When we are not traveling our home base is in Garner, NC, a suburb of Raleigh. It is very green here. Raleigh is known as the “City of Oaks” for all the beautiful trees. There are many city, county, and state parks nearby. Falls Lake State Recreation Area is a short drive north of town and Jordan Lake State Recreation is a few miles west of town. The Capital Area Greenway system is over one hundred miles long and connects to the state-wide Mountains-to-Sea trail. The Triangle area is a 3-hour drive to two National Park areas: The Blue Ridge Parkway to the west and Cape Hatteras and Cape Lookout National Seashores to the east. The Mountains-to-Sea Trail is 1175 miles long and connects the parks. In short, there is plenty to do if you love the outdoors.
Summer in the Triangle area can be very warm. This summer has been no exception (maybe even a record?). How do you enjoy all the outdoorsy activities the Triangle has to offer when the heat index is 100? Two words: GO EARLY! We had a plan to do just that: hike a portion of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail at Falls Lake then enjoy the beautiful vineyards of ZincHouse Winery and Brewery in Durham, NC (the trailhead is only 1 mile from the entrance to ZincHouse – very convenient).
The plan almost worked. Go hike early, have brunch at the Falls Lake picnic area, and go to ZincHouse at noon (before the temperature soars). Perfect right? Almost worked for us – except we had to split it into two days because of scheduling conflicts. No worries – we still managed to enjoy both.
Falls Lake State Recreation Area and the Mountains-to-Sea Trail
The Mountains-to-Sea Trail follows along the border of Falls Lake for miles. We did the section just off Highway 98. We started early and did not see anyone else around. The trail was nicely shaded, well-marked, and well-maintained.
We soon realized that being the first on the trail that morning wasn’t ideal. So many spiders had been busy the night before setting their webs across the trail!
David quickly picked up a spider wand and cleared the way! No spiders were injured – only displaced.
As we hiked along, the trail eventually opened up with peeks at the lake.
We took a sharp left at Boyce Mills Road to enjoy the lake views.
The day was beginning to heat up so we made our way back to the parking area.
A nice hike – minus the spiders 🥴.
ZincHouse Winery and Brewery – Durham NC
We arrived at ZincHouse just before noon to avoid the crowds and heat. What a beautiful place! We felt like we were in the mountains – it had that feel.
We strolled along the pond and enjoyed seeing the ducks nestled in the vineyard.
The views were incredible in every direction.
We made our way up the hill to the Pavillion area and took plenty of pictures.
Next, we made our way into the large winery/brewery – three levels with tons of outdoor seating.
The craft brews were very refreshing as we took in the view from the third level.
We took a quick stroll down the food truck lane before calling it a day.
We will return…often.