Cedar Hills Park & Fun News

img_3087A few months ago Ashley and I explored Cedar Hills Park, just a fews minutes from our new neighborhood.  Cedar Hills is located in North Raleigh at 5600 Sweetbriar St , which is the main entrance to access the playground, tennis courts, basketball courts and pavilion.  There are also entrances at Rosehaven Dr and from Spring Forest Rd but those provide easier access to the softball fields.  The frisbee golf course is accessible from all entrances, with hole #18 located near the main entrance.

After following the park signs from Millbrook Rd, we arrived at the Rosehaven Dr entrance, unsure how to get to the playgrounds.  The lack of signs made it difficult to figure out where we should go, so we got back in the car, broke out the iPhone and eventually arrived at the Sweetbriar entrance to play on the playground.

img_3091The playground has a wood chip base with a small sandbox play area.  There are two playgrounds – one for tots and one for the older kids.  Cedar Hills also has plenty of swings for everyone – four tot swings and four big kid swings.  There are a few benches along the perimeter of the playground.  Adjacent to the playground are the tennis courts, complete with a backboard for single play.  The basketball courts are also nearby.  The park sits amongst a dense forest, which is a great backdrop for the 18-hole frisbee golf course.  Each time we’ve visited this park, the playground has been rather empty while the frisbee golf has been pretty busy.

We’ll have many reasons to visit this park for years to come especially since we’ll be welcoming baby #2 this summer!  I had my 20 week check-up today and baby Montgomery is happy and healthy and looking forward to surprising his or herself on or around July 14th!  Bring on the hot and humid North Carolina summer!

Thumbs up: playground area, shady spots, tennis courts, swings

Thumbs down: lack of signs to other park features

 

 

Lake Raleigh

Benches on the fishing pier

This post originally appeared on southwestraleigh.com, where you can learn more about what a great place South West Raleigh is to live, work, and play.

The last time I was at Lake Raleigh (unknowingly) was during last year’s Polar Plunge 5k race with the Raleigh Jaycees.  The race started near the lake, meandered through Centennial Campus, and then ended back at the lake where several people plunged into Lake Raleigh…in February!  All for a good cause nonetheless.

Visiting Lake Raleigh on a cool-summer-almost-Fall-time day is a much more practical way to explore the lake.

Open to the public, Lake Raleigh is located on NC State’s Centennial Campus, nestled between college buildings, corporate/government/non-profit partners, and residential space.  Like any place you visit on a college campus, parking will always be a nuisance.  There is a small parking lot at Lake Raleigh, but it requires an NC State parking permit Mon-Fri from 7am-5pm.  You can pick up a $2 visitor day pass from the visitor center or plan to go during other times.  There is also parking along Main Campus Dr, but those too have parking restrictions.

A quiet fishing spot down from the piers

Fishing is permitted in marked areas and non-motorized car-top boats such as kayaks or canoes are also allowed in the lake.  There are two fishing piers near the entrance with long benches, perfect for enjoying the views or waiting for a bite.  The paved trail is part of the Centennial Greenway, which is a work-in-progress.

The trail extends in both directions past the main entrance, but does not loop around the lake.  If you walk to the right, you’ll pass other popular fishing spots, wetlands, The Shores residential area, and a bridge perfect for taking photos.  If you walk to the left, you’ll pass gorgeous views of the lake, the SOUL community garden, the 9-hole par 3 frisbee golf course, and an exercise station before coming to the tunnel under Main Campus Dr.

As noted above, the trail is part of the Centennial Greenway, which is a fitness trail and educational tool for the campus community.  Little mowing is done around Lake Raleigh to allow the natural plants to thrive.  Future development of the greenway will connect Centennial Greenway to the Capital Area Greenway at Lake Wheeler Rd and Lake Johnson.

Thumbs up:  beautiful views, fishing, boating, frisbee golf course

Thumbs down:  parking, lack of area map near main entrance

Kentwood Park

This post originally appeared on soutwestraleigh.com, where you can learn more about what a great place South West Raleigh is to live, work, and play.

Kentwood Park is located at 4531 Kaplan Dr in southwest Raleigh not far from the NC State campus and AB Combs Elementary School. It’s too bad the park entrance sign is missing, but given the park’s proximity to the road, it’s hard to miss the entrance.

From the medium-sized parking lot near the entrance you can get to all the park’s features within a very short walking distance. Follow the steps up to one of the four lighted tennis courts or follow the sidewalk to the large playground area and pavilion with picnic table

Unfortunately, the recent rains seemed to have resulted in more silt and sand covering the pavilion area. Near the back of the parking lot is a building with restrooms and a community board. The restrooms have certainly seen better days, but be sure to check out the community board especially if you’re interested in frisbee golf leagues. Just past the building is the lighted baseball field complete with bleacher seating for the spectators.

Signs are posted on the way to the baseball field alerting patrons of the stream restoration project that is in process. The sign notes that the City is intentionally not mowing sections of the park in order to allow the natural vegetation to build up and stabilize the stream bank. Check out the information plaque for more details about the in-progress restoration.

This is one of the few parks in Raleigh with an 18-hole frisbee golf course. It begins near Kaplan Dr and ends between the baseball field and tennis courts. Being close to NC State this is a very popular place for college students to play, as we saw several kids playing golf that day. Not ever having played frisbee golf, my competitive nature will definitely bring me back to the park soon to play.

Thumbs up: frisbee golf, tennis courts, playground

Thumbs down: bathroom facilities, landscaping, lack of park entrance sign