Quiet Reflections Retreat: Here, a small, stunning chapel built from poplar and glass opens up to a view that looks out onto a clearing at 3,5000 feet and spreads across the Black Mountains, reaching all the way to Mount Mitchell. Look through the windows behind the pulpit and you can’t see a single thing man has built. For 25 years visitors have come to escape highway noise and artificial light and the constant chatter of our wired world.
Duke Gardens: In the middle of Duke University’s campus sits a 55-acre tract of horticulture heaven. Occasionally the Gardens will host Japanese Tea Gatherings in the Culberson Asiatic Arbortum’s tea house. This ceremony allows participants to focus on appreciating their surroundings and connecting authentically with the present moment. When you enter the Japanese pavilion’s outer edge, known as the roji, you’re asked to leave your preoccupations behind.The next Japanese Tea Gathering at Duke Gardens will be held on February 14, 2014.
420 Anderson Street • Durham, NC 27708
(919) 684-3698 gardens.duke.edu
Baldhead Island: You can get here by boat or not at all, pulled into the harbor by way of the Cape Fear River. Cars are not permitted – instead, visitors and residents travel using electric golf carts. Everything is slow going, slow growing, slow moving. At low tide you’ll get a sense of what it means to be isolated in a place built from nothing but sand and water and sky.
Uwharries Mountain Wine Trail: There’s no need to rush to the end of this trail, which begins in Salisbury, less than an hour outside of Charlotte. In total, the Uwharries Mountain Wine Trail includes four wineries, Old Stone Winery, Uwharrie Vineyards, Dennis Vineyards, and Stony Mountain Vineyards, separated by less than 45 miles. Indulge in a day of touring and taste testing at these award-winning wineries.
Sylvan Heights Bird Park: Mike Lubbock is driven by a passion for saving bird species. To fund these efforts, visitors are invited into his Sylvan Heights Bird Park. Find tranquility while gazing at toucans, flamingos, pygmy geese, black-crowned cranes and more. It’s impossible not to be enchanted – the park currently is home to around 2,000 birds.
500 Sylvan Heights Park Way
Scotland Neck, NC 27874
Western North Carolina is at its most stunning when autumn arrives and the leaves burst into color. Before you head out leaf-peeping this fall, check in weekly to see what colors our experts are seeing at 22 of our favorite mountain spots.
We’ve picked a bushel of North Carolina apples in every form — from pies to pottery to cider — to enjoy from the first perfect, blue-sky day of October through chilly Halloween. That’s one for each day of the month!