.

Comprehensive calendar searchable by category, including: Birding, Boating, Cycling, Nature, Rec & Wellness, Recreation, Running, Swimming, Tennis, Yoga.

Carolina Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.


Office of Environmental Education
One calendar for the numerous Environmental Education Centers statewide.

North Carolina State Parks
Lets you search for programs at the state’s parks, recreation areas and natural areas by location, by month, by topic. To reach the calendar from the home page, click on “Education,” then “Fun & Free Programs at Parks.”

National Forests in North Carolina
From the home page, click on Carolina Connections for news updates on the state’s four national forests as well as hints on recreational opportunities and a detailed rundown of recreation areas and the amenities at each.