History seeps from every nook and cranny of Edenton and Chowan County. Outstanding 18th-century architecture includes some of the state’s oldest homes and churches. Historic Edenton State Historic Site might be your first stop to learn more about the area, hear stories about the past, and tour interesting places throughout town. Popular sites include the 1767 Chowan County Courthouse, the 1886 Roanoke River Lighthouse, and the Iredell House Homesite.
Discover stories about the Maritime Underground Railroad, or take a stroll back in time as you explore the grounds and interior of the Cupola House. Another popular and informative destination is the Penelope Barker House Welcome Center. The stately waterfront house offers maps, trolley tours around town, exhibits, restrooms, and a book and gift shop. Known as Edenton’s Living Room, the Barker House is a nice place to relax and enjoy the views of Edenton Bay.
Local tip: Edenton has several self-guided tours for the adventurous explorer. History buffs and those who share a romance with architecture might want to purchase a copy of the Edenton’s Woman’s Club, A Walking tour of Historic Edenton at the Barker House and take a casual stroll through the town’s charming neighborhoods. Learn the stories that take you behind the doors, across the lawns, and inside 300-plus years of American history. Over 120 homes, churches, historic sites, and buildings are featured in this guide that includes six districts throughout Edenton — all within walking distance from downtown.
Outdoorsy folks may be interested in the natural and cultural history of the county. Edenton Bay, Pembroke Creek, and Bennett Mill Pond offer convenient access for boating, fishing, paddling, and bird-watching. The Edenton Fish Hatchery is a great family outing nearby and features a small aquarium, fish-rearing ponds, and a wildlife observation boardwalk out to Pembroke Creek.
The majority of the county’s landscape is covered in wetlands, swamps, streams and farmland. Be sure to take a relaxing rural drive through pastoral farms with fields of sweet potatoes, cotton, peanuts, clary sage, and grazing livestock or grab your rods and tackle and head out to the Chowan River Fishing Pier for your catch-of-the-day.
Bird-watching enthusiasts will enjoy a number of excellent sites along the NC Birding Trail (NCBT). Chowan County offers two sites along the birding trail that connect birders and nature-based tourists with great locations to observe birds and other native wildlife. NCBT sites in the region include Bennett’s Millpond and the Edenton Fish Hatchery. Other convenient observation areas include the Chowan River Fishing Pier, along the waterfront, and in the park-like setting of the Edenton Cotton Mill Historic District. Chowan County’s paddling trails are also an outstanding way to view waterfowl, ospreys, and bald eagles.
Looking for some entertainment, local art and other indoor attractions? Take in an after-dinner movie at the newly renovated Taylor Theater or schedule a delightful live performance at the local Rocky Hock Playhouse. The Chowan Arts Council has recently moved its Community Arts Center and gallery to an attractive waterfront building. Visit the gallery or discover your creative side and sign up for one of the classes and workshops.
Whether you’re scheduling a guided tour, rambling along on a self-guided tour, or shopping for local art, you’ll experience an authentic Southern town with plenty of small town charm!