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Living in Eastern NC

Why I Love Living in Washington and Eastern NC

A rich history, a river and the simpler things in life

Spending much of my childhood on my grandfather’s farm outside of New Bern, I am greatly comforted being surrounded by so many people who have a similar background and upbringing. Eastern North Carolina is home for me. People are hardworking, kind, generous and proud of their heritage. When I say kind – Washington/Beaufort County is a place where if someone has a need, people are lining up to help; if you break down on the side of the road, you don’t have to wonder if someone will stop by to help, because they will – it is that type of kindness that I love. It is also a community of faith, where people believe we answer to a higher authority.

Although a community still in touch with its history, our area offers a great balance of diversity, especially evident by the local Latino and retirement communities. The Latino community offers diversity, while they possess many of the same values of an eastern North Carolina native – hardworking, family oriented, friendly and faithful. We are blessed to have several large retirement communities with people from all across the country choosing to relocate to our quaint, waterfront community. While many are not native to Washington, these retirees re generous with their time and treasure and always looking for ways to help our community.

I enjoy the pace in Washington, the small-town feel, yet plenty of restaurants, activities and shopping in town to meet the needs of most. However, if you need a little more than what is offered locally, it is only a short drive to Greenville. And although Greenville is a wonderful place to visit, I always enjoy the return drive home to Washington. Another great thing about Washington is our historical downtown area and the many activities and events held that attract locals and visitors to shop in our retail stores, dine in our restaurants, walk along our waterfront and just simply enjoy the beauty of our downtown and community. If you enjoy the Christmas season, everyone needs to visit downtown in December to see the decorations along Main Street and the boats decorated along the waterfront with their lights reflection off the Pamlico River.

Vidant Beaufort Hospital is what brought me and my family to Washington in 2012, and I would be remiss to not mention my work family. Although in my career I have enjoyed working in different roles and in larger settings, my passion is the community hospital setting, and that is what is offered here in Washington. We have something very special here at Vidant Beaufort, and we are grateful to have team members who take pride in providing exceptional care to our patients every day!

Of course, I admit, I may be a bit biased towards eastern North Carolina. However, I love what Washington and Beaufort County have to offer. I love the rich history. I love the water, and I guess I am still one of those people who takes joy in the simpler things in life.

From stranger to family

I must admit, finding Washington was a stroke of good luck for me, especially because I didn’t even know it existed. As I was embarking on a new chapter of my life – by pursuing my 20-year dream of owning and running a bed-and-breakfast – I arrived at bath first. I had flown into Greenville and driven through Washington without paying much attention to it; I was focused on getting to my destination. As it turned out, the property I looked at in Bath was new construction, but I really wanted a historic building. The realtor then said she could show me a place in Washington that at the time was a private home, but had been a B&B in the past. Bingo! It was love at first sight! I fell in love with the beautiful old house on Main Street within walking distance of downtown, the charming town with such friendly people and the amazing waterfront. I didn’t do much research after that; my gut told me it was the right place and I’ve learned to trust my gut. I haven’t looked back. Nine years later, I can honestly say it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

My decision to move here has been confirmed and reconfirmed over and over. I like to say living in Washington is warm and fuzzy; it has an old-time feel. Washington is a place where people have kept their values and traditions. People are kinder and friendlier to friends and strangers alike. Having lived in seven other states, I feel I can say that with some degree of authority. It’s a place where everyone waves as they go by, where you are greeted by your name when you go shopping, where you are offered unsolicited help unloading your shopping cart, where drivers slow down to let you into traffic, where strangers spontaneously offer to help a fellow shopper pay, where locals in true Southern tradition are willing to invite total strangers into their homes and where spending time with friends and family is always a priority.

But more importantly, I love Washington because i feel its people have embraced me. I knew no one when I moved here on Jan. 28, 2010. It snowed that day. The next day I found a copy of the Washington Daily News, which my neighbor had kindly saved for me, with the inscription: “Welcome to Washington.” I had a beautiful picture of my new home covered in snow on the front page. For days after my arrival I kept finding welcome treats on my doorstep left by my neighbors. A little over a month later, I had 40 guests for my annual Oscars party! More guests than I had ever had anywhere I had lived before. However, the ultimate compliment Washington has given me has been voting for me when I ran for City Council.

