Thursday, April 25, 2013

Morehead City to Belhaven, NC

After six days at Morehead City, we finally got moving again.  Lots of boaters heading north from Morehead City stop at Oriental, but since we had been there by car a couple of years ago for a couple of days we decided to press on to Belhaven.  On this leg we had to cross the Neuse River and then part of Pamlico Sound two different times.  Both can be tough with the wrong wind, but we had calm conditions crossing both the Neuse and Pamlico the first time.

It was even calm enough for a small ferry to move a tractor to a home on an island at one point.

In some of the more narrow passages between "big water" crossings, the landscape was beautiful.  One significant landscape change has been the trees.  We have moved from palms and live oaks now to pines.  

Rhonda liked this combination of products for sale - fuel and seafood.

If there's anywhere that you need to be sure and honor the No Wake zones, it would be at a USCG station!

We didn't get any pictures, but by the time we crossed the Pamlico River and a portion of Pamlico Sound the second time, the wind had picked up to 15-20 mph and it got a little rough.  You then exit the river/sound via the Pungo River for about a 10-mile run to Belhaven.  The river is pretty wide also but by this time we generally had the wind on our stern so it wasn't too bad.

Belhaven is a sleepy little town but makes a serious effort to attract transient boaters by offering a free dock, including power, water, and a dinghy dock.  They also have an optional do-it-yourself pumpout for $5 which we also took advantage of.  It's a first-class operation and we shared it with 3 other boats our first night there.  We already knew the loopers on "Slow Churn" from Myrtle Beach and met two new couples, one from Wrightsville Beach and the other from Ashland, Oregon.

 The other three left the next day continuing north but we decided to stay a second day and see a little more of Belhaven.  When a city provides a free dock like this, we try and patronize the local businesses.  Those included Fish Hooks Cafe, Gingerbread Bakery, O'Neal's Drug Store, the local museum, and the hardware store.  Here are the cafe, museum, and the interior of the bakery.

The museum was a little strange, sort of like a hoarder's stash, but organized for viewing.  Here's the story.  Mary Eva Blount Way was known not as a hoarder but an "avid collector."  Her love of unique things began small with button collections and as friends and neighbors learned of her fondness for collecting things, they began to bring her their "favorite things" and soon she had a fascinating collection of artifacts numbering in excess of 10,000 items.  Here are some samples - dishes, buttons, and baby dolls.

Several cities we have visited have different versions of a particular theme around town - guitars in Muskogee, tiled benches in Ft. Pierce, jaguars in Jacksonville, etc..  In Belhaven, it's crabs.  Here are 2.

They have a nice park right in the downtown area.

We had baby geese at the marina.

The hospital was next door to the docks but we decided not to eat there (recall the Houma, LA post)!

And of course Rhonda found pretty flowers again.

Remember the post on Kilkenny, GA where I pointed out how I had screwed up big time by not buying the antebellum home that Rhonda liked?  Well, I may have a second chance on this one for sale in Belhaven.  It is beautiful, on the water, with pool, tennis court, and guest house.  Would any of you like to have the PayPal account info again for donations to the cause?

And I had two new experiences in Belhaven (always looking to learn something new).  I like to try chicken salad and clam chowder wherever we travel.  The chicken salad at the Gingerbread Bakery was made with a mustard base - different but pretty good.  And the clam chowder at Fish Hooks Cafe was "Hatteras" chowder.  Never heard of that before but it is a clear broth with potatoes, bacon, and clams rather than the typical New England style. It was OK but not as good as most New England versions. 

Tomorrow will be a 52-mile run to Columbia, NC, docking at Alligator River Marina. 

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