From Somerset Place, we drive to Creswell on Thirty Foot Canal Road, alongside a canal dug by slave labor for the rice plantation. This canal was used to drain the farmland. Transportation Canal, paralleling Thirty Foot Canal to the east, was used for transporting the rice to market by way of the Scuppernong River into Albemarle Sound. Creswell, at the end of the canals, is a tidy little village with a wide main street possessing a fine collection of nineteenth-century wood-frame buildings.
From Creswell, our route takes us over the Albemarle Sound on the second-longest bridge in North Carolina at over 3 miles long. (The new Virginia Dare Bridge over Croatan Sound is the longest at 5.2 miles). A few miles later, we come to historic Edenton, known as “the South’s prettiest town.” Situated at the head of Edenton Bay, this delightful town begs you to find a parking place and explore on foot. Established in 1712 and left mostly intact during the American Revolution and the Civil War, Edenton has a fine collection of historical architecture. Two buildings, the Cupola House (1758) and the Chowan County Courthouse (1767), are National Historic Landmarks. The visitor center at Historic Edenton State Historic Site has maps and all the information you need to get the most out of your visit. They offer guided walking tours throughout the day.
A cannon display sits on the lawn of the Barker-Moore House in historic Edenton.
Edenton Bay is in the background.
Some of the region’s most scenic farmland lies along our route between Edenton and Hertford. Grand old farmhouses surrounded by large trees sit as islands in the sea of corn, cotton, and soybeans. A couple of miles before Hertford is the Newbold-White House (circa 1730), believed to be the oldest brick house in the state. The house and grounds are open for tours.
Hertford and the neighboring community of Winfall make a fitting end to our Albemarle route. History and scenery blend wonderfully here. The picturesque S-shaped bridge over the Perquimans River, built in 1928, is said to be the only one like it in the nation.
Originally constructed in 1782 at a point farther up the street, Edenton’s Barker-Moore House was moved to the waterfront in 1952 and now serves as a visitor center.