We spent the most delightful spring weekend in Edenton, NC last month. Prior to visiting, I didn’t know much about the town or even the location, but it’s a charming, historic town in North Carolina’s Inner Banks, right on the Albemarle Sound. Edenton was founded in 1712 and history is everywhere you turn, from its place as the second capital city of North Carolina to the stately homes to the story of the Edenton Tea Party. It’s a fabulous place to spend a weekend strolling its shaded, beautiful residential streets, shopping along Main Street, and checking out the delicious restaurants. And the town is small, so you can knock out everything you’d want to do in 48 hours and have time to relax.
Travel Guide: A Weekend in Edenton, NC
How to Get to Edenton, NC
Edenton, NC is about four and a half hours south of Washington, DC. We left on a Friday morning and it was an easy drive down 95, but I could imagine it could be much slower depending on the time of year. You’ll need a car to arrive in Edenton, though you wouldn’t need one once you’re in town.
Where to Stay for a Weekend in Edenton, NC
When to Go for a Spring Weekend in Edenton, NC
We visited Edenton in late April and it was a lovely, if slightly cool, weekend. Exactly my preferred traveling weather. But we’re talking about the South, so know that it can get hot and muggy as you get later into the spring and plan accordingly.
Friday Afternoon in Edenton
Check In to Captain’s Quarters Inn and Stroll Around Town
We got into Edenton around 1 PM on Friday afternoon, giving us plenty of time to check in, explore the inn, and do a walk around town getting our bearings. We strolled down Main Street to the water, getting a sense of the places we might want to check out on Saturday.
Grab a Drink at The Trolley
While we were down by the waterfront, we decide to check out The Trolley, literally an old trolley that sits outside the Herringbone (a restaurant we’ll chat more about later). It’s a quaint spot to grab a drink, take a seat, and watch all the activity on the water.
Get Dinner at Edenton Bay Oyster Bar
Since we had a gorgeous evening, we decided to head over to Edenton Bay Oyster Bar for dinner where we could sit outside on the water. It’s a quick drive from town, though you could walk it (it’s just not as pleasant as the in-town strolls). We were lucky to have a gorgeous sunset and siting outside was absolutely delightful. Service was slow, but friendly, and what does it matter when the setting is so stunning?
I would 10000% recommend getting the Grilled Cheese Oysters, which is a surprise coming from me because I’m normally only a raw oyster fan. The Fried Oyster Salad was also great.
A stop by The Freeze drive-thru was a must on the way home.
Start the Morning at the Farmers Market
After breakfast at the inn on Saturday, we stopped by the Edenton Farmers Market. It’s a small market that’s both outside and inside, and it has a range of items from food to crafts to apothecary items. I left with a tin of the most mouthwatering cinnamon rolls.
Explore the Historic Sites
After the farmers market, it was a quick walk over to the Irdell House Homesite, one of the historic attractions within Edenton. Unfortunately, we visited Edenton during their annual science weekend, so most of the sites were closed for student group tours, but the docents at the Irdell House were eager to let us explore before the groups arrived.
The docents were primed to give talks about how science relate to life in the early 19th century, which was surprisingly fascinating. This was particularly interesting in the kitchen, where an incredibly knowledgable woman spoke to the advancements of technology from then to now, and showed what their equivalent of a coffee maker, toaster, and more looked like.
Shop Around Main Street
After the Farmers Market and historic sites, we made our way over to Main Street where I wanted to check out a few of the shops I’d spotted the evening before. From ultra bright, very Southern womenswear to an outdoors shop with a bar inside to several gorgeous home stores, Main Street has plenty of local shops to keep you busy for a few hours. My big win was a Barbour jacket at the outdoors store that was on mega sale and definitely needed when temperatures dipped that evening and while we were in High Point.
Find the full list of shops at the end of this post!
Indulge in North Carolina Barbecue
While we may have been in a coastal town, you can’t go to North Carolina without getting barbecue. Old Colony Smokehouse is counter style restaurant with a pitmaster that won Food Network’s Chopped, and it’s known to sell out (everything is prepared fresh that day). Maybe it was because the weather was cloudy and drizzly, but we got there around 2 PM and most items were available. I got the chopped pork, while Adam opted for the brisket (because, Texas), and both were delicious.
After a late lunch, we had an exercise in learning to relax. With the rain, we realized there wasn’t much left for us to explore and we couldn’t walk around, so we went back to the inn, sat on the front porch, and relaxed.
Cocktails on the Deck at The Herringbone
For dinner, we had a reservation at The Herringbone, but we arrived early to grab cocktails on the deck. With the drizzles, we were the only ones brave enough to sit out there, but the cool evening air made it absolutely delightful. It’s a great space overlooking the water and fabulous for people watching.
Dinner at The Herringbone
The rain started to come down a bit harder just in time for our reservation, so we headed into the cozy inside. It’s a large space with exposed brick, perfectly dim lighting, and it feels warm and inviting. We ordered the Roasted Fingerling Sweet Potatoes, Wedge Salad, Spicy Sausage Pizza, and had the special dessert, a cobbler. I would recommend everything.
Explore the Penelope Barker House
We were finally able to tour the Penelope Barker House on Sunday morning while we waited for a boat tour. It’s a stunning house right on the water, known as Edenton’s Living Room. It’s critically important in what was known as the Edenton Tea Party, one of the first organized political uprisings by women in America. Within the house, there are several exhibits about Edenton’s history and specifically women’s history. It won’t take long to get through the entire house, but it’s definitely worth a visit.
Go On an Edenton Bay Tour with Captain Mark
Of course, you can’t go to a coastal town without getting on the water. While we couldn’t get out on Saturday, we were able to stick around town a little bit longer on Sunday to go on Captain Mark’s cruise. Not only was it so pleasant to be out on the water, but Captain Mark knows an impressive amount about Edenton history and it gave us more context on the town, its importance in American history, the characters that made up Edenton, the history behind the lighthouse, the homes, and so much more. This truly was a highlight.