Read otown.pdf text version

There's This Place: Oriental, North Carolina

by James Calore


eorge Duffie was peering into the bilge of his 34 foot sailboat turning his head from side to side with a quizzical look on his face trying, not unlike Sherlock Holmes, to deduce from the myriad of clues just where that trickle of water was coming from. Being the marine detective he is, George set a trap. An elaborate maze of dams and sponges was set up to eliminate possibilities and point the long arm of the law (of gravity) directly at the culprit. This man was determined.

Here in Eastern North Carolina, everyone keeps their boats on the ready, for they sail all year long. It's very rare, even in the dead of winter, that the area does not get a warm spell sometime during every month. Or as George's great uncle, Captain Lewis Midyette "the Father of Oriental" who purchased the land after the Civil War ended, cleared the roads and built the first houses and school, said back in 1925 at the wise old age of 78, "We have the finest natural

advantages in the country. Our climate is unexcelled... bathing, boating and fishing is as fine as anywhere. For comfort we have it on many watering places, as we have a good breeze the entire summer, no mosquitoes or other pests to annoy." Not much has changed in the years that have passed. The many deep creeks that join at the town of Oriental, the village's natural harbor and the pleasant weather continue to be major attractions for this town situated on the Neuse River along

There's This Place: Oriental, North Carolina the Intra-Coastal Waterway just off the Pamlico Sound. People here are fond of the popular and oft repeated census count: 900 residents and 2,700 boats. The town now bills itself as "The Sailing Capitol of North Carolina" and judging by the marinas, private docks and sheer number of boats, this assessment is right on. Captain Lewis Midyette knew a good thing when he first saw it.


Towndock in Oriental Harbor

"When you left town, you closed the gate so the cows wouldn't get out," he chuckled. George continued, as he tracked a trickle of water, "My daily chore was fetching our drinking water from the public artesian flow in the village. That stuff

was awful ­ it tasted like... like bilgewater!" When George was an infant he was aboard a sloop which capsized off Oriental. This "unconscious" childhood event may have launched his lifelong passion for the water. Later, during one of those youthful sum-

George "Roots" Duffie

In between acrobatic body twisting, required to lay the snare that would catch the water intruder, George Duffie was reminiscing about his childhood, when his mother, Audrey Midyette and her kids would spend their summers in Oriental. "In the early days Oriental was a gated community," George was saying as he talked into the wet bilge,

Raccoon Creek where Lewis Midyette first took refuge from a fierce storm. He looked around and said, "Yes!"

© 2003 James Calore PO Box 35, Medford, NJ 08055 . All rights reserved. Contact: [email protected]

There's This Place: Oriental, North Carolina Many interesting destinations are within a daysail. There's New Bern, with all the amenities of a small city, the historic towns of Aurora, Washington, Edenton and Bath home of Blackbeard the infamous pirate. Sail across the sound to Ocracoke Island, accessible only by water, into picturesque Silver Lake harbor, or down the ICW to Beaufort, Morehead City or Cape Lookout. Or, as some prefer, explore the many rivers and creeks with their many snug anchorages


One of the area's many deep water creeks

Oriental: The cat's meow!

mers here, George was bitten by the sailing bug and it has persisted to this day, even as George approaches a youthful 70 years of age. Oriental is truly a wonderful place to sail. Whether you untie the lines from one of the many deep water creeks around town or straight from one of the fine marinas, you have the country's widest river (6 miles at its mouth) immediately on your bow.

and beautiful unspoiled landscapes of pine forests, thick brush and colorful scented native flowers. Captain Lewis Midyette summed it up best when he said, "Come to Oriental if you are looking for a real satisfactory place for rest and recreation where one can live 24 hours a day and enjoy every one of them."

