Southern Belle in Training

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle Blog || Est. 2012 || Virginia Beach, VA

November 21, 2022

TRAVEL GUIDE: Charming and Historic Edenton, NC.

      This Travel Guide has been a long time coming, and I'm so excited it's finished! This might be a blog post that I revisit in years to come and update, based on continuing to visit regularly since I have extended family in the area. Welcome to what might be my favorite small town on earth: Edenton, NC!

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About Edenton + Town History:

      Edenton is located within the Inner Banks region of North Carolina, in the northeast part of the state. The Inner Banks region is located around the Albemarle Sound (the Inner Banks are just west of the Outer Banks). The Outer Banks are a string of barrier islands directly on the ocean in North Carolina, and a very popular tourist destination that you have probably heard of (or if not been to before). The Inner Banks is the lesser-known region that's just west of the Outer Banks. While not located directly on the ocean, much of the Inner Banks is still considered coastal, as it's home to the Albemarle Sound, which is one of the largest estuaries in the US. Albemarle Sound is so big that it has the feel of being a very large lake. The town of Edenton is located directly on the Albemarle Sound, and the downtown is just steps away from the water. 

     Edenton has a population of just over 5,000, and the population has stayed steady throughout most of the past century. There is a lot of rich history in Edenton, dating back a few hundred years. Residents of Edenton have so much pride in their small town's unique history, which is special to see. Edenton is also the friendliest small town that I've ever visited. I've never experienced anything quite like the warmth and friendliness of Edenton residents to visitors. Edenton is a real-life version of beloved TV show small towns. It reminds me of the perfect combo of Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls, Bluebell from Hart of Dixie and Serenity from Sweet Magnolias. While a lot of Edenton and Chowan County residents have family histories that go back generations, the area is also becoming a popular retirement spot for the 55+ age bracket from out-of-state. 

     The teapot is the town symbol of Edenton, and you see teapots everywhere in the town. The official town teapot sculpture, made of bronze in 1905, is pictured below! Did you know that Edenton had its own Revolutionary Era Tea Party? While not as big or well-known a historic event as the famed Boston one, what sets the Edenton Tea Party apart is that it was female-lead! Edenton resident Penelope Barker lead 50+ women to sign a petition against England. Edenton's visitor center (pictured below, the white building on the water) is named for Penelope Barker. You can ready more about this unique part of Edenton's history here on the Edenton Historical Commission website!

The 1905 commemorative bronze Edenton Teapot!


      Driving is your best option to get to Edenton. It's not located off any interstates, but US-17 is the largest route that passes through the area. From where I live in Virginia Beach, it's just under 90 minutes of driving to get to Edenton. It's not a bad drive from a lot of parts of Virginia and the Carolinas! Once you're in Edenton, if you're able to stay near downtown most things are very walkable. There won't be much driving once you've arrived. If you're not from the southeast and plan to fly to the area, the Norfolk VA airport is 90 minutes away, and the Raleigh NC one is two hours. 

     Edenton is about a 90 minute drive west from the start of the Outer Banks. If you have an Outer Banks vacation planned, I think planning a day in Edenton either before or after the beach trip would be a phenomenal idea!! 


      I am very lucky to have an aunt and uncle who moved to Edenton in 2020. They directly on the Albemarle Sound, and the view from their backyard looking out to the water has truly become one of my favorite spots on earth! I love waking up to the beautiful views in their guest room. But if you don't have a local family member or friend in the Edenton area, there are great lodging options in town (one of which I just had the pleasure of staying at!). 
  • The Captain's Quarters and Granville Queen Inns (202 West Queen St.) - This is the most charming bed and breakfast that I think I've ever stayed in! It's owned and managed by The Carolina Experience hospitality group, and they generously hosted me for a weekend stay this year. Both The Captain's Quarters and Granville Queen Inns are next-door to each other, and both were just renovated in 2022. The decor is perfection, the ambiance is filled with small-town southern charm, and they're located in such a convenient spot in Edenton. For as much as I love staying with my aunt and uncle, I would definitely love to stay here again too! I have a separate blog post with more photos and details about The Captain's Quarters and Granville Queen Inns HERE. And use code MISSALK20 for 20% off booking your stay between now and March 2023!
  • Hampton Inn (115 Hampton Drive) - There is a Hampton Inn located just a couple miles away from Downtown Edenton. When I'm not going a boutique hotel or inn route for a trip, Hampton Inns are definitely one of my preferred budget hotel brands! This could also be a good spot to stay for a last-minute Edenton trip if the local inns were already booked up.
  • Inner Banks Inn (103 East Albemarle Street) - Another historic inn that's just a short walk away from Downtown Edenton. They also have a nice restaurant on the property that I haven't been to yet, but I'd love to eat at some time soon. 

