Take a history-filled boat cruise through N.C.’s Albemarle region this May

Published 12:06 pm Wednesday, January 17, 2018


Raleigh — The North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources and its support group the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association will sponsor a weekend-long cruise May 10-13 to demonstrate the potential for a small boat cruise industry in the Albemarle region.

“This cruise is the first of its kind to explore the deep history, natural beauty, and cultural treasures of northeastern North Carolina,” said Susi H. Hamilton, secretary of Natural and Cultural Resources. “I hope that this special weekend will help promote the natural and cultural assets of this part of the state to a wide audience and encourage others to recreate this experience.”

Participants will spend a beautiful May weekend cruising aboard the Belle of Washington along the inland waterways of North Carolina’s Albemarle region. This unique opportunity offers passengers a chance to see the historic waterways as our early ancestors did, visit historic sites and museums, explore the natural history of the area, and enjoy regional cuisine and lively conversation with some of the state’s most celebrated raconteurs and public television personalities — Bland Simpson, David Cecelski, and Tom Earnhardt.

The weekend event begins Thursday, May 10 with an with an evening social hour and preview of a new exhibit at Elizabeth City’s Museum of the Albemarle that celebrates the heritage of the “Old Albemarle” region. Making a rare appearance that evening will be the Carolina Charter of 1663, which rarely leaves the State Archives vault.

The itinerary also includes visits to the Newbold White House, one of the oldest houses in the state open to the public; Historic Edenton, one of North Carolina’s oldest towns; the 1886 Roanoke River Lighthouse; Historic Plymouth; and Somerset Plantation. Travelling from place to place, visitors will pass through some of the state’s most beautiful natural areas. While aboard the Belle of Washington, participants will be treated to comfortable amenities such as lush seating; delicious regional fare; a bar stocked with local and traditional beer, wine, and spirits; and guided tours of some of the most beautiful places in Eastern North Carolina.

Along the way, Bland Simpson, David Cecelski and Tom Earnhardt will impart their expert knowledge of the North Carolina coast, its history, nature and culture.

Bland Simpson is a Kenan Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and is the longtime pianist for the Tony Award-winning North Carolina string band, The Red Clay Ramblers. He is an award-winning author, musician, playwright and songwriter, and an expert on North Carolina’s coast and waterways.

Historian David Cecelski has written several award-winning books and hundreds of articles about the history, culture and politics of the North Carolina coast. His writing focuses on telling stories from his little corner of the world that illuminate American history more broadly. Dr. Cecelski was recently the co-recipient (with Tim Tyson) of the N.C. Literary and Historical Association’s Crittenden Award for lifetime achievement.

Tom Earnhardt has been the host of UNC-TV’s “Exploring North Carolina” for the past 14 years. His most recent book, highlighting the natural diversity of North Carolina, is “Crossroads of the Natural World.” He has served on numerous conservation and environmental organization boards. Earnhardt’s film crew will document the cruise for potential airing as a future episode of his public television program.

Price per passenger, for double occupancy in hotel rooms, will be approximately $1,000. Price is subject to change based on participation and is payable in two installments, with the first installment including a non-refundable deposit of $100. Single occupancy will increase the cost.

All meals, snacks, hotel rooms, transportation, speaker and tour fees are included in the price with the exception of dinner on your own on Friday in downtown Edenton.

For more information and complete details of the trip, please visit https://www.ncdcr.gov/things-do/tripstravel-ideas/take-history-filled-tour-and-cruise-belle-washington.