History in your backyard

Published 5:43 pm Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Many of us consider a vacation a time we plan, usually requiring hours spent in a vehicle to visit a far away place, rushing to get there, rushing to see everything and rushing back home to return to the daily grind — often more tired than when we left. Sound familiar? But what better trip could there be where you can travel centuries just a short distance from home? That is just what the Historic Bath State Historic Site can be for you — a trip back in time nestled in the present and not far from home.

Maybe your first thoughts are “History, ugh! I didn’t like it in school. Why would I want to spend my time off listening about people and events from the past?”  Or maybe it’s: “Bath, oh, it’s just down the road. I can go there anytime.”

Well, have you?

But let’s look at it a little differently.  “History? Yeah! I can walk the same streets that Blackbeard did. I can spend leisure time by the history-laden waters of Bath and Back creeks. I can stroll down streets of North Carolina’s oldest incorporated town with little traffic and appreciate life at a slower pace.”

Isn’t that what a little time away from daily demands is all about?

With this and future writings, the staff at Historic Bath will be enticing you to come spend time with us through tours, movies, lectures and family oriented activities. So, make us a priority for some of those little get-away, inexpensive, feel-good kind of vacations.

Remember: we are the Historic Bath Visitor Center, but ‘visitor’ doesn’t mean we only serve those from far away places. We feel that anyone who comes through our doors is our guest, whether they are from across the street, the state or elsewhere in the world.  We are in the business of making you feel welcome, helping you have the experiences that you are looking for at our site and in our town.

On Saturday, join us in the Visitor Center orientation room at 10 a.m. for a lecture titled “A Layman’s Guide to Beaufort County Architecture” and presented by Beth King, preservation specialist with the N.C. State Historic Preservation Office’s eastern branch.  Using buildings primarily found in Beaufort County, she will teach techniques on how to date a building by examining styles, features and house plans.  This is a free event, and refreshments are provided by the Historic Bath Book Club.

On March 15, the Historical Film Series presents the 1956 movie “Friendly Persuasion.” Jess and Eliza Birdwell are devoted Quaker parents in Indiana during the height of the Civil War. The Birdwells’ religion opposes violence, but as Confederate forces march closer — looting and burning as they go — the community prepares a defense. However, the family’s nonviolent stance is tested when the Birdwells’ son decides he wants to fight for the Union. The movie begins at 7 p.m. and has a running time of two hours and 17 minutes. It is free, with refreshments served. It will be shown on the big screen in the Visitor Center orientation room.

The Historic Bath Visitor Center is located at 207 Carteret St. in Bath. Call the Visitor Center for more information at 252-923-3971. The center is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. We offer tours daily, but we can also tailor a visit (with advance notice) to meet your needs, depending on the size and ages of the group and its interests. During our nonoperating hours, walking-tour brochures may be found outside the front-door entrance.


Bea Latham is assistant manager of the Historic Bath State Historic Site.