Oriental, NC

Discovering Oriental, North Carolina

Traveling with Alice

Sailboats at Oriental docksPhoto by Gene Gallin on Unsplash

Oriental is one of nine incorporated municipalities in Pamlico County along the North Carolina coastline.

With a population under 900 people, it provides a "very-small-town" atmosphere where everyone knows everyone.

Oriental history

The area was originally a Native Americans settlement, but when the Europeans arrived, the King of England granted the land to colonial farmers.

In the same period, the region was the haunt of pirates like the famous pirate Edward Teach or Blackbeard, who made his home in Bath to the North of Oriental.

According to some old stories, the town of Oriental was named after the Sailing Steamer Oriental. The ship, built in Philadelphia in 1861, was used as a Federal transport ship in the Civil War. But in May 1862, just a year after being launched, she was wrecked off Bodie Island, 33 miles north of Cape Hatteras.

In 1886, The United States Post Office Department established a post office in what had been called Smith's Creek. Postmaster Midyette's wife, Rebecca, didn't like the name of the town. When she found the nameplate of the wrecked sailing steamer "Oriental" on the beaches of the Outer Banks, she thought that name was more suitable, so the town became known as Oriental a few years later.

China Grove Plantation House Tradewinds, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/

What to do in Oriental

The local economy focuses now on fishing, agriculture, tourism, and marine-related businesses.

Those who enjoy fishing will find great opportunities in Oriental and can even hire a guide to show them the marshes around Oriental.

Despite being such a small town, there is still a lot to do in Oriental. The town revolves around its harbor and boats. There are currently around 2,700 sailboats moored at the docks making it one of the many small harbor towns along the east coast.

There are also several art galleries and museums in town, like the Oriental History Museum and the Old Theatre in town, which holds plays put on by the Pamlico Music Society. The Old Theatre is really the center for arts and culture for Oriental.

Another must-visit landmark is China Grove, a historic plantation house located near Oriental. China Grove was built sometime in the late-18th century to early-19th century according to the Federal style. It was named for a row of chinaberry trees that once led to its entrance.

The plantation house, overlooking the Neuse River, near the mouth of Dawson's Creek, was added to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) in 1973.

Oriental also hosts several local festivals like The Spirit of Christmas, featuring a Christmas music concert and The Croaker Festival, an arts and vendor event to raise money for the county's nonprofits, featuring a fireworks display, the Celebration of the Arts Festival, and other free evening concerts during summer.

Renting a bike from one of the several businesses in town is probably the best way to discover the surroundings and enjoy the relaxing sights and sounds of the ocean while getting some fresh air.

Oriental is a peaceful fishing village keeping a quiet lifestyle and would be great for anyone seeking a place to live in and eventually retire to. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the ocean view in Oriental North Carolina.

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