I cannot believe we have already been in Oriental for a whopping 2 weeks! So much has happened, and yet not much at all. Its been a strange transition back to the marina-dock-life. We are already hankering for our next big voyage, when the fun really begins. But first we have to get Bosco ready.
When we started scheming this trip 4 months ago, Oriental was always on the map, so to speak. From our research, we knew there would be a ton of high-quality services available in this tiny, 900-resident town…it is the sailing capital of NC, after all. (look even the sign says so!)
After our grueling ICW trek, we were in desperate need of some decent provisions, and a break. We decided to make a trip to the big city of Raleigh, and make a mini-vacay out of it and book a hotel. The 2-solid days of normalcy did us good, though it felt odd sleeping in a real bed, watching television and having unlimited wifi and air conditioning. We also indulged and went out for some famous North Carolinian Southern Fried Chicken (and mac n cheese) at Beasley’ Chicken & Honey, which was amazing! A nice little reboot for us.
Despite the break, we were anxious to get back to Oriental. We hadn’t yet taken time to discover much other than our dock and one restaurant. The town is really cute, quaint and very boater-friendly. Its really small, so getting around is cake. We ride bikes but walking is just as good. There are a bunch of fishing docks, marinas, boat-working-yards, a few restaurants and lots of beautiful greenery.
We are at Clancy’s Marina, which is more of a working boat yard with a dock (and some amenities) than a full-out marina like the one we stayed at in Rock Hall, MD. We are the largest sailboat on this side of the fixed bridge (since we pulled down the gear up there) so we stand out a bit. But its a fine place, and will be great to get a lot of electrical and diesel work done.
We have met several local’s out and about. Everyone is super nice, probably nicer than anywhere we’ve been so far. The average age seems to be about mid-60’s (apparently this is a great place to retire). Animals walk about town without owners. Our favorite is this cute black lab named Cutter, who visits just about everyday before making his rounds through the town.
There are a few really cute restaurants and the local hangout is a coffee shop, The Bean, that seems to attract every resident throughout the day. I have come to love doing work here because it has free wifi and is really entertaining; lots of locals come here to gossip. Plus they have really yummy smoothies (on those sweltering humid summer days).
The town seems to put on a lot of events throughout the year. The past weekend was the Dragon Boat Festival, which is put on to support cancer-survivors and other charities. The entire town (and surrounding towns all the way to South Carolina) came out to participate. It was held in a gorgeous harbor, River Dunes (like a country club) and was a lot of fun.
It seems like we will have a lot more free time so it has become imperative that we find ways to entertain ourselves. We have decided to take up fishing, kayaking, SUP (stand up paddle boarding) to pass the time between boat projects…but it sure has been a blast. All-in-all we are really looking forward to spending the next few months here!