A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about oriental

ICW Trip 2001 Leg 9 &10 Belhaven, Oriental, Swansboro MM 228

Meeting up with BEAU again


View Summer, 9-11-2001 - and then the 2nd time down the ICW & Bermuda on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

Tuesday 6 November 2001

Oriental is one of our favorite places to stop on the ICW. So we were anxious to show it to our friends. Oriental was named after a boat. Which is appropriate given that the town is such a big boating town.
Shrimp boats in the evening

Shrimp boats in the evening

The Oriental web page says:

"Oriental was originally discovered by one Louis B. Midyette in the 1870’s. Legend says that "Uncle Lou", as he was known, anchored his sailboat in the protected waters of Oriental, at the mouth of Smith Creek, to escape a gale. He was sailing from New Bern back to his home in Dare County where he was a farmer and a fisherman..."

"The United States Post Office Department established a post office here back in 1886. Ol’ Lou Midyette was named postmaster of what was then known simply as Smith’s Creek. This prompted the need for a formal name for the rapidly growing village. Lou’s wife, Rebecca, had the nameplate from the sunken ship "Oriental". The Oriental was a Federal transport that sunk in a storm off Bodie Island during the Civil War. It was decided that Oriental would be a good name for the village… after all, they already had the sign!"

We got under way very early on November 6th. I was a little worried about the winds in Pamlico Sound, but we really don't have to be in it much. The winds were brisk going down the Bay River
Bay River

Bay River


and up the Neuse, but nothing too rough.
Barge with 'spuds'

Barge with 'spuds'

Tug and barge

Tug and barge

Pamlico Sound

Pamlico Sound


We went to the Oriental Marina. When we first came in the spring 2001, they assured us they had plenty of water (the marina manager said they only had "wind tides"), but we are more or less aground in soft mud. We draw 5 feet or maybe a little more when fully loaded. Depth gauge says less than 5 feet in the slip. Fortunately it was a long slip so we could be in the end of it and still afloat. The charge was was $1.25/ft, with no extra charge for cable or electricity.

From their website:

"If you arrive by boat, you’ll find fuel, laundry facilities, hot showers, and very friendly faces. A well stocked marine store is just down the street. Within easy walking distance are two sailmakers and two canvas shops."

Walking around to the local hardware stores is Bob's favorite thing to do. There used to be a consignment shop in Oriental, but the owner died just before our first trip in 2000. The Inland Waterway Treasure & Provision Companies has kind of taken its place.
Inland Provision Company

Inland Provision Company


They have a selection of nautical hardware, foul weather clothing, books and charts, and they will also loan or rent bikes or arrange for transportation to the grocery store.
Our boat at the marina in front of the Inn

Our boat at the marina in front of the Inn


The Oriental Marina put a sailboat in next to us named YANKEE COWBOY, which was so wide he scraped on both sides of the slip. He came in late and had gone 100 miles that day because he'd lost time to weather he said and he had to make it up (maybe he was a delivery skipper - I wouldn't want to do it that way).

Our favorite restaurant (M&Ms) was closed on Tuesday, so we ate at the motel restaurant. We've eaten there twice when were unlucky enough to be there on the one day of the week that M&Ms is closed. The first time we were there, I had a seafood au gratin and it was too rich for me to finish it. It really takes a LOT for a dish to be too rich for me - I love rich food, I love seafood and I adore cheese. So this was memorable.

When you have a seafood dishes with cheese in it it you have to be careful (IMHO) not to overwhelm the taste of the seafood with the richness of the cheese. In addition, the sauce was really rich.

Our friend started to order this, but I warned her against it as I knew she doesn't like rich food. Actually, our friends often order one entree and a salad between them and then share. I often deliberately order something that I know will be too much for me, and take it back to the boat and eat it for lunch the next day. Usually it's some beef dish (usually steak, ribs or roast) as I hesitate to do that with seafood. We do have refrigeration, but I just think it's a little more risky. The cost for two of us for dinner was $35.70

Wednesday 7 Nov 2001

YANKEE COWBOY got underway at 5:30 am, (waking everyone up), but we waited until 6. We had thought of going to Beaufort NC next, but decided to skip that (several people said it was overpriced and indeed all the marinas were very expensive plus our friends had already been there). so we went on to Swansboro instead.
On the way to Swansboro

On the way to Swansboro

Tug following us

Tug following us

Passing Morehead City

Passing Morehead City


Coming down towards Swansboro

Coming down towards Swansboro


Just as we went under the bridge before Swansboro, we saw a boat named ROSALIE. They were fishing.

Swansboro, like Elizabeth City, has preserved the atmosphere of an earlier time. Swansboro's main street, Front Street, runs through the historic district; and is lined with shops, some housed in historic buildings.

The town waterfront channel cuts sharply east-northeast from unlighted daybeacon #47. The broad, beautiful waters of the White Oak River border Swansboro to the east and northeast. This stream was once deep and much-used but is today shallow and quickly filling with silt.

Swansboro History from Claiborne S. Young's Cruising Guide to COASTAL NORTH CAROLINA

The Swansboro region has long been inhabited. Archaeological evidence indicates that Algonquin Indians occupied the surrounding countryside from about 500 A.D. to colonial times. Settlement of the surrounding lands by English colonists began around 1730, when Jonathan Green built a house at the mouth of the White Oak River. Green soon died, and his widow married Theophilus Weeks, who is credited with being the founder of Swansboro. Weeks was appointed inspector of Bogue Inlet and later operated a boardinghouse in the area. About 1770, he began to sell portions of his large property holdings, at which time the town's development began.

Swansboro was incorporated in 1783 and named in honor of Samuel Swann, former Speaker of the North Carolina legislature. Thanks to its proximity to Bogue Inlet and the White Oak River, which were quite navigable in those days, the town soon became an important port. During the Revolutionary War, a number of patriot privateers operated from the harbor, and several saltworks were built nearby. By 1786, Swansboro had assumed such importance that it was declared a separate customs district.

Captain Otway Burns, naval hero of the War of 1812, was born and grew up in Swansboro. In 1818, Burns brought national attention to the port town by constructing the first steamship to float in North Carolina waters. Today, a small park overlooking the water just northeast of Captain Charlie's commemorates this historical figure. The park's star attraction is a bronze statue of Burns.

Swansboro continued to prosper until the Civil War. Shipbuilding and the export of naval stores were the mainstays of the local economy. The Civil War brought an end to the port's boom days. Swansboro was twice occupied by Union forces, in 1862 and 1864. After the war, the naval-stores trade fell off. Eventually, the town's sole industry was commercial fishing.

RosalieAnn at the dock

RosalieAnn at the dock


We went in to Dudleys Marina. We've been to Dudley's 3 times and really like it. It has some amenities that we like (courtesy truck to go to the grocery store, and free lift to local restaurants) and the deficiencies don't really matter to us (rest rooms are minimalist). There is an internet line in which I can hook a laptop up to. The construction people keep digging up the line or something - although I had no trouble. The owner has an old scarlet macaw who sometimes sits out front.
Parrot in  Dudleys marina store

Parrot in Dudleys marina store


You can also walk across the bridge (now that they've finished with the re-construction) up into town to the gift shops.

Dudley's Marina is also a BP station (the station is open 24 hours) and boatyard with fixed docks. There are floating finger docks off the north side of B dock, but the water there is too skinny for us. Between the long dock that goes out to B face dock and the long dock that goes out to C face dock is a marine railway. Summer hours are from sunrise to sunset daily and winter hours are from 7AM to 7PM daily. The marina building houses the dock offices, ship's store and tiled HOT showers (although they don't look particularly luxurious). $.70/ft for a slip with no extra charges. And since the fuel is also a good price, we got fuel here. The gas pump said $0.929 for cash, but they only charged us $0.879. I don't know why and didn't ask.

Suddenly Linda and Rob from the CSY 33 BEAU turned up on the dock. They were anchored, and saw us come in. There is a good anchorage off the town. Depths run 8 feet or better, and there is good cover from northern and southern winds. Strong blows from the east or west are another matter. The small Swansboro city pier overlooks the village waterfront northwest of unlighted day beacon #4. Very strong tidal currents in and out of the White Oak River run through this anchorage and there is also a lot of fishing boat traffic. Tide is 2.6 feet . Be sure your anchor is holding before you head below
Swansboro anchorage and Caspers from Dudleys

Swansboro anchorage and Caspers from Dudleys


Our friends came in to town by dinghy. There is a general store with fresh fudge, homemade bread, fancy foods and wine as well as a PO. There is also access to various restaurants. Max and Lucette walked back to town with them (The bridge is half finished so there is a sidewalk on one side.) and shopped. We got a ride in (provided by the marina) and met them all for a meal at Captain Charlie's (We got to eat here since it wasn't a Monday) which is the premier seafood restaurant in Swansboro.
Capt Charlie's Restaurant menu

Capt Charlie's Restaurant menu


Since we were a party of 6, and I remember the conversation more than the food. I do remember the chowder. The meal for the two of us was $34.00.
Mural in Captain Charlie's

Mural in Captain Charlie's


From a review by Claiborne Young: "

My choice as the finest fried-seafood eatery in North Carolina and possibly the world. Open for the evening meal only, Charlie's begins serving at 5 p.m. every day of the week from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The restaurant is generally closed the entire month of January and remains closed on Mondays from February through Memorial Day. Charlie's serves a bowl of its down-east chowder with every meal. The restaurant also features clam fritters and deviled crab. Charlie's fried seafood is its greatest attraction. Prepared in some secret way, it has a rich taste that is unique.."

Thursday 8 November 2001

We had a sports fisher behind us on E dock and a dredge in front of us and some white pipes just downriver from where we were so we couldn't just head out. But the sports fishermen left as soon as they could see the marks, and Bob insisted on getting away right afterward -- at 6 just at sunrise.
Sun comes up over barrier islands

Sun comes up over barrier islands


BEAU was still anchored when we pulled out.
Beau anchored

Beau anchored

Next down Bogue Sound

Posted by greatgrandmaR 09:45 Archived in USA Tagged oriental north_carolina swansboro Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 1 of 1) Page [1]