Take a stroll down main street

Published 8:34 pm Monday, June 16, 2014

 As a relative newcomer to Washington … well, maybe not so “new” — I have actually lived here for almost 10 years. However, most of those years I was in school and really, I had no social life. Weekends were for studying. Then again, when my husband and I did go out to dinner, to have a drink or meet up with friends, or do whatever, we tended to turn in, let’s just say, a “westerly” direction. As a result, I didn’t really know how enchanting a small town I live in. While I have taken full advantage of the beautiful walkway by the Pamlico River and through the North Carolina Estuarium and have even stopped at the cute little Coffee Caboose, I really knew very little about downtown. But that is something that is easily remedied.

Parking in the public lot, I started my stroll at the corner of West Main and Gladden streets. There are some very interesting shops on West Main Street in Washington — antique shops, art galleries, furniture stores and, of course, an array of fabulous eating establishments. At first glance, there seems to be something for everyone’s taste. I haven’t had a chance to visit all of them yet, but let me tell you about the ones I have visited.

To even the most casual observer, there is a lot going on down here. Clearly I’ve been missing out. Scoops Ice Cream has all the earmarks of an old-fashioned ice cream shop: hand-dipped cones and floats; sundaes and shakes. The River Walk Gallery & Arts Center has an eclectic selection of paintings, as well as handmade curios. Go to Market Street and make a right: that will take you to Water Street. Turn left and you’ll see where Art Tyndall has his studio. Stop in and say “Hi” to him — he’s there every day and the fruits of his labors are prominently displayed for your eyes to feast on.

On The Waterfront is just across the way and the view from the patio is spectacular. The food is very good and Sunday brunch there is quite nice. There’s also Down On Mainstreet, located just where you would expect it to be: Main Street. I went there with my husband and a friend and we all enjoyed ourselves. The French fries are some of the best I’ve ever had. Service is fast and you can sit in the window. I’ve also discovered Grub Brothers, which is another gem. A fabulous bar greets you when you walk in, as does a friendly bartender — good combination! They too have good food, including a grilled salad that is unlike anything I’ve had anywhere. Say “Hi” to Roger, the owner.

I have also discovered, as have so many others, Bill’s Hot Dogs. This establishment is as much a part of Washington’s history as the river itself. Check it out for yourself and see why they’re world famous. There are a couple more places I need to get to like The Bank Bistro & Bar, The Meeting Place and Apollos, but I have every reason to believe they’ll be as good as everything else I’ve tried.

Need a recliner? Big Bargain Furniture has a whole store full of them! In fact, the store itself is so big it’s on both sides of Main Street! Want to look further? Try Phillips-Wright Furniture Co. I would hazard a guess that anyone would be able to find anything they might ever need or want in these stores. In fact, that can be said of the entire town, with a bit of due diligence there probably isn’t much that isn’t available or can’t be done here.

Having finally started to pay attention to my surroundings, I know there is a Saturday Market every week, where local growers sell produce, and local crafts are to be found, including the baked kind. There are events like Music In The Streets and there’s a big 4th of July extravaganza planned. There are, in fact, things going on all year long. So one of these days, when the kids are screaming they’re bored, or you can’t decide what to do, visit Washington. There’s a lot to do here!

Jaki Kennedy works with Washington Harbor District Alliance.