As part of my dietetics program at UNC I am also completing the required dietetic internship. This internship requires 1200 hours of supervised practice and is required to sit for the dietetic exam. The way the UNC program does this is by sending its students all over the state of North Carolina in the summers to complete these hours. I was randomly placed in Elizabeth City and utilized the North Carolina AHEC subsidized housing. Although I worked in Elizabeth City, I commuted there from Edenton. During my six weeks in coastal Carolina I tried to learn more about the area as well as support some of the local businesses. Here are some of the things to do in this historic North Carolina town. I will note that unlike some of my other posts, this is just a list of things I did. I did not go out to eat in Edenton as I did quite often in Elizabeth City and I couldn’t afford to eat out all the time. I would suggest asking one of the locals you encounter for some of their favorite spots to eat for the best recommendations.
After six weeks here I am by no means an Edenton expert. If you would like to learn more about this town you can find information on the Visit Edenton website. One thing to note is that many of the shops in downtown Edenton do not open on Sundays. This was something I was not used to and caught me off guard a few times, but I do appreciate that shop owners take some time off as well as give their employees a day off.
One of the coolest things in my opinion about Edenton is their desire to host guests and travelers. The people of the town have put a lot of thought and effort into how to make this a fun and accessible getaway. In the town they like to advertise that there are no parking meters anywhere, and that when a state grant provided an electric car charger they sent it back to have the payment feature taken off the machine. In the harbor you can also park your boat for free for at least a few days with a prior reservation. This community totally loves their community, but also shows love to the people that visit and I think that is something you don’t always find.
Edenton Bay Cruises
Edenton Bay Cruises is run by a husband and wife duo who moved down to the south for retirement. They own a nice six seater boat called the Liber-tea. They offer the bay cruises multiple days a week and launch a few times a day as well. The cruise is about 45 minutes and doesn’t go far from the land. I was just so excited because I had been landlocked in Chapel Hill and would do just about anything to get onto the water.
The cruise costs $18 for adults, but they do offer some discounts. Due to the limited seats, the boat fills up fast so do get to the harbor and secure your time early. Cash and check are the only two forms of payment accepted, which caused this millennial some issues. Thankfully I was able to get some cash out of my account so that I could experience this unique tour.
On the tour Captain Mark goes into some of the history of Edenton. Although he has not lived in Edenton his whole life, he has learned a ton and is able to answer any questions. The best part is that he enjoys telling stories. Some of the information he discusses is similar to what you learn on the Trolley Tour, but his storytelling is worth hearing it all over again. I thoroughly enjoyed my time on the Liber-Tea and suggest you give it a try during your stay in Edenton.
Edenton Coffee House
In downtown Edenton there are many small locally owned shops that are nice to visit. On one of my weekends I was able to visit some of the shops and get a coffee from Edenton Coffee House. As far as I am aware, they are the only locally owned coffee shop in town. They have a fun space with lots of tables both inside and out. The space itself was also pretty large and the decor was quirky and fun. And they did have some merchandise and fun mugs for purchase as well if you are looking for some souvenirs.
The menu had many different coffee and tea drinks, including frozen drinks. They did offer some small food items and pastries, but I did not get any as none seemed to be gluten-free. I ordered my usual iced mocha with almond milk. The drink was nice and extra chocolatey. I could not taste the coffee as much as I’d like, but I still enjoyed it. As far as price it was pretty comparable to other coffee shops. Overall I enjoyed visiting the coffee shop and wished I had more time to sit and sip my coffee in the shop.
The Edenton Steamers is a summer baseball league hosted in Edenton. It is made of college baseball players whose season ended and they join a league to get more playing time. The Edenton Steamers plays at Historic Hicks Field in downtown Edenton and pulled a decent crowd. On one of the weekends many of my friends were out of town, I went and enjoyed a Friday night baseball game. I enjoy watching baseball but haven’t had the chance to in the last few years. It was nice to get to watch a game and support these kids in their athletic journey.
The game itself was ticketed, but parking was free. Once you get through the gate you can chose to sit wherever you would like. At first I started on the third base side, but I was a bit early and wanted to check out all the concession offerings. I ended up finding a seat on the first base side where I watched most of the game. As far as food goes, there are a few different stands and food trucks selling foods you would expect to see at a sporting event. They were selling hot dogs, popcorn, sodas, candy, and more. I made sure to eat before I went to the game so I did not eat at the park. I did buy a couple of adult beverages though. One of the local bars has a spot within the concession stands and they sell beer and seltzers.
Overall the game was really fun. They did the games between innings for kids and everyone was just excited. It seems like the town enjoys that they have this team here in the summer. Many of the townspeople were sporting their Edenton Steamers gear like they were a major league team. If you enjoy sports and baseball and see an Edenton Steamers sign out, I would suggest going and supporting the team.
