This weekend: Embrace the approaching gloom

Don’t forget your eclipse-viewing safety glasses!

Based on dire warnings from N.C. Department of Transportation message boards statewide (“Plan Ahead”!), we’re guessing that pert near everyone is resting up this weekend for the day of gathering gloom on Monday. Thus, we focus on events focused on the Sun’s disappearance Monday afternoon around 2:30.


The North Carolina coast is outside the range of total obliteration; Wilmington, at 96 percent obfuscation, is about as close as you’ll get. With a variety of events planned, we like the Solar Eclipse Party planned at Airlie Gardens in conjunction with the Cape Fear Museum, New Hanover County Library and the National Weather Service. They’ll provide those hard-to-get viewing glasses (numbers are limited; first come, first serve), plus family-friendly games, educational activities and more.

Logistics: Solar Eclipse Party, Monday, August 21, 12:30-3:30 p.m., Airlie Gardens, Wilmington. $3-$9. More info here.

Monday forecast: High of 87, chance of afternoon thunderstorms.

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North Carolina State Parks has several viewing events planned, including many in the Piedmont (find a complete list here.)

Centrally located, in Greensboro, is the Solar Eclipse Viewing party planned for Haw River State Park at their Iron Ore Belt Access. The viewing will be from the grassy recreation field near the parking lot, offering a sweeping view to the south and west. Arrive early and hike the 3.8-mile Great Blue Heron lollipop loop — but be sure to get back in time to score one of 70 pairs of eclipse-viewing glasses available.

Logistics: Solar Eclipse Viewing, Monday, Aug. 21, 2-3 p.m., Haw River State Park, Greensboro. More info here.

Monday forecast: High of 89, sunny.

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The land will go dark for as long as 2 minutes and 39 seconds in far southwestern North Carolina. Bryson City, Cashiers, Sylva and other towns in the path of Totality have big events planned; Clingmans Dome is a ticketed event, the road to the top closed except to the shuttled few. The Blue Ridge Parkway? West of Pisgah Inn, the nation’s most famous scenic parkway will resemble Charlotte’s I-485 at rush hour. Expect mountain traffic like you’ve never seen.

Committed to the total experience? For our friends at Great Outdoor Provision Co., we compiled a list of five mountain peaks where, with a little legwork, you should be able to experience the eclipse minus the maddening crowds. Find that list here.

If you’re fine with the group experience, has put together a pretty comprehensive list of events; find that rundown here.

Monday forecast: The forecast for Andrews: high of 85 under clear skies.

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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 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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