It’s been a very quick nine years, chock full of fun with my now not-so-new friends, whom I like to call my chosen family. They are always ready to help and volunteer for worthy causes as well as join in the fun for social events.

I love Washington because it’s a beautiful and charming Southern city full of warm, loving, generous and welcoming people.

Surrounded by Southern hospitality

My family moved to Washington, North Carolina, from Pennsylvania in 1982. We moved into a house in the Smallwood neighborhood. On move-in day, when we took a much-needed break from unpacking, my father loaded us into the car and took us on a tour of Washington. When we returned home, we were surprised to find our kitchen counter and table covered in fresh pies and friendly notes welcoming us to the neighborhood and the town of Washington. This was “Southern hospitality” at its best – and the pies were tasty, too!

Through the years, I have made many great friends and met the love of my life. My husband and I own Grub Brothers Eatery and The Bank Bistro. We have employed a lot of people who have become my “work family.” I enjoy meeting and welcoming new people, those who come to work with us, those just passing through. Everyone in Washington is so friendly and always willing to pitch in and help their friends and neighbors when they are in a time of need.

I have owned and operated four businesses, all located in the heart of the historic downtown area, and through the years, I have met and been supported by lots of fine folks. Many of these people have become true friends, people I can call and count on whenever I need anything.

And then there is the Pamlico River. Fishing, swimming, kayaking, boating, bicycling, the wildlife and beautiful sunsets – activities enjoyed by and shared with the best of people.

I love Washington, not only because I live here and I work here, but because our Pamlico River will always be surrounded by Southern hospitality.

What’s not to love?

Adopt: “to take by choice into a relationship” – Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

I chose Washington. You might say I “adopted” this city, and Washington, in return, you adopted me. You welcomed me. You integrated me and made me more than someone who merely lives in Washington. You made me family.

“Adopt” is a word that has deep significance to me. I learned about it at an early age when my mother began explaining to me that I was adopted.

In terms that a child could grasp, she explained that they had purposely chosen me and because of thet, I was even more special to them. Their careful introduction of this concept ensured I would always feel great about how our family came to be.

During my career, I had been to eastern North Carolina many times, meeting clients and overseeing engineering projects. I was already predisposed toward moving to this region, and when my wife and I visited Washington, our decision was an easy one to make.

Soon after that, the magic began. The folks we met were open, friendly, welcoming and happily allowed me to lend a hand wherever I thought I could help. This was truly and adoption process.

I’ve discovered much about you, Washington. You are a city that is steeped in its history and that you celebrate all the progress and boom times you’ve encountered, while taking pride in your endurance through the challenges and disappointments.

Knowing that no community is perfect, you are constantly working toward a brighter future, intent on improving it day by day. You are undaunted and optimistic. You are also realists, and you realize you must earn this better future through hard work.

I’ve lived and worked in many areas of the country and abroad, from Biddeford, Maine, to Los Angeles, Tucson, Arizona, Santa Clara, California, London, Curacao and more. So, I guess I can claim to know a thing or two about communities! In Washington, I’ve discovered a special blend of attributes that, together, produced an amazing city in which to live.

When you can say that you leave the house every day, rubbing your hands in anticipation of the day’s activities, when you can say that you truly look formward to meeting with that group of people or organization, you know you’ve found the perfect adopted family.

No family is perfect, and families can have disagreements, but the family members’ commitment to stick with it and continue to make life better for his or her family is what makes the process rewarding.

What a priviledge to have been taken in by such a community.

So, when the question is, “Why do I love Washington?” I say, “What’s not to love!”

Becoming part of the family

A few weeks ago I was asked to offerthe toast at my Washington High School reunion. Among the words i offered was this: “When we gather, it is less of a class reunion and more of a family reunion.”

