Three Hours in the Triangle: Sandy Creek Park and Nosh

March 7, 2014

triangle land conservancy great blue heron

10 a.m. Arrive at Sandy Creek Park, 3510 Sandy Creek Drive, Durham, NC. Its 102 acre boundaries include vestiges of an old sewer treatment plant, but also a lovely, small lake, beautiful forest, and of course, the gurgling Sandy Creek itself.

10: 15 a.m. Follow the edge of the field and embark on the wooded trail. Look for sunning turtles and fishing great blue herons from the bird blind deck jutting out into the still waters of the lake. Pay special attention to the trees above for red-bellied woodpeckers, downy woodpeckers, yellow-bellied sapsuckers, and white-breasted nuthatches. The park is frequently visited by red-shouldered hawks, whose calls reverberate through the trees.

The wooded trail opens up onto a path through an old and very straight clearing. Dotted with cement structures from the abandoned sewage plant, the grassy trail meets the paved and handicap accessible Sandy Creek Trail that borders the water.

10:45 a.m. Take a few moments to enjoy the clear creek. From the banks, visitors can hear the spring chirping of spring peepers, southern leopard frogs, and chorus frogs coming from the damp ground. Carolina chickadees and yellow-rumped warblers feed along its banks, and aquatic creatures create curving paths in the sand beneath the water.

11:15 a.m. Follow the Sandy Creek Trail between the creek and the small lake, towards the parking area. Take a rest on one of the commemorative benches sitting in the sun along the trail, or take a side path into a neighboring field that features more amphibian species as well as turkey vultures gliding on the winds above.

11:45 a.m. Hop back into the car and drive five minutes to Nosh, a local favorite found at 2812 Erwin Road, Suite 101, Durham. Nosh strives to provide “eclectic comfort cuisine with a welcoming, energetic environment,” and serves breakfast until 3 p.m.

Try Mike’s Breakfast Pizza complete with bacon, cheddar, hard-boiled egg, tomato, NOSH sauce and parmesan ($7.59), or sample the lunch menu with Wendlyn’s Portobello, which includes a grilled and lightly breaded Portobello mushroom with NOSH vinaigrette, Swiss cheese, caramelized onions, tomato and mayo on an old fashioned bun ($8.29).

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