For my birthday I took a few days off from work and visited the coast where I grew up. It’s a two and a half hour trip to Morehead City and I always Take highway 264 through Greenville and then to New Bern and on to Morehead City.
We stopped in Greenville to eat lunch. I attended East Carolina University (ECU) back in the day but Greenville has changed so much, like most cities in the South, since I graduated in 1996.
The Mongolian Empire Grill is still there. A Mongolian grill is similar to a buffet where you fill your bowl with veggies, spiced oils, and such then you give it to the cook who cooks it on a large round flat grill.
It was a staple for me and it’s still good! Their egg drop is exceptional and it is served with some sort of sesame flatbread which I love.
We stopped in New Bern to visit the gardens at Tryon Palace. If you watch Sleepy Hollow on Fox tv you will recognize the main building as the setting of many scenes. This was the colonial governor’s resident when New Bern was the capital of the colony of Carolina.
There are many other colonial era buildings and gardens around the area.
The John Wright Stanly house, built in 1779, and gardens.
And finally, we made it to the coast. The Morehead City waterfront has a boardwalk lined with restaurants, shops, and fishing boats. The coast of North Carolina is protected from the ocean by barrier island which create calm bays called Sounds.
The old fish houses are gradually being replaced with tourist friendly boardwalks.
Fishing is a large part of the history and is big business, although, it has been hurt by over fishing in the past and now with cheap imported seafood.
Sport fishing is still big as we are so close to the Gulf Stream and there are many fishing contest and tournaments.
This large marlin statute on the Morehead City Waterfront
We also visited the next town over which is Beaufort, NC
It, too, has a waterfront and is a popular stop for boats.
I love these rental bikes with names of herbs on the licenses plates.
And, of course, we had seafood for dinner.
We were up at 4:00 am to drive to the other end of the county to catch the first ferry to the island of Ocracoke.
It is a 2.5 hour ride so there is plenty time to make up for the sleep lost by getting up so early.
And finally you see the island and lighthouse in the distance.
The first stop after having breakfast at the Pony Island Inn is the very old lighthouse.
And the historic Cemetery while looking for relatives and a bit of our history.
And to the history museum in an old house. These houses are called a Four-Square. They are a perfectly square building.
And a walk around the old village and the tourist traps!
After a day of visiting all places where my grandmother and relatives grew-up we caught the last ferry back to the mainland at Cedar Island.
The next day we had lunch at the infamous El’s Drive In and a shrimp burger! Its a Morehead City institution!
It is made in the similar manner of a Carolina hamburger: shrimp, cocktail sauce, and coleslaw on a bun.
After a busy three days, it’s back in the Fiat for the drive back to Raleigh!