As boasts go, the people of Edenton, North Carolina have a good reason to claim their town is the prettiest small town in the south. Church bells pealing through quiet streets do little to disturb the sense of order created by stately or pastel-colored Federal, Victorian, Greek Revival, Georgian, and Jacobean style homes, neatly trimmed yards, and waterfront parks. With the grand architecture and rocking chairs idly waiting on long front porches, the historic district, situated on picturesque Edenton Bay, is so idyllic, so decidedly charming, visitors are tempted to quit their jobs and relocate just to get a slice of an era gone by.
I'm serious. Walgreens must film their "Perfect" commercials there.
For those of you who knew Edenton existed, did you know the original residents were the Algonquian speaking Chowanac and Weapemeoc (don't ask me to pronounce that) Indians? That it was the first permanent European colony settled (not counting the lost colony of Roanoke)? That it was the first colonial capital of North Carolina? That famous residents include signers of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution? That it was first called "The Towne of Queen Anne's Creek"? We didn't until we watched a 15-minute video at the Visitors Center where we loaded up on brochures. After we left, we drove to the waterfront and checked out what sites we could in the pouring rain. Fortunately, the majority of the neat stuff is in a three-block radius, and we found the waterfront, the Barker House, and the Cupola House before the rain forced us to leave.
We missed much, but we intend to return to take the walking and trolley tours, which will give us greater insight into the history and architecture of Edenton and provide additional exploration ideas. And with the proximity to the Dismal Swamp, the Albemarle-Pamlico peninsula with their pocosin lakes and state parks, and the hour and a half drive to Roanoke Island and the Outer Banks, Edenton is a perfect place to headquarter while visiting those attractions. As an added bonus (for us, not the people of Edenton) we're told low-season is very low in that city. As if to prove it, we encountered few tourists during our stay.
We'll most likely return in the spring when the dogwoods and azaleas are blooming, but before the tourists who have already discovered Edenton return. Knowing the city as I now do, I can almost picture the houses surrounded by a profusion of colorful blossoms, and it looks...well, perfect.
For more information about Edenton, including annual events such as the Christmas Candlelight tour, go to:
Edenton-The Souths Prettiest Small Town