Three Hours in the Triangle: Durant Nature Preserve and J. Betski’s

April 4, 2014

woodpecker Triangle Land Conservancy

10 a.m. Arrive at Durant Nature Park, 8305 Camp Durant Road, Raleigh. Featuring 5 miles of walking trails in its 237 acres, plus a playground, fishing lake, and Bird and Butterfly Gardens, the park truly has something for everyone.

10:15 a.m. After taking a few minutes to explore the Butterfly Garden, head down the Lake Access Road in order to reach the Lower Lake itself. If you want to try your hand at fishing, but don’t have the equipment, you can stop in at the office and register for the Tackle Loaner Program! They do not provide bait however, so it still does require some advanced planning.

Once you are at the lakeshore, continue along the Campsite Access Trail and then onto the North Lakeside Trail, both of which border the water. Osprey can be seen soaring overhead, searching for fish in the waters below. Spring is a great time to look for migrating waterfowl on the lake as well, and sightings could include the beautiful and colorful Wood Ducks.

10:45 a.m. When the North Lakeside Trail ends, skirt the edge of the Upper Lake until you reach the Beaver Pond Trail. Keep your eyes and ears out for woodpeckers in this area, including the uncommon Red-headed Woodpecker, the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, and the Red-bellied Woodpecker.

11:00 a.m.  The Beaver Pond Trail connects with the Border Trail, which the North Carolina Birding Trail calls “a good choice for birding during spring and summer, and is the most productive route for morning visits.” It’s also a good trail to look for flowers and ferns, especially in the spring. Be careful, the Border Trail goes two directions here, and unless you want a much longer walk (which you might!), head east back towards the Visitor’s Center.

11:45 a.m. Once you reach the end of the Border Trail, you will be back at the end of Lower Lake and near the parking area once more. Hop in the car and head to J. Betski’s, 10 W Franklin St. #120, Raleigh. This unique restaurant offers food and beverages characteristic of Central and Eastern Europe, emphasizing the owner, John F. Korzekwinski’s, heritage.

Try their Potato and Cheese Pierogies ($5), their Roasted Beet Salad with Horseradish Quark and Toasted Pumpkinseed Oil ($6), or a delicious Pork Schnitzel Sandwich with Caper Aioli ($8.50).

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