This is what I hoped for from The Great Loop — far from big marinas, mixing it up with the locals. Our home for two nights was this city of 19,000 on the shores of the Pasquotank River, just north of the Albemarle Sound and near the entrance to the Great Dismal Swamp. The city has spruced up its downtown and repurposed old buildings. We had a delicious breakfast in a local cafe, where I spotted a local who acted like the mayor. You know the type, wearing a casual suit jacket when nobody else did, glad-handing everyone. I asked the waitress. “Yep, we call him the honorary mayor!” she confirmed. “Types” are identifiable anywhere.😄 We encountered more local “color” in a brewery that has just opened on the waterfront. This city tries hard to be welcoming to visitors. So nice.
We were joined here by two other Looper boats and plan to travel together for a bit. It will be nice to have “buddy boats” for awhile. It reminds me of boats that do not act buddy-like. The large one that waked us so badly on our way here, and then grounded itself, is getting repairs at a boatyard right now. Another boat that was waked by that same rude yacht saw them in “the shop” and passed this news to us. We had a good chuckle.
As nearly everywhere in the South, the history of the Civil War is evident here. In the Albemarle, it was primarily a Naval war. The underground railroad, created to help slaves escape to freedom, was active here. In 1863, a contingent of U.S. Colored Troops (as they were called then) camped out on the very land at which we docked, called in to suppress guerilla activity. We learned that this town was very divided during the war, and both sides armed themselves. I can’t help but worry that such a scenario is possible again, given our state of division.
Tomorrow, the Dismal Swamp! Assuming winds allow. They are forecast to be very strong tomorrow in this area (20mph sustained, gusts to 40), but the swamp is quite protected. In any case we’ll have company. Photos and captions below…