Upcoming Fall 2017 Dorothea Dix Park Events

Dorothea Dix ParkHave you visited Dorothea Dix Park lately? Located just south of Downtown Raleigh, its rolling hills and grassy open fields are the perfect spot for a picnic, skyline photos (mine are courtesy of the super talented MasonDee Photography), or attending a City of Raleigh event or program.

The City of Raleigh purchased Dorothea Dix Park two years ago from the state of NC to develop a destination park. Though construction is still years away, master planning is underway. I’m super excited to begin my workgroup involvement in the master planning of the park this fall. I know the city will look for lots of public input into the park and now is the time to visit!

Whether you’re looking for child-friendly events, volunteer opportunities, or historical walking tours here are some of their upcoming park events:

  • Sun., Aug 13 from 2-6pm: Recess Raleigh – attend a free annual summer cookout to benefit Helping Hands Mission of Raleigh. Summer cookout features food and drink prepared by Capital Club 16, games, activities, music and art; FREE; all ages; Dix Park Athletic Field
  • Wed., Aug. 16 at 12pm: Urban Design Center Talks: Bold Ideas for Dix – visit the City of Raleigh Museum and listen to a monthly lecture series highlighting bold ideas, issues, and topics important to the development of the new Dorothea Dix Park. Each monthly lecture features a different presenter covering topics such as inclusivity, ecology, access, arts and culture, history, transportation, economic development, and connectivity; FREE and open to the public; registration not required
  • Wed., Aug. 16 at 1pm: Explore Dorothea Dix Park: Water Wonders – meet in the big field and explore activities and games featuring water! Ages 2+; free; pre-registration is required
  • Wed., Aug. 23 from 6-8pm or Tues., Sept 12 from 5:30-7:30pm: Explore Dorothea Dix Park: Guided Walking Tour – go on a 2 hour, 3.5 mile walking tour to learn about the history, current use, and future plans for the Dorothea Dix park; FREE; all ages; pre-registration is required
  • Sat., Sept. 9 from 9am-12pm: Explore Dorothea Dix Park: Volunteer Invasive Species Removal – round up your friends and neighbors and volunteer your time removing invasive plants threatening natural habitats of the park; FREE; ages 16+; volunteers under 18 years old must be accompanied by an adult; registration information via Cervistech
  • Wed., Oct. 18 from 12pm-1:15pm: Trolley Tour of Dorothea Dix Park – go on a 1.5 hour tour of Dorothea Dix Park and learn about the history, current use and future plans for the park; FREE; pre-registration is required

 

 

James Mill Scottish Factor Store & 1755 John Mitchell Map (Urbanna, Va)

With Fourth of July a week away, it’s only apropos that I recount last month’s trip to the historic Middle Peninsula area of Virginia. Not only is it full of small port towns vital to early trade, it’s also the home of the “most important map in American history.” But, before I get ahead of myself, I have to provide some background on why and how we visit that area.

About five years ago my mom visited my uncle’s permanent waterfront trailer at the Grey’s Point RV resort in Topping, Va. Grey’s Point is the last stop before crossing the mammoth bridge over the Rappahannock River into Irvington and Kilmarnock. The river is extremely wide at this point and is close to where it joins with the Chesapeake Bay. Grey’s Point sits high above the river bank, offering amazing sunsets and views of the river. Needless to say, my mom fell in love with the area and idea of having a low maintenance waterfront retreat. So, she bought a permanent waterview trailer where my siblings and our kids made fun memories with her before she passed away. Since her passing, we still try to visit a few times each year, especially during the summer. The kids fell in love with the pool and golf cart rides, while Bill and I fell in love with the views and slower pace of life.

Town of Urbanna, Va

When we visited the area back in May, we took a day trip to the nearby town of Urbanna. Urbanna is a historic colonial port town with unique shops, art galleries, and marinas. In 1680, the House of Burgesses ordered Urbanna to be set-up as a port town for trading. The town was officially named Urbanna in 1705, meaning the “City of Anne” after England’s Queen Anne. We parked near the intersection of Cross St and Virginia St and walked around town checking out the shops. I purchased a handmade mortar and pestle at If It’s Wood & More before we walked to Urbanna’s Museum & Visitor Center. 