I could just as easily have been talking about the bonds that hold all of us in Washington together.

Washington has many special attributes that distinguishes itself but fall just short of making it truly unique. We have sweeping front porches where the tea is syrupy sweet and the welcoming smiles are even sweeter. We have a fascinating history, a rich agricultural and seafaring heritage, boundless natural resources, a vibrant cultural arts scene and deep and abiding communities of faith. And we embrace our visitors with a warmth where “y’all” quickly becomes “all.” But it is what happens when the rare uninvited guest shows up at our doorstep that makes us unique.

When that rare unwanted visitor arrives, with names ranging from hazel to Dorian, the heart and value of Washington is truly revealed. We witness neighbor helping neighbor. But more importantly, we witness stranger helping stranger. Simply put, when things are at their worst, we are at our best.

People on the river are happy to give.

So for those of you who have called Washington home for many years, please join me in counting our shared blessings. And for those of you who just discovered our jewel on the Pamlico-Tar, we are so glad you found us.

Welcome to the family!

Embracing the slow

The clock slows here along the Pamlico. The sun seeps low and easy into the western tree line and ignites the sky in a brilliant fire. People stop to watch. They stop along the waterfront and in farm fields. Some set their watches and wander to the end of piers that finger out into the river to marvel in the moment.

This is a defining characteristic of Washington, and it’s a reason I moved here from San Francisco this year. I remember riding through town my first time here five years ago and being charmed by the downtown district and the eye-popping waterfront. Here was a place of possible.

Forever will I be grateful to my squeeze, Michelle Clancy, who introduced me to the place where she raised her daughter, Kylee. And, after Michelle and I experienced back-to-back cancer adventures in the past three years, we sought to slow down the clock. It was in Washington where that would happen.

For me, slowing down is easier said than done. I’m a fifth-generation San Franciscan, descendant from an honest-to-goodness 49er. For years, I embraced the double-timing chaos of the Bay Area. But I work in Silicon Valley where people don’t pause except in endless, soul-sucking traffic. There is an unnatural rhythm to living there.

Here, I twist time to my advantage. No longer do I have a three-or-four-hour commute each day. I use that newfound time to sip coffee and chat with my neighbor. I chat with the Bible women who come by to preach the good word. Michelle might be hustling out of the downtown market to the next errand but I’m still yakking with Arthur the baker back inside. Tick … Tock.

Here, I nose the boat out into the Pamlico and cut the engine, and there you’ll find me in my laptop and cellular modem, tapping away. In the evening, we use it to motor up to one of the wonderful downtown restaurants or to Backwater Jack’s for dinner. Afterwards, we motor home under a bright hovering moon, and the wonder of it all – such a gift – makes me tear up.

Here, I hit the end of the pier at sunset to cast a lure into the waters and hope for the best. I could catch nothing, but the view and the meditation is matchless.

There is, as the Stoic philosophers said, no time like the present. And there’s no like the present. And there’s no better place to enjoy it and embrace the peaceful slow than right here; no better place to listen as the clock slows to the local rhythms and the lapping waters of the river.

A place steeped in (arts) history

Art creates opportunities to visualize, create and express ideas. It creates community, beautifies our surroundings, inspires and informs us and so much more.

I love Washington for supporting the arts across our community for so many reasons; for the way the community embraces the arts and its artists by both living and giving art in a multitude of ways, beginning with its past.

For its focus on history and on art history. Washington is home to a vibrant community art center nestled in the restored historic Turnage Theatre, thanks to the dedication, contributions and ongoing support of so many from Louise Lane, Judy Jennette and Joey Toler, to the Turnage Foundation and Arts of the Pamlico board and many others.

I love Washington for the steady support of AOP-affiliated art groups that offer music, comedy, choral and orchestra concerts, literature, film, fiber works and more.

