Have you been…? You should go.
The addition of this page grew out of farm interview travels across the state. I’ve become a broken record, inevitably when people ask me about the farmers I talk to, I end up on a tangent about North Carolina cities and towns – all of these conversations start the same – “have you been? you should go.”
We have a rule in our family, I guess you could call it “when in Rome” – because, if possible, it is best to enjoy a meal shoulder-to-shoulder with the local farmer, banker, lawyer or shopkeeper – don’t get me started on our affinity for a first-class hardware store. I tell you this up front because these are the sorts of places I’ll share from my North Carolina home.
I’ll try not to repeat any visitor’s center website info when I give these run downs – if you wanted that you’d go there – you can get there from here if you’d like – I’ll leave you directions at the end.
*I recognize the town I’ve chosen to focus on in this post is a consummate list-maker. One of Smithsonian’s 20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2015, Forbes, In Pictures: America’s Prettiest Towns, Coastal Living, Dream Town, and most recently Our State Magazine cover girl with a photo essay – Edenton, Beauty By The Albemarle. All well-deserved accolades.
My “Have you been? You should go” goal is to share where-to-go’s and what-to-do’s from an insider viewpoint you can’t find anywhere else.
Have you been? You should go.
Edenton, North Carolina
Alright, let’s get the disclaimers out of the way. I married a Chowan County boy – these people are my people – friends and relatives. Sure you can go on and think I’m predisposed to bias, but my relation to the inhabitants of this locale in no way changes the fact that Edenton is North Carolina at her most superlative.
The 2015 Pilgrimage of Historic Homes was April 17th and 18th – this tour is held every other year – the holidays offer a Candlelight Christmas Tour make sure you take that in if you missed your turn on the Pilgrimage this go round – even if you did make it – head back to town – the Christmas tour will feature different historic homes, decorating ideas galore, carriage rides and the possibility of wassail!
In the weeks leading up to each of these tours, Edenton puts on her finest and invites you into her home. Should you find yourself in town on a random Tuesday it’s safe to say that you’ll still find her looking her best, and though the private homes may not be open, the historic buildings are and they offer vital North Carolina history lessons.
Why should you be interested?
Because Edenton is where North Carolina begins, founded November 6, 1712 – Edenton served as the first Colonial Capital. You know how you visit some places and they have replicas of history – not here – Edenton has protected, maintained and preserved the original and authentic.
As you make your way around downtown save time to leisurely take in the historic beauty of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church – the structure itself is the second oldest church building in North Carolina and the state’s only colonial church still in use.
One of the best windows into a place is a captured conversation with those that call it home. Badham Dixon has spent his summer preserving the oral history of Chowan County at Tell Me Something – he reveals the charm of Edenton’s people in a way that only someone of this place can – their stories are sure to lure you to town.
- Nothin’ Fancy Café & Market: 701C N. Broad St. – right across from the high school. Order whatever you want – but have some cornbread.
- 309 Bistro: 309 S. Broad Street – Great menu – cozy bar – fun atmosphere.
- Kristy’s Place: 321 S. Broad St. – Delish Philly cheese-steak, pizza, and fries – this place is always kind to my tendency to order like Sally – they’re good people.
- Downtown Cafe’ and Soda Shoppe: 301 S. Broad St. – The real deal – get the ‘grilled’ cheese (pro tip – they’re a hometown fave and they are smashed – not drenched in butter and grilled – just a heads up) and go on and have the milkshake and the cherry coke – you’ll dance it off later. FYI – if you ask a local they’re likely to call it Mitchener’s – I promise they’re talking about the same place.
- Edenton Coffee House: 302 S. Broad St – I have trouble here – I go in for coffee and leave with way more – if it’s hot out get a smoothie but save room for their baked goods and treats. Need to work? Take your laptop in with you – they don’t mind if you linger.
- Waterman’s Grill: 427 S. Broad St. – The entire menu is good but we always end up ordering the cashew tilapia. Definitely a local gathering spot – one night over Christmas we ran into so many people we could have just skipped all holiday party invites and called that our visit.
- Leon Nixon Catering: 749 Virginia Rd. – Check their site to make sure the buffet is open when you’re there – but if you want down home cooking this is your place.
- The Chicken Kitchen: 809 N. Broad St. – My boy would be highly disappointed in me if I didn’t mention The Chicken Kitchen – self-explanatory – get the chicken biscuit.
- Blount’s Mutual Drugs: 323 Broad St. – Always our last stop – because this is the corner drugstore and Jenny is family – drive home coke and candy bar sustenance … just what the doctor ordered before you hit the road.
Rambler…Barnstormer…Peddler of words…Strong believer that your favorite song says a lot about you.