James Mill Scottish Factor Store

DSC_0064

Urbanna’s Museum & Visitor Center, officially called the James Mill Scottish Factor Store, was built in 1766 and once served as a tobacco warehouse. Tobacco planters exchanged tobacco at the store for cash or credit towards imported European goods. They stored the tobacco in large barrels called hogsheads that weighed about 1,000 pounds. When the English ships arrived, men gently rolled the full hogsheads down the adjacent road to the port below. Imagine standing at the bottom of the road making sure the hogsheads didn’t fall into the water? Uh, no thank you!

Starting in the 1960s a preservation group renovated the James Mill Scottish Factor Store. Then, in 1997, the Town of Urbanna bought and refurbished the building. The museum exhibits highlight the town’s historic tobacco ties, its booming oyster industry, and the 1755 John Mitchell Map. The museum is small and not very kid-friendly, but the girls enjoyed touching the oyster shells, standing next to life-size colonial men cutouts and admiring the port and warehouse diorama. The diorama truly captured the tobacco trading operation!

1755 John Mitchell Map

DSC_0072The friendly museum worker shared her personal upbringing in Urbanna and the importance of the 1755 John Mitchell Map. John Mitchell was born in 1711 in Lancaster County, and went on to study medicine in Scotland. He practiced medicine in the Urbanna area for a few years before relocating to London. According to The Unlikely Story of the Map that Helped Create our Nation, the Earl of Halifax commissioned Mitchell to create a map of the British and French North American territories. Mitchell finished the map in 1755 (after the start of the French and Indian war), thoroughly detailing territories, colonies, forts, geography, distances, and towns. Though the map had a slightly British view, it became known as the “most important map in American history” after the American Revolution ended. During the 1783 Treaty of Paris, negotiators used the map to determine boundaries between Canada and the United States.

The Town of Urbanna purchased this first edition map in 1979 for $7,500 not fully realizing its importance. Later valued at more than $500,000, the town properly restored and safeguarded this national treasure. Preserved behind glass, visitors can closely inspect the map details or take in all 24 sq-ft from a nearby bench.

Lunch on the Water

DSC_0080We worked up an appetite after taking in so much history, so we drove a few minutes away for fresh seafood on the water at Shores & Roark Seafood. Bill enjoyed freshly caught fish tacos, while the girls and I shared a dozen steamed local crabs and oysters. The food tasted fabulous and the restaurant’s waterfront atmosphere provided amazing views of the river. The restaurant is part seafood company, so you can watch your live catch before it reaches your plate!

I’m looking forward to spending my first Fourth of July weekend in our Winnebago in such a historic area. The towns of Urbanna and Irvington organize annual parades and celebrations and Grey’s Point will be busy with fun activities, too.

Later down the road I’d love to visit the nearby National Historic Register colonial plantations of Ralph Wormeley’s Rosegill and Christoper Robinson’s Hewick, and attend the Urbanna Oyster Festival.

Thumbs up: breathtaking river views, small-town charm, area’s rich history, local seafood, beautiful places to stay

Thumbs down: nothing to report

2017 Summer Bucket List

Over a decade ago, my mom dubbed Bill and me as the traveling gypsies (she had a unique way with words). Having moved away from home after college, we travelled more weekends than not, and she routinely asked, “Where are the traveling gypsies headed this weekend?” We visited friends and family in VA and MD, and explored exciting new cities across the US and Western Europe. Bill and I still have the traveling gypsy bug (let’s call it wanderlust to sound more romantic) and want our kids to experience it with us. And, we want to create adventures that are more outdoors and immersed in nature.

