This weekend: Paddle, pedal, (star) party

Mother Nature may be slow to get in on the spring season but the events calendar isn’t. A great range of spring activities are on tap across the state this weekend, starting with star parties across the state Friday night, followed by a paddle on the Scuppernong River Saturday and the Tour de Lure mountain road ride. Get out and embrace spring!

Paddling the Scuppernong (photo by Mike Dunn)

Odds are, when you think of Pettigrew State Park you think of some of the state’s oldest trees. Narrow your Pettigrew-related thoughts to water, you likely think of Lake Phelps, the state’s second largest (natural) lake. But since 2004 you’d have to expand those watery thoughts of the park to include a stretch of the Scuppernong River, which offers some of the easiest, most intimate coastal paddling in the state.

Sample some Scuppernong paddle magic Saturday on a ranger-led canoe trip beginning at 10 a.m. from Spruill’s Bridge in Creswell. No idea where Spruill’s Bridge — and perhaps Creswell — is? Find out when you call to reserve a spot on this free, but registration-required paddle trip.

Logistics: Saturday, April 6, 10 a.m. Free and all equipment and a ranger guide provided, but preregistration is required, by calling (252) 797-4475. Learn more about the park and local ecology here.

Saturday forecast: Sunny, high of 59.


There’s a statewide star party at state parks throughout North Carolina, and you’re invited.

The star of the party

One such party is at Mayo River State Park near Greensboro. Beginning at 8:30 p.m. Friday night, “Park staff, armed with telescopes, will give a tour of the night sky from a field near the picnic shelter.” Participants wielding flashlights are asked to use red filters, and despite our never-ending winter, you are advised to pack bug spray. Find out about other star parties in the State Park system here.

Logistics: Friday, April 5, 8:30 p.m., Mayo River State Park. Free. Weather dependent; call before hand to make sure the event is on: 336.427.2530

Friday night forecast: High in the 50s, rain clearing.

Tour de Lure


You know nice weather’s gotta be around the corner when you see the first road ride of the season. Tour de Lure may not be the absolute first of 2013, but to us it always signifies the start of the mountain riding season. For those of you up to the challenge, there’s the Dewey Hughes Memorial Route, a 71-mile romp with 5,900 feet of climbing in the McDowell County/Lake Lure area. Just getting back on the bike? Then considering the Corpening YMCA Fun Route, a more gently rolling 22-mile cruise.

Logistics: Saturday, April 6, 9 a.m., beginning and ending at the Corpening Memorial YMCA in Marion. $45. More info here.

Saturday forecast: Sunny, high of 63.

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Those are our thoughts on the weekend. Find more options at the sources listed 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.

U.S. National Wildlife Refuges
Rundown, by month, of regular activities at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service refuges in North Carolina.

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