Edenton Historic Trolley Tour
One of the first things I did in Edenton was the Historic Trolley Tour. The Historic Trolley Tour starts at the Penelope Barker House Welcome Center and goes through the streets of Historic Edenton. On this one hour tour you will see restored historic houses and learn the history from the locals. Most of the houses on the tour have been restored to their original beauty and grandeur. The driver and guide we had on our tour were wonderful and seemed to have fun teaching the guests about the place they call home.
Tickets for the tour can be purchases inside the Penelope Barker Welcome Center. Ticket prices vary and group rates are available. The trolley itself is not air conditioned, so I would suggest going at the earliest time possible if you are visiting in the summer. With that being said, I do believe this is a must on the Edenton To Do List when you visit. I do not imagine you will be disappointed.
Penelope Barker House Welcome Center
The Penelope Barker House was once owned by the one and only Penelope Barker. Penelope Barker was the first woman to take political action and is said to have led the Edenton Tea Party. The Edenton Tea Party was similar to the Boston Tea Party, but it differed in that it was started by the women of Edenton. The Penelope Barker House is now used as the Edenton Welcome Center and museum. Although it seems like the exhibits rotate, the museum exhibit I experienced was all about women over the years. One of the rooms had a display of different clothing items over the years including a 1920s flapper. It felt fitting that in the Penelope Barker house they were honoring the women of Edenton.
The Penelope Barker House does have at least one staff person working at all times. They gave me some great recommendations for things to do and places to visit during my stay in Edenton. There is also a gift shop in the house with postcards, local candies, ornaments and other knick knacks you may want to take home with you. Overall I do believe this is an important place to visit while in Edenton and honestly would say to do it first. Like I said, the staff have so much knowledge and can help you decide what activities will work best for you and your travel group.
Native Girl Kayaking
One of the things I knew I wanted to do when I found out I was going to be surrounded by water was to get onto the water. I personally have an inflatable paddle board and I did have good intentions to put it in and give it a go. But to be honest, I was a little scared doing it on my own in a body of water I had never been in before. So, I thought I would find someone who could teach me a bit more about the best places to go and paddle. This led me to finding Native Girl Kayaking. At Native Girl Kayaking they offer kayaking tours and kayak rentals in the Albemarle region. I went ahead and scheduled to go on a tour to get on the water and learn more about the water system.
The day before our tour, the weather was looking iffy. I was contacted and told that our tour was going to be moved up an hour to 8 am and asked if I still wanted to join. The other options were to get a refund, or reschedule. I chose to stick it out and see how it went. And it went great! Due to the weather there were multiple cancellations and our group was rather small, but I think that made it more fun. We met at a designated place and we toured a creek that went all the way out and into the sound. In our group we had people of all kayaking levels, me being maybe somewhere in the middle. On our trip we saw a lot of wildlife including some baby river otter. Along the way our guides Cassandra and a man, who at this time I’ve forgotten his name, told us some of the history of the area as well as information about the wildlife. I do remember, although not necessarily helpful if you can’t look him up, the male guide runs fishing charters and he really enjoyed doing that.
I was able to get some great recommendations about places to put my paddle board in, but then I made some friends in Elizabeth City and did not get a chance to do that. Either way, Cassandra from Native Girl Kayaking is a great resource and knows a bunch about the waterways in this area. I am so glad I went ahead and spent the money to do the guided tour with them. It was a great experience and something I would suggest if you enjoy getting on the water and moving your body in a fun way.
Roanoke River Lighthouse
I do not have too much to say about the Roanoke River Lighthouse as I only saw it, and did not do the tour. Due to COVID, the lighthouse is not open all the time and I had already done many of the tours. On the tours I did they talked about the lighthouse, where it was originally and how it got to where it is today. They supposedly have the inside outfitted to look like it would if the light keeper was living in it. Even if you don’t get a chance to go in, I’m sure you will get a glimpse of it while visiting Edenton. The lighthouse is currently located in Edenton Harbor. If you do the trolley tour, or visit the Penelope Barker House it would be hard to miss this landmark.
All in all I had a great time staying in and visiting Edenton. It is a small southern town with a lot of history. Many of the community members living in this area are transplant retirees who wanted to live in the warmer weather. Because of that, this place embodies the slow lifestyle. Nothing seems too pressing, Sundays are for family time and everyone waves hello as you walk by. There may not be too many tourist attractions, but there are plenty to keep you entertained for a few days. This is a great option for getting out of the big city and avoiding the tourists that come along with the Outer Banks. The Inner Banks still has access to water and there are a lot of perks to staying in and visiting Edenton and the other towns of the Inner Banks.