Historic Trolley Tour: The guided tour is one of many fun things to do in Edenton, showcasing notable sites throughout the Downtown Historic District and into the Edenton Cotton Mill Village. Discover what Edenton was like during colonial times when it served as North Carolina’s Colonial capital or learn about the many important people who lived in our town, including signers of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, and one of the first justices of the U.S. Supreme Court. They shaped not only the history of Edenton but also of our nation. To experience the Historic Edenton Trolley, contact the Penelope Barker Welcome Center, 252-482-7800.
Boat Tour: Edenton Bay Cruises are available annually from May through October. You can experience history from the perspective of the water- come learn about Edenton, its unique history, and its waterways.
Kayaking Trails: Located throughout a 10-county area, the self-guided paddle trails allow visitors to explore the region’s abundant rivers, creeks, and streams via canoe, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard. Twenty-two camping platforms are located in three different counties, including Chowan County. Some sites are handicap accessible. The trails and campsites are open year-round, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Explore trail information here.
Harriett Jacobs Tour: After nearly seven years hiding in a tiny garret above her grandmother’s home, Harriet Ann Jacobs took a step other slaves dared to dream in 1842; she secretly boarded a boat in Edenton, bound for Philadelphia, New York, and, eventually, freedom. Harriet Jacobs was an Edenton resident who became a fugitive slave, writer and abolitionist. Her 1861 self published autobiography — Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl — is one of the only written accounts of the Maritime Underground Railroad. Pick up a brochure and take a self-guided walking tour of her life in Edenton or make a reservation for a guided tour. Brochures and reservations available at the Historic Edenton Visitor Center, 252-482-2637.
Historic Ghost Walk: So many Edenton activities are history-centric, but what about the history that truly captures the, well, spirits of Edenton? The Original Edenton Ghost Walk invites you to see a different side of the town. Compiled of residents’ accounts and stories, the tour takes you around the streets of historic downtown, stopping at homes and locations where people have encountered paranormal activity. The tales span from those of years gone by to recent occurrences. The tour doesn’t go into any of the homes, but your imagination is left to run wild about what might occur within them. All ages of participants are encouraged to bring their cameras to snap pictures of these intriguing spots. For more information, click here.
Guided Walking tour: History seeps from every nook and cranny of Edenton and Chowan County. Outstanding historic 18th century architecture includes some of the state’s oldest homes and churches. Visit the James Iredell House, 1767 Chowan County Courthouse and 1886 Roanoke River Lighthouse, and Cupola House with your professional historic guide through the Historic Edenton State Historic Site, 252-482-2637.
Self-Guided Walking Tour: Edenton’s story simply will not fit inside a single structure unless you want to forget about the original buildings that are part of this little town’s amazing contribution to the creation of the United States and to North Carolina. The contents go beyond buildings to include stories about amazing people who served as the first colonial Governor of North Carolina, told a King “NO,” signed the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, helping to write both, created our first navy, served as George Washington’s appointee to the very first U. S. Supreme Court, many U. S. Senators, Representatives and Governors of North Carolina and of slaves who became highly respected freed real estate owners, carpenters, and builders of churches. Without a building large enough to tell the story, we created a nice walk through the town connecting the sites. They are all original buildings, not re-creations here, this is the real thing.
African American Experience of Northeastern North Carolina Trail: Visitors to the tour can experience the lesser-known histories of popular tourist destinations that are now being given a new platform to enjoy both in-person and online. From the ornate craftsmanship of the historic Black neighborhood of East Gale Street in Edenton to the Colored Union Soldiers Monument in Hertford, one of the few such statues in the nation, to the Dismal Swamp Canal, hand-dug by enslaved labor over 12 back-breaking years in the late 1700s, the impact of the African American legacy in this part of the state is evidenced at every turn. The Pasquotank River flows through Elizabeth City and once was a gateway to freedom for enslaved peoples as part of what we now know as the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom, as was nearby Roanoke Island in Dare County as home to one of the first Freedman’s Colonies in the South during the American Civil War. The Benjamin Bowser Gravesite in Currituck County pays fitting tribute to one of the leaders of the all-Black Pea Island Lifesaving Station crew, the only such pre- U.S. Coast Guard base in the nation. Experience the Trail.