Greensboro getaways: parks and more
March 28, 2017
One of the selling points that helped to solidify my decision to make Guilford my future alma mater was its beautiful grounds. The smattering of brick buildings between a natural scene that was free for anyone to run rampant called to the artistic hippie within me. While I am still taken aback by the midcentury European township vibe the College gives off, if I spent every day on campus, I might tire of seing the same thing every day.
So, what is a Guilfordian to do after they have uncovered the secrets Guilford College harbors, including the apparitions haunteplace.org claims haunt Dana Auditorium and the casserole surprise awaiting their rumbling bellies in the cafeteria?
If you are lucky enough to own a car or have enough money left over to chip in for gas, don’t waste the opportunity for an outing going to the usual places. Instead, forgo drinking on a Friday night and plan to rise early so that you can take a day trip to visit the strange and obscure.
Whirligig Park, 301 Goldsboro St. S, Wilson, N.C.
Legend has it that Vollis Simpson had a daughter who decided to take a drive while on a bad LSD trip. She passed away, and her ghost haunted her father’s dreams, providing him a glimpse of what she saw before she perished. In her name, he created massive windmills with reflectors. Later, a car was said to have wrecked on a road adjacent to the park, perpetuating the myth.
The truth: while there was a daughter, there was never a wreck or death due to a LSD induced joyride. Simpson took to making the 30-something windmills to pass the time doing something he enjoyed and he thought that drivers might enjoy too. The windmills are over 50 feet tall and are described by atlasobscura.com as “extending nearly as far outwards into space.”
Simpson’s work is world-renowned. Four pieces were installed at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, and several pieces have made their way into international collections. One piece appeared as a window installation at Bergdorf Goodman, a department store in New York. Simpson died at the age of 93 in 2013.
“Reminiscing,” 525 Welcome Ave., Henderson, N.C.
An artist by the name of Ricky Pearce used his time creatively by crafting a set of gargantuan legs. According to hendersondispatch.com, the sculpture was inspired by Marilyn Monroe’s role in the saucy black and white flick entitled “The Seven Year Itch” in which she wore the famed white dress and happened across a subway grate. The legs are 17 feet tall and weigh in at a modest 160,000 pounds. The gartered limbs sit in a patch of grass all alone but Pearce plans to equip them with a pair of 30-foot heels. The name of the piece, “Reminiscing,” can be seen as you walk underneath the legs’ arch.
Backpackers and Bikers:
If you’re feeling rather rambunctious and want to do some serious hiking or mountain biking, the Greensboro Fat Tire Society has constructed a monster of a trail for you.
Wild Turkey Trail, 5939 Lake Brandt Rd, Greensboro, N.C.
This intermediate-level, five-mile, single-track trail is a twisty, biking extravaganza. The trail is central to other local trails, including Reedy Fork Trail, Blue Heron Trail, King Fisher Trail, Owl’s Roost Trail and Country Park, which contains more biking and hiking trails.
The track on this trail is relatively smooth. However, it is fast, and has some awesome rock jumps and sweeping berms. Experts and beginners alike will also enjoy the log pyramids, bridges and climbs on this track. The fact that it also connects to a few other trails makes it an ideal spot for the adventurer with time to kill. But please make sure you always let someone know where you’re going when venturing over the hills and through the woods.
Walkers and Bus Riders:
If you don’t feel like jumping in the car, hiking to the land of the lost or burning tire tread, how about a nice stroll with a bus ride in between?
Breakout Games, 700 Carnegie Place, Greensboro, N.C.
So to get here, one would need to hike a mile to Guilford College Road/Wendy Court. From there hop the nine at the depot to West Market Street/Edwardia stop and hike the rest of the way to Carnegie Place.
I know it sounds like a lot, but think of it as a prep for things to come, one of several adventures you can choose to participate in at Breakout Games. You can play a kidnapping victim in an airplane hostage situation where you escape and foil the evil-doers’ plan. You start off handcuffed to your friends and use your heads to free yourselves in 60 minutes. Then there is also a museum heist and a casino scenario, which I won’t give away. Whatever game you choose, just make sure to arrive 15 minutes early, and don’t bring anything to help you on your mission except you and your friends.
Whatever you choose to do with your time, use it wisely.