This weekend: birds, pucks, a mixed getaway

Officially, on average today is the coldest day of the year. Which means it’ll start getting warmer come the weekend, great incentive for getting out.


Think this weather is for the birds? Well … you’re right. It may seem cold to you, but for hundreds of thousands of birds from more northerly climes, North Carolina’s coast is to them what Florida is to humans. That makes this time of year ideal for getting out in the wild for some birdwatching. Here are three programs this weekend where you can go out with trained naturalists and learn just who likes to spend their winter at the coast:

8:30 a.m., Merchants Millpond State Park, Gatesville.
9:30 a.m., Dismal Swamp State Park, South Mills.

3 p.m., Goose Creek State Park, Washington.


The NHL All-Star game is in Raleigh this weekend, but with the possible exception of baseball, all-star games are rarely about the sport. They’re about the pomp, the pageantry and the multitude of ways to attract tourist dollars associated with the sport. In the case of this weekend, though, there’s also lots of hands-on potential for the active among us. Among other things Saturday in downtown Raleigh you can go down a giant sledding hill, ice skate or learn how to play hockey.

Intrigued? Some if it’s free, some of it not. Learn more here.


Blowing Rock’s Winterfest, which begins today and runs through Sunday, isn’t so much outdoor-activity driven (unless you’d care to participate in Saturday’s Polar Plunge in Chetola Lake) as it is the perfect event for mixed relationships — “mixed” meaning those consisting of someone who loves to get out and sweat and someone who loves to get out and shop. While the shopper is guzzling free hot chocolate downtown, shopping ‘til dropping at The Tanger Outlet and wine tasting, the sweater can slip up  the road to Moses Cone Park for some hiking (or cross-country skiing), head over to Appalachian Ski Mountain for some snowboarding or do any number of the other high-country related activities you can do nearby.

The shopper can go here for more on Winterfest. The sweater is advised to check in at the Footsloggers on Main Street, where they’re always happy to make suggests on what you might do and where you might do it.

Photo: Come look for the yellow-rumped warbler Sunday at Goose Creek State Park.

* * *

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.

Todd’s Calendar



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.

Leave a Reply