Last Sunday I decided to do one of my favorite things, take a road trip! My destination has been referred to as “one of America’s prettiest towns” and “dream town” by Forbes and Coastal Living Magazine. Today I was on a mission to see if the little town of Edenton, North Carolina lived up to it’s reputation. Edenton is a waterside community located on the “inner bank” of the Albemarle Sound with a population of approximately 5,000 people. I had done a little research before leaving home and at the top of my list of things to see was the restored 1886 Roanoke River Lighthouse. Below is an image of what it looked like before restoration. This little “dollhouse” of a lighthouse was originally located in the Albemarle Sound where it marked the entrance to the Roanoke River from 1887 until 1941.
After enjoying the historical waterfront a while longer, I decided to walk over to the area where the quaint little shops and cafés were located to see if I could find a great place to have lunch. Unfortunately all of the cafés were closed on Sunday with the exception of one that didn’t really appeal to me all that much so I decided to mosey on. Before leaving the area however I made a note to self to be sure and check out the Edenton Coffee House and the Garden of Readin’ Book Store on my next visit.
As I drove along the streets of the lovely neighborhoods, I discovered beautiful historical mansions; many of them for sale with pretty hefty price tags of course, several inns and bed-and- breakfasts. I was fascinated by the garden gates, arbors and verandas that I found along the way. There was one particular area that I stumbled upon called the Edenton Mill Village that I especially liked. For over 100 years, Edenton was home to an active cotton mill complete with 57 adjacent mill houses where the bosses and workers lived. When the old mill closed in 1995, the owner donated all of the property to an organization called Preservation North Carolina. The old mill has since been converted into luxury condominiums and the 57 mill houses have been refurbished and sold. This neighborhood concept reminded me of the Musicians’ Village in New Orleans which was built by Habitat for Humanity after Hurricane Katrina to encourage the musicians to remain in the area.
The last stop on my journey before heading home was Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church, the second oldest church building in North Carolina. It was very peaceful and quiet there on this Sunday afternoon and I spent a lot of time just wandering around looking at the old gravesites and the moss covered garden statues. The gigantic above ground roots of the old magnolia trees were pretty fasinating also. I can only imagine how beautiful Edenton must be in the springtime!
So did this little waterside community live up to it’s reputation of being “one of America’s prettiest towns”? As I drove towards US Highway 17 reflecting on my day, I would have to say that I agree.