So, we bought a small pull-behind Winnebago (cue up the Randy Quaid Christmas Vacation quotes) and planned out several weekend family trips around NC this summer. It might sound a little crazy, but the girls seem super excited, and we think we’re in the sweet spot of traveling with them right now – high curiosity, good sleep patterns, and easily distractible. We want to keep things simple, yet comfortable and imaginative – similar to the gypsy caravan from Wind in the Willows:

 

He led the way to the stable-yard and there, drawn out of the coach-house, they saw a gipsy caravan, shining with newness, painted a canary-yellow picked out with green, and red wheels. “There you are!” cried the Toad, straddling and expanding himself. “There’s the real life for you. The open road, the dust highway, the heath, the common, the rolling downs! Here today, and off somewhere else tomorrow! The whole world before you! And mind, this is the finest cart of its sort ever built.” The mole followed him eagerly up the steps and into the caravan. It was very compact and comfortable. Little sleeping-bunks – a table that folded up against the wall – a cooking-stove, lockers, bookshelves and pots, pans, jugs and kettles of every size and variety.

– excerpt from The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

Even though our Winnie isn’t a canary-yellow caravan with green and red wheels, we’re excited to hit the open road. Finally, whether we’re out on the open road or back in Raleigh, we still have some summer bucket list items for 2017:

  1. Enjoy a low country boil (Memorial Day weekend)
  2. Survive having two kids on summer swim team
  3. See some waterfalls (Tom’s Creek & Roaring Fork in western NC)
  4. Swim at a lake (Jordan Lake recreation area)
  5. Discover new & easy campfire recipes
  6. Go blueberry picking
  7. Discover new hiking trails on our travels
  8. Catch fireflies (Jordan Lake campsite and backyard)
  9. Try a new ice cream place
  10. Visit a new museum
  11. Perfect my mojito making
  12. Start composting
  13. Have a water balloon fight
  14. Read a long book together as a family
  15. Enjoy Winnebago camping as a family

 

2017 Mother’s Day Reflections & Raleigh Events

water lilies at NC Art MuseumOver the past two years, I’ve learned that Mother’s Day is all about the balance for me. After losing my mother so suddenly in 2015, I realize I yearn for more reflection and relaxation (aka alone time without kids) to counter my natural tendency for wide-open family fun and adventure. I’ve consciously let the reflection and relaxation needs run their course because I know later that day, that week, or that month I’ll be a less crazy better mom and wife. 

After our traditional Nags Head trip with friends last year (aka the fun and adventurous side of things) I walked solo around the NC Museum of Art’s Museum Park while listening to music and my favorite parenting podcast, Atomic Moms. It helped me clear my head, process things, and feel grounded. This year, I’ll probably head to a similar place after getting home from our Nags Head trip. 

So, if you’re around in Raleigh this week/weekend and are looking for a special way to celebrate the special wife or mom in your life, look no further than this list of upcoming organized events in the local parks and my personal mix of outdoor outings to balance adventure with relaxation.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there and cheers to making memories and searching for finding balance.