Eat / Drink:

     While you will find a handful of fast-food restaurants on the outskirts of town, Edenton overall is a place to find beloved local restaurants. The residents take so much pride in their local restaurants. There was actually a brand new restaurant holding a soft opening during the most recent weekend that I was in Edenton, and I heard excitement about the new spot from just about every local resident that I met, which was really cute to see. I feel like new restaurants opening in larger cities just don't get the same hype as when ones open in a small town, ha! 

     One thing to keep in mind with dining in Edenton is that the town very much shuts down on Sundays. Just about all of the local eateries (and shops and historic attractions) are closed on Sundays. For that reason, I do believe Fridays and Saturdays are the best days to visit Edenton.

Edenton Restaurants I've Been To:
  • 309 Bistro & Spirits (309 S. Broad St.) - A casual downtown restaurant that's open for lunch on some weekdays and lunch and dinner on the weekends. Their food menu is mainly sandwiches and salads. They have a wonderful drink menu, and I think the real standout items here are the delicious homemade desserts! Pictured below is a slice of Bailey's Irish Cream Cheesecake that I enjoyed on my most recent Edenton trip.
  • Edenton Bay Oyster Bar (621 W. Queen St.) - My friend Emily and I dined here on my most recent Edenton trip and I really liked it. They have a whole variety of seafood dishes as well as some non-seafood options. If you do like oysters, this seems to be the place to have them! Try to sit outside for the best view if weather permits, and if not ask for a window table with a view when you make a reservation.
  • Mamasita's Mexican Restaurant (300 Virginia Road Ste. B) - I've eaten here several times with my aunt and uncle. It's one of the most affordable spots in Edenton, and you can never go wrong with Mexican food! It's also one of very few places to eat that's open on Sundays in Edenton.
  • Old Colony Smokehouse (802 W. Queen St.) - I have to preface this one by saying that I'm not a big fan of BBQ. But I know a lot of people are, so I wanted to include this! Old Colony Smokehouse has won a lot of awards for their high-quality BBQ favorites. It's so popular that they often sell out of certain menu items before the end of the day! I've eaten here with my aunt and uncle before, and even though I'm not the biggest BBQ fan I still liked it. If you do like BBQ, I feel like you'd love it.
  • Sugared Fig Bake Shoppe (401 S. Broad St.) - I'm a sucker for a small-town bakery!! The Sugared Fig just opened within the past year, and it's adorable. They have a pretty large cupcake selection most days which is fun!
Edenton Restaurants I'd Like to Try in the Future:
  • The Herringbone on the Waterfront (119 W. Water St.) - This restaurant literally just opened, and I'm excited to try it in Edenton next year. They have a great looking menu that includes everything from pizza to nicer meat dishes. 
  • The Table at Inner Banks (103 E. Albemarle St.) - Menu-wise this is one of the nicest places in town! It's the restaurant on-site at the Inner Banks Inn. I'd love to eat here at some point for a nicer splurge meal in Edenton! 
  • Waterman's Grill (427 S. Broad St.) - My aunt and uncle like this place, and I've heard other good things about it too. I know I'll try it at some point! It's a very seafood-focused nicer restaurant, located right downtown. 


     For a very small town, Edenton has a good amount going on! It's the perfect town to spend a weekend in. With that said, I do think Fridays and Saturdays are the best days to visit Edenton. Almost everything in Edenton (restaurants, stores, historic spots) is closed on Sundays. So just keep that in mind when planning a visit!

     Shop on S. Broad St. - S. Broad St. is Edenton's version of a Main Street. It is so incredibly charming, and just filled with the most unique local stores! I feel like a lot of small towns these days have very struggling Main Street areas and have a hard time retaining local shops. Edenton couldn't be more different! S. Broad St. also has free parking which is just an extra reason to spend time downtown! There are so many fun ones that you can pop into, but my favorites are Downtown Diva Boutique and Feathers Boutique for clothing and accessories, The Polka Dot Palm for home goods and accessories, and Christian Bookseller for faith-related gifts. Downton Diva is my absolute favorite store in Edenton, and some of my favorite things I've added to my closet this past year are from this store! They have such unique and colorful clothing items that are different from what I see in a lot of the online boutiques. Another store I love in Edenton that's just off S. Broad St. is the Edenton Tea Company within the King Street Shops! It's super tiny, but a charming place to stop by if you're a tea lover like me. 

