Oriental is the perfect destination for couples during the summer time.
It is a small town on the inner banks on the north side of the Neuse River – about 45 mins drive from our house in New Bern. We got there at around sunset, parked near Oriental Marina & Inn, and took a walk along South Avenue, a waterfront road with mansion-like houses on one side and a knee-height wooden rail on the other separating the rock bank and the river.
Along our walk, we saw a few wooden signs showing historical buildings in the area. There is a stone seat right outside 502 South Ave, a 100-plus-year-old seat built around the old well that people used to hang and chill underneath the then-biggest willow tree in the area. There is a sign outside Lou-Mac Park recounting how a hotel used to sit where the park is at, was destroyed by a hurricane in 1933, and eventually washed away with tide in the mid-1940s. How fascinating!
We also stumbled upon a big yard at the end of South Avenue, with a gray-ish building still in construction, as well as six or seven big sail ships with lights on. It turns out that we were walked into Fulcher’s Seafood. Unbeknownst to us at the time, we even got one of its fleet in the picture as background –
We dined at Toucan Grill & Fresh Bar, right next to the Marina. Had a great experience here eating outside, watching boats at the Marina, and hearing the tides hitting the shore rhythmically. I had an “Ahi Tuna Burger” – a giant piece of Tuna on goma wakame, a Japanese-styled seaweed salad. Markie had a “Toucan Burger” – he loved the local cheese that it came with. We were even able to bring our puppy Talos to the outdoor eating area. Both Markie and Talos loved the sweet potato fries that came with the burger!
I did more research on the town’s history afterwards. (I always find myself having too much curiosity, especially right before bedtime…) The town was incorporated in 1899 and got its name from the famous Philadelphia-built transportation ship, “Sailing Steamer Oriental”. Nowadays it’s known as the sailing capital of NC, along with fishing tours . Would love to try that in my next visit!
Ashley’s Bucket List for next visit –
- Rent a sail boat (https://bowtosternboating.com/)
- Check out a seafood market (https://www.facebook.com/Endurance-Seafood-343817759053013/)
- Pose (and have Markie take a photo) in front of the Old Theater (https://www.oldtheater.org/)
- Do a guided fishing tour (http://specfever.com/)