TRIAD SUMMER OUTINGS
Greensboro’s Center City Park
If you’re like me (okay, there aren’t many people like me), you don’t have much free time, but you need frequent breaks and you don’t want to spend a lot of money. I joked with my girlfriend this morning that this installment would be 10 best things I would do if I had more time to hang out with her. What inspired my appreciation for summer hangs was waiting for District 2 candidate Jim Kee at Center City Park on a recent Friday evening. At 6 p.m., the air was sunny and warm, but not oppressive. Center City Park is Greensboro’s true public square. Josephus III was emceeing a poetry, music and dance event at the pavilion, children were reveling in the shower provided by the fountain and a couple was hunched over a chess set. I bought a hot dog and settled in with a printout of an investigative article published in Vanity Fair. Pretty awesome.
Hiking at the Piedmont Environmental Center, High Point
Hiking is among the most accessible of pastimes. The only equipment required is a comfortable pair of walking shoes. I drive past the Piedmont Environmental Center about once a week in my forays to the High Point Courthouse to scour criminal case files. One day I’ll stop and hike one of the short nature trails in the golden hour when the dying sun casts its gentle light on High Point City Lake. I’m also intrigued by the roughly five miles of Bicentennial Greenway that passes through the nature preserves and, theoretically at least, links High Point to Greensboro.
The Mixed Tape Film Series at Carousel Cinemas in Greensboro
Go Triad writer Joe Scott says his series at Carousel Cinema is the only film retrospective in the Triad that’s playing movies solely on 35 mm film. Before the summer is out, the Carousel will show The Big Lebowski, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Karate Kid. Scott’s to-do also involves drinking games and prizes.
Summer on Trade, Winston-Salem
Every Saturday, from 7 to 10 p.m., they shut down the intersection of Trade and 6 th streets in Winston-Salem’s downtown arts district, and have a band or two play outside for free. It’s a pretty sweet deal, if you ask me. The Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership produces this series with the Garage. This Saturday, the Vagabond Saints Society, featuring Jerry Chapman, Doug Davis and friends, present their “summer gold” concert. Big Ron Hunter, Groove 8, Hobex, Caleb Caudle & the Bayonets, Raincheck, Melva Houston, the Martha Bassett Band and the bo-stevens are on tap for the remainder of the series. That’s not all: The downtown partnership also presents an Alive After 5 series (every Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at Corpening Plaza) and a Downtown Jazz series (every Friday at 5:30 p.m., also at Corpening Plaza).
Gallery hops, Winston-Salem and Greensboro
Winston-Salem and Greensboro both have gallery hops on the first Fridays of every month. In Winston-Salem, it typically revolves around Trade Street, while South Elm Street generally anchors the hop in Greensboro. Some light hors d’oeuvres and wine are generally part of these functions, from what I understand, and if you stumble into Mack and Mack on Greensboro’s South Elm Street you’re likely to hear the F-Art Ensemble cooking up an auditory gumbo of experimental sounds. The idea here is critical mass.
Bur-Mil Park, Greensboro
Originally a recreation facility for fallen textile giant Burlington Industries, Bur-Mil Park is Greensboro’s sprawling playground. My girlfriend and I like to toss a Frisbee and ride our bicycles along the causeway that bisects Lake Brandt, and once held the railway track that bore trains out of Greensboro and on to Summerfield. There are also fishing ponds, a golf course and driving range, a family aquatic center, picnic shelters, a wildlife center and tennis courts. I only learned on my last visit that you can check out a bike for free. Dasani Water Corp. donated 20 Trek Classic Cruisers to the park.
Reynolda House, Winston-Salem
While not free, visits to the home of tobacco magnate RJ Reynolds are more affordable than say, the Biltmore in Asheville. I had the pleasure of viewing a documentary in the basement of the manse during the RiverRun International Film Festival in April. At the risk of sounding like a travel writer for one of those airline glossies, the expanse of lawn spread out before the manse and the stately trees surrounding it gave me an instant feeling of tranquility. The formal gardens and wetlands are something to behold, I’m sure. So, too, is the Alfred Stieglitz exhibition on display in the Northeast Bedroom Gallery through Nov. 15.
The Greensboro Arboretum
My girlfriend and I love the Arboretum, a strip of ornate botanical gardens tucked alongside North Buffalo Creek and West Wendover Avenue. The Bicentennial Garden and the Bog Garden are also relaxing and enjoyable. All three gardens were developed by Greensboro Beautiful, and lie in an innerwest swath of the city near the Friendly Center. Greensboro Beautiful is currently diversifying its efforts with Gateway Gardens, an aptly named project near the intersection of East Lee Street and Interstate 40. The gardens, parks, and greenways in Greensboro are awesome, whether you’re running near Moses Cone Hospital, catching a Little League ballgame at Latham Park or swatting at tennis balls at Lake Daniel Park. Start walking on a greenway and see where it takes you.
Sean Coon and his confederation of civic-minded creative types launched this multimedia project at the Green Burro in downtown Greensboro more than a year ago. The idea is that musicians, sound engineers, videographers and photographers get together once a month and collaborate on a concert production. Everyone gets exposure to each other, and the concert is free, so the public gains a wider appreciation of the phenomenal music welling up from this area. Why do I include the Dotmatrix Project in this list, you ask. Because it’s free, knucklehead. And it’s part of what binds us together as a community. Next up: Amplify This and the Wigg Report on July 30.
Classic movies at the Carolina Theatre in Greensboro
Sitting in an air-conditioned movie theater on a sweltering afternoon is the classic summer activity, after all. Sometimes surrender is the best tactic, even for a workaholic like myself. Here are some titles; I’ll leave it to you to review the schedule at www.carolinatheatre. com. From the Cohen Brothers Director Series: O Brother, Where Art Thou, Raising Arizona, Burn After Reading, Fargo, No Country for Old Men, The Hudsucker Proxy and The Big Lebowski. From the Kevin Smith Director Series: Chasing Amy, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. From the David Lynch Director Series: Dune, Eraserhead, Mulholland Dr. and Blue Velvet. Other cool flicks include Russ Meyer’s Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs.