Oakwood Cemetary is the resting place of 2,800 Confederate Soldiers, 5 Civil War Generals, 7 governors, and many U.S. Senators. Established in 1869 it is an excellent example of lovely Victorian landscaping. Yes, it's a sad place yet peaceful and comforting too.
Historic Oakwood Cemetery
701 Oakwood Avenue
Raleigh, NC 27611
ph: 919-832-6077 / 919-832-5786
This trail in Shining Creek Wilderness rises along the pretty gurgling (or roaring, depending on what time of year it is) of the East Fork Creek. This hike is a one-way trail, but it allows you to connect with many other trails ranging through the area; at the top of the ridge you'll find the Art Loeb Trail, which can lead you through the wilderness and make the hike an extended loop if desired. This is not a difficult hike per se, the trail is well laid out and easy to follow up to the Art Loeb Trail at the ridge. It rises through rhododendron thickets and the mixed forest characteristic of the Pisgah Forest. There are several small creek crossings, but nothing too horrible or requiring a lot of fording skills.
The greatest part of this trail, as in all of the Shining Creek Wilderness, is the number of opportunities to camp out in the back country. With no requirements for wilderness or camp permits, you can just hike till you find a quiet spot and pitch a tent. I camped along the creek, with a beautiful view and totally devoid of other human contact. It was sheltered and very relaxing. I highly recommend spending a night out under the stars.
Trail length: 4 miles (one-way)
Trail time: 2-3 hours (one-way)
US Hwy 276, about 10-20 minutes south of Waynesville, NC. At the hairpin turn in the road, two parking lots are on the right side. Take the second one.
This beautiful lake is divided in the middle by Avent Ferry Road. The trail on one side is paved and is about three miles, while the other is a dirt path and is about 2 miles. You can do the loop on the 3 mile side without crossing the road, but the 2 mile path is shaped like a U and each end opens to the road. I prefer the shorter one because it's not paved and it's less crowded.
You can bike the trails except for one preserved stretch on the 2 mile path. The lake is accessible from both Avent Ferry Rd. and Jones Franklin Rd, although the only parking available is on Avent Ferry.
Between Memorial Day (in May) and Labor Day (the first Monday in September), you can rent a paddle boat to take on the lake, and you can take a picnic to enjoy anytime. There are fliers at the boathouse for events like yoga and drum circles (yes, drum circles) that are offered at the lake.
Pullen Park is a great a place for a family to spend a warm afternoon in Raleigh. Within the park you have a carousel, playground, miniature train, paddle boats, walking trails, 2 swimming pools and my favorite a train caboose to amuse your family or even just you.
Raleigh has a pretty extensive greenway that can be accessed by bicycle or by foot. The paved path is built over the sewer systems behind some neighborhoods so it can be a little smelly sometimes but the ride is nice on a bike. Part of the greenway is really close to where I live and I can take the path down to Shelly Lake, a small man made lake that has paddle boats, canoes and lots of ducks and geese. For a map of the Greenway go to
this site. Oh, and they just added a new bridge to the system that spans across part of I-440. If I make it down there I'll add a picture to my travelogues.
William B. Umstead Park. This park is a short way down the road from where I live and is so peaceful compared to the hum of Raleigh's highways. The park was initiated in 1934 and in 1943 became a state park. It is home to many long hiking trails through the hills and woods west of Raleigh, a few lakes and streams and plenty of wildlife, the most visible of which being the deer that roam the park. To get here from I-40 simply pull off on the Harrison Ave. exit and head north. The road dead ends in a parking lot just a few feet ahead. (If you end up in Cary, you've gone the wrong way). Also there is a north side to the park that can be accesed from hwy 70. You will see large signs on hwy 70 directing you to the park. Once inside try one of the many hiking trails, there are maps available and posted on the trails. During the summer months, the lake on the north side of the park has a boathouse that is open. Don't know all the prices though. Shouldn't be too expensive.
This park is actually in Garner but it counts because Garner is a suburb of Raleigh and close enough to hit if you throw a stone to the south of Raleigh. It has several sheltered picnic areas, a jogging/hiking path, playgrounds for the kids, it's right on the lake and it has a nice rock garden where my wife and I staged our wedding ceremony. To get there you would take the Hammond Rd. exit off of I-40 and head south toward Garner. At the tenth traffic light, you will take a right on Aversboro Rd. Just past the Lutheran church you will see the park entrance on the left. Bring a blanket, a picnic, a frisbee, your dog, whatever. It's perfect on a nice day.