Here’s the Egad! moment: I am going to just write down a rather lengthy list with some explanations and leave it at that. If I were forced to make a single suggestion it would be make a visit by yourself before taking the kids (or read the articles about the Bullhole more closely than I did) so you can make a mental checklist of what you want to do there, what “stuff” you feel you may need, and how long you will want to stay (set expectations). Having said that as we were leaving two large parties (6-10 people each) made their way down to the riverbank carrying coolers, blankets, life vests for the younger kids, and an array of chairs – they had obviously been there before and knew what to do and bring.
- “Are we there yet?” “Are we almost there?” “Five minutes later…”are we almost there?” No real lesson other than understanding the reason this question is asked is “because” and coming up with creative ways to answer it.
The Bullhole River Park
Idiots: some people are very thoughtless and deserve to sit in their own mess (my personal opinion). Broken glass bottles littered several areas and I was very thankful the boys’ shoes had fairly thick soles (mine not so much) otherwise this could have been a trip to the local urgent care. Lesson: Bring a garbage bag on all trips to help clean up the crap others leave behind and always wear shoes with soles that protect the feet
- Weather: weather forecast called for no rain…it rained. Lesson: prepare to accept the changing weather
- Solo visit: I’ve mentioned getting a lay of the land in Part 1 so no additional notes here
- Split Interest: keeping boys safe meant ensuring they both were close together. Lesson: let one choose where to start and have all go that way, then either ask other boys where to go next or let serendipity choose the next spot
- Swimming: some kids did go in the water but I did notice a younger one needed an assist to get out. Life vest was worn. Lesson: bring life vest or wait until the water level is lower (and therefore not flowing quite as fast)
- Fishing: not bringing them with us meant we would have to go back and fetch them. Lesson: one trip from car means bringing the fishing gear (aka everything) with us
- Water shoes: “Sticky” bottom shoes were not “sticky” enough to climb over water and algae covered rocks. Lesson: never assume, always test, and prepare for falls
- Clean-off: Bring wet wash cloths, dry towels, change of clothes and extra water to wash off sand, since no matter how good you may get the sand off before going back up the trail to the car, it remains. Lesson: have a jug of “washing” water in the car to rinse off (or discover a local water pump?)
- First aid kit: carry some non-stinging antiseptic and sanitizing solutions. Lesson: scrapes and bumps occur, be prepared.
- Nets: Dollar store net vs Fishing store net – one breaks if trying to dig in sand, the other doesn’t. Lesson: bring stronger nets or set expectations
- Rushing water (and Pa’s heart rate): there is a fascination with the sight and sound of rushing water. Both the gkids and I enjoyed just watching the chaos and listening to the roar as the water made its way between rocks, through crevices, and over slabs of boulders. Lesson: don’t be hypnotized and get too close to the slippery edge or better yet have the kids throw sticks in and ask them their observation of what happens to the sticks and how that might apply to them…
Hot Diggity Dogs and Ice Cream
- Small, very friendly, and customer-centric hole-in-the-wall restaurant that remained consistently busy while we were there. A few tables are inside and a couple outside.
- Menu includes a variety of items all written on a large chalkboard and the first thing you see when entering is the ice cream chest which give you a view of some yummy flavors to try
- Sweet tea not too sweet but my taste buds have been southernized so “sweet” and “not so sweet” are relativistic terms
Village Point Lake
- Bathrooms first! Lesson: when asking about bathroom stops, just stop and save some “where do we go” adventures
- Fishing: fish nibbles vs fish catching vs playing with worms vs rock throwing. Lesson: part of fishing is patience in-between catching fish; part of fishing is finding something else to do when the fish don’t bite (examples: skip rocks, look for turtles, find animal footprints)
- Dock fishing vs shore fishing: both are easy to do and accessible at this lake. Lesson: let the kids find the “fishing holes”
This time I’m going to let youdo some digging but for parental or grandparental units here’s a critical note: bathrooms were present at The Bullhole and Hot Diggity Dogs but not at Village Point Lake so plan accordingly 😉 . If the kids were to vote on these adventures, they would go back to all of them for different reasons (adventure/river/swimming/fishing, food/ice cream, and fishing/stone throwing, respectively).
The Bullhole River Park has been featured in on-line magazine reviews as a little known place to go to enjoy swimming, hiking, fishing, picnicking and just relaxing. You can read the following on-line articles to know more about it:
- Ourstate.com website ( https://www.ourstate.com/the-swimmin-hole-the-bullhole-north-carolina/and https://www.ourstate.com/the-swimming-hole-in-woodleaf/)
And if you want to go, here are the addresses:
- The Bullhole River Park, 645 Erwin Temple Church Road, Woodleaf, NC (https://www.visitnc.com/listing/dFcc/riverpark-at-cooleemee-falls)
- Hot Diggity Dogs and Ice Cream, 7786 US Hwy 801 S, Cooleemee, NC (Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/HotDigityDogs)
- Village Point Lake, 3210 Village Point Drive, Clemmons, NC (http://discoverclemmons.com/things-to-do/outdoor/fishing/)
Note: Internet URL links and domain come and go so if these no longer work, just search for them in your favorite browser.