Organized Programs

  • You are my Sunshine Mother’s Day Craft at Buffalo Road Athletic Park (Tues., May 9 at 11am) – Join the super fun Fit4Mom Midtown Raleigh Stroller Strides group after class for a Mother’s Day footprint craft. All ages welcome & all supplies will be provided. Meet by the playground and we’ll make sunny feet under the shade at the picnic tables; all ages welcome; FREE
  • Dorothea Dix Guided Walking Tour at Dorethea Dix Park (Tues., May 9 from 5:30-7:30pm) – Take a 2-hour, 3.5 mile tour that covers the history of the buildings, land, and legacy of Dorothea Dix, the current use of the area as the headquarters of the Department of Health and Human Services and the steps the City will take in planning a future park; pre-registration required; FREE
  • Moonrise Stroll at Falls Lake State Recreation Area (Tues., May 9 from 7:30-8:45pm) – join an easy 1.2 mile hike to watch the nearly full moon rise over Falls Lake; start location – Beaver Dam Recreation Area, Duck Cove Trailhead; all ages; FREE; hikers are encouraged to pre-register
  • Birds & Nests at Annie Louise Wilkerson Park (Wed., May 10 from 10:30-noon or Sat., May 13 from 10:30-noon) – go on a bird hunt, make a craft, and meet Mama and Papa bluebird and take a peek in their nest box; $3; ages 3-5 with parent; course # 205486, 205487
  • Gifts for Mom at Worthdale Community Center (Wed., May 10 from 10-11am) – Make a special gift for Mom; $8; ages 2-5; course # 207187 
  • Mother’s Day Crafts at Hill St Community Center (Wed., May 10 from 5-6pm) – create a special Mother’s Day Craft; ages 5-12; FREE; course # 197397
  • Mother’s Day Tea Party at Greystone Community Center (Thurs., May 11 from 10-11:30am) – do you want to make Mom feel special? Come and enjoy time with your mom/caregiver at our Mother’s Day Tea Party. This workshop will give children an opportunity to create a special gift for their mother. Enjoy tea/juice and cookies; ages 18 months to 4 years with parent participation; $9; course # 205695
  • Photography walk at JC Raulston Arboretum (Thurs., May 11 from 2-3pm) – let mom explore the close-up world in the garden and achieve strong compositions and fun abstracts; $10 members/$15 non-members 
  • nature play space at Durant Nature ParkNature & Sensory Play Day at Durant Nature Preserve (Fri., May 12 from 10-noon) – come check out Durant’s Sensory and Nature Play Garden! Enjoy self-guided activities to delight the senses and encourage nature play. Although registration is not necessary, it is helpful for preparation; all ages, with parent participation; FREE; course #205363 
  • Wee Wetland Walkers at Walnut Creek Wetland Center (Fri., May 12 from 11am-noon) – this program is designed to move at a toddler’s pace: Run. Stop. Pick dandelions. Run. Climb on a rock. Find an interesting leaf! Join others for an easy-paced hike around the greenway, accompanied by one of our naturalists. Registration is not required but is helpful for planning; FREE; all ages; course # 203539
  • Parents’ Evening Escape at Millbrook Exchange Community Center (Fri., May 12 form 6-8:30pm) – Mom and Dad deserve a night out! Let your child join us for a fun-filled night of games, activities and pizza. Participants will create a Mother’s Day gift while you’re out; $15; ages 5-10; course #205154
  • Nature Scavenger Hunt at Horseshoe Farm Nature Preserve (Sat., May 13 from 1-2pm) – Exploring the preserve, and learn about nature while uncovering the hidden nature-themed treasures! Make an afternoon of it and bring a picnic lunch to enjoy before or after the hunt; ages 4 years and up with adult participation; $1; course # 206618
  • Weekend Family-Friendly Tours: Bon Voyage at NC Art Museum (Sat., May 13 or Sun., May 14 at 10:30am) – Discover all the places art can take you as you travel the world without leaving the Museum walls; FREE; half-hour tours for ages 5-11 with their adult companion
  • Are you my Mama at Blue Jay Point County Park (Sat., May 13 from 1-2pm) – Create great Mother’s Day cards while learning about different styles of mothering in the animal world; $1, all ages but most appropriate for ages 5 years+, pre-registration required  
  • Mommy & Me Tea Party at Eastgate Park (Sat., May 13 from 2-4pm) – Celebrate Mother’s Day with a spot of tea at an afternoon tea party for mothers and daughters of all ages. We will enjoy tasty treats while sipping steaming cups of tea or ice cold lemonade. Mothers, grandmothers, daughters and other significant women in your young lady’s life are all welcome; $10 per person; all ages, course #205100

Home Grown Adventure & Relaxation

A Tribute to Ripken

IMG_7506Losing a furry friend never gets easier, especially when he becomes a part of your kids’ memories. A week ago Ripken suffered from uncontrollable seizures and we said goodbye to our sweet friend. Unlike our first Boston, Jerry, who also suffered from seizures, Ripken’s seizures started intensely and suddenly on Friday night, so we had little time to prepare for saying goodbye. The ER vet at Quail Corners was so compassionate and I felt so taken care of as he shared personal stories about his Boston Terrier who also recently passed away from seizures. The similarity in our stories was very scary.

