New Year's Day

Glen Van Etten's family makes a wish each New Years Day prior to releasing balloons.
Glen Van Etten / Flickr/Creative Commons

My fire pit is standing by, waiting for its annual New Year's Eve workout.

During the day final day of the calendar year, we clean the yard and place pretty much every branch we find into the fire pit. My 13-year-old son takes great pleasure in crinkling up old homework assignments for kindling.

We light the blaze at dusk. As the fire gets going, we jot down sentiments on a piece of paper; we include things that bother us, or that we want to let go of.

State park in Hillsborough overlooking the Eno River, forest, trees
Laura Candler

North Carolina's state parks will offer free hikes on New Year's Day, along with educational opportunities for children and adults alike. More than 40 outings are scheduled, rain or shine, as a healthy way to ring in the new year. Some hikes will be only a couple of miles, while others will run as long as 5 miles.

It's the third year the state parks system has offered free First Day Hikes. Park officials expect thousands to attend across the state.