Get out of the house after Dec. 25
by Anna Oakes
The High Country's lively calendar of events tends to die down after the Christmas holiday, but there are still plenty of activities to get you and your family out of the house before and after New Year's Day.
Yule Log Bonfire and Hayride
The Beech Mountain Chamber of Commerce and the Buckeye Recreation Center will sponsor the annual bonfire and hayride beginning at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 29, at the Famous Brick Oven Pizzeria bonfire pit across from the Chamber of Commerce and Town Hall. Hot cocoa, cider and cookies will be served as participants warm themselves by the fire. Grab your blanket, warm coat, hat and gloves for this family friendly free event. For information, call (828) 387-9283.
Guided Snowshoe Hike
Try showshoeing at a guided snowshoe hike to be held from 10 to 11 a.m. Dec. 29 at the Buckeye Recreation Center at Beech Mountain. For information, call (828) 387-3003.
'Web Weavers' Program
Elk Knob State Park will offer a free program on "Web Weavers" at 3 p.m. Dec. 30. Spiders are something that many people fear, but if you educate yourself about them, they are not nearly as intimidating. Come learn about the different types of spiders that call North Carolina home and find out if your fear is really founded. The park is located at 5564 Meat Camp Road in Todd. For more information, call (828) 297-7261.
Black Bears Program
New River State Park in Ashe County will offer a free program on Black Bears at 2 p.m. Dec. 30 at the U.S. 221 Visitor Center auditorium. Join a park ranger to learn about this often-feared creature. Black bears can be found throughout a large portion of North Carolina. They often make the news when they pass through a populated area. The program will separate the facts and myths about black bears. For more information, call (336) 982-2587.
First Day Hikes
First Day Hikes will be offered in every North Carolina state park and state recreation area Jan. 1, giving everyone an opportunity to exercise and celebrate nature as a New Year's Day tradition, according to the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation.
On the 2012 New Year's Day, 1,392 hikers in North Carolina joined rangers and volunteers to walk a combined 4,573 miles along trails in the state parks and state recreation areas. For the second year, North Carolina's state parks system will partner with American's State Parks and the National Association of State Park Directors to nationally promote First Day Hikes. Details about First Day Hikes in North Carolina can be found under "Education" at http://www.ncparks.gov and at http://www.americasstateparks.org, which also lists all hikes nationally. Parks in the High Country include Grandfather Mountain State Park, Elk Knob State Park, New River State Park and Mount Jefferson State Natural Area.
School's Out Mini Camp
Blowing Rock Art & History Museum and Blowing Rock Parks and Recreation have partnered to offer a day of activities when Watauga County Schools are out, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Jan. 3 through Jan. 5. Drop off will be in the morning at BRAHM, and pickup is at Blowing Rock Parks and Rec at 4 p.m. The cost is $25 for members and $30 for nonmembers. Campers will enjoy a fun day of arts, crafts, gallery games and plenty of outside time (weather permitting), so children should wear comfortable clothes and appropriate foot wear. Healthy snacks will be provided, but children should bring their lunches. For information, call (828) 295-9099.