Edenton, a Town Alive with 300 Years of History

Edenton, a Town Alive with 300 Years of History

Barker House in Edenton

Edenton was North Carolina’s first colonial capital until 1743. Enriched with 300 years of history, the town’s dedication to preserving its fine collection of Jacobean, Georgian, Federal, Greek Revival and Victorian homes has earned it a spot on the National Trust’s list of Dozen Distinctive Destinations and the designation of one of “America’s Prettiest Small Towns."

You can enjoy guided walking and trolley tours from the Historic Edenton State Historic Site Visitor Center. Visit attractions that include three national landmarks — the Cupola House, Chowan County Courthouse and Hayes Plantation. Enjoy an active downtown district filled with shops and restaurants. Even rent a kayak or canoe at the waterfront park.

The Cupola House was built in 1758 for John Carteret, Earl of Granville and one of the last famous 17th Century Lords Proprietors to acquire vast territories south of Virginia from King Charles II. The home features a Chinese Chippendale staircase and a central cupola long used as a lookout to identify ships entering the harbor.

Chowan County Courthouse, built in 1767, is thought to be the oldest courthouse in continuous use in North Carolina. Joseph Hewes, signer of the Declaration of Independence, was one of the commissioners appointed to raise money for its construction.

Historic Hayes Plantation is located across Queen Anne’s Creek from Edenton. It belonged to Samuel Johnston, who served as governor of North Carolina from 1787 to 1789.

Barker House
Penelope Barker was the organizer of the 1774 Edenton Tea Party, convincing 50 women to sign a pledge against buying and serving tea. Their action is thought to be the earliest purely political action by women in the American colonies.

Roanoke River Lighthouse
This restored lighthouse, located over Edenton Bay, started life in 1886 as a warning signal at the mouth of the Roanoke River. It was moved to Edenton in 1955 and placed on land at Filbert’s Creek to take on a new life as a light keeper’s residence interpretive site.

Chowan Arts Council and Gallery
Opened the year America celebrated its 200th birthday, this vibrant community arts center welcomes visitors to rotating exhibits, receptions and events.

The Edenton National Fish Hatchery
The 63-acre hatchery, established in 1898, is one of the oldest operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It’s a noted site on both the North Carolina Birding Trail and Charles Kuralt Trail.

Edenton Cotton Mill Historic District
This intact, well-preserved mill village, with a mill, office, about 70 houses and out buildings, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Places to eat

  • Waterman’s Grill: casual dining, serving everything from seafood to burgers
  • 309 Bistro: American Cuisine, casual, fine dining serving
  • Nothin’ Fancy Café and Market: made from scratch Southern cooking
  • Kristy’s Place: pizza, pasta, seafood, burgers and more
  • Downtown Café and Soda Shoppe: sandwiches, salads, sundaes, floats and shakes
  • Edenton Coffee House: coffee bar, bakery, sandwiches and music on Friday nights

Places to stay

  • Captain’s Quarters Inn (1907): located in the Historic District
  • Granville Queen Inn (1907): located in the Historic District
  • Pack House Inn: a former tobacco packing house, converted c.1915
  • Hampton Inn
  • Mulberry Hill Inn: a newly renovated 1791 home on the golf course at Mulberry Hill Plantation
  • The Parsonage Inn

For more things to see and do in the area, go to VisitEdenton.com.

Malia Kline

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