Play Local · Uncategorized

21 Days Outdoors – Historic Yates Mill County Park

Conventional wisdom advises that habits are ingrained after 21 days of repetition. If that theory holds true, then the eat~play~shop local habit requires time and effort to develop. Each month I’ll share “21 Days” of some event, place or organization in the Triangle, enabling (and I mean that in the most positive sense possible) your inner Localista to come out and join us. This month it’s all about the great outdoors in the Triangle – parks, trails and green spaces under blue skies. So brush up on your trail etiquette, lace up those shoes, slather on the sunscreen and join us for some fresh air and fun times.

Wake County is home to a couple of parks with both an agricultural and an historic focus. One of those parks is Historic Yates Mill County Park. The park lies just about three and a half miles south of the State Farmers Market off Lake Wheeler Road. The park’s namesake is a fully restored 18th century water-powered gristmill, but the park is also home to a wildlife refuge and an environmental research center.

The park grounds are open from 8:00 am to sunset, seven days a week and offer visitors the opportunity to hike almost three miles of trails, fish from the pond and wetland boardwalks or just take a seat in a rocking chair on the back porch of the A.E. Finley Center. The park center is open from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm and includes many exhibits featuring the mill’s history and artifacts. If you want to see the mill in action, then you need to visit during the third Saturday corn grinding demonstrations led by costumed tour guides. Tours begin at 10 am this Saturday (June 21) and continue until 4 pm (with an hour off from noon to 1 pm). Find more information about the monthly corn grinding demonstrations and tours at the park website (and note that only cash or check are accepted at the mill office).

For the past eight years Yates Mill County Park has hosted a free Fall Harvest Celebration. This year’s celebration is scheduled for September 20 and will include family friendly activities like a children’s scavenger hunt, live music and dance, story tellers, community displays, hand-craft demonstrations and sales, antique vehicles, farm tool displays, food vendors and more. Until then, you can take advantage of the park’s many other public programs or just pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the natural surroundings for a few hours one day. 

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