This weekend: Kites ‘n’ hikes

Fly a kite at the coast, take a hike in the dark in the Piedmont, enjoy the first weekend of November — it’s a good weekend to be in North Carolina.


If you’re simply looking for all-out fun this weekend, you can do no better than this weekend’s Cape Fear Kite Festival at Wrightsville Beach. This is a non-competitive kite-flying event, which means you should feel good about bringing your own homemade work of art. Yet it also attracts serious kiters, looking for one last chance to fly in the 2013 season.

Logistics: Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 2 and 3, all day, at the Shell Island Resort on Wrightsville Beach. More info: 910.520.1818.

Weekend forecast: Sunday’s looking better than Saturday. Click the link for the latest.

The wide, smooth trails at South Mountains.


We know, we should be recommending hikes to catch the fall color, what with all the fall color and all. Yet we can’t help but think what great potential there is in Friday’s Night Hike at South Mountains State Park. South Mountains’ 40-mile trail network is ideal for hiking at night; much of the trail system is old roadbeds and as such, the trails are generally wide and devoid of the ankle-grabbing rocks and roots that trip so many of us up on our night hikes. Besides, you can always arrive a couple hours before the 6 p.m. hike and take in some park color on your own.

Logistics: Friday, Nov. 15, 6 p.m., South Mountains State Park, Connelly Springs. More info: 828.433.4772.

Friday forecast: Daytime high of 70 dropping to 45 at night, 80 percent chance of rain.

Looking south, toward the area of Sunday's hike.


It’s hard to think of a better way to spend the first weekend of fall, with sunny skies and highs forecast in the upper 50s, than by taking a hike. A hike, say, in the Pisgah National Forest southwest of Asheville, where the color is still good and you can begin to break out your cold weather gear. That’s the Carolina Mountain Club’s plan for Sunday, when they do a 14.5-mile loop hike encompassing Squirrel Gap and Horse Cove Gap in the Pisgah. If you’re unfamiliar with these trails, don’t be surprised; as the CMC notes, these are “lesser-used trails” that promise great scenery.

Logistics: Sunday, Nov. 3, 8:45 a.m. (carpool from Asheville). More info by contacting hike leader Carroll Koepplinger, 828-667-0723, More info on the route, here.

Sunday forecast: High of 59, sunny skies.

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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.


Great Outdoor Provision Co.
Calendar includes three weekly events for each of its seven markets: Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Greensboro, Greenville, Raleigh, Wilmington and Winston-Salem. Search by market.

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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