Whether you have been to Elizabeth City before or have not yet visited, we’ve selected five experiences that will soon be available as well as some hidden gems for you to discover.
1. New perspective on the Pasquotank River
You may have been to our Waterfront Park to watch a magnificent sunrise or to simply gaze out over the expansive harbor. Starting in April, visitors and residents alike will have a new way to experience the Pasquotank River as The Pelican Marina will begin renting kayaks and paddle boards and will offer private sailing lessons. The Pasquotank River Paddling Trail offers 21 miles of scenic waterways where you might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of an osprey with its catch. Be sure to explore Sawyers Creek Trail, a tributary of the Pasquotank River, that provides an opportunity to view a variety of native flora and fauna. Both trails are easy to navigate as far as difficulty is concerned and are good for beginners. Call The Pelican Marina at (252) 335-5108 for more details.
This is what Instagrammer @tomhamiltonphotography had to say about his most recent visit to our boardwalk parks, “Fed by the Great Dismal Swamp, the Pasquotank River is lined with numerous beautiful Bald Cypresses. I captured this image on a gray rainy December Day, perfect for even lighting and creating a ‘blurred’ reflection in the water. The #Pasquotank is one of the best kept secrets of Eastern NC. Your boardwalk parks are gorgeous and whenever I am in SE VA or the OBX I drive over an hour out of my way to photograph from them. #hiddengems”
2. Investigate our “hooch” history
This area is famous for our moonshine and hooch history. Many a bootlegger viewed the Dismal Swamp as the ideal place to hide illegal stills during the Prohibition era. What you might not be aware of are the different places you can go and see this history prominently on display. Visit the replica still along the Canal road, about a half mile from the Dismal Swamp Visitors Center, and the remains of real stills along the Supple-jack Trail. At Museum of the Albemarle, the Our Story exhibit features a replica still made by the local bootlegger legend, Alvin Sawyer, and other moonshining equipment. Stop by Page After Page Bookstore and purchase a copy of North Carolina Moonshine: An Illicit History by Barbara Nichols Mulder and Frank Stephenson Jr. which shares local stories about the Prohibition years.
3. Alligators, trees and birds. Oh my!
Elizabeth City is near Merchants Millpond State Park, which lives up to its nickname “Enchanted Forest.” Did you know the park often offers free guided canoe and kayak tours for up to 10 boats, which are provided? Come glide across the pond and get a closer look at the wildlife and vegetation that call this state park home. The next tour date is Sunday, March 12 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and while the tour is free, you will need to preregister for the event. For more information call (252) 357-1191.
4. Life is better on a farm
Northeastern North Carolina has a rich agricultural heritage. Experience this heritage first hand at our area farms where you can become friends with alpacas and pick strawberries while savoring creamy homemade ice cream. Alpaca Lotta Fun Farm, located within 20 minutes of Elizabeth City, is a family-owned farm and these folks truly make you feel right at home! For $5 a person, you get a one-hour tour of the farm, one bag of feed, and the opportunity to hang out with amazing animals and enjoy their unique personalities. Give the farm a call at (858) 444-6036 to schedule a visit which is by appointment only.
As the weather turns warmer, strawberries will soon be in season during mid-April or early May, depending on Mother Nature’s mood. The Williams Strawberry Farm offers visitors a chance to pick their own berries and while you’re there, be sure to indulge in their delectable homemade ice cream. For more information, please call the Williams Strawberry Farm at 252-771-5252.
5. Upcoming Birthday Bashes
Know who is fabulous and turning 50 this year? Museum of the Albemarle, that’s who! In May, the museum will open a new exhibit that will show visitors how it has evolved over the past half-century and hold a gala to celebrate its birthday. Don’t forget to check out the two newest exhibits: the WWI exhibit, Tar Heels in the Trenches: The Albemarle and the Great War and the photography exhibit, Distant Echoes, which chronicles the lives of black farmers.
And next year, we will celebrate the 350th birthday of the Albemarle Region when the Lords Proprietors of Carolina laid out the Albemarle area, with Pasquotank County right in its center. There will be special celebrations and traveling exhibits throughout the region during all of 2018.
While you are visiting the area, stop in at one of our independently owned restaurants like Sidney’s Bistro & Café, which features an eclectic menu, and is located within the historic 1920s Virginia Dare Building. Tip: Sidney’s atrium seating area is dog-friendly and they serve a scrumptious Sunday brunch. For more great eatery options, please visit our website dining guide.
As you are discovering our stories and learning about our history, we want you to share your own stories and adventures with us by using the hashtag #DiscoverECity. Happy travels!
Christina Rehklau, Director of the CVB, left the corporate world about five years ago to persuade others to take more vacation time by working in tourism. Christina is a recent northern transplant from Ohio, so she’s still working on her Carolinian accent. To her, every day in the Albemarle region presents a new adventure and something to be explored. Follow her explorations of the area on Twitter at @CLRehklau or Instagram at @crehklau.