This weekend: GetExploring! GetVollying! GetCraggy!

Basically, get out and do something this weekend. No options is not an option.


Since moving to the state 22 years ago, we’ve been especially intrigued by the opportunities for adventure in Eastern North Carolina. Unfortunately, our curiosity has not been matched by action.

That’s about to change, though, as we launch a joint exploration project with Great Outdoor Provision Co.: GetExploring! Greenville. The program’s goal is to help both experienced and novice explorers get out and discover the adventure potential east of I-95. Saturday is our first GetExploring! Greenville foray: a two-hour paddle trip at Goose Creek State Park.

We’ll spend a couple of hours paddling the intimate waters of Goose Creek, just east of Washington, N.C. Goose Creek is a classic swamp/marsh paddle, complete with all manner of ecological eye candy. It’s a great introduction to exploring Eastern North Carolina.

Logistics: Saturday, Aug. 9, 10 a.m., Dinahs Landing boat access, Goose Creek State Park. Learn more about Saturday’s paddle and sign up at GetExploring! Greenville.

Saturday forecast: Morning highs in the 70s, raining moving in in the afternoon (once we’re off the water).


Continuing your search for activities that ignite your passion? Have you given badminton a try?

Badminton is one of those intoxicatingly alluring pursuits that sucks you in with its apparent simplicity, then, several hours later, spits you out exhausted. Several years ago we bought a badminton set, set it up in the yard. Eventually, about three months later, we stopped playing — but only because the net had been reduced to tatters, our rackets wrought with gapping holes and the last shuttlecock had landed on the neighbor’s roof.

Experience the addiction of badminton yourself Saturday at the Marion Diehl Recreation Center in Charlotte. From noon to 2 p.m. there will be open play for the 18- to 54-year-old set. Learn a new activity, meet new people to play with. And it’s free.

Logistics: Saturday, Aug. 9, noon-2 p.m., Marion Diehl Recreation Center, Charlotte, 2219 Tyvola Road. For more info, call 704.544.2417.

Saturday forecast: High of 79 with a goodly chance of rain (but the badminton is indoors).

Craggy Gardens (photo courtesy


Craggy Gardens along the Blue Ridge Parkway — at Milepost 363 — is known for its rugged terrain and great views. But it’s also a unique ecological oasis perched high in the Southern Appalachians. Discover what all makes this area unique on a two-mile hike lead by a Blue Ridge Parkway park ranger on Saturday morning.

Logistics: Saturday, Aug. 9, 10 a.m., Graybeard Mountain Overlook, Milepost 363, Blue Ridge Parkway. Free. More info: 828.298.5330, ext. 304.

Saturday forecast: High of 71, 60 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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