Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Town we call "little Washington"

Happy St Patrick's Day. Erin go Bragh. (to our Celtic brethren)

Late winter pond at WPM
Beth wanted to go exploring this past week and chose Washington. It is the first town by that name in America, but growing up we called it "little Washington" to avoid confusion with the political cesspool on the border of Virginia and Maryland. It is a small town with a bit of history including Civil War battles and the birthplace of Murray Hamilton, the actor who starred as the jerk mayor with 1970s shoulder-wide lapels in the film "Jaws", as well as Cecil B. de Mille's father, Henry Churchill de Mille, a playwright.

A free ride on a ferry.
With a blustery wind roaring down the Pamlico River and white-capped seas abounding, we boarded the ferry from Aurora to Bayview, breezed through the historic town of Bath with its shadows of Blackbeard, crossed the rural intersection White Top with its old country store and new ATM (with green neon) and eased into downtown Washington. Washington has a lovely and extensive waterfront along the river (basically where the Tar River ends and the Pamlico River begins). Unfortunately, downtown turns its back on the riverfront, but Main Street has seen a stuttering redevelopment with half the storefronts open for business and many of the upper floors occupied by residents. There are a few places to eat, a wine shop posing as a bookstore and a bistro posing as a bank with fine Corinthian columns. However, nothing so curious or compelling as Belhaven's Memorial Museum.

Much of downtown flooded in the surge from Hurricane Irene in 2011, a set-back not yet fully overcome. Still, the old brick waterfront warehouses are stately. A highlight for me was the profusion of sculptural crabs like the one we saw in Belhaven, a public art initiative like the cows of Chicago.

Playbill crab near old railway station civic center.

Chef "Craig Crabborne".

Worker crab.
Returning across the river on the ferry once again (get all the rides we can while it is still free), the dystopia of the phosphate mine looms on the far shore.

The "ridge" along the right half of the shore is the spoils PCS has piled over the years.
On the local front, Drake and Mo, our slip mates when we first arrived at WPM, have completed the re-fit that Drake began almost three years ago and have departed for Greenland and Ireland. Drake's Westsail 42 center cockpit, Paragon, was badly damaged a few years ago when he agreed to tow a steel ketch a hundred miles or so to Bermuda in the aftermath of a storm that left the ketch without engine or rudder. He was a solo sailor then, but has since met Mo. Follow their adventures on Drake's YouTube channel

Also, Joann and David sold Milky Way in favor of a larger Grasshopper, and Carol and Ashley sold Tinker Toy in favor of a larger Mermaid. Sweeney Bob has a new inflatable. Life happens whether we are prepared or not.

Thank you to all the venturesome readers who downloaded Bear Island Treasure. I hope you enjoy it, write a review and share it with others. Best wishes from the cold brackish waters of the Neuse.

Lastly,  this past week marked the 20th anniversary of The Blizzard of 1993 when three friends hiked into Slickrock Wilderness.


  1. Washington looks like one of those places where you just never know what you'll find. Keep up the exploration!

  2. Yep. Cheap and free dockage.


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