We’re in Belhaven. . . a very, VERY small town in the dogleg of the Pungo River. . . The town calls itself the birthplace of the ICW (Intracoastal Waterway) and they have a celebration in September that brings thousands of boaters. It would be great fun to come and check it out!
We’ve hunkered down here due to “weather.” This is part of THE major storm that disrupted so much of the Thanksgiving travel this year, with ice, snow, heavy rain (VERY heavy rain, we had 2.5” last night) and wind. Mostly in other parts of the country, from Texas to New Hampshire, thankfully, but we are getting our share, and it is NOT BOATING weather.
The wind is really what has pinned us here, as it whips up waves and makes travel difficult, uncomfortable. We are an elephantine, lumbering, rocking-and-rolling trawler. Imagine rolling your living room 15 degrees left. . . pause. . . then 15 degrees to the right. Or 20, 25 degrees. Sometimes there isn’t a pause, sometimes it’s a “snap,” and you are rolling back the other way. Things fall, including things that you were sure were tied down, wedged in, secured. As for us, WE are more fragile than the boat. So we just don’t care to be out in it.
We came into Belhaven early afternoon Tuesday with winds and waves urging us on. It’s a tiny spot, interesting, friendly. Les the dock master is passionate about wooden boats, their history, construction, preservation, reconstruction, appreciation. And is very happy to talk about it all, with a lot of knowledge and experience.
A very bouncy overnight and day, with driving sheets of cold rain coming through periodically. COLD! Les took us to the Food Lion which was a couple of miles away. If the day had not been so nasty (cold, very cold blowing rain!) we would have walked the three blocks up to the local museum. Evidently among other things in their collection there are fleas dressed in wedding attire, and a button collection that boasts 30,000 buttons. I truly regret missing these things. . . they sound as if they make a return trip worthwhile!! (Have I said COLD??)
We decided to go to dinner “in town” which is literally three blocks long, and boasts several restaurants. Our choice was “Spoon River” which gets rave reviews, but we discovered it closed. Almost directly across the street was “The Tavern at Jack’s Neck.” Our decision was made. This is a restaurant built in a space which dates back to the 1930s. Open with a full menu for only three weeks, they were doing a good business on the night before Thanksgiving. The space itself is beautiful, with a variety of rich woods milled locally. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, the staff welcoming and attentive. Dinner was not “perfect,” but the experience was, and it too was worth a return visit.
We traveled on Thanksgiving Day down through a canal from the Pungo River to Bay River, passing through an area that was home to some of the local shrimpers. These are huge boats, and I cannot imagine them quietly tied up during the NON-shrimp season, but there they were.
Out into the Pamlico Sound and then in to River Dunes. This is a resort about which we have heard rave reviews from everyone. EVERYONE. I don’t think anyone has given it 4 stars. And we agree, it is worth 5 stars. Inexpensive for transient boaters, it’s extremely protected, has floating docks, and the amenities are amazing. A swimming pool, a clean and incredibly inexpensive laundry, an exercise room with all sorts of major equipment, a beautiful “clubhouse,” with pool table, and free wifi. The showers . . . we have a bathtub on Aqua Vitae, but the showers at River Dunes get bigger raves than anything else about the place, so I had to try. Four small shower heads aimed just above the belly button, and a rain shower above, then you press the button for steam . . . OH MY!
There is quite a contrast between Belhaven and River Dunes.
We took the loaner car into Oriental, which is about 6 miles from here, had a disappointing lunch at M & M’s Restaurant, which we had remembered as “good,” bought some cable Hans needed for a repair to one of the engines and back again. Loaner car – wow! Check this out: http://www.riverdunes.com and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
Tomorrow we are off to Morehead City, North Carolina. I wouldn’t mind staying here for “the duration,” but onward, ever onward. . . . Our goal is Marathon, Florida. In the Keys. Sometime.