For its residents, who support local artists with purchases of their works at six art galleries, who attend art walks and join us for monthly art exhibit receptions; who support AOP’s emerging community theater troupe as actors, musicians, set designers, volunteers, sponsors and patrons; who embrace the unique local sounds and musicians who create them – traditional, rock, blues and jazz. country. R&B, rap and gospel…

I love the craftspeople who share their crafts in handmade jewelry, painted and sewn fabrics, sculptures, body art, hair art, artistic signage, boat designs, metal works and more.

I love Washington’s art-filled festivals – from AOP’s film festivals, the Chamber’s Summer Fest, Rotary’s Smoke on the Water, to those to come: the first Plein Air competition, Blues & Jazz festivals and a return of the Wildlife Arts Festival.

I love Washington for supporting literary arts, the Pamlico Writers Group, Innerbanks Storytellers, local writers, poets, comedians and librarians and growing a local film and documentary home at AOP, with two film festivals, student film events, documentary showings and more.

I love the support of the business and education partners who share, leverage and support public art and art events in our city – from a painted piano on the sidewalk, to fish sculptures in the Harris Lane alley, to paintings in their places of business, hair salons and cityscapes.

And, I love, love, love Little Washington for supporting little artists in a big way – by attending, helping with and sponsoring children’s events, summer art camps scholarships for kids, festivals and more.

I love Washington. Thank you, Washington, for supporting the arts in so many small and big ways – for all of us!

Home is where the heart is

Sitting in The Meeting Place Cafe, listening to the laughter from a group of lifelong friends a table away, I observe the slow pace of traffic moving through the downtown street. I have been evaluating life and the world around me more frequently of late and appreciating the inner peace that this waterfront town brings to my heart and soul. Home, by definition means “where one lives,” and although I was not born in Washington, it is one of the places I have always felt most at home. Washington is an eclectic community that is home to generations of locals and transplants from near and far, which offers such diversity, there is no way one can’t feel at home here.

Spending the day browsing local art galleries, sampling tasty morsels from the bakeries and restaurants or shopping in any of the local shops, is guaranteed to bring friendly smiles, animated conversations and a new treasure or two. Strolling along the boardwalk often yields more than just a beautiful river view and variety of boats to admire. It is not unusual to meet travelers from along the eastern seaboard, nor is it unusual to meet people visiting this charming and historic town in search of their new “home.” Just when you think the day couldn’t get any better, you are very likely to witness one of the most vibrant sunsets you have ever seen. If you are fortunate, you can find a seat on the patio of a local wine bar or bistro and sip a refreshing beverage and let the beauty of the sunset wash your cares away and soothe your soul. You may even hear fellow patio mates say, “There’s no place like home.”

So, as I make my way through town, saying hello to friends and strangers alike, I admire the architecture and charm that surrounds me. I smile as a warmth envelops my soul, and my heart says, “It’s good to be home.”

A spectator of that celestial canvas

I love sunsets.

Most evenings, at the close of my daily walk with our puppies, I end up one block from our cottage at the far west end of Havens Gardens. I climb up over the railroad tracks and make my way to the small promontory that looks out on a lone cypress tree. At sunset, the western sky comes alive with vivid colors etched over clouds, the reds, oranges and scarlets set against the deepening blue sky. My cypress tree frames this natural feast of colors, and I take a photo or two, maybe five or six, then stand there for a little while longer, enjoying the dying embers of the day. This astral spectacle never fails to move me, even though the dogs don’t experience that same emotion – the ducks who fled once we climbed over the tracks sit on the water far enough away for safety, but close enough to drive them slightly batty. Occasionally, we arrive as night has almost swallowed the remains of the day, stars and muted colors share the same sky. The sunset simply makes me feel alive and humbled to be an audience to its daily show.

That is what I love Washington: the nature that surrounds and articulates with the town and invigorates in me the feeling of being alive. I can’t lie, it was the drive over the Route 17 bridge my wife, Allison, and I made coming into town that first captured our hearts. The river, the waterfront, the white puffy clouds hanging over the horizon downstream, the colors of the boats and the sails, the gulls that circled and the ducks that paddled; we felt the compelling naturalistic and magnetic draw of this place, before our intellectual brains came to their own conclusion after we had spent time here.

