This weekend: Welcome, October!

A mighty longleaf pine, at Weymouth Woods. (Photo courtesy NC Parks)

A mellow downtown bike ride at the coast, an audience with a survivor from the days of Mary Queen of Scots and hankie hike up in the hollow. An interesting weekend of choices in North Carolina.


We love a good organized bike ride. And we have a special fondness for those that don’t cater to the hardcore cyclist capable of riding 100 miles. Or 63. Or even 25. We like the short, leisurely rides that just about anyone could do — even someone without a bike.

That’s the case with Saturday’s Historical Southport Bicycle Tour in downtown Southport. This mellow ride around town takes in Fort Johnston, the Brunswick Inn, the Old Brunswick Jail, the Crimes of the Heart Home, The Indian Trail Tree along the Cape Fear River and more. And at two hours, there’s plenty of time to study the sights. Led by The Adventure Company.

Logistics: Saturday, Oct. 5, 9 a.m. $15 if you have a bike and helmet, $20 if you need a bike and helmet. More info here.

Saturday forecast: Partly cloudy, high of 81.

Elk Knob's Summit Trail: a three-hankie hike. (Photo courtesy NC Parks)


If you head the to the Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve in Southern Pines Sunday afternoon and hitch on to the Old Growth Hike, you’ll be in the presence of something extremely special: the oldest known longleaf pine on Earth. Old Bessie (not the tree’s real name) rings in at 465 years of age. (We’ll save you the mental gymnastics: this tree sprouted would have sprouted in 1548, not long after Columbus et al started wrecking havoc on the New World.)

Come see one of the few remaining survivors from the year when Emperor Charles V ordered Catholics to become Lutherans. (A slow news year.)

Logistics: Sunday, Oct. 6, 3 p.m. Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve, Southern Pines. More info: 910.692.2167

Saturday forecast: High of 84, partly cloudy.

A two-hour tour, a two-hour tour ...


We like Sunday’s Haint Hike at Elk Knob State Park near Jefferson for the hike’s unusual packing list. The hike is up the Summit Trail and it’s led by “a native Appalachian [who] tells ghost stories from way back in the hollows of Appalachia.” So what do you pack for a haint hike? “Participants should bring hiking attire and a box of tissues, as they will be frightened.”

Logistics: Sunday, Oct. 6, 2 p.m., Elk Knob State Park, Todd. More info here.

Sunday forecast: High of 63, 20 percent chance of rain.

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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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