Travel

Nearby Notes: A chance to run wild

FRESH-AIR FUN Lake Badin

Uwharrie Mountain Festival is Oct. 9

Head east to enjoy the wilderness on Oct. 9, when the Uwharrie Mountain Festival will be held from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. in Uwharrie National Forest. The festival showcases the activities, heritage and culture and natural resources of Montgomery County, especially the National Forest. Many activities will take place at Kings Mountain Point, a newly developed recreational day-use area in the Badin Recreation Area in the Uwharrie National Forest.

The Badin Lake Trail Run/Walk will start at 8 a.m., with more than half the course along the eastern side of Lake Badin Cost: $30. Register at www.active.com/running/troy-nc/uwharrie-mountain-festival-5-mile-trail-run-2010.

The Island Hopper Challenge paddling event will take place in the morning, followed by free open paddling. Boats will be provided by Gods Country Outfitters. Uwharrie Bike will run a mountain-bike skills course at the point where youth can test their abilities in a controlled environment.

The forest is a perfect place to try the competitive sport of orienteering. Participants find their way from checkpoint to checkpoint across natural terrain with the aid of a map and compass, the winner being the one with the lowest elapsed time.

An array of activities for kids will be offered, ranging from pumpkin painting and trail-mix making to scavenger hunts and talks geared to youngsters.

A highlight of the day is the lumberjack demonstration by Montgomery Community College forestry students.

Vendors will be selling homemade food and crafts.

Blue Horizon will play bluegrass at noon; a "Bluegrass Showdown" event will take place later in the day.

Park at Eldorado Outpost, 4021 N.C. 109 North, in Eldorado; buses will run from there to the festival site starting at 9 a.m.

Eldorado is a little over an hour northeast of Charlotte. Take N.C. 49 (University City Boulevard) east to N.C. 109, in Rowan County; take N.C. 109 South to Eldorado. Details: www.uwharriemountainfestival.com.

NOT IN KANSAS Beech Mountain

Land of Oz reopens Oct. 2-3

In the 1970s, Land of Oz allowed visitors to Western North Carolina to walk down the Yellow Brick Road: The attraction was themed to "The Wizard of Oz," from start (Uncle Henry and Aunt Em's farmhouse) to finish (The Emerald City). The park closed in 1980, but in recent years the gates have opened to celebrate it through the "Autumn at Oz" festival.

It's Oct. 2-3 this year. Those making the pilgrimage to Beech Mountain take a hayride or shuttle to the mountaintop grounds for live music, a tour of Dorothy's House, a mini Oz museum and a stroll along the 44,000 bricks of the preserved Yellow Brick Road. Along the way, you'll again meet the Tin Man, Dorothy, Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow, Professor Marvel, Auntie Em, Uncle Henry, Glinda the Good Witch, the Wizard and The Wicked Witch of the West (with her Winkie guards and flying monkeys.)

Autumn at Oz has three sessions each day, at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. Tickets are $16.50 in advance and $20 at the event, if not sold out. (Total ticket sales will be limited for the first time.) Ages 2 and younger, free. Note: The property is not geared to large strollers, nor is it wheelchair-accessible.

Details/tickets: 800-468-5506; www.AutumnAtOz.com. Area info: www.beechmountainchamber.com.

ART OUTSIDE Hendersonville

Art on Main returns Oct. 3-4

The 51st annual Art on Main will be along downtown Hendersonville's historic Main Street, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 2-3. The outdoor arts festival features fine arts and fine crafts. Artists from throughout the Carolinas and Southeast will participate.

Details: 828-693-8504.

RAIL FUN Spencer

Day trips to Virginia, Asheville in October

The N.C. Transportation Museum Foundation is sponsoring a pair of day trips next month - to Roanoke, Va., on Oct. 30 (a Saturday), and to Asheville on Oct. 31. Both leave from and return to the museum in Spencer.

The "Virginia Autumn Special" departs at 7 a.m. and travels through High Point, Greensboro and Reidsville, then over Virginia's Dan and Roanoke rivers and through four tunnels to Roanoke, arriving at noon. The train departs Roanoke at 3 p.m. and arrives in Spencer at 8 p.m.

The "Blue Ridge Special" leaves Spencer at 7 a.m. and rolls through Statesville, Hickory, Morganton, Marion, Black Mountain and Swannanoa, arriving in Asheville at noon. It departs Asheville at 3 p.m. and arrives in Spencer at 8 p.m.

The fall trips have proven quite popular: Only coach seating is now available, at $145 per person. The seats are adjustable, feature wide windows and have convenient access to the commissary car. All cars have air conditioning, heat and rest rooms.

Details: 704-636-2889; www.nctrans.org.

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