Certainly, I embrace the just-right pace of Main Street, and would even enjoy a pace slightly less sedate as Washington stretches to bring in new business. I admire the history captured in the stately homes of the historic district and buildings downtown. I appreciate a daily newspaper, and I know there is power of giving in Washington to see to the at-risk populations that live on the edges in any community. I enjoy walking to my destinations when I don’t feel like driving, and I anticipate our strolls across town and the 3/4 of a mile round trip on the promenade that we two-legged and four-legged Sands walk daily, and the three doggie relief bag dispensers that are located along the way, for the dogs, of course. These and many other things about Washington I am grateful for and taken together could be what many would say is why they love Washington. I would be hard pressed not to agree.

But for me to really talk about loving a place like Washington, I come back to the feeling I look forward to every evening when the dogs pull me over the tracks to get to the ducks, when my Charlie Brown cypress tree welcomes me to another act of nature taking a bow at the end of the day. It is that feeling of a tuning fork going off in my soul as I stand a spectator dwarfed in front of that celestial canvas that I love about Washington.

A friendly and most welcoming place

When my husband first took a job in Greenville, he said to me, “Don’t worry. I know exactly where we are going to live!” You see, he had been to Washington years earlier to interview with a local boat company. While he didn’t take that job, the day and a half that he spent in Washington was more than enough time to make a lasting impression on him. I can easily understand why. There is so much to love about Little Washington.

As an artist, I am proud to boast that there are 10 unique art galleries where you can find everything from tobacco stick stars, to fine handcrafted jewelry. pottery, stunning paintings and other two-dimensional art pieces. Washington is home to many artists, all embraced and supported by an active community. The Arts of the Pamlico located at the historic Turnage Theatre is the heart of our arts community. There is always something going on there, exhibits, art classes, music; the Beaufort County Traditional Music Association jam session every Thursday evening and Saturday morning is an amazing assemblage of local talent. If traditional music isn’t your thing, there are concerts put on by the Beaufort County Concert Association and Improv Comedy performs the first Saturday of each month. AOP hosts a writers group, community theatre, Broadway on the Big Screen, multiple art and theatre camps for kids… There is something to please everyone, all you have to do is check the calendar.

Washington is also steeped in history. We have one of the largest commercial and residential historic districts in the state. The community’s commitment to preserving Washinton’s 512 historic properties is undeniable. When we purchased our home in the historic district – well, let’s just say it needed some work. Our biggest surprise, though, was the community’s reaction to our renovation. People we hadn’t met would stop by the house and knock on the door just to thank us. People would come up to us in restaurants and on the street to ask how the house was coming along. We heard lots of stories about previous owners and dinner parties people had been to in our home. The love and appreciation we felt from the community was inspiring.

There is much to love about Washington. After-dinner strolls along the waterfront to watch the sunset over the Pamlico, fire-pit nights and cocktails on the porch with friends are some of my favorite activities. The people here are among the friendliest and most welcoming I’ve met. Whether they are lifelong residents or transplants like us, retirees or young working people, there is a real sense of community spirit in this wonderful city. We are all in this together.

Coming home, 30 years later

I grew up in Washington and as a child there were things I thought that I did NOT like about Washington. For instance, everywhere I went, the mall, the pool, the river, the store, there were people that knew me, my father or who were part of my own family already. Nothing back then could be a secret for that reason.

Bill’s hotdogs, with that spicy chili, were on the menu at least weekly in my family. I was required to be at First Baptist Church three times a week as “girl in action” and my aunt also sand at the church regularly. Piano lessons with Ms. Alligood were daily and strict. Washington had no big city excitement or stress to become entangled in. The river and boating or skiing was all I ever expected to be doing on the weekends. Orange Aids from Jimmy’s or Tayloe’s were enjoyed less often than they should’ve been. So, childhood ended and adult life took me far from home and the things I did not like.

30 years later, I am here in Washington again.