It's deep from bank to bank and if that's not enough, it flows into the Pamlico Sound, a large estuary second in size only to the Chesapeake Looking North: Oriental Harbor Marina on the bottom left, town dock Bay.

center and Whittaker Creek upper right and Pierce Creek beyond

© 2003 James Calore PO Box 35, Medford, NJ 08055 . All rights reserved. Contact: [email protected]

There's This Place: Oriental, North Carolina

4 is known as the "Sailing Capital of North Carolina." · Because it's on the Intracoastal Waterway, Oriental is a convenient and popular year-round port for sailing vessels. In winter, when yachts from the north are southbound, they stop in Oriental for a couple of days; in spring, headed back north again, they linger longer.

Provisions from wine to winches - bikes free!

Oriental, NC Facts · Oriental is in Pamlico County, on the northern banks of the Neuse River. · The town is situated amid six creeks: Smith Creek, Camp Creek, Raccoon Creek, Green Creek, Whittaker Creek and Pierce Creek. · A 10-foot channel connects Oriental with the Intracoastal Waterway. · Boat people are crazy about Oriental, which

Snug dock minutes to open water

· An estimated 5,000 to 6,000 ICW travelers visit every year. · Oriental is named after the USS Oriental, a Yankee cargo ship that sank in stormy seas off the Outer Banks in 1862. Some years later, Rebecca Midyette, wife of Oriental's founder Lewis Midyette, came across the ship's name board hanging on the wall of a private residence in

Common anchorage area protected by a breakwater

© 2003 James Calore PO Box 35, Medford, NJ 08055 . All rights reserved. Contact: [email protected]

There's This Place: Oriental, North Carolina Sound Facts


· Pamlico Sound , lagoon, 80 mi (129 km) long and 15 to 30 mi (24­48 km) wide, separated from the Atlantic Ocean by low, sandy barrier islands. · Largest lagoon along the U.S. East Coast. · It receives the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers and is linked on the North with Albemarle Sound. · Cape Hatteras National Seashore is located on the barrier islands. · Along the coastal areas are numerous waterfowl nesting sites, and there is extensive commercial fishing in the waters. · The AlbemarlePamlico estuary is the second largest estuary in the Eastern United States. (The largest estuary is Chesapeake Bay.) · The Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds cover 2900 square miles of surface water. · The deepest hole in the estuary is in Pamlico Sound with a depth of 26 feet.

The Bean - coffee house where locals and vistors alike gather every morning across from the town dock

Manteo, North Carolina. Mrs. Midyette liked the name, and after talking it over, the residents of Smith's Creek (the original name of the town) renamed their village Oriental. · In 1899 Oriental was incorporated and the first post office was established with Lewis Midyette as the first postmaster. · Oriental is a sailors' haven. That fact is apparent by the number of sail makers and chandleries offering marine supplies, equipment and repairs. · In the last few years several art studios and crafts shops have opened.

Down East canvas shop

Steamers restaurant

Croakertown shopping

© 2003 James Calore PO Box 35, Medford, NJ 08055 . All rights reserved. Contact: [email protected]

There's This Place: Oriental, North Carolina harbor are hotels and bed-and-breakfasts, gift shops and restaurants. Overlooking the harbor is the 75-foot-tall Ocracoke Lighthouse, built in 1823. It is the oldest operating light on the N.C. coast and said to be the secondoldest in America. It marks the entrance to nearby Ocracoke Inlet used for centuries by such buccaneers as Blackbeard. Noted for its beautiful beaches and historical places like the British Cemetery, a tiny plot of England that holds the remains of four British sailors killed in a U-boat attack off the N.C. coast during World War II. A day trip from Oriental via sail. Belhaven Belhaven, located on the Pungo River on the Intracoastal Waterway.


