COUNTY PARKS AND RECREATION SITES

Yates Mill County Park

DSC_8239.JPGSo many of our great county parks have both historical and natural components that really make the visitor experience there wonderful.  At Historic Yates Mill County Park visitors can explore the 134 acre wildlife refuge as well as the historic remains of a 1750s water-powered gristmill.  Exhibits and artifacts in the visitor’s center tell the story of Wake County’s rich agricultural heritage, and programs, events, and costumed grinding demonstrations can further the experience.  My children love the section of the educational center set aside for hands-on learning, with colonial dress up, puzzles and toys, and a coloring area.  There are also natural research materials inside the center, including a large array of bird and egg specimens.  Outside, you can take a walk around the lake, fish from the bridge, or explore the educational garden. The best part of this site is the mill itself, watching water cascade down the worn, mossy rocks and bricks, against the backdrop of the historic building and water wheel.  It’s a great place to relax or enjoy a picnic with the family. I hope you get to visit Historic Yates Mill soon!

With Love,

Turtle Dove

Know Before You Go:  There are restrooms in the visitors center, they can be accessed from inside or outside the building.

No dogs, with the exception of service animals, are allowed on the property.

There are no food or drinks for sale at the site. There is a water fountain near the restrooms.

The park is free to visit, however costumed demonstrations and tours are offered March through November on Saturdays for a fee.  View tours and fee schedules here

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COUNTY PARKS AND RECREATION SITES

Historic Oak View County Park

DSC_4183-01.jpegA beautiful place to explore NC’s rich agricultural history, Historic Oak View offers a network of historic structures and reconstructions, barns and paddocks with live animals, garden areas, an orchard and acres of rolling grassy hills. The visitor’s center here is a real gem, especially for those with young children, as it includes a well equipped play kitchen, farm stand, and dress-up area.  Exhibits in the Farmhouse and outbuildings tell the story of 19th century farm life as well as that of farmer Benton Williams and his family. Williams was an outspoken union supporter during the Civil War. Other exhibits in the tenant house and cotton barn explain that after the war, the farm was owned and operated by the Wyatt family who diversified the farm by planting other crops such as the grove of pecan trees that front the main house.  My kids love spending a day here, and I love how much they learn exploring the herb garden and farm buildings, doing laundry with lye on a washboard outside the old kitchen house, or observing the goats and chickens that live on site.  I hope you and your family get some time to relax in the shade of one of the front porches and stroll through some of our area’s most rich history soon!

With Love, Turtle Dove

DSC_4277.JPGKnow Before You Go:  There are restrooms in the visitors center and near the goat paddock.

The visitor’s center and the main farmhouse are climate controlled.  The other buildings are open air.  While there is little furniture in the farmhouse, it is a decorated beautifully over the winter holidays.

It is ok to feed the goats, but there is a list of what is appropriate to feed them that can be found in the visitor’s center.

There are a few sets of stairs in some of the outbuildings, but most of the park is stroller friendly.

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COUNTY PARKS AND RECREATION SITES

Lake Crabtree County Park

DSC_3514-01.jpegJust off Airport Boulevard near Raleigh-Durham International, there is a fabulous wilderness park with playgrounds, boating, and an awesome wildlife observation tower.  You can rent boats or bring your own canoes and kayaks to launch off of the accessible and public boat launch for an amazing day on the lake, where you can view heron and all sorts of fish up close.   There is a lovely open play area in a field near the lake, great for frisbee and other sports. A sand Volleyball court is also located near the boat launch. Adobe_20180430_213152-02  The thing that makes Crabtree Park memorable for us, though, is the 4-story observation tower overlooking the lake.  The kids love running up the stairs to the top and gazing out to watch birds or planes fly by.  I hope you and your family get a chance to spend a sunny day there soon!

With Love,

Turtle Dove

Know Before You Go:  There are restrooms at the tower, the manager building, and the public boat ramp area.  There is no food available, but water fountains are located at the tower.

Each of the 2 playgrounds are shaded and near the lake and picnic shelters.

There is a cool old historic home site if you take the trail from the open playspace.  It has some great interpretation about growing tobacco.

Certain trails are closed from time to time. Check the website and look for signs to stay off of unsafe trails. Parts of the greenway are under construction as of May 1, 2018.

Fishing at the park is catch and release.

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COUNTY PARKS AND RECREATION SITES

Harris Lake County Park

Screenshot_20180312-212007So, I’m not sure about you, but I’m all about a lake park, especially a lake park with disc golf, bike trails, hiking, history exhibits, a nature playspace, and a playground. Harris Lake County Park in New Hill has some of the most beautiful natural hiking and wildlife viewing areas, and 2 great, and very different, play areas for kids if they haven’t walked off all of their energy. We use it frequently as a resource for wetlands and water quality studies. We also love taking a time-travel walk on the history trail and reinforcing ideas about agricultural practices in NC. The Nature Playground is awesome for pretend play, as there is a giant found-wood shelter, a sandbox, and tunnels. I hope you and your family get a chance to play there soon!

With Love, Turtle Dove

Know before you go:

There is no swimming area at the park.

Bathrooms are located at the back of the park near the Nature Playspace. There is a port-a-jon near the disc golf trail. They are often both lacking in the soap/sanitizer department.

Some of the trail markings can be misleading, esp as you get further from the playground.

Deer are around a lot in the evenings, in large groups. They are beautiful to see, but they also bring ticks. Lots of ticks. We always check after hiking here.

Lots and lots and lots of dogs visit here, esp on weekends. *Most*of the owners clean up. They stay on the trails for the most part, not in the playgrounds.