IMG_2225.JPGRipken was special to say the least – his tongue always hung out of his mouth, he was wall-eyed, had one prosthetic eye with forthcoming cataract surgery in the other, and had disproportionally large private parts. And, to say Ripken wasn’t full of behavioral issues is just straight up lying. All who met Ripken over the years know his crazy – if he never peed on your blankets, humped your dog, chewed up your grill cover, projectile vomited in your backyard, or dined on your cat’s poop, then you didn’t really experience Ripken.  But, what Ripken gave us in craziness he made up for in sweetness and love. He relished snuggling and head scratches, tolerated the girls as they nearly pulled his legs out of socket during hand shakes, loved walking in the neighborhood, and worked hard years ago to pass his Canine Good Citizen test (really, that happened). As we looked through old Ripken pictures this week, we’re reminded of all the fun and silly times we had with him. Thank you to all our friends and family who let him into your lives and romp with your pups.

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….  

– Author unknown

2017 First Day Hikes

2017 First Day HikesLace up your hiking boots and head outside on New Year’s Day for an organized hike in a local park.  Every state park in NC (city parks are catching on, too) organizes 2017 First Day Hikes to encourage fitness and reconnecting with nature in the new year. Last year we visited Murrells Inlet, SC for the first time, but this year we’re staying close to home and hope to discover something new (weather forecast at publication: a little chilly and dry)! 

List of organized First Day Hikes at parks and greenways within an hour of Raleigh:

  • Durant Nature Preserve – enjoy a family-friendly guided nature walk (at least 1 mile) followed by hot chocolate and discussions with staff about what you saw; 2-4pm; start location: 8305 Camp Durant Rd (north entrance); pre-registration is suggested but not required; prepare for natural surface walking; non stroller-friendly; event information
  • Walnut Creek Wetland Center – enjoy a family-friendly guided nature walk (at least 1 mile) followed by hot chocolate and discussions with staff about what you saw; 2-4pm; start location: 950 Peterson St; pre-registration is suggested but not required; wheelchair and stroller-friendly; event information
  • IMG_5058Falls Lake State Recreation Area – scavenger hunt with hike along Rolling View Track Trail (0.75 miles); start times at 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1pm; pre-registration is required; prepare for natural surface walking; event information; my 2015 First Day Hike review
  • Jordan Lake State Recreation Area – 2.7 mile hike of Blue Loop along New Hope Overlook trail; start location: New Hope Overlook by boat ramps; 9am start time; event information; my 2012 review of New Hope Overlook trail
  • img_4160Umstead State Park – 1.3 mile hike along Pott’s Branch Trail; start location: small parking lot by Pott’s Branch trailhead (Hwy 70/Glenwood Ave); 9am start time; event information; my 2014 review of Pott’s Branch Trail
  • Eno River State Park – options of 2 mile or 4 mile hikes; start location: Fews Ford Access; 2pm start time; arrive early as this is a popular event and parking can be hard to find; event information
  • Raven Rock State Park – 2.5 mile easy hike along Raven Rock Loop Trail to the park’s centerpiece, Raven Rock; start location: picnic shelter at Raven Rock Loop trailhead; 2pm start time; event information
  • Kerr Lake State Recreation Area – 1 mile nature hike; start location: park office (6254 Satterwhite Point Rd); 1:30pm start time; event information
  • First Walk Cary at Morris Branch Greenway – bring the family for a walk along Cary’s Morris Branch Greenway; parking location: 115 Allforth Pl and follow signs for walk start; 10am start time; stroller-friendly; event information 

If the above times or distances don’t work with your schedule, visit a park and explore on your own. Check out my list of previously reviewed trails in the area.