      Visit the Penelope Barker House Welcome Center - This is probably the most charming welcome center ever! It is home to the Edenton Historical Commission, and where you can purchase tickets for the Edenton Trolley Tour.  They also have a small gift shop, and lots of books and historical materials to check out with town history. The Penelope Barker House is located right on the Albemarle Sound, and the back porch faces the water. The rocking chairs and porch are open to the public (pictured below!) and it's the most lovely spot to sit and enjoy the views! 

       Tour the Cupola House and Gardens - The Cupola House has been in Downtown Edenton since the 1750s! You can purchase tickets to tour the inside of the house, or enjoy the beautiful gardens outside of it for free. I've loved snapping some photos in the garden on past Edenton visits! Someday I'll have to tour the inside of the house. 

      Visit the 1886 Roanoke River Lighthouse - This beautifully restored and very historic lighthouse now resides on the Albemarle Sound, right in Downtown Edenton! It is one of the last surviving screwpile lighthouses of its kind in the US. It's very cool to check out and snap some pictures with. You can see a picture of it in a section above in this blog post! 

      Play a round of golf - The Links at Mulberry Hill is a beautiful semi-private golf course that's located right on the Albemarle Sound. Talk about a beautiful setting for a golf course! I haven't gotten to play here yet, but it's only my list for something to do on future Edenton trips to visit family next year.

      Take the Edenton Trolley Tour - There is a guided hour-long trolley tour that you can get tickets for, and I highly recommend it! You will learn so much about the rich history of the town, and the stories behind some of the most beautiful Edenton buildings. You will also learn a lot about many citizen-lead initiatives in recent years to restore and save historic spots, which I found very inspiring. I enjoyed this tour so much that I would do it again in a future year.

     Take an Edenton Bay Cruise in the Albemarle Sound - Captain Mark is an Edenton local who offers a unique way to tour the town of Edenton: by boat! He's the captain of the small yet charming Liber-Tea boat and offers guided tours of the town in the Albemarle Sound. Captain Mark tells some different history stories about the town than you hear on the Edenton Trolley Tour, so I think it's totally worthwhile to do both! My aunt and uncle took me on an Edenton Bay Cruise during my very first visit, and it was a great intro for me to how lovely Edenton is. 

      Attend Vinyl Night at Edenton Bay Trading Company - I have to give full credit to fellow blogger Katie from A Touch of Teal for bringing this awesome Edenton event to my attention. Katie has been to Edenton and has a fabulous guide of her own (that you can read here!), and I couldn't believe that I'd never heard about Vinyl Night before reading about it on her blog. I decided that I absolutely had to attend on my next trip to Edenton. Oh my goodness- Katie wasn't kidding when she wrote that it was one of the most fun ways ever to spend a Saturday night! Vinyl Night is hosted every Saturday night (rain or shine!) by the Edenton Bay Trading Company wine and beer shop downtown. They take old school music requests and play the songs on vinyl for all to enjoy! And there is some serious lip synching action as well. Everyone who attended was so friendly and I seriously had a blast! I can't wait to go back to Vinyl Night on some future Edenton visits (and take my aunt and uncle!). 

      Walk the residential streets near Downtown Edenton and explore - As fun as the historical tours in Edenton are, all of the residential streets are just so lovely, and you can spend a wonderful hours just walking and explore on your own without any agenda, and enjoying all of the beautiful houses and buildings! 

 This Travel Guide was especially near and dear to my heart to write! My first visit to Edenton was to visit my aunt and uncle after they moved down there. I went down for a weekend in May 2021. Spring 2021 was a tough time in my personal life- I was actively job searching and trying to find a new radio job outside of Charlottesville. I was interviewing for different radio positions all over the country- most being in the Midwest or West. I wanted to be sure to visit my aunt and uncle at least once in their new home in Edenton before I made that big of a career move.

      On that first visit in May 2021, I absolutely fell in love with Edenton. On my drive back to Charlottesville, I remember thinking what a bummer it was that my next job would probably take me very far away from this sweet little town, and it might be years before I could visit again. Just a couple weeks later, I found a radio job posting in Virginia Beach and applied... and that ended up becoming my new job!! One of the first things I thought about after accepting my new job is that instead of being a few hours away from Edenton like I was in Charlottesville, I'd now be just 90 minutes away! What a blessing!!! And I sure have made the most of that over the last year and a half. 😊

Riding the Liber-Tea boat with Edenton Bay Cruises with my aunt and uncle on my first visit to Edenton!

     Below is a custom Google Map with all of the places in this blog post listed! I hope you've enjoyed my Edenton Travel Guide, and please email me or send me a DM on Instagram if you visit Edenton and try any of these special spots.


     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese


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