This weekend: Walk into history, ID your birds, a winter summit

This is a weekend for just about anyone. At the coast, take a mellow walk into the past in downtown Wilmington. In the Piedmont, brush up on your bird awareness for the upcoming census. In the mountains, strap on your crampons for a high country winter hike.


pic1Often when we think of getting a little exercise on foot we think of putting on the hiking boots and fleece and hitting the trail, or digging out the windsuit for an early morning stroll around the mall. In short, we think workout, we think sweat.

But there are more subtle forms of walking exercise, one of which is Saturday’s Walking Tour of Historic Wilmington in … historic Wilmington. It’s a 1.5-hour walk that will cover roughly 12 blocks of downtown Wilmington, visiting homes, churches, and other structures of historical and archaeological significance. You’ll be so caught up learning about these structures and the roles they played in Wilmington’s development that you won’t feel like you’ve walked a mile and a half.

Logistics: Saturday, Feb. 7, 10 a.m., meets at the Latimer House Museum (pictured), 126 S. Third St., Wilmington. $10. More info here.

Saturday forecast: Sunny, high of 59.


640.4047Citizen science is a great thing. Those of without formal training in an area are nonetheless deputized to help with some basic data collection. In the case of The Great Backyard Bird Count, for instance, for four days in February we’re all brought on board to help count birds, right in our own backyards. It’s a somewhat less formal way of tracking bird populations than the annual Christmas Bird Count, which also enlists amateurs but is overseen by experienced birders.

But even while no expertise is required for The Great Backyard Bird Count, many of us feel ill-equipped to make key bird identifications: Is that a robin or a condor, a woodpecker or a penguin? A little direction, please?

A little direction is what the folks at Raven Rock State Park will be providing Saturday in a Backyard Birds clinic. Bring your binos and learn how to make these important distinctions, by sight and by sound.

Logistics: Saturday, Feb. 1, 1 p.m., Raven Rock State Park, Lillington. For more information and to register: 910.893.4888

Saturday forecast: High of 59, sunny.


From Round Bald looking east: Jane Bald, Grassy Ridge and beyond.Here’s something you don’t always get to do on a winter’s day: take a guided hike in the Roan Mountain area, including a hike out to Grassy Ridge at 6,400 feet.

Not surprisingly, this hike is offered by the High Peaks Trail Association, a group of old hands at high-country hiking. Although the weather forecast is promising (see promising Saturday forecast below), it will be cold and windy. But it’s also supposed to be clear, offering the great views you hope for when you hike the three balds — Jane, Round and Grassy — from Carvers Gap. Bundle up for this 5-mile round-trip hike and make sure your memory card is clear.

Logistics: Saturday, Feb. 7, 8:30 a.m. meeting time in Burnsville for the drive up. For more information, contact Hike Leader Robert Branch at 828.682.3102 or Read a write-up on the hike in the Asheville Citizen-Times, here.

Saturday forecast: Sunny, high of 41, winds from 30- to 35 miles per hour.

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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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