Shelley Lake

Shelley Lake is a large park in the North Raleigh area. It is located at 1400 W Millbrook Rd and is a popular place to walk and run, especially in the evenings. The lake is surrounded by a portion of the Bent Creek greenway trail that is 2.08 miles. The Lake Park trail (unpaved .42 miles) also connects off the greenway.  A lot of the trail is shaded, but there are also long stretches of full sun.  When you pull into the parking lot follow the snaking trail to the left where you’ll connect to the greenway.

As we walked around the trail we came across several different things this park has to offer.

The parking lot off Millbrook Rd and signage about the park

 

Condition of the trail
Pier and boat house
Access to the fishing pier
Restrooms on one side and scenic views on the other
Water fountain outside the restrooms

Beautiful viewing area overlooking lake

 

Continuing on, you’ll notice that the signage throughout the park is pretty thorough. This park has a lot to offer and it could be easy to get lost along the way. Luckily we didn’t have to leave bread crumbs to help us get back to the parking lot.  The signs direct you to the Lake Park Drive (the unpaved section of the greenway), the Sertoma Arts Center, restrooms, and the Shelley Lake Trail around the lake.  We didn’t venture up to the Arts Center, but it has a plethora of adult and youth art classes available.

As you continue on the trail, you’ll come across a wooden bridge where you can stop to take pictures and visit with the ducks and geese.  Here are some pictures of Ashley with her own Duckie Wubbanub.

In addition to the amenities listed above this park also contains benches along the trail, workout stations, large open fields, and additional access to the other portions of the greenway trail.  Here are some more spectacular views of the lake and open fields.

Thumbs up:  spectacular views, great jogging trail, signage, access to other greenway trails, art center

Thumbs down: popular spot so it’ll be busy, litter in the lake

Crabtree Creek Trail near Crabtree Valley Mall

Continuing on our greenway adventures, my next stop with the honey badger was to the portion of Crabtree Creek Trail directly behind Crabtree Valley Mall. I’ve been to the mall a trillion times and was always curious about this trail. So we parked in the gravel lot near the McDonald’s on Crabtree Valley Ave and headed north on the paved trail.

Views of the trail looking towards the gravel parking lot

 

Crabtree Creek with turtles basking in the sun

 

Pedestrian access to the mall (I’m sure the hotel-goers are thankful for that).

 

Heading north on the trail

 

Trail marker and Edwards Mill Rd bridge (a bit noisy)

 

The swampy creek on the other side of Edwards Mill Rd

This part of the trail itself is in good shape with benches placed throughout, but a portion of it is located along side an abandoned lot with rusty construction debris. I think this is near where the infamous Soleil building was supposed to be. Since I was by myself on this trip it made me a bit uneasy so after a mile into our stroll I turned around and headed back.

Despite walking in the middle of the day, the traffic on nearby roads was pretty steady making our walk more noisy than peaceful. In the future I would recommend bringing a buddy to walk with and walking in the morning hours.

Thumbs up: paved trail, access to mall

Thumbs down: noise, construction debris, darkness under bridge, general uneasiness

Lassiter Mill Park

Lassiter Mill Park is a hidden gem of a park.  It is located inside the belt line at the intersection of Lassiter Mill Rd & Lassiter Falls Circle and is home to a beautiful dam where Crabtree Creek flows through.  You can see remnants of the old working mill on the far side of the creek. There is also a plaque with information about the mill on the bank of the water.

Ashley sitting near the information plaque for the old mill
View of the dam from the bank of the creek
Old mill on the opposite side of the creek

This is a great spot to bring a picnic lunch and eat in the open fields or on one of the few picnic tables. For the adventurers, shimmy down the rocky stairs for a closer view of the water. I wouldn’t recommend doing this with a baby unless you have a helper (thanks Bill).  There are also plenty of spots for fishing and signs along the water displaying fishing rules and regulations.

Bill with Ashley on the rocks near the dam
Ashley and I looking across the dam
Another view of the dam

Parking is rather limited so come early.

After you’ve finished exploring the park, walk on the paved path towards Lassiter Mill Road and make a left. After the bridge, cross the street where you’ll find access to the Crabtree Creek Trail, which is perfect for biking, walking, or running. We walked for about a mile on this paved section and then had a picnic on one of the many benches along the greenway. There is an open field with picnic tables but we weren’t up to pushing the stroller through medium-height grass. Along the way we also walked over a beautiful bridge that would make for great photo ops!

The open area with a few picnic tables
The bridge we crossed over is great for photo ops
Crabtree Creek Trail is paved and wide – perfect for all adventures!
The entrance to the trail from Lassiter Mill Rd

Thumbs up: beautiful scenery, walking trails, picnic/photo ops

Thumbs down: access to dam

Hello World

So, what do you do when you have a new baby, are no longer working, and have lots of free time? #1 Get out of the house (baby cries are less ear-deafening with trees, cars, and people to absorb them) and #2 find free things to do. Since I’ve got baby Ashley with me we needed to find some appropriate mommy/daughter things to do (unfortunately free beer/wine tastings were out…so sorry Wine Merchant and Lonerider).

Growing up my mom spent a lot of time taking me and my brother and sister to the local county parks and pools in Stafford, VA so I thought it was only natural to introduce baby Ashley to the various parks throughout Raleigh.  Unfortunately the county and city websites in Raleigh lack a lot of details on each park and there’s not an easy way to search for what you’re looking for in a park.  So, we’ve decided to venture out to all the parks, playgrounds, trails, and pools in Raleigh and report back with photos, details, and our general feedback on each one.

My husband, Bill, and I have been to several of the Raleigh parks in the past but we were more interested in the bike trails and tennis courts.  With baby around now, I’m looking for even sidewalks, shade, and long trails.  Even though baby Ashley is years away from personally enjoying my crazy get-out-and-explore mentality I’m sure she’ll enjoy looking at the pictures and stories of our adventures when she’s old enough. Who knows…maybe she’ll take her daughter on similar adventures one day 🙂  So, here we are at one of our first adventures at Lassiter Mill Park:

Sitting at Lassiter Mill Park
One of our first adventures to Lassiter Mill Park