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June 24, 2012 / M.E.

Oriental. North Carolina

We left Beaufort on Saturday morning for Oriental, North Carolina, the “Sailing capital of North Carolina”. Oriental is a small, quiet town but it is really charming and has so many friendly people.

Upon arrival in Oriental, we were able to tie up to the free city dock, enjoyed an iced mocha at The Bean Coffee Shop and did some grocery shopping at the local grocery store, which for a small town has quite an impressive selection at very reasonable prices.

Kokoi at the Oriental City Dock

We stopped at little shops around town to check out the local fare and enjoyed meeting the people of Oriental. One woman in particular, Bama, the owner of the Village Food Emporium, happily welcomed us into her air-conditioned shop to show us what foods they offered. Upon telling her that we were from Florida, Bama relayed that her grandmother had been the first woman to own land in the Palm Beach area. You never know who you’ll meet, even in small towns!

A butterfly outside the Village Food Emporium

The Book of the Sea at the Marine Consignment Shop of Oriental

The Local Seafood Shop in Oriental

Oriental’s town mascot is the dragon, which you can see all over town. The dragon originated in the 60’s when local residents created   a dragon out of miscellaneous items to ring in the New Year. The dragon was so entertaining and such a success that today, images of the dragon grace signs and buildings all throughout Oriental. The town has even started a dragon boat race festival. Dragon boat races consist of a 20 member crew in a long canoe synchronizing their strokes in the water to the beat of a drum. Many cities have dragon boat races but what better place to participate or observe a dragon boat race than Oriental? Perhaps we’ll make it back to Oriental in time for the Oriental Dragon Boat Festival in the Fall!

A dragon at The Screen Door

On Sunday, we greeted some familiar faces. Andy, our friend from Connecticut that we had befriended last year in St. Augustine, arrived at the Oriental Inn and Marina on his boat, Mellow Seas. We had a great time catching up with him and talking about our voyages up North so far. After catching up, he offered for us to come over and swim in the pool at the marina. We were quick to take him up on the offer. I slipped on a swimsuit, walked over to the pool and literally cannonballed in. Ah bliss! There is nothing better than the jumping into a cold pool on a hot, summer day.

Andy of s/v Mellow Seas from Spring 2011

It wasn’t more than 15 minutes before we happened upon another familiar face. David, our former dockmaster at Hidden Harbor, had arrived at the marina on a boat delivery up North. Matt, Andy and David told jokes and talked about sailing while I swam and floated around. We invited everyone over for dinner that night and Matt cooked a delicious roast chicken with onions, carrots and potatoes.  Another great night with good food and wonderful people!

David of s/v Traveler from Spring 2012

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