A Sample of Sailing Destinations Ocracoke The village of Ocracoke is at the southwestern end of Ocracoke Island, one of the narrow sandbars situated between the Atlantic Ocean and the eastern shore of the Pamlico Sound that make up the Outer Banks. The isle, accessible only by air or water retains much of its historic charm. Boats may anchor in the picture-perfect Silver Lake Harbor, dredged by the U.S. Navy in World War II for a fleet of torpedo boats to combat German Uboats. Surrounding the

Among its notable attractions is River Forest Manor, built at the water's edge in 1899 by John Roper, a lumber and railroad magnate who hired Italian craftsmen to carve the mansion's ornate ceilings. For decades the River Forest has been famous for its mouthwatering smorgasbord, served nightly from 5:50 to 8:30. There's also a full-service marina and shipyard, a tennis court and a swimming pool. Beaufort A lovingly restored town. Its attractions

A bed and breakfast in Belhaven

© 2003 James Calore PO Box 35, Medford, NJ 08055 . All rights reserved. Contact: [email protected]

There's This Place: Oriental, North Carolina

7 scheme to extend John Motley Morehead's N.C. Railroad from Morehead City out to the cape. Construction began on the jetty but was abandoned during the First World War; since then, sands have built up and created a narrow inlet into a sizable tidal lake watched over by the diamond-painted Cape Lookout Light. Every 15 seconds, the beacon atop the 156-foot-tall lighthouse, visible from 25 miles at sea, bathes boats at anchor in the bight with a brief bright light. Those who anchor in Lookout Bight have a choice of activities: Dinghying ashore to pick up a sizable crop of conchs, fishing on the southwest side of the cape, watching plovers and terns in the federally protected sanctuary, visiting the lighthouse and the old Coast Guard state, or hiking through the dune on the cape's east side to an isolated beach.

Many thanks to The Charlotte Observer, and in particular Jack Betts, who graciously contributed to the sailing destination descriptions read here. - jc

include a splendid museum (the N.C. Maritime Museum) and a boat-building center and research labs for recovery of Blackbeard's ship, the Queen Anne's Revenge, thought to be nearby in Beaufort Inlet. Beaufort's excellent town docks and waterside seafood restaurants are the favorites of cruising sailors who use Beaufort as the jumping-off spot for world cruises and for returning sailors who have dreamed of the fine cheeseburgers at Royal James Cafe or the crabcakes at any cafe. For walkers, any Beaufort visit should include a tour of the old Burying Grounds. There under an ancient ship's cannon rest the

remains of colonial hero Otway Burns. A British officer is also buried there standing up and facing England - so he would salute his king in perpetuity. Cape Lookout A most beautiful anchorage: Cape Lookout Bight, formed by the sharply-angled sand formations that mark North Carolina's most prominent cape. Cape Hatteras, some 70 miles north, is the most dangerous and famous; Cape Fear, about 90 miles south, is in a more populated region. But Lookout is surely the most dramatic anchorage along the entire N.C. coast. One reason may be the protecting sand bar that has accumulated since a pre-World War I

© 2003 James Calore PO Box 35, Medford, NJ 08055 . All rights reserved. Contact: [email protected]

There's This Place: Oriental, North Carolina More Sailing Destinations Historic Bath was incorporated in 1705 and is North Carolina's oldest town. During the 18th century, Bath's busy streets and docks were frequented by Royal Governors, Colonial Assemblymen, and even the pirate Blackbeard. Restored buildings include the 1734 St. Thomas Church, the 1751 Palmer-Marsh House, the 1790 Van Der Veer House and the 1830 Bonner House. Bath was also the haunt of Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard. He is said to have married a local girl and briefly settled in the little harbor town about 1716. There have always been legends that Blackbeard struck bargains in Bath with Royal Governor Charles Eden. The pirate did obtain a Royal pardon, and it was the violation of that pardon that led to his death at the hands of Lieutenant Robert M. Maynard at Ocracoke in 1718.


Edenton is a storybook place. The view across Edenton Bay and the Albemarle Sound from the foot of Broad Street, the lovely waterfront parks, the tree-lined streets flanked by fine eighteenth- and nineteenth-century

warmth. (The Chowan County Courthouse is a National Historic Landmark). Washington is located at the point where the winding, freshwater Tar River empties into the brackish Pamlico River. The peaceful waters, fringed with marshes and populated with an abundance of wildlife and waterfowl, are a magnificent showplace of coastal North Carolina's beauty. A playground for boaters, sportsmen and nature lovers. Washington has something for everyone.

homes, the magnificent 1767 Chowan County Courthouse with its green running to the water, together yield an unsurpassed feeling of romance, charm, and

© 2003 James Calore PO Box 35, Medford, NJ 08055 . All rights reserved. Contact: [email protected]

There's This Place: Oriental, North Carolina In 1710, the Swiss and German settlement was named the New Bern in honor of the founder's home, Bern, Switzerland. When Bern, Switzerland was founded, it was named by a group of hunters. They named the city for the first animal they came upon on their hunting expedition. It was a bear. "Bern" is the old Germanic word for Bear, and it became the symbol of the city. It has been adopted by New Bern, as well. The black bear symbol is well represented throughout the city. The flag's bear motif, which dates from the Middle Ages, can be found on city buildings, vehicles, and uniforms. The original flag, a gift from the residents of Bern in 1896, is on display in the courtroom of City Hall. Aurora is home to some of the greatest fossil collecting anywhere.


The original Washington. Established in 1776, Washington NC is rich in history. The Albemarle Trail and other historic landmarks will guide and inform the history buff or casual tourist. New Bern. Named for the city of Bern, Switzerland, the town is located on the triangle of land where the Neuse and Trent rivers meet.

Modern New Bern

Aurora Fossil Museum contains a wide variety of fossils uncovered in the process of mining phosphate in the PCS Phosphate mine. The sharks' teeth and other fossils reveal many facts about the formation of this area: Roughly 18-22 and 2.55 Million Years Old Early Miocene and Pliocene Pungo River and Yorktown Formations The museum is a joint project of PCS and the Town of Aurora.

© 2003 James Calore PO Box 35, Medford, NJ 08055 . All rights reserved. Contact: [email protected]

There's This Place: Oriental, North Carolina Oriental Marinas


Climate In Pamlico County The county is largely bordered by water: Goose Creek and the Pamlico River on the north, the Upper Broad Creek forms the County's western boundary with Craven County; Pamlico Sound lies to the east; and the Neuse River to the south. All this water has a moderating effect on the climate. Our average annual temperature is 62 degrees. The January average is 45 degrees while the average for June 80 degrees. There are however, about 40 days a year when the temperature exceeds 90. Gardens and golf courses thrive with 50 inches of rain per year and a mean relative humidity of 75%. The one snowfall a year is about 2" and the primary excuse for a party and children staying home from school.

Oriental Marina Hodges St. (252) 249-1818 This marina, which is part of the Oriental Restaurant-MotelMarina complex, is just off the ICW. It's open year round and serves sail and power vessels up to 80 feet. It has 13 transient slips, an 8foot entry channel, dockside depth of 5 to 6 feet, gas and diesel fuel, electricity, cable TV and phone hookups, ice, showers, laundry facilities, a restaurant and an 18-room motel. Oriental Harbor Village Center & Marina 518 Water St. (252) 249-3783 Oriental Harbor Marina is the town's newest marina. Located just outside the harbor proper but inside the breakwater, OHM has 120 slips and is open year round. The shops include a general store, gift shop, sailing school and yacht brokerage.

- Pamlico County Chamber of Commerce.

Sea Harbour Yacht Club Harbour Way (252) 249-0808 Sea Harbour Yacht Club is on Pierces Creek about a mile from town. It is open year round,

© 2003 James Calore PO Box 35, Medford, NJ 08055 . All rights reserved. Contact: [email protected]

There's This Place: Oriental, North Carolina

11 finery. Businesses and churches open their doors for fellowship and yuletide refreshments, and everyone is invited to stroll the candle-lit streets and enjoy the 2,500 luminaries. Festivities start in the afternoon and continue throughout the evening. Townsfolk and visitors are entertained by local choral groups, musicians, Christmas puppets, decorated boats lining Oriental harbor, a Christmas parade and the ceremonious lighting of the Tree of Lights. This beautiful, free event is the work of nearly everyone in Oriental and is guaranteed to put you in a holiday mood. For more than 30 years, Oriental has commemorated New Year's Eve in its own special way. Every December 31, the community stages its annual Running of the Dragon. A huge golden Chinese dragon, with about 40 or 50 pairs of feet, appears twice during the evening beside the harbor. When it shows itself, New Year's Eve revelers pursue the dragon as it winds in and out of the town's streets. How

has 90 slips, serves sail and power vessels up to 45 feet, has gas and diesel fuel, a pump-out station, electricity, water hookups, a pool and restrooms. Whittaker Creek Yacht Harbor Whittaker Point Rd. (252) 249-0666, (252) 249-1020 Whitaker Creek Yacht Harbor is about a halfmile from town on Whitaker Creek. It is open year round, has 160 slips including 20 transient slips, serves power and sailing vessels of up to 120 feet and has a marked entry channel with 8 feet of water on approach and at dockside. Gas and diesel fuel are available, as are a pump-out station, electricity, supplies, a

ship's store, ice, laundry facilities and restrooms. The marina offers repairs and a courtesy car. Oriental Events Oriental's popularity soars on the Fourth of July weekend when thousands of visitors arrive for the annual Croaker Festival. The event honors the croaker, a very vocal, tasty fish found only in Southern waters. The Spirit of Christmas in Oriental is a holiday gift to the people of Oriental from the town's merchants, churches and civic groups. For well over a decade, on the second weekend in December (rain or shine), Oriental dresses up in resplendent holiday

© 2003 James Calore PO Box 35, Medford, NJ 08055 . All rights reserved. Contact: [email protected]

There's This Place: Oriental, North Carolina many feet propel the dragon body depends on how many folks don't mind running around in the dark under a blanket. Needless to say, Oriental's Dragon Run attracts lots of visitors. Kids can see the dragon at 8 PM, and grown-ups can stay up for the 11 PM run. The Annual Oriental Rotary Tarpon Tournament is held every year in early August. In case you didn't know, a tarpon is a big bony, silvery sport fish that averages 80 pounds and some 6 feet in length. (Tarpons have been known to weigh in at 200 pounds.) The fish winter in Florida's coastal waters and in the summer swim up the Atlantic, right into Pamlico Sound and the Neuse River. During July and August, tarpon abound in Oriental's waters. They are an excellent sporting fish, often fighting for 10 minutes to as long as an hour. The tournament, sponsored by the Oriental Rotary Club as a fund-raiser for the club's scholarship program, is a catchand-release affair. Volunteer observers accompany the fishing boats to record official scores. The winning vessel is the one that catches and releases the most tarpon. Prizes are cash, and typically about 70 boats enter the tournament for a fee of $225. This three-day event includes a Saturday night pig-picking barbecue and a Sunday afternoon awards ceremony. In mid-September don't miss the annual Oriental Cup Regatta a good-time, three-day weekend party with a sailboat race in the middle. The race is geared to cruisers as well as racers, so all types of sailors, weekenders and competitors are encouraged to join the fun. Festivities start with a Friday night party with good food and live entertainment. Also on Friday evening is the start of the silent

12 auction, featuring items donated by the Oriental business community. Saturday, rain or shine, sailboats race a triangular course on the Neuse River, the silent auction tent remains open while the race is going on, and, after the race, guess what? There's another party. Sunday finds folks at the last event, the awards brunch. All monies raised by the regatta and the silent auction go to the Bill Harris Memorial Scholarship Fund, which is awarded annually to an Oriental student who demonstrates leadership and good sportsmanship.

Special thanks to the Insiders Guide to North Carolina's Crystal Coast for the Events information. -jc

Author James Calore plans to further explore the expansive and historic Eastern NC area in his Tartan 34C sloop Akela before heading back north to his home waters of the wondrous Chesapeake Bay.

© 2003 James Calore PO Box 35, Medford, NJ 08055 . All rights reserved. Contact: [email protected]



12 pages

Report File (DMCA)

Our content is added by our users. We aim to remove reported files within 1 working day. Please use this link to notify us:

Report this file as copyright or inappropriate