I eat four Bill’s hotdogs in one sitting at least once a week. everywhere I go in town, I see people who have known me my whole life or are my family. There is no big city stress in which to become entangled. The river and waterfront is even more beautiful than I remember it as a child. Orange aids have no weekly limit for me now.

The people contained within the city limit signs are at the ready to welcome you whether you’re returning or appearing for the first time. They will laugh or cry with you, or help you with whatever you may need. The love here is displayed in both word and deed. My father, aunts, uncles and grandparents, some of whom are buried here, left me with a legacy of love and family pride. Whether in Washington or anywhere in the world, I remembered that a good name is to be chosen rather than great riches.

I took my first breath in Washington, and it’s where I plan to take my last. Until then, I’ll carry on in both words and deeds all the things I like, no, the things that I LOVE, about Washington. It’s home sweet home, full of love in all the familiar faces and places. There’s no better place on earth!

A natural fit

My wife and I had driven close to 900 miles from South Florida to visit a good friend who had moved to Washington. It was June of 2008, and as we stepped out of our car, I smelled the warm scent of summer pine trees and heard a lone cicada in the distance. Liane asked if we had ever kayaked before; we had not. She gave us a quick lesson and the next day we went with a group of local people on a three-mile paddle in Bath. We made new friends, enjoyed the river, soaked in the sun. But when we saw the bald eagle, high in a tree silently watching us glide by, we knew we would move here someday.

I am not from here. I was born in San Diego, and I lived in upstate New York farm country, from elementary through junior high school. I loved the seasons that Southern California did not offer. I loved the rolling green hills of my youth, the endless stretches of corn fields and dairy farms. When my family moved to Fort Lauderdale, I was devastated to leave that idyllic life, yet I spent the next 40 years in the tropics. I made friends, had a wonderful career, met my wife, had great adventures, but something was missing. Our first vacation in Washington found us looking at houses. In 2012, we bought the house we had first admired in 2008. Mom moved with us, and we share that house and this town – its climate, people, culture, industry are familiar, yet unfamiliar. We have started our lives over in a place we instantly loved.

I am still thrilled every time I see an eagle. I’ve kayaked with dolphin in the Pamlico River and helped turtles cross the road. I am that driver who slows down every morning by Veterans Park to look at the early summer goslings. I look forward to different flowers every season, from azaleas to hydrangeas, from crepe myrtle to pansies. I have seen the most beautiful sunsets imaginable right here in our town. Yes, I call it our town. Sometimes i even slip into a soft Southern accent just because it is comfortable and soothing, like a warm bowl of chicken and pastry. Maybe it lets me feel as though I belong here – that I am from here – a place I am so proud to call home.

The people make the town

Why do I love Washington? The answer to this is simple for me … it is the people.

Many places in our beautiful country have water access, nice buildings, history and monuments; but it is the people of Washington and the surrounding country that keep me here.

There is a wonderful blending of those whose roots have been here for many generations along with those of us transplanted here from other parts of the country. We all work together to continue to make Washington a great place in which to live, work, retire and play.

As the executive director of Eagle’s Wings Food Pantry, I see firsthand the spirit of volunteerism that permeates throughout our community in the many acts of kindness I witness each and every day. I have never lived anywhere else where this spirit of caring and generosity has been so alive and demonstrated.

Just one prime example has been the work done by volunteers in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. Many gave of their time to assist others; many gave of their talents to organize relief efforts; and many gave of their “treasure” to ensure agencies had the means to help.

Washington is a caring community in which all peoples are valued and respected.

I see this with our local church families. With any kind of disaster or distress, church families organize and assist in many valuable ways. I witness this with our volunteers at Eagle’s Wings; I witness this with the women who help other women and children at Ruth’s House; I witness this with the people who work with the homeless men at Zion Shelter and the soon-to-open Open Door Community Center for homeless women and children. I witness this with all of the many agencies whose missions are to help those in need.

I see goodness and mercy all around Washington and I am most grateful to be a small part of this caring and loving community!

