This weekend is a fall classic

Abbey Nature Preserve (photo courtesy N.C. Coastal Land Trust)

A 5K  through an old plantation at the coast, a paddle on a Piedmont river, a waterfall hike through the Pisgah National Forest. A weekend doesn’t get much more North Carolina than that.


Chances are you aren’t familiar with the Abbey Nature Preserve just north of Wilmington. Chances are you don’t know that in addition to the preserve, there’s the historic Poplar Grove Plantation and a museum documenting the Foy family’s nearly two centuries of farming on the land. And chances are you didn’t know that Saturday is a great day to explore the grounds as part of the Abbey Nature Preserve Autumn 5K. Run through Cedar forests, on trail beneath a leafy canopy, past a scenic pond and across a wooden footbridge.

Logistics: 8 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 22. $30, with proceeds benefiting the non-profit Poplar Grove Plantation.

Saturday forecast: Partly cloudy, high of 82.

Lumber River (photo courtesy N.C. Division of State Parks)


Keep meaning to paddle the Lumber River, keep looking for a good excuse. Such as Saturday’s Kayak and Canoe Paddle on the Lumber River sponsored by the River Way Adventure and Education Center, a non-profit based in Lumberton. This five-hour paddle on the Lumber includes guide and all the equipment; you just need to bring yourself, water and lunch.

Logistics: Saturday, Sept. 22, 10 a.m.-3 pm. $10. Meet at River Way’s office, 600 Kingsdale Blvd., Lumberton. Pre-register by calling 910.736.5573.

Saturday forecast: Partly cloudy, high of 84.

Falls along Avery Creek (photo by Brenda J. Wiley,


A favorite area in the mountains is the Pisgah National Forest near Brevard. A great campground (Davidson River) provides a great basecamp for for hiking, biking, paddling and general exploring in the region. Sometimes, though, it’s nice to have a little company, someone who knows his or her way around and can provide a proper introduction to the land. You can get that introduction Saturday on a 4-mile roundtrip hike along Avery Creek. Good vegetation and three waterfalls make this, according to the sponsoring Sierra Club of Western North Carolina, an ideal hike for families.

Logistics: Saturday, Sept. 22, 10 a.m. (meeting in Asheville to carpool); free, but call or email to register and to get directions:, 828.772.0379.

Saturday forecast: Clear, high of 75.

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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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