Your weekend: Frightful? Delightful! 

Answer the following: The weather forecast for this weekend is:

a) Frightful

b) Delightful

If you answered a), then you’ve already resigned yourself to spending the weekend indoors. Here’s a list of good books.

If you answered b), stick with us as we depart from our usual format, which is to recommend planned outdoor activities scheduled for the weekend. Organized bike rides, hikes, runs, that kind of thing. Odds are that anything scheduled throughout much of the state will be canceled should the forecast illustrated above (thanks WRAL Weather, btw) come true. No sense recommending something that likely won’t happen. Instead, some thoughts on how you, as an individual, can take advantage of the snowy cold weekend.

Ski Umstead

Cross-country skiing

Yup, skiing Nordic style, out your front door. Of course, there’s a big caveat: you have to have skis (kudos to those of you from the North and West with the good sense to cling to your sticks). But if you do, with as little as 4 to 6 inches of snow, some of our favorite hiking trails become our favorite cross-country trails. Which ones? Find out at our GetGoingNC! Guide to Cross-Country skiing, here.


You don’t even need a sled to go sledding in a few inches of snow; you can improvise with any number of household devices — a garbage can lid, a baking sheet, the hood of dad’s car (some disassembly required). You will, however, need a hill. If you live in the Triangle you can find one here.


Note the poles

It’s hard to beat a hike in the snow. A few caveats before lacing up, however. First, make sure the place you plan to hike is open. If you’re a fan of North Carolina State Parks, they do a great job of updating closures on their web site, More important, make sure you can get there. Even if it quits snowing midday Saturday, the ongoing cold will keep many roads in an icy state. N.C. Department of Transportation will keep you up-to-date on road closings here.   And keep in mind that many of our trails are peppered with rocks and tree roots, which will be buried under a blanket of deceptively smooth snow. An especially good time to use trekking poles.

Mountain biking

Most trails close when wet. Of course, with temperatures below freezing, will they be wet?

Exploring the hood

Your best bet: take a walk around the winter wonderland that will be your neighborhood. No driving involved and if you get cold, you’ve got a hot-toddy within a prudent distance.

We’ll go ahead and run our usual calendar (below), just in case. But here’s hoping it will be of no use.

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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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