A great place to call home

As a young boy growing up in the small community of Acre Station, life was pretty simple, but good. I remember, with fondness, the long days of working in the tobacco fields, cutting flowers on the numerous flower farms in Terra Ceia, picking up roots on various farms throughout the county and occasionally picking cotton. As children, we were always working at some odd jobs through various months of the year, and relished in the fact that we were able to make a little bit of money to take to town and spend.

“Going to town” (Washington) was always a great event that we eagerly looked forward to. I remember the frequent weekend trips “to town” to visit our favorite shopping destinations – the local A&P store, Jowdy’s record store, McClelland’s Department Store, King Chicken, Bill’s Hotdogs, and occasionally Dr. Pugh’s office and Beaufort County Hospital (which although was segregated at the time, provided good quality health care services to all). And I don’t forget my first char-grilled hamburger when Washington finally got a Hardee’s restaurant. Boy, those were the days!

I eventually graduated from Pantego High School and decided that I wanted to see more of the world. So, I enlisted in the U.S. Army and left home for the first time. My experience in the military gave me a broader view of the world as I traveled to numerous parts of the country and had several overseas assignments. After my military career, I settled in the Southwest (Texas) and started college at the University of El Paso. Although I enjoyed the experience of being away from home and being on my own, there was always something in the back of my mind that drew me to the place where I had been raised. So after being away for five years, I decided to move back to eastern North Carolina.

I settled in Washington, started college at Beaufort Tech (now Beaufort County Community College) in the College Transfer Program. What a great career choice! I transferred to East Carolina University and completed my degree in occupational therapy. After practicing my profession in Greenville for the next eight years, and having many patients in Washington and surrounding areas. I saw the need for my professional services in my home county which had a severely underserved health care need in my chosen profession. So, in 1995, I decided to strike out on my own and opened my practice, Occupational Therapy Plus Inc., in Washington and have not looked back.

I love living in Washington. My wife, Cathy, and I have settled in the Smallwood community, raised our children here and involved ourselves in local civic activities. Washington is a great place to live. The community affords you a great opportunity to get to know your neighbors, offers the advantage of small-town living, but is close enough to other communities such as Greenville and Raleigh should you desire more diversified activities. The people are friendly and the hospitality is beyond reproach. Yes, I lucked out in choosing such a great hometown!

Warmer weather may bring red-hot fishing

Spring is a wonderful time to be a fisherman. It’s a season of transition, which yields great weather, great fun, and adventures, which make lasting memories on the beautiful waters of our Pamlico River.

For warm-weather fishermen, wiping off dust and oiling their favorite reel, organizing tackle boxes, and getting boats de-winterized and ready for the upcoming warmer months is their routine. For anglers who fish throughout the calendar year, spring is a time to rethink strategies for targeting resident speckled trout and striped bass as water temperatures warm, and to focus on the transient speckled trout, flounder and puppy drum that are moving through our inlets into our estuary from the nearshore waters of the ocean and heading our way.

Spring is also productive for panfish, with white perch. yellow perch, crappie and bream plentiful in the backs of some of our larger, fresher creek systems.

On the Tar, spring is synonymous with the annual shad-spawning run. We have two species of shad: hickory and American, or white shad. Hickory and American shad are anadromous fish, which means they live most of their life in salt water and spawn in fresh water. Each year, they make the long trek in from the Atlantic Ocean. Many of the fish that spawn in North Carolina spend much of the year in the Bay of Fundy in eastern Canada.

The area between Tarboro and Rocky Mount is the primary spawning ground for the Tar River shad. Other rivers, such as the Neuse and the Roanoke, experience similar shad spawning runs. While the Roanoke hosts a greater quantity of shad consisting of mostly hickories, the Tar is known for a better variety with its abundance of mature female white “roe” shad, a much sought-after catch by local shad fishermen.

My personal favorite in early spring is the striped bass fishing on topwater lures. In the spring before the spawn in April and May,the stripers are full of roe and milt. Therefore, they are much larger than they would be during the late spring and summer.

On the Pamlico, anglers consistently encounter stripers in the 25- to 30-inch class, which may range in weight during the pre-spawn from 7 to 15 pounds. These are no small fish on light tackle. Witnessing a 30-inch, 15-pound striper attack bait on the water’s surface is truly remarkable, and one of my favorite types of light-tackle fishing.

We are very fortunate to have such bountiful and consistent striper fishery in our estuary. Anglers on the Pamlico can catch them year-round, and they give anglers a quality moving target at times when the speckled trout, puppy drum and flounder fishing is slower.

I encourage each one of you to get out and explore the resources on the Pamlico River. We have a wonderful resource that must be treated with respect and reverence. We all have a responsibility to be stewards to the river by protecting and preserving its natural integrity for future generations.

Home is in the heart

As a girl who grew up living near the reservoir in Nash County, I have always loved the beauty and peace that water brings to the soul. Therefore, when I stepped into serving at The Blind Center in Washington, there was a part of my heart that felt like I was simply coming back to a piece of my childhood through the gift of this beautiful town!

Yet, as much as i adore this amazing view and the whimsical allure of the shopping and recreational experience, the piece that has absolutely captivated my heart more so than anything else is the people, the community that makes this precious town exactly what it is.

While serving at The Blind Center for the past year and a half, I have had the sweet privilege of truly experiencing the heart of Washington. This is a community that truly loves one another – not simply in words, but in deed and in truth. When one is in need, they gather together to provide. Businesses partner together to ensure that all people are served adequately and collaborate so that resources are used wisely. Personally, I have had the opportunity to grow and develop professionally through the invaluable resource that has been extended by community leaders and network connections.

Washington is the kind of community, the safe haven, that draws you in like a warm, cozy blanket on a frigid day. It has this way of welcoming the stranger in and at the end of the day, you simply do not want to leave this treasure of a town!

For the person or family who is seeking a safe place to call home, a place where they can truly belong and also make a difference in the lives of others, Washington is the place where all of these dreams can come true – and you have one of the most beautiful views in the state of North Caroline!

Hospitality, kindness and creativity

Visions of life on the bank of the Pamlico River kept us motivated during those crazy weeks of packing and unpacking with our toddlers. In May 2019, my wife and I sold our home to start our new adventure in Washington. As a native of eastern North Carolina, I was familiar with the area and the joys it would bring to our young family. We quickly discovered our favorite aspect about life in Washington – the people.

The people of Washington are hospitable. As we pulled up to our new home, we were greeted with a beautiful morning view of the river during early summer. On the porch to our “new” historic home, we noticed another greeting waiting for us: a giftbag and welcome card from our neighbors. Withing the first 48 hours we had multiple meals dropped off, offers to babysit the children while we unpacked and an invitation to a Memorial Day potluck.

The people of Washington are kind. We immersed ourselves in the “walkability” of life in Washington, pushing the double stroller to the local Harbor District Market, shops and galleries downtown. Vendors at the market came to know us and would have our favorite treats ready to go as quick trips are sometimes are necessary with toddlers. One time this summer, we even had a neighbor drive my wife and children home after they were caught in an afternoon shower walking back from the Estuarium. We have watched as residents guided visitors to their favorite Washington and Beaufort County destinations or patiently gave directions to lost travelers.

The people of Washington are creative. The prospect of moving to a city with several active galleries and a performing arts facility such as the Turnage Theatre, was particularly enticing to my wife, an art enthusiast. We have spent many Art Walk nights talking with artists and observing their phenomenal works. We have even had the opportunity to become artists ourselves. Our daughter has enjoyed several BRAVO! arts enrichment classes which gives her a creative outlet and fun afterschool activities. One of our favorite family memories was strumming along with fellow residents during a ukulele lesson at Festival Park, organized by a local business and community partners.

We love our new life in Washington for many reasons, but the hospitality, kindness and creativity shared by our fellow citizens is by far our most favorite.

Photos and content by The Washington Magazine