Campfires & Fireflies in the Parks

campfire
S’mores with cousins last summer

Several of my summer memories growing up involved sitting around campfires and chasing down fireflies in the backyard.  Here are some great upcoming programs going on in the Greater Triangle area and beyond that involve either a campfire or firefly fun!  Bring your family, neighbors and friends and explore the outdoors at night!

Firefly Watch at Prairie Ridge Ecostation (Saturday, June 4, 8-9:30pm) – Collect and observe fireflies while learning more about the dwindling firefly population, ages 8+, FREE but pre-registration is required – please contact Chris Goforth at chris.goforth@naturalsciences.org or 919.707.8882.

Crowder by Night at Crowder District Park (Friday, June 10, 7-8pm) – explore the park by night with campfire s’mores, animal observations, and nature stories, Wake County course #5693, $3/person or $5/family, all ages

Fun with Fireflies at Durant Nature Preserve (Friday, June 10, 8-9pm) – Make a firefly catcher and see the fireflies up close, ages 5+, City of Raleigh course #188956, $2, adult must register and accompany children

Centennial Campfire Celebration at Chimney Rock State Park (Saturday, June 11, 12-1:30pm) – Celebrate National Get Outdoors Day with a campfire, hotdogs, and some Cherokee Native American stories, cost is the admission into the state park

Campfire Cooking at Goose Creek State Park (Friday, June 17 at 5pm) – Savor a meal cooked over the campfire, call to pre-register (252) 923-2191, meet at Campground Amphitheater, all ages

Yates by Night: Summer Tales at Historic Yates Mill County Park (Friday, June 17, 7:30-9pm) –  Hear some tall tales then share a few stories of your own while roasting s’mores around the campfire, Wake County course #5736, ages 6+, $3/person or $5/family

Firefly Hike at Pilot Mountain State Park (Saturday, June 11 or June 18 9-10pm) – Meet at the campground amphitheater for an easy walk around the amphitheater to look for and learn about the unique natural history of fireflies, meet at Family Campground area

Storytime by the Campfire at Falls Lake State Recreation Park (Saturday, June 25 at 7pm) – Join a park ranger for a reading of Dr. Seuss’ classic, “The Lorax”, discuss what it means to be a steward and roast marshmallows, meet at Holly Point Amphitheater

2016 Summer Bucket List

IMG_5057Our neighborhood pool opened, another year of preschool finished up (including Claire’s first year and Ashley’s final year) and we had kindergarten orientation this week! Phew…it’s been a busy week, but that also means it’s time to switch gears and think summer activities!  While we were able to cross a lot off our bucket list goals from last summer, we have some of the same goals and some lofty new goals this summer.  With help from little ones, here’s my mostly kiddo-friendly summer bucket list for 2016.

  1. Visit the library
  2. Build a backyard water wall (Bill will looooove this)
  3. Visit a recreational lake
  4. Visit a farm
  5. Enjoy a bushel of crabs
  6. Visit the rivah
  7. Go to the beach
  8. Use my smoker
  9. Make pizza with ingredients from our pizza garden
  10. Explore a new brewery
  11. Visit the Durham farmer’s market
  12. Take a boat ride
  13. Visit CA
  14. Go to Frankie’s Fun Park
  15. Make ice cream sandwich brownies
  16. Wash the car
  17. Have a water balloon fight
  18. Watch an outdoor movie
  19. Go backyard camping
  20. Stay in our pjs at least until noon
  21. Go to Blacksburg
  22. Read books in the backyard
  23. Play with the sprinkler in the backyard
  24. Have a backyard breakfast picnic
  25. Paint on the easel outside
  26. Make garden tiles
  27. Catch lightning bugs

Next fall brings a new chapter in our lives with all-day kindergarten, so I’m looking forward to making great summer memories and having photos to cherish, so #bringonsummer!

