Southern charm on the sound

At over 300 years old and still one of the prettiest towns in America, Edenton, N.C., may well have invented southern charm. The views across Edenton Bay and the Albemarle Sound, tree-lined streets, lovely waterfront parks and the many fine examples of Jacobean, Georgian, Federal, Greek Revival, and Victorian homes define southern elegance. It’s a town that drifts through time with grace.

Located in the Inner Banks region in northeastern North Carolina, Edenton is a popular destination for heritage tourism. She has stories to tell – about being the first permanent settlement in North Carolina; surviving the Revolutionary and Civil Wars; and her pioneering role in women’s political activism.

History lovers will be fully engaged as they retrace the steps of the past. The Cupola House, recognized as a National Historic Landmark, stands on the waterfront where it was built by Francis Corbin in 1758. Also on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places is the Chowan County Courthouse built in 1767.

Considered by many as Edenton’s living room, the Barker House, home of Penelope Barker, is a landmark in Women’s History. Barker is known as the organizer of the first political action by women in the British American colonies, the Edenton Tea Party, which, to the shock of the Crown, boycotted English tea.

The Edenton Cotton Mill Historic District, consists of 57 mill houses built between 1899 and 1923, a brick office building, an impressive industrial building (1900), and the First Christian Church (1916). The former Edenton Cotton Mill office building is now the site of the Edenton Cotton Mill Museum of History, open every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

See these and many other places of historic interest by taking the Historic Trolley Tour. Visitors will also want to walk along the Cannon’s Ferry Heritage River Walk at the J. Robert Hendrix Park.

Moved from the mouth of the Roanoke River, the 1886 Roanoke River Lighthouse now calls Edenton home. The lighthouse was in use from 1887 to 1941 and is the last remaining example of the screw-pile design. It is open for tours.

There is no shortage of outdoor recreation in and around Edenton, the Albemarle Sound and the local rivers. Sailing and motor-boating, fishing and camping are popular here and, with numerous paddling trails, it’s easy to find the right spot to ease into your kayak or canoe. The Edenton Town Harbor caters to boating visitors with newly-constructed breakwater, boat slips with electric hookup and a restroom and shower facility. Take time for a relaxing bay cruise with Edenton Bay Cruises.

Learn all about the fishing industry with a visit to Nixon’s Fishery and take home some of the freshest seafood around.

Throughout town there is an array of unique and specialty shops to entice, and to excite the tastebuds, there is a good mix of casual fine dining, family restaurants and cafes. Come hungry to Waterman’s Grill, located in one of Edenton’s historic buildings, and classic American cuisine at 309 Bistro.

For a special visit, unpack your bags at one of the two Southern Victorian mansions, the charming Pack House barn, or the Carolina Cottage at the Inner Banks Inn. Complete your romantic getaway with dinner at the Inn’s on-site restaurant, The Table Restaurant, and the Inn’s Sunday brunch.

Upcoming events:

Christmas Extravaganza and Flotilla, South Broad Street at the monument, Fri. Skating 4 - 9 p.m./Tree Lighting & Flotilla 5:30 p.m./Sat - Skating 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., Friday, December 4 -5, 2015: Kick off the joyous holiday season with an annual event in Historic Downtown Edenton to include for the first time, an artificial ice skating rink. For more information call (252) 333-0655 or visit

34th Annual Christmas Candlelight Tour, Penelope Barker House, 4-8 p.m., December 11 – 12: Enjoy a Colonial Christmas with natural decorations in beautiful private homes. $25 in advance/$30 days of - Groups of 10 or more $20 per person. For more information call (252)482-7800 or visit

Holiday Tours of Historic Edenton, Tuesdays - Saturdays 9 a.m.-5 p.m., December 1 – 30: Enjoy festive holiday tours of Historic Edenton and learn about traditions and Christmases pasts. Visit the 1886 Roanoke River Lighthouse along the waterfront of Edenton Bay and experience the keeper’s solemn Christmas; tour the 1800 James Iredell and 1758 Cupola Houses along with the historic 1767 Chowan County Courthouse. Admissions: $3.50 per house or $10 for a complete tour. For more information call (252) 482-2637 or visit

Harriet Jacobs Walking Tours, Historic Edenton State Historic Site, Tuesday – Saturday, 3 p.m., February 2 – 27: Hear the amazing tale of Harriet Jacobs, a woman born into slavery in Edenton, who escaped to become a well-known abolitionist and author. $5 for adults, $2.50 for youth, children under 12 free. For more information call (252) 482-2637 or visit .

Upcoming events