Saturday, January 23, 2016

Pilot Mountain State Park's Little Pinnacle Overlook Trail Offers Beautiful View with Little Effort

Pilot Mountain State Park Big Pinnacle as seen from Little Pinnacle Overlook Trail © Katrena
My family has been hiking trails in North Carolina State Parks for years. Some trails are much harder and longer than others. Most of the best views are enjoyed by those hikers willing to go the extra effort to hike a longer distance with more challenging terrain.

Little Pinnacle Overlook Trail is very easy and short walk with a great view © Katrena
Pilot Mountain State Park is one of the exceptions where visitors can enjoy a short, easy hike that reaps great benefits. The pinnacle of Pilot Mountain is the iconic shape that looms near Hwy 52 north of Winston-Salem. This beautiful, majestic landmark is impossible to miss when traveling on Highway 52. On a clear day, I have seen the unique shape of Pilot Mountain from Interstate 77 near the North Carolina/Virginia border. Pilot Mountain is definitely distinct.

View of the Piedmont from the parking lot at Pilot Mountain State Park © Katrena
A few months ago, I decided our family would visit Pilot Mountain. Many of the state parks in North Carolina require a fair amount of driving off the main road; however, I was surprised to see that the park entrance is very close to Hwy 52. Visitors can drive up to a parking lot that delivers visitors up close and personal to a gorgeous view without hiking at all. This would be a great park for those with mobility challenges!

Hiking Trail to see great view at Pilot Mountain State Park in NC © Katrena
I have seen loads of pictures of Pilot Mountain's Big Pinnacle that appear quite close up. I had assumed the hike might be a bit challenging to get to that photo spot. I was wrong! The Little Pinnacle Overlook Trail offers an easy 0.1 mile hike to a lookout deck that begs for pictures. I did not zoom on any of my photos posted in this article, and all of the photos I featured in this article are sites that can be seen from the parking lot or the Little Pinnacle Overlook trail.

Great view from Pilot Mountain State Park © Katrena
When we visited, one man mentioned that the park gets quite full when the leaves peak, and there may be a long line of cars waiting to get a parking space. The parking lot at the top is small, so you might want to plan for less crowded times of the year if you want to simply drive to the top without a wait like we did. The trails we hiked were well-maintained when we visited.

Learn about nature and more at Pilot Mountain State Park © Katrena
This state park offers quite a few other trails, a campground, picnic areas, educational programs, rock climbing and rappelling with a permit, and more. Restroom facilities were near the parking lot. We hiked a few other trails, but I wanted to feature the Little Pinnacle Overlook with this article.

Beautiful View from a Mountaintop - No Hiking Required! © Katrena
Pilot Mountain State Park offers a beautiful view with very little effort of those who visit the park. People who are looking for more challenging trails won't be disappointed either. Feel free to visit the official Pilot Mountain web site for hours, maps, and more.

Enjoy Natural Beauty with the family at Pilot Mountain State Park © Katrena
More of my articles

Thanks so much for visiting my Travel NC With Kids blog. I hope you find my articles to be helpful as you plan your own family outings in North Carolina. Have you visited Pilot Mountain State Park? Feel free to post comments in the comment section below.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

2015 Mocksville Christmas Parade Pictures

An Elf Makes a Special Delivery of Candy at the Mocksville Christmas Parade © Katrena
Mocksville's 2015 Christmas parade was packed with loads of holiday fun for the whole family.

Pink Fire Truck at Mocksville Christmas Parade © Katrena
Just in case you missed the parade or would like to see some of the entries again, I've compiled a collection of my photos to share with all of you.

Tractors at 2015 Christmas Parade in Davie County © Katrena
The 2015 theme was "Plowing Through the Holidays." Of course, lots of the people who have tractors came out this year. Mocksville has a large tractor parade on July 4 every year.

Davie County 4-H Float "Plowing Through the Holidays" © Katrena
Davie County 4-H also showed their agricultural heritage.

Fun Entries in 2015 Mocksville Christmas Parade © Katrena
This parade was filled with lots of fun and unexpected twists and turns.

Unusual Entries in Christmas Parade in Mocksville © Katrena
Not everybody was riding - some groups walked, or danced, or slinked down the street.

Davie County High School Marching Band © Katrena
Of course, Davie County High School band entertained the crowds with music.

Bagpipes at Davie County Christmas Parade © Katrena
A group played bagpipes and drums.

Sickle Cell Anemia Awareness at 2015 Mocksville Holiday Parade © Katrena
This group encouraged folks to learn more about sickle cell anemia.

Davie County Public Library Shoveling Snow in Parade © Katrena
Is that snow? Of course, you can find just about anything at the Davie County Public Library!

