May 16-20, 2012... Elizabeth City, NC

After a blustery arrival, we found our anchorage pretty comfortable for what turned out to be almost a week-long visit to this small city. Never did we think we would stay so many days, but the Annual North Carolina Potato Festival was going to take place in just a few days, and we couldn't imagine moving on and missing the fun. More about that later.

If you want to shoot a movie that takes place in an early 20th century town, this would be perfect. Many of the old commercial buildings in the Main Street district and homes all over town date from that period and earlier. Elizabeth City makes it easy to appreciate the architecture and history with well-organized and accessible information.

The Museum of the Albemarle is a terrific place to start a visit here. This museum is monumental and does a really good job of illustrating the history of the area; maritime, agricultural, political, and cultural. There was a new exhibit on the Civil War that taught us quite a bit about divided loyalties of that time in NE North