A Walk in the Park

Ballantyne residents find beauty, serenity and fun in the corporate park

By Nan Bauroth | Photos by Raymond J Photography

When Linda Dyer and her husband, Joe, downsized in July 2019 from their house on 5 acres in Waxhaw to a townhome in Ivy Ridge at Ballantyne, they had no idea about the wealth of trails and green spaces tucked away in the corporate park right across the street. “We knew we could walk in our neighborhood, or up to Ballantyne Village or Harris Teeter across the road, but not in a big park so close to us,” Dyer says. Today she and her longtime friend Nancy McCombs, who lives in Raintree, explore the park several days a week together. They walk at a steady pace for an hour and a half.

When Linda Dyer and Nancy McCombs walk together, they start at Linda's home in Ivy Ridge and walk for more than an hour, passing through Cullman Park, two ponds, the bull statues at Our Park. Then they head back home to Ivy Ridge.

“Before we started walking, I had no idea what was back there,” admits McCombs. “I was amazed at all the green space. Our favorite thing about walking in the park is that it is so peaceful and natural. We feel like we can just wander.”

Over the months, Dyer and McCombs have created their favorite 3-4-mile path from the various trails. “I find it boring to walk alone,” McCombs says. “But with Linda, the time goes so fast because we are talking. Before we know it, we’re done.”

Dyer and McCombs met 20 years ago when both worked at the Morrison YMCA. Dyer, who had been a physical therapist and was looking for a fun job, instantly hit it off with McCombs when they were assigned to the front desk. The two have remained friends ever since.

Meeting Neighbors

When Dyer and McCombs started their walking routine last year, Dyer began bumping into people from Ivy Ridge, including her next-door neighbor Bill Price. He told her his goal was to walk a marathon a week in the park.

“I’ve gone from walking 4 to 5 miles a day to 6 or 7,” says Price. He cites the distance from their townhome to Sara’s YMCA — where he and his wife take Pilates and yoga classes and use the treadmill and elliptical machines — as two and a half miles.

His favorite route: Walk through Ballantyne Village, onto Ballantyne Commons Parkway, to Lancaster Highway, back down the Parkway again to Rushmore Drive, then up to Sara’s YMCA. “When we’re finished there, I walk over by the back of the park and see what they’re doing on the construction by 485, then cut through the Fit Trail, come up by CVS and back home. I do this seven days a week.”