Star Trek at Mocksville Christmas Parade 2015 © Katrena
This year, I think the force was with us in the parade.

KITT at Christmas Parade on Main Street in Davie County © Katrena
And it looks like KITT came and spoke to folks who lined the streets.

Fire Fighter at 2015 Mocksville Holiday Parade © Katrena
Mocksville is blessed with many fire fighters, EMTs, police officers, and other folks who provide a variety of services to the community.

Horses at Mocksville Christmas Parade © Katrena
Of course, the horses came out to say hello at the end of the parade line.

Walking Soap Bucket at Davie Christmas Parade © Katrena
You never know what you might see at a Christmas parade.

Lots of Cars at Davie's Christmas Parade © Katrena
A lot of the cars in the parade can also be seen at the Cruise In during warmer months.

Chickens at Parade in Mocksville © Katrena
These guys were also in the bed race the night before.

Davie County Humane Society Brings Dogs to Christmas Parade © Katrena
And these furry friends are looking for loving homes.

Old Cars at Mocksville Christmas Parade © Katrena
Additional articles

Mocksville Lions Club at Christmas Parade © Katrena
Thanks so much for visiting my Travel NC With Kids blog, where I often feature fun, family-friendly, and often free things to do in the Tarheel State.

Friday, November 27, 2015

2015 Kannapolis Village Park Christmas Schedule

2015 Village Park Christmas Dates and Times

Village Park, located in Cabarrus County near the Rowan County line in North Carolina, offers a variety of family-friendly Christmas activities. My kids have particularly liked riding the Winterland Express train while enjoying the Christmas light show that features over 250,000 lights. Train rides cost $2/person and the train is handicap accessible. The line for the train may get long on weekend nights, but folks can always walk through the park to enjoy the light show if they do not wish to wait. The guys who come out to drive the trains have been quite dedicated on some frigid nights!

Kannapolis Village Park Christmas Lights © Katrena
My family has also particularly enjoyed the indoor interactive model train display. The Carolinas Division of the Atlantic Coast S Gaugers comes out and sets up a huge track shaped like an 8 that fills almost the entire room. As guests walk through, they can push buttons that will make various scenes come to life. I think the adults like the display as much as the kids!

Singing Bears at Village Park in Kannapolis © Katrena
My youngest particularly likes the singing bears, and when we've been there, some families have joined in to sing the songs. The display reminds me of an animated bear show at Disney World.

Atlantic Coast S Gaugers at Kannapolis Christmas © Katrena
This park is easy to find. It is located at 700 West C Street in Kannapolis at the corner of West C and Dale Earnhardt Blvd. Village Park is also close to the Gem Theatre, a movie theatre that is dripping with history and that offers balcony seating.

Interactive Train Display in Cabarrus County © Katrena
Here is the 2015 schedule according to A Kannapolis Christmas web site:

Christmas Events @ Village Park
Tree Lighting Ceremony
Nov 28
6:00 p.m.
Celebration of Lights
Nov 28 - Dec 23
Dec 26 - Dec 30
6-9 p.m. Sun-Thur
6-10 p.m. Fri-Sat
Winterland Express
Nov 28 - Dec 23
Dec 26 - Dec 30
6-9 p.m. Sun-Thur
6-10 p.m. Fri-Sat
Model Train Display
Dec 4 - Dec 23
Dec 26 - Dec 30
6-9 p.m. Sun-Thur
6-10 p.m. Fri-Sat
Visit w/Santa or Mrs. Claus
Nov 28 - Dec 23
Dec 26 - Dec 30
6:30 - 9:00 p.m.
Singing Bears
Nov 28 - Dec 23
Dec 26 - Dec 30
1/2 hour show starting on the hour most nights
Nativity Night
-live nativity & choir music, petting zoo, pony rides, vendors
(fee charged for some of these)
Dec 19
Starts at 4:00 p.m.

Train Ride Through Christmas Lights in North Carolina © Katrena
Sometimes the events are cancelled due to weather conditions. Feel free to call the Parks and Recreation Department at 704-920-4343 with any questions or to schedule a civic or non-profit group for group rates.

Additional articles

Thanks for visiting my Travel NC With Kids blog. I hope you find my articles to be helpful and informative!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

2015 'Twas the Night Before Bed Race Pictures

2015 Twas the Night Before Bed Race © Katrena
This year, 2015, brought out the largest lineup of beds and racers in Mocksville's 4th 'Twas the Night Before Bed race. This free family holiday event featured 19 brave teams of five, each consisting of four pushers and one rider.

