Edenton, North Carolina, a Certified Retirement Community, is recognized as “one of America’s prettiest towns” by Forbes.com and a visit quickly illustrates why. The first Colonial capital of North Carolina, Edenton recently celebrated its 300th anniversary. The preservation of the town makes it literally a walking trail of American history but offers so much more.
Life in Edenton is, and has always been, centered on the waterfront with Edenton Harbor, Colonial Park and the thriving business district, all within walking distance. Located at the end of Broad Street on the water, the Penelope Barker House Welcome Center welcomes residents and visitors from all over the world daily from 10am-4pm. The Welcome Center is housed in the post-Colonial home of Penelope Barker, the leader of the first organized political protest by women in the United States. From here, hop aboard the Edenton Trolley for a guided tour of the town.
The Welcome Center overlooks Colonial Park and Edenton Harbor. It is where the entire town gathers to celebrate and play. The latest addition to the waterfront, the 1886 Roanoke River Lighthouse, has been completely restored and is now open for tours seven days a week. Colonial Park and Edenton Harbor offer a variety of other activities including a park for children, kayak and canoe rentals, boat slips, and a boat tour of Edenton Bay aboard the Liber-Tea. For those looking for a bit of adventure, take a kayak or canoe to visit one of the rarest sites left in the nation … 1,000-year-old cypress trees protected by a historic millpond.
The waterfront location makes boating and water recreation a lifestyle for many and the access to the Albemarle Sound makes Edenton a sailor’s paradise. In his book, Cruising Guide to Coastal North Carolina, the late Claiborne S. Young says that Edenton is “one of North Carolina's loveliest communities, offering boaters excellent facilities.”
The downtown business district, just steps away from the waterfront, offers a variety of shops, restaurants, and downtown living. There is no need to move the car since the district is easily walkable. In fact, the entire historic district is graced with wide sidewalks and tree-lined streets, so many residents walk or ride bikes – there are even a few golf carts!
The historic district encompasses a large portion of the town and historic buildings and homes are scattered throughout. Belinda and Patrick Flynn (he from the DC area; she from Raleigh) are owners of Edenton Coffee House, located in the heart of historic downtown Edenton. Folks meet there for breakfast, lunch and snacks, and often enjoy live music on Friday nights as well. It’s a symbol of small-town charm that attracts folks from all over.
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