Mother’s Day 2016

Image-1Celebrate the Mom in your life with an adventure!  Here’s a list of upcoming organized events in the local parks and my personal mix of outdoor outings combined with food and beer (give Mom what she really wants)!  Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there and cheers to making fun memories.

 

Organized Programs

  • Mother’s Day Tea Party at Greystone Recreation Center (Tuesday, May 3 from 10-11am) – Enjoy time with your mom/caregiver at our Mother’s Day Tea Party where children will create a special gift for their mother and enjoy juice and cookies; ages 18-months to 4 years; $7; adult participation required for ages under 4; program barcode #189063
  • Tour Dorothea Dix Park (Wednesday, May 4 at 11:30am) – Enjoy a 1.5 hour walking tour covering the history of the land and the legacy of Dorothea Dix, the current use of the area as the headquarters of the Department of Health and Human Services and the steps the City will take in planning a future park; FREE; pre-registration is required
  • Strawberry Picking with Fit4Mom Midtown Raleigh Stroller Strides (Thursday, May 5 at 3:30pm) – Join a great group of moms and kiddos for strawberry picking, homemade ice cream and more at Porter Farms & Nursery in Willow Springs; sign-up via Meetup
  • Mother’s Day Surprise program at Optimist Park (Friday, May 6 at 12:30pm or Saturday, May 7 at 12:30pm): creative arts-and-craft project or edible creation; ages 3-5; $7; program barcode #188078 or #188079pre-registration is required
  • Birding with Vernon at Lake Crabtree County Park (Saturday, May 7 from 8:30-10am) – Discover different types of birds and their habitats during an easy walk with bird enthusiast, Vernon; meeting at Waterwise Gardens; Free, no preregistration required
  • Family Friendly Tour: Animal Farm at NC Art Museum (Saturday, May 7 at 10:30am or Sunday, May 8 at 10:30am) – take a guided tour looking for farm animals in the galleries; ages 5-11 with adult companion; FREE; plan ahead and bring a picnic lunch or stay for lunch at Iris
  • Mill Heritage and Local History Tour at Historic Yates Mill County Park (Sunday, May 8 from 2-3pm) – Watch a brief slideshow, then explore the inner workings of the mill itself and witness the power of water as it turns the milling machinery; $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60+), $3/Child (ages 7-16), Children ages 6 & younger are free; preregistration is encouraged
  • May Flower Folly at Historic Yates Mill County Park (Sunday, May 8 from 3:30-4:30pm) – Celebrate Mother’s Day in nature with a hike around Yates Mill Pond while searching for wildflowers, listening to a few flowery poems, learning about locally flowering plants and hear the latest buzz on local pollinators; for all ages; FREE; online registration
mother's day
My mom and I, summer 1981

Get Out & Explore with Mom

Joslin Garden: 2016 Open Garden Day

Joslin Garden
pic from Joslin Garden in 2012

It’s always fun and interesting to re-visit a place you haven’t been to in awhile and I look forward to exploring Joslin Garden for Open Garden Day this upcoming Saturday.  Joslin Garden is a private residence inside the beltline that features over four wooded acres of rare and native plants.  William and Mary Coker Joslin have gifted their home and garden to the City of Oaks Foundation and City of Raleigh Parks & Rec Dept.  Currently, the garden is open one day a year, but in the future, the garden will be opened year-round.

When I first visited the garden four years ago I was blown away by all the flowers, vegetables and plants, little pathways, streams of flowing water, and cute garden decor.  The gardens felt enchanting, romantic and whimsical.  It’s hard to believe a private garden of this size exists inside the beltline. I was happy to share it with Ashley back then, even if she was only 13 months old at the time and I look forward to re-discovering this secret garden this weekend, hopefully with a little one at my side.

Joslin Garden Open Garden Day Infoimg_1073

  • Saturday, April 23, 2016 from 12pm-5pm
  • 2431 West Lake Drive, park only on one side of West Lake Drive
  • features self-guided tours of private gardens
  • there are no public restrooms
  • event flyer