Mocksville Bed Race © Katrena
The fourth annual event brought out a crowd that filled Main Street to overflowing as Christmas music played.

Family Friendly Christmas Activities in Mocksville © Katrena
The lighting of the oak trees and heart of town with white lights makes the beautiful Davie County town come alive with the holiday season. Many shops go all out with their decorations inside and out.

Fun Things to Do in Davie County © Katrena
Although the town had to remove two of the majestic oak trees at the main square, the crowd only grew bigger in 2015. The spirit of a town does not merely live in trees and lights but within the hearts of those who call Mocksville, Davie County, and surrounding areas home.

Christmas Lights and Bed Race in Mocksville © Katrena
This year marked a few changes. All teams had the opportunity to line up and parade down the street turned into racetrack, a great idea because many of the faster teams simply look like a blur when they are in the heat of battle!

2015 Mocksville Bed Race in Davie County © Katrena
The town might be small, but they attract a pretty large following, even the WXII news crew. It is not every day that one gets to see a group from a local local TV station running at breakneck speed and laughing all the way!

Christmas Activities in Piedmont NC © Katrena
This year also offered an intermission. A few of the younger generation took full advantage of that interlude and took to dancing in the middle of the street. How often does a town completely shut down Main Street for something other than a parade? Perhaps next year Mocksville will have a flash mob during the interlude.

Davie County Bed Race 2015 © Katrena
The bed race of 2015 featured 19 teams – the largest group so far. Folks saw quite a variety of costumes and team decorations. Many returned from last year, such as Manna Movers, Kathy Riddle missile, the Davie County football team, and the defending champions Building Blocks of Hope.

Mocksville Christmas Activities © Katrena
The police department and fire department faced off to a photo finish. The race was so close that even the crowd could not decide which one was the winner. In order to satisfy any doubts, they raced again, with the fire department moving to the next round.

Pictures from 2015 Mocksville Bed Race © Katrena
Many of the teams put such creativity into their beds! The 4-H crew decorated their bed with a variety of lights. Filet of chicken featured a metal bed with letters that had been cut through that metal. Everyone had a chance to see all the details of the Worker Bees team as they calmly strolled down the street when it was their turn.

Bed Race on Main Street in Mocksville, NC © Katrena
Many in the crowd talked about how the various teams met the challenge of having a rider. Several large character animals enjoyed the view from the bed while one strong guy hung on for dear life as he rode atop a table that resembled an operating room bed. One bed offered handlebars for the bed rider to grip.

Fun Christmas Activities in NC © Katrena
With any race, folks might see a bit of rivalry. Maybe a bit of going outside the lane to get up close and personal with the opposing team. After all, North Carolina is known for some racing legents. I would say that all teams stuck together through thick and thin and even a lost tire. Except for that lone minion who left his position and ran like nobody's business to get in front of the other team at the finish – nice try but no dice...except maybe a consolation prize and some cash.

2015 Bed Race Fastest Teams © Katrena
Prizes were awarded to the top three fastest teams, most outrageous, most creative, best package, and the slowest team. The fastest team was also awarded a spare bicycle tire with a challenge to come back next year. All teams were ages 15 and up, but I think many teams were kids at heart. Food vendors offered treats, and many downtown shops with finely decorated windows stayed open late.

WXII at Mocksville Bed Race © Katrena
WXII featured the event on the news, including a YouTube video showing the cone that went down for the count. The news crew also collected non-perishable food items for the Second Harvest Food Bank. Davie County featured the bed race sign-up details on their blog.

Twas the Night Before Bed Race in Davie County NC © Katrena
I spoke with someone who moved to Davie County just a little over a year ago. She said the bed race was one of the first events that happened after she got settled in and that she quickly discovered that Davie County is actually a happening place filled with a variety of activities for families. She had recently participated in the dog walk under the natural beauty of a meteor shower at Tanglewood – yep, even the newcomers find their way around pretty quickly.

Beautiful NC Towns at Christmas © Katrena
It doesn't take long to find that the community has a Cruise In and tractor parade during warmer months, and the county offers museums, walking trails, and more.

Downtown Christmas Shopping in Mocksville NC © Katrena
If you missed the bed race or came and are ready to return to Main Street, bring a bag for your candy and come on out to the Mocksville Christmas parade that starts at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 21. Who knows? You might see a few of the beds from last night in the parade.

Christmas Activities in Davie County NC © Katrena
Additional articles

Downtown Mocksville with Christmas Lights © Katrena
Thanks for supporting local bloggers like me! In addition to my Travel NC With Kids, you might want to check out my scavenger hunts, printables, and other family activities on my Wildflower Bouquets blog.