Carver’s Creek State Park

 

img_1428.jpg

img_1424

Carver’s Creek State Park is one of the state’s newest parks – opening in 2013. Long Valley Farm, the main park attraction, was formerly a vacation residence owned by James Stillman Rockefeller. We took the .5 mile hike from the car to the house in the blazing heat (be warned there is no shade!) and were intrigued to see the old 1930’s farmhouse. It was disappointing to see the house had really fallen into disrepair – hopefully they will restore the house one day as is the plan. There had previously been a mill pond on the grounds which allowed for fishing and canoeing as well, but the dam keeping the pond in place was totally wiped out by Hurricane Matthew. Crews were working to get the pond back in place in the near future. Let’s hope so!

img_1439Earlier this year, the park opened a section section known as the Sandhills Access, which boasts over 11 miles of trails. This part of the park was a little better shaded, but still not great. The trails were sandy and landscape was moderately hilly and filled with long leaf pines. It reminded us a lot of Weymouth Woods. Overall the trails were good, and you could tell it was a newer park. Apparently word has not gotten out yet, because we did not see many other people! We did hear a lot of artillery fire (Fort Bragg was just down the road) and one of the themes of the trip was Sarah continually commenting how so much of what we were seeing an hearing was bringing back memories of her early childhood living on a military base. We also saw a snapping turtle on the trail, keeping our wildlife spotting streak alive. img_1442.jpgHarvey particularly liked the trail we did (Wiregrass Loop Trail) because he loves pointing out all the blazes, and was really into the blue Hexagons (he pronounces (Eck-a-gons). We also spent a lot of the hike teaching him about North Carolina’s 3 regions (Mountains, Coast and Piedmont), and was a fun memory for us all.

After the hike, we drove a few miles down the road to downtown Fayetteville, which I think the last I had been to was a G-Unit concert in 2003. We love old NC downtowns, and it was clear like so many, Fayetteville has had quite the resurgence in downtown businesses recently. Lake Gaston Brewery (weird name choice, yes), had some decent beers and the food was quite good. We loved their downtown space!img_3735.jpg

Hike Info:

  • Strava Link
  • Starting Point: 995 McCloskey Road Fayetteville, NC 28311
  • End Point: Same
  • Length: 1.8 Miles
  • Approximate Hiking Time: 45 minutes

Other Activities:

Lake James State Park

IMG_3592(Edited)Not all parks are created equal. Within 30 second of entering Lake James State Park, I said to Sarah, “Wow this looks like an exceptionally nice park”. Sarah replied, “You literally stole the words out of my mouth”. Our first reaction would prove to be true. IMG_3583The park was exceptionally clean, trails well-maintained and facilities very up-to-date and sleek. We did a 3.0 mile out and back that included Paddy’s Creek Trail and Holly’s Discovery Trail (an interactive trail for little kids). Though there were a lot of folks enjoying the park along with us, we were one of the few hikers. Most people were either kayaking or swimming in what was the nicest looking water for a reservoir I can remember seeing in the state. We will definitely be back someday soon, and this time we will definitely bring our bathing suits!

 

IMG_1159(1)Just a couple miles down the road from Lake James is Fonta Flora Brewery’s relatively recently opened brewery and farm operation. This has been on our list to check out since it opened and I’m so glad we did. The brewery itself sits on a farm where some of the ingredients used in the beers are grown – we could literally see employees harvesting corn during our visit. There is a permanent food truck on site and a huge open space to roam – it is one of the best brewery locations we have ever been to. Fonta Flora is known for their unique beer offerings and use of local ingredients – the tap list is truly unlike any other you have ever seen. We sampled several of the more unique beers and enjoyed them for what they were, though must confess we were happiest with the Hop Beard IPA.

IMG_1168(1)

Hike Info:

  • Strava Link
  • Starting Point: Park Office (Lake James State Park, 7321 NC-126, Nebo, NC 28761)
  • End Point: Same
  • Length: 3.0 Miles
  • Approximate Hiking Time: 1 Hour, 30 minutes

 

Other Activities: