Thanks to the Elizabeth City Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, I had the chance to get to know this special town last month, and so today, I'm sharing the reasons why you should stop and smell the roses (at the local Mariner's Wharf, of course!) in E-City this weekend!
1. Small town with large town appeal.
It's unfortunate that small towns get a "Does anything ever happen there?!" rap because it's just not the case with most of them, and Elizabeth City is no exception! In a place with more than 18,000 friendly residents, there's a good chance that you'll feel at home right away. To put it to you straight, friends, this town got a Hobby Lobby in much speedier time than Virginia Beach did! Fellow shopperistas out there know how big of a deal that one is!
From annual arts and food festivals such as the Taste of the Albemarle hosted by Arts of the Albemarle to locally-inspired museums like the Museum of the Albemarle to the Downtown Waterfront Market on Saturdays, there is something for everyone here every weekend and in the surrounding areas.
And for all you wedding-obsessed people like we are, the Museum has a free and fun exhibit called "I DO! Weddings in the Albemarle, 1831-2015" until December 2017. Beyond showcasing the bridal styles of days gone by, there is even a wedding dress-up corner for kids-at-heart, and I may or may not have partaken in donning puffed sleeves and a rockin' wedding hat from the 1970's. It was glorious.
2. Antiquing dreams come true here.
Big Disclaimer: Make sure the trunk of your car is empty before driving down to Elizabeth City! You will come across various antique shops, and you will undoubtedly not be able to leave this region without taking vintage must-haves home with you. No matter if you're engaged, married, or a wedding professional, you're going to get inspired by the random industrial parts, wooden windows, vintage bikes, milkglass bottles, and so much more. If you love the more traditional antiquing experience, The Nesting Cottage located a few minutes outside of E-City is the perfect spot! And if you are more of a modern antiquer who loves curated collections like I do, then Junk N Pretties is your found treasure haven.
3. Elizabeth City loves pets, too!
For couples who prefer to travel with their pups, you'll especially love to know that a lot of Elizabeth City's downtown area businesses are in love with our furry friends, too! Muddy Waters Coffeehouse welcomes thirsty humans and dogs, even offering special dog-friendly treats while you two lovebirds enjoy your own cup of java! Even a little bit aways from downtown, Nu-Quality Ice Cream's outdoor seating area is perfect for two- and four-legged patrons to enjoy a delicious frozen goodie during the summer months. (And if Nu-Quality has banana as their flavor of the week, then it's 100% non-negotiable, you have to go and try it!)
4. Southern hospitality with arms wide open.
Elizabeth City has really lovely Bed & Breakfasts, and Culpepper Inn is one of them. Within walking distance of the downtown area and a "we welcome all" mantra, Culpepper Inn was my home-away-from-home for this trip, and it had the historic 1930's Colonial Revival architectural charm that stole my old soul heart. The kindness and attention to details the innkeepers shared were above and beyond exceptional (especially the gluten-free breakfast accommodations). And when you live in the land of B&Bs (aka Williamsburg), the bar is pretty high for phenomenal private lodging options! And if Culpepper Inn is a true reflection of the local B&B culture that I think it is, then any visiting couple is in for a real romantic treat.
5. Food, food, food diversity.
Oh, yes. Sweet fried plantains at Caribbean-inspired Island Breeze Grill, savory Tuscan Spinach Chicken from Sidney's Cafe and Bistro, Brown Sugar Encrusted Pork Chops from Montero's Restaurant, and California Croissant sandwiches from The Pineapple Cafe... just name a few! It is a total mmm mmm good kind of town and very accommodating to dietary restrictions and food allergies which makes Elizabeth City truly a culinary harbor of hospitality. Whether you're a looking for a casual lunch or a romantic dinner for two, there's a flavor for every kind of tastebud!
So whether you are on your way to the Outer Banks for an extended beach vacation or really looking for a casual weekend getaway that's close by, Elizabeth City is the perfect driveable destination. It will pull you lovebirds in for the best kind of friendly hug and surprise you both with one memorable trip.
WATCH THE EXPERIENCEInterview: New Modern Wedding Venue, Loft Gardens, in Elizabeth City (Periscope)
Wedding Inspiration through Antiquing at Junk N Pretties (Periscope)
Interview: Discover Elizabeth City with Tourism Director Christina Rehklau (Periscope)
Taste of the Albemarle 2016 (Periscope)
So when are you going to #DiscoverECity?
Lil Disclaimer: Accommodations, meals, and transportation were provided to Tidewater and Tulle for the immersive Elizabeth City-related experience. All opinions and love for this town are our own. All photos in this post were taken by Chelsea LaVere.