A charming little town (population: 5,000) on the north shore of Albemarle Sound, just west of the Intracoastal Waterway (and the Great Dismal Swamp Canal), Edenton, North Carolina, is often overlooked by cruisers heading north or south. That’s a shame. Edenton is picturesque with a lovely waterfront area and gracious Georgian homes dating back centuries. Forbes.com once called Edenton “one of America’s prettiest towns.” And this year Edenton is celebrating its 350th anniversary, with a year-long series of festivals and special events.
Edenton actually traces its history back to 1658, when explorers from the Jamestown Colony found its natural harbor. The Edenton Colony became the first European settlement in what is now North Carolina; it later became the second capital of the state. The town prospered through a seagoing merchant trade before the Revolution, and it gained colonial fame when a group of 51 women formed the Edenton Tea Party, just after the Boston Tea Party, resolving to boycott English tea and cloth. Fortunately, the town escaped any damage during the Civil War, so the historic homes and buildings (the Courthouse dates to 1767) are still standing.
Today, Edenton welcomes cruising boats, providing free dockage for two nights at the Colonial Park Dock, within easy walking distance of the restaurants, art galleries and boutiques in the downtown historic area. And Edenton Marina, on Pembroke Creek, is a modern, full-service marina with all the amenities. Read more: