Edenton & Hertford
Houses in historic Hertford, seen from US Route 17. (Photo by John Matthews)
Strategically located at the head of Albemarle Sound in Edenton Bay, the charming village of Edenton beckons prettily to strangers. It's not long before they turn into friends here. Established in 1712, Edenton was North Carolina's first colonial capital and it has retained the gracious manners of that period. The friends who return enthuse about Edenton's water views as well as its guided walking tours, which include interiors of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, the Cupola House (a National Historic Landmark), Chowan County Courthouse, Iredell House and the Barker House (the former home of the organizer of the 1774 Edenton Tea party). Trolley tours are also available that cover a larger area of Edenton's Historic District. The visitor's center has an interesting exhibit and walking tour about Harriet Ann Jacobs, a fugitive slave, activist and author. The self-guided tour's highlights include the former site of a home where Jacobs stayed in hiding for nearly seven years and the Chowan County Jail, where her children and family members were imprisoned. While in Edenton, inquire about the 1886 Roanoke River lighthouse under restoration there. At press time, officials were planning to move it this fall. Once it's stable, visitors will be able to tour it.
Not to be outdone, the historic, well-preserved town of Hertford, also on Albemarle Sound, offers equal treasures. It hosts beautiful Victorian and Georgian homes along a winding river road, and boasts the only "S" shaped bridge in the country. The Perquimans Arts League Gallery there offers changing exhibits and original paintings, pottery, baskets, fiber art, note cards and more for purchase. Sports fans will enjoy the museum devoted to Hertford native and baseball Hall of Famer "Catfish" Hunter. Housed within the Perquimans County Chamber of Commerce in Hertford, the museum's gems include one of Catfish's New York Yankees paychecks, blowups of Sports illustrated covers, numerous photos — including one of Catfish signing his first contract, newspaper articles, several books and a short video.