Last night our voyage on the Belle of Washington began with a reception at the Museum of the Albemarle in Elizabeth City, N.C. It was a lovely night. A large crowd of local folks came to see us off, and Tom, Bland and I had the pleasure of meeting the people who will join us on the river at daybreak.
They seem a spirited group, eager to explore the Pasquotank River in the morning, and then sail off onto the Albemarle Sound with us. Brave souls!
By late morning we’ll be going up the Perquimans River, where we’ll disembark and visit an extraordinary state historic site, the Newbold-White House. It’s a colonial brick homestead built in 1730 and is the oldest surviving house in North Carolina that is open to the general public.
The historic site tells the story of Abraham and Judith Sanders, a Quaker couple that farmed and produced wood products, such as shingles, shakes and barrel staves.
At the Museum of the Albemarle last night, Bland welcomed our passengers to Elizabeth City, and as always he talked about his hometown and its history in a way that made us all feel at home here.
Then Tom laid the foundation for the rest of the trip by discussing the geologic formation of the Albemarle region. He talked about the rise and fall of the seas and the breaking up of continents and the achingly slow creation of this coastal world that we now call home.
I didn’t have a lot of time to look around the Museum of the Albemarle, but it’s a fascinating collection of historical stories and artifacts and I did see some really wonderful relics of the region’s history.
Here’s some of my favorites– this is a fragment of a ca. 1750 dugout canoe from Washington County, just across Albemarle Sound from here.
And this is a very classic kind of ca. 1870s farm cart from Camden County, just to the east of here. It was built by Bill Barco.
And I love this ca. 1840 wooden pestle, also from Camden County.
Boat’s leaving! Bland and Tom are looking for me! Got to go! More later!