A movie and dinner?
Trip Start Mar 23, 2009
27Trip End Jul 23, 2009
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We parked Toad and took a wander through the streets of the ‘historic district’ – you remember those don’t you Gill? Some of grand buildings we found were evidence of an important past –founded 400 years ago, it was once an important seaport with four masted ships carrying goods to and from the new world.
But those Outer banks that we like so much were in fact a considerable drawback to the regions development. The building of the ‘Dismal Swamp Canal’ (isn’t that just a great name!) did connect this region with Virginia and for a time was a very important waterway. Today it is used mainly by pleasure craft and is part of the 5000 or so miles of inter-coastal waterways that stretch down this eastern coast line. www.DismalSwamp.com
Mariner’s Wharf in Elizabeth City is a pretty harbour where boats can moor for 48 hours free, yes…free.
Isn’t it a wonderful idea?
Whilst wandering along the Wharf we were struck by how dark the water looked no beautiful blue waters here. On inspection it appeared almost black so we decided to collect some in an empty water bottle so we could share it with all of you. See the lengths we go to, to make it feel as though you are with us?
Anyway, as Malc was doing just that a guy (sorry) came over and started chatting about what made it so…it’s the Cyprus trees… the freshwater upstream from here was used by the old sailing ships as it stayed fresher, longer, in barrels onboard. We stood and talked for some time. He introduced himself as Len Outlaw (you may remember we mentioned him in the last blog) and it was he who told us about the encroaching coastline on the Banks and that his grandfather had built one of the first 13 homes on the Outer Banks. He recalled how until a bridge was built in the 1930’s a small ferry would take people and goods to and fro, though I doubt he actually remembered as he only looked about our age – far too young :), maybe his parents told him about it - see we told you we got to know an "outlaw". This made us realize how laborious it must have been for the Wright brothers, they had come to Elizabeth City to stock up with provisions before camping on the Banks and then had to take everything over there by boat. We learnt too that in places the harbour here is about 30’ deep and that amongst other water sports it’s the location for the Carolina Cup regatta club and that Leonard is passionate about his racing. He invited us back for the next race telling us there would be a warm welcome for us and Bree! Again we are struck by the friendliness and hospitality that is offered to us. http://www.carolinacupregatta.com/
As we turned to leave him, we saw a large modern building on the other side of the road – rather out of keeping with the old town in general…
It turned out to be a new, well 3 yr old, museum of the Albemarle, it looked intriguing. Indeed it turned out to be one of the nicest provincial ones we have visited. Its display is organized chronologically and the winding walkway leads you through the development of the surrounding areas. The presentations were really good, the quality and range of the artifacts amazing. http://www.museumofthealbemarle.com/home.htm
Who could have known that this was the waterfowl capital of the world .Between 1870 -1920 over 100 gun clubs were in operation in the area and it seems it was not a poor man’s sport. Fees could be as much as $5000. Quite an industry was built around it in fact, the carving of decoys being one of the more interesting.
Fascinating stuff! There were a few artifacts from the Wrights too and even a canon thought to be from Blackbeard’s vessel. We enjoyed wandering around the museum and regretted not going in earlier in the day as we only had an hour or so before it closed, incidentally it was free (our favorite fee).
So, hidden gems but the best is yet to come.
As we had walked around the streets we came across what looked like an old run down cinema – apologies to all residents of Elizabeth City we don’t mean to offend.
Another young chap came over to assist us – we were I’m sure, looking rather uncertain at this point! “We came to watch a film, not to eat” offered Malc. “That’s fine” he replied, “If you would like a drink or a bite to eat then choose a table, when you have chosen from the menu, pick up the phone that is on the table, dial 0 and give them your order. If you don’t want to do that there are rows of seats at the front and you can just watch the movie”
Well picnic or no picnic we couldn’t pass up this unique opportunity, so with a pint in hand and a large platter of nachos and a selection of dips between us we settled down to watch the film. I have to say the whole experience made watching a Terminator movie that much more enjoyable! What a great idea, don’t you think?
So glad we didn’t go by the street pictures from Google, you see for all our pictures we share, you just can’t beat being here – we do try to include you though :)