This weekend: Honor mom outside

What better way to celebrate your mom than with the mom to all, Mother Nature.


"Woman in Boat"

Renoir’s “Woman in Boat” is one of those classic impressionist paintings that you get lost in for a while before snapping to and thinking, “I should get Mom out in a boat. She’d like that.” OK, maybe that’s not necessarily what you think at the time. But now that the seed has been planted, it’s a good idea, no?

Yes. And it’s an idea you can act on this Sunday (Mother’s Day, btw) at Merchants Millpond State Park near Gatesville (up in the northeast corner of the state). The 760-acre Merchants Millpond is both enchanting, with its still waters peppered with Spanish moss-dripping ancient bald cypress and tupelo gum, and accessible. The latter all the more so this Sunday, when a ranger leads a guided Mother’s Day paddle.

Logistics: Sunday, May 12, 2 p.m. Free, but preregistration required, by calling 252.357.1191. All equipment — boat, paddle, PFD — is provided, you just need to bring mom. More about Merchants Millpond here.

Sunday forecast: Overcast early, clearing in the afternoon, high of 72.



Even more than women in boats, women with flowers were a popular subject of the French impressionists. Monet, for one, was constantly capturing women with flowers: “Woman with a Parasol,” “Woman in a Garden,” (not to be confused with “Women in a Garden”) and a personal favorite, “Springtime” (pictured). Once again, when you see one of these your thoughts may or may not turn to the need to take mom out and tip-toe through the tulips.

We don’t know about tulips, but we do know there will be plenty of other wildflowers in bloom Sunday when a park ranger leads the Mother’s Day Wildflower Hike at Hanging Rock State Park north of the Triad. The scenic mile-long saunter begins at 2 p.m.

Logistics: Sunday, 2 p.m. Free. More about the park here.

Sunday forecast: Partly cloudy, high of 70.


The wildflower display is in full bloom in the high country and, fittingly, Mother’s Day-related wildflower hikes abound. Because we’re running out of space as a result of our art history lesson, we refer you to a nice roundup of this weekend’s mountain hikes by Karen “Best Hikes with Dogs: North Carolina” Chavez, outdoors editor of the Asheville Citizen Times. Find it here.

Logistics: Again, find it here.

Weekend forecast: Sunday’s looking better than Saturday, with partly cloudy skies and highes in the upper 60s.

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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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