This weekend: Bike, curl, ‘scope

Selma Cyclepaths: Top fundraising team at Bike MS for seven years in a row.

Ride not one but two days at the coast for a great cause, acquaint yourself with a sport that takes stones, cozy up to the night sky atop Mount Mitchell.


This may not be something you can pull off at the last minute; for one thing, fundraising is involved. But you should definitely put this weekend’s Bike MS out of New Bern on your list for 2013.

The two-day (Saturday and Sunday) ride is based out of New Bern (camp or stay in a hotel). Both days you have the option of riding 30, 75, 50 or 100 miles on fully-supported routes. And the rest stops on this ride are some of the best ever, operated by local churches and civic organizations that do their best to one-up one-another with food and encouragement. Saturday evening there’s dinner and a party. Last year, more than 2,600 cyclists did the ride, raising nearly $1.7 million in the fight against MS.

Logistics: Learn all you need to know here.

Weekend forecast: Highs in the upper 80s with … a pretty good chance of rain.


Years ago, back in my newspaper days, I spent a very cold but very entertaining afternoon with the Triangle Curling Club, learning about the sport I, like many of you, become familiar with every four years, during the Winter Olympics. I was intrigued, yet as is often the case in my line of work I was off on another adventure the next week and my brief flirtation with curling was over.

Sunday, I can reintroduce myself — and you can make a first introduction — when the TCC hosts a Learn to Curl session from 6-8 p.m. at the Factory Ice House in Wake Forest. Club members will show you the secrets of getting the stone where you want it to go, stop where you want it to stop. Wear warm, loose clothes and sneakers, maybe with five pairs of socks (my feet are still cold from the day I spent with the club).

Logistics: Sunday, Sept. 9, 6-8 p.m., at the Factory Ice House in Wake Forest. $20. For more information and to register, go here.

Sunday forecast: Clear, high of 32 (in the Ice House)

Picturing being here, only in the dark.


Where’s about the best place you can think of in North Carolina to check out the night sky? Yes, the coastal plain is a good guess, especially if you’ve ever seen one of those nighttime satellite photos of the East Coast that shows a big black spot where relatively lightly light-polluted Eastern North Carolina is.

Actually, though, Mount Mitchell, the top of the East Coast, is both away from a good deal of light pollution and, at 6,684 feet, it’s already way up in the air. That makes it an ideal location for Saturday night’s’s stargazing event hosted by the Blue Ridge Astronomy Group. The first-ever Mount Mitchell Star Party starts at 8 p.m. (14 minutes after official sunset) and runs until 10:30 p.m. Expect a heckuva show.

“From that vantage point on Mount Mitchell, we expect see not only stars, but galaxies, nebulae, the Milky Way, orbiting satellites and much more,” says Bob Hampton, one of the event’s organizers. Worth the trip alone to see the Milky Way.

Logistics: Saturday, Sept. 8, 8-10:30 p.m., Mount Mitchell State Park, free. For more info, go here.

Saturday night forecast: Overnight low of 48 and clear.

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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.

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.

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