Cool Off, Unwind, and Try Some New Wine at the Whitewater Center’s Uncorked Festival

As summer slowly eases into fall, it’s the perfect time to take advantage of Charlotte’s lovely early autumn atmosphere. The staff at the U.S. National Whitewater Center know how to make the most of this time of year – and it involves wine, live music, and outdoor yoga. At their annual Uncorked Festival, attendees are invited to sample wine, participate in a trail race, take in a live music set, and more; all on the grounds of the Center’s gorgeous 1,300-acre park. So mark your calendar for Friday, September 22 and Saturday, September 23 and plan to come unwind!

Sample Wine From Wineries Near and Far

Wine tasting is the heart of the Whitewater Center’s annual Uncorked Festival. From 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 23, festival attendees will have the chance to try out red and white vintages from 16 renowned winemakers. From North Carolina’s own Wine, to Water and Shelton Vineyards, to the Napa Valley’s Z. Alexander Brown and Michael David Wineries, vintners from across the country will be on hand with some of their best wines for guests to try.

For just $10, you can purchase a sample card that entitles you to four two-ounce samples of any of the award-winning options available. Attendees will also have the opportunity to purchase a take-home, USNWC branded wine glass to enjoy their drinks in at the festival.

Relax With Yoga Under the Open Sky

While its wine tastings may give the festival its name, the event’s outdoor activities truly take advantage of the Whitewater Center’s gorgeous grounds. Several yoga classes will be offered on Saturday to help you further relax and unwind. At 9:30 a.m., a traditional class lead by a certified yoga instructor will be held on the South Ridge lawn. The class is free for all participants; just bring your yoga mat and enjoy.

Up for a more challenging yoga practice? Try out the Center’s SUP Yoga class. Held on the calm waters of the Catawba River, adventurous yogis will be guided through poses while balancing aboard stand-up paddle boards. If you already have your own equipment (including a SUP board, paddle, and personal floatation device), the class is free; equipment can also be rented with the purchase of an activity pass, starting at $25. If interested, come early; this class is capped at 15 participants.

Take Part in a Race – On Land or Water

If you’d like to really get your blood flowing in the crisp autumn weather, sign up for one of the festival’s several race offerings. Runners can choose from the 5k Trail Race or the Wild Vine Half Marathon; casual runners will find the 5k option the perfect match for their level, while runners looking to challenge themselves can further their training by completing the half marathon. Registration is available online or on the day of. The half marathon kicks off at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday with the 5k beginning at 11:00 a.m.

Those who prefer to spend the day on the water can take part in the SUP Stream Catawba River Race. Both beginning and experienced stand-up paddle boarders are invited to test their skills on the river in this four-mile race beginning at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday. No paddle board? No problem! Rental equipment will be available on a first come, first serve basis that morning.

For all three races, the top three male/female finishers over 55 will receive awards — so bring your running shoes or paddle board and your game face!

Enjoy Live Music Al Fresco

Prefer to unwind in a less active way? Enjoy some wonderful live music while sipping your wine under the sky. Beginning in the early afternoon on Saturday, Belmont Abbey Island’s main stage will host acts from a range of musical genres. The concerts will kick off at 1:00 p.m. with a set from the country duo of Sally & George, followed by classic rock-and-roll band the Dead 27’s at 3:00 p.m. The Southern rock group, The Vegabonds, will take the stage at 5:00 p.m., and Austin, Texas’ garage rockers White Denim will finish off the day with two sets starting at 7:00 p.m. Best of all, all shows are free to enjoy!

At Cypress of Charlotte, our goal is to create a community for our residents that promotes an active, fun lifestyle in retirement. We seek to foster a country club-like atmosphere with ample amenities and services to help you make the most of your golden years. To find out more about everything our continuing care retirement community has to offer, please contact us today.  

Best Hikes and Nature Drives Within 3 Hours From Charlotte

While Charlotte may be the country’s third-fastest growing city with an impressive skyline and many rich urban neighborhoods, residents of the Queen City are lucky enough to be surrounded by beautiful and unspoiled natural landscapes. Incredible hiking trails and beautiful nature drives abound within a short three hours of the city’s center, making it easy for Charlotteans to escape to the great outdoors. Of the many options, these three hiking trails and three nature drives make up the best of what the Charlotte area has to offer.

The Charlotte Area’s Most Beautiful Hiking Trails

In the mood to connect with nature up close and personal? The Charlotte area is home to gorgeous hiking trails suitable for all fitness and experience levels. Naming them all would be impossible, but these three sets of trails are a great jumping-off point to begin exploring eastern North Carolina’s natural beauty.

Comprising more than 50,000 acres, the Uwharrie National Forest is home to dozens of hiking trails. Some can get quiet strenuous, but options abound for trails that are easy yet no less beautiful. The Densons Creek Nature Trail is suitable even for total novices, while the more challenging Badin Lake Trail provides beautiful views of this pristine lake.

Kings Mountain State Park in Blacksburg offers a similar array of hiking trails, ranging from easy to moderately difficult. One trail of note is the Kings Mountain Nature Trail, which makes a leisurely 1.2-mile loop and offers close-up views of beautiful flora and incredible fauna such as wild turkeys and deer. 

Lastly, Stone Mountain State Park–just an hour and a half from Charlotte–provides some incredible trails for more seasoned hikers. Paths such as the Middle Falls/Lower Falls Trail lead you to breathtaking views of waterfalls that make the hike worth the effort.

The Most Scenic Nature Drives Within Three Hours of Charlotte

If you’re in the mood to sit rather than hike but would still like to bask in the glory of the great outdoors, one of the Charlotte area’s many scenic nature drives may fit the bill. Enjoy lush forests and breathtaking vistas from the comfort of your car on one of these three drives.

Winding its way through Crowders Mountain State Park, the Crowders Mountain Drive provides some amazing views of the countryside before climbing to the top of Pinnacle Peak. (If the drive invigorates you for a hike, the trails to the top of Crowders Mountain are fairly short and provide views of downtown Charlotte’s skyscrapers.)
Want to see some of North Carolina’s most impressive wildlife? Hit the road on the Grassy Island Crossing. This road traverses the Pee Dee Wildlife Refuge, and a waterfowl observation spot allows you to observe migratory birds resting in their natural habitats.  

Of course, no list of scenic drives near Charlotte would be complete without mentioning the Blue Ridge Parkway. Often referred to as America’s favorite drive, this relaxing drive supplies close-up views of the incredible landscapes and rugged mountains that make up the Appalachian Highlands. The entire Parkway is 469 miles long, but some of the most stunning portions of the drive that run along the Blue Ridge Mountains are just two hours from Charlotte. 

Looking for an active, vibrant retirement community in which to spend your golden years? At the Cypress of Charlotte, we aim to foster a country club lifestyle for the residents of our upscale continuing care retirement community. To learn more about our residences or to schedule a tour, please contact us today.