Arkansas, New York, Ohio. No, I’m not trying to quiz myself to see if I know all 50 states. Those are just a few of the license plates I’ve noticed this summer in Mount Airy — not downtown, but at Riverside Park.
Just this past weekend, as I was playing on the playground with Little Man, there was a truck parked next to me with Arkansas license tags. The family had found the park so that the kids could play for a while, and then they were headed back to the hotel where they were staying.
Another family from out of state I talked to a month or two ago was there with local friends so their kids could get together and play while the parents visited.
Great recreation facilities, like the playground and other offerings at Riverside Park, are what make a community whole. They give people from the area a place to bond and have fun, but they also add to the stay of visitors to the area who are looking for something to do other than just shop or tour.
Even before we had Little Man, my husband and I tended to scope out local parks in the places we visited in order to walk and enjoy the scenery, or take a break from the noise of the cars and downtown areas.
Think about it, when a family goes on vacation to a state park or national park, they are looking for ways to bond, to enjoy the outdoors and to have fun. Well, the same applies when people go on vacations to urban areas, they are still seeking out ways to have fun and bond, and they don’t necessarily want to spend the whole time walking sidewalks and shopping.
This area is blessed with a number of areas where people from the area, as well as those visiting, can find something to do off the beaten path (or the concreted sidewalk).
There is Riverside Park with its greenway, river fishing, playground, skateboard park, soccer field and basketball courts; there is Westwood Park with its softball fields, small playground, disc golf course, fishing pond, walking trail and mountain biking trail; there is Fisher River Park in Dobson with its mountain biking trail, softball fields, walking paths, Fisher River access, playground and volleyball courts; in Pilot Mountain there is the Armfield Civic Center with its nature trail, soccer field, softball fields, playground and disc golf course.
Now, there is the walking trail, playground and ball fields at the Shoals Recreation Center in Pinnacle.
And of course, there is Pilot Mountain State Park with its miles of hiking and equestrian trails, rock climbing, river and creek access for boating, fishing and wading, picnicking, camping and leisurely walking.
Before it gets too cold to stay outside for any lengths of time, be sure to visit and take part in the free things to do in the county, and enjoy nature and the changing of the seasons as colors begin to appear on the trees.
Wendy Byerly Wood is the associate editor of The Mount Airy News. She can be reached at email@example.com or at 719-1923.