Your Weekend: Walk Wilmington, Paddle the Piedmont, Bike the Blue Ridge

Aren’t crazy about exercise, per se? All you need is the right carrot to get you walking, and Wilmington has three on Saturday. Meanwhile, Mayo River State Park offers a chance to paddle its namesake river and the mountain century season starts to kick in with Tour de Cashiers.

Coast: Walking carrots

841da0feab1f6ddad5dbcae3bcfd7f64l-m0xd-w480_h480_q80Need a reason to walk (beyond the fact that it’s good for you)? You’ll find three reasons in Wilmington Saturday.

Like to see how other folks live? The Downtown Lifestyle Tour takes you through the Brooklyn Arts District and other historic parts of downtown to checkout the lifestyles of the not-necessarily-rich-and-famous; rather, those who have a certain flare for urban living. Condos, townhomes, single-family homes — some of which are for sale or rent. Self guided.

More on the historical side is the Guided Architectural Walking Tour sponsored by Historic Wilmington. Start from Forest Hills Elementary and check out one of Wilmington’s first suburbs to bloom as a result of the automobile. Plan to spend an hour and a half to two hours exploring.

Finally, nature is always a good motivator for walking. Learn about Wilmington’s Hugh MacRae Park on a brief talk followed by a 1.5-mile hike.

Vital stats: Learn more about all of these opportunities starting here, at

Saturday forecast: High of 84, sunny.

Looking ahead: CFCC Bridge-to-Bridge 4.0 Run, June 10, Cape Fear Community College, Wilmington. More info here.

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Piedmont: Canoe the Mayo

mari1Even if you consider yourself a fairly frequent paddler, you likely haven’t paddled the Mayo River. It’s smaller, a bit off the beaten track, more susceptible to bottom-scraping due to lack of rain. Plus, where do you put in and take out?

Saturday, Mayo River State Park gives you a chance to paddle a four- to five-hour stretch of the Mayo. Canoes, PFDs, and paddles provided; you need to provide your own shuttle, water, lunch and sunscreen, and promise, under no circumstances, to wear flip-flops. Also: “Cress for and be prepared for getting wet.”

It’s free, but you must be among the first 11 callers to sign up. Specifics below.

Vital Stats: Canoe the Mayo, Saturday, 10 a.m., Mayo River State Park, Mayodan. Call 336.427.2530 to sign up. More info here.

Saturday forecast: Partly cloudy, high of 80.

Looking ahead: National Trails Day, Saturday, June 4. Find out what’s going on to celebrate our North Carolina State Park trails by going here.

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Mountains: Cycle a Century

hampton-inn-suites-cashiers-north-carolina-tour-de-cashiersThe mountain century season is upon us, the run of warm-weather rides that challenge cyclists by taking on some of the Southern Appalachians’ more challenging routes. One of the season’s kickoff events: Tour de Cashiers.

Routes include an English century (100 miles), a metric century (64 miles) and a quarter century (25 miles). None of the rides shies from climbing: the English century gains 10,500 vertical feet along the way, the quarter century a proportionate 2,500 feet. There is no easy, just durations of difficult. The race begins and ends in Cashiers, taking in Jackson, Macon and Transylvania counties along the way.

Vital Stats: Tour de Cashiers, Saturday, 8 a.m., Cashiers. $55. More info here.

Saturday forecast: Sunny and 52 at the 8 a.m. start climbing to a high of 66.

Looking ahead: The Fletcher Flyer, June 5, Brevard. Rides of 100, 62, 50 and 31 miles. More info here.

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Those are our thoughts on the weekend. Find more options at the sources listed below.

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 coastal 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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