March and April, 2011 – Washington, North Carolina – The Inner Banks

Posted on December 1, 2011


The Inner Banks is a term used to describe the inland coastal region of eastern North Carolina as distinguished from the Outer Banks, a string of small islands off the coast. Together both “banks” roughly form the Coastal Plains region.

The mid-sized rural city of Washington has been called the “Heart of the Inner Banks”. Established in 1776, on the Pamlico River, Washington claims to be the first city named after George Washington, but…well, not everyone agrees, as you’ll see in a later post.

Washington is struggling with the same problems every other small city/town in the country is wrestling with – old, out of date buildings and retail activity shifting to the suburbs.

While the downtown commercial area is lacking in interest shopping-wise, Washington does have its charm. Both commercial and residential areas have a great deal of architectural interest, with some buildings dating back to colonial times. There are ample examples of Victorian, Arts and Crafts and more modern styles, too, all perched side by side along streets lined with crepe myrtle trees.

Civil War history is also to be found here along the river front, most proudly displayed by two houses with cannon balls still embedded in their siding. .

We enjoyed our time in Washington – very low key and relaxing, but interesting, too.  The North Carolina Estuarium, located on the river, very professionally displays the ecology of North Carolina.  The rural area with its tobacco fields is lovely, and the small towns outside Washington interesting. Bath, the oldest town in North Carolina, was once the home of Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard the pirate, and was North Carolina’s first commercial port.

Poking around in a variety of stores gave us a hint of local flavor, but being sorta-foodies, we’re always looking for something good to eat.  And we found just that in silver-dollar sized scallops at a local seafood market.

However, some of the regional delicacies we happened see in the local Piggly Wiggly just didn’t whet our appetite.