This year is already halfway through and it's been full of surprises to say the least. We've all had to cancel or postpone our summer plans, distance ourselves, and learn to live in a different way. Sure, this is a little upsetting and frustrating, but it doesn't mean summer is over. Summer 2020 is still here and it's still scorching so don't give up on it! Here are ten ways that you can get outside and feeling good in Greensboro, NC and the Triangle this summer.
1. Visit the Greensboro Arboretum
Photo from Greensboro Beautiful at http://greensborobeautiful.org/gardens/greensboro_arboretum.php
The Greensboro Arboretum is a beautiful place to unwind and spend some time with nature during the warmer months. There are many different types of plants and flowers, a beautiful gazebo and archway to walk under, giant wind chimes, shaded spots, and so much more. Whether you're looking for a great picnic spot in Greensboro, a walking path surrounded by nature and manmade structures, or to take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life, this is the place for you.
2. Indulge in coffee and cats at the Crooked Tail Cate Cafe
Located in downtown Greensboro and Winston Salem, NC, this cafe is probably one of the best inventions! Order a coffee and a small snack on their cafe side and play with all of their precious cats once you're done. There are plenty of places to sit and toys available to interact with the cats. All of the cats are well cared for both inside and outside of business hours, so rest assured that they are always in great hands. All of the cats in the cafe are also available to adopt, so if you feel a strong bond with any, definitely do not hesitate to discuss this with the lovely people running the cafe. Due to creating a comfortable environment for cats and guests, a limited amount of people are allowed in the cafe at a time, so it is highly recommended to book a time slot before visiting. For around $11 a person, you can visit with the cats for around an hour.
Visit their Instagram: @crookedtailcatcafe
3. Take a walk and sit by the lake at Bur-Mil Park
Photo from Guilford County, NC at https://www.guilfordcountync.gov/our-county/county-parks/bur-mil-park/photo-gallery#ad-image-14
Bur-Mil Park was a place recommended to me and now I can't stop recommending this to visitors and residents of the Greensboro area. This park has so much to offer from golf fields and classes, a pool area, a wildlife education building, plenty of beautiful open fields, and a walking trail hidden behind it all. It took me a bit to find the trail, but after driving to the end of the park by the wildlife education building you'll find it. This trail is pretty shaded (perfect for a hot summer day) and is right up against Lake Brandt, offering a bridge across it with love locks and a small pier to sit out on and find some peace. So far Bur-Mil Park has been one of my new favorite finds/recommendations and I loved being able to walk on such a nice trail and enjoy a picnic lunch there as well.
4. Go on an Art and Mural Scavenger Hunt around the downtown Greensboro area
One of Gina's wall murals in downtown Greensboro, NC
Gina Elizabeth Franco on https://ginaefranco.crevado.com/murals/10176382
This is probably one of my favorite things to do when I'm in downtown Greensboro. What makes the town so great is the fact that there is so much art all around. Some of it is out in the open, while others may be tucked away and hidden. The downtown area is full of beautiful murals done by artist Gina Elizabeth Franco and they're especially fun to take pictures at. Even some of the parking garages have little statues by them. GIna also does work around Winston Salem, Raleigh, and other places in North Carolina. Downtown Greensboro alone makes for a perfect place to come out and bring your camera along.
Visit Gina on Instagram: @ginaelizabethfranco
5. Take a photo journey around town
A beautiful mural done by Gina Elizabeth Franco featuring the artist in this photo
Gina Elizabeth Franco on https://ginaefranco.crevado.com/murals/10145330
Like the previous idea, Greensboro and Raleigh are both fun places to find cool artwork or interesting things all around town. One of my favorite things about both areas, especially Greensboro, is how rich they are in art and history. Nearly everywhere you go, there is a space to learn more about the area or you'll find a statue/mural to enjoy. They are perfect places to drive around in a find a perfect photoshoot spot. This could make for a fun day with your friends or family just taking pictures, relaxing, and having fun together while still distancing.
6. Visit the Bog Garden
Bog Garden on Greensboro Beautiful at http://greensborobeautiful.org/gardens/bog_garden.php
Take a walk through this garden area at Benjamin Park in Greensboro. The Bog Garden features an elevated walkway over wetlands as well as a waterfall, plenty of birds and wildlife (you may even make friends with some ducks), and plants of course. This garden looks absolutely beautiful and a little different from gardens and parks you'd normally go to. If you're looking for a space that feels tucked away from the busyness, while still being in a central location, the Bog Garden is your place to go. It'll also offer a perfect spot for photography or artistic inspiration. For these reasons, it's always on my summer bucket list.
7. Get breakfast takeout and have a morning picnic
French Toast at The Flying Biscuit Cafe
One of my favorite breakfast places in Raleigh, NC is the Flying Biscuit Cafe. While they are now open for dine-in, some may still not be comfortable with this. I don't blame you there either. So, if you still want to indulge in the best French toast and potatoes ever (seriously please order them... they're delicious), order your food to go and either meet up with your friends in a parking lot to have a social distanced breakfast tailgate or take your breakfast to one of Raleigh's parks or outdoor areas for a cute little breakfast picnic. Of course, since the pandemic has eased off, a nice dining out experience with a loved one, or even solo is a great way to kick off the day.
8. Catch a movie in your car at the Raleigh Road Outdoor Theatre
Raleigh Road Outdoor Theatre at http://www.raleighroaddrivein.com/about-us/
If you're anything like me, one of the things you've been missing the most over quarantine is being able to actually go and see a movie. I think this is the perfect solution to the problem! Pull up, grab some snacks, and social distance in your car while still getting to see a movie "in public". This blast to the past twist on the movie experience is perfect for the warmer weather! Located in Henderson, NC, the drive in is about a 40 minute drive from Raleigh and the Durham area, and is a perfect laidback atmosphere to finally go see a movie again.
9. Take a walk along the Neuse River Trail
The Neuse River Trail is another one of my favorite walking trails. Located in Raleigh, this trail has a lot of greenery and shade to offer on your walk or bike ride. Also since it is right up against the river, there are small sandy areas to touch the water and slightly larger "beachy" areas as well. By visiting the Neuse River Trail, you get the best of both worlds of going on a nice walk and getting to cool off by the water. It's the perfect place in Raleigh to stay active and refreshed.
10. Grab a cup of coffee or frozen hot chocolate at Videri Chocolate Factory
Chocolate lovers, this is your place! When I learned that there's a whole chocolate factory in downtown Raleigh, my day was made and I've never ran to a place quicker in my life. I've been here a couple of times and am happy to report that it's a beautiful place with a relaxed environment to take a breather and maybe even a few Instagram photos. By visiting Videri, you'll be able to learn how their chocolate is made (I believe they do tours as well), buy their chocolate on site, and take a seat inside or outside on their patio to enjoy the beverages that they also offer. Whether you're looking for the full chocolate fix or you'd like a dash of caffeine, they have hot chocolate and frozen hot chocolate available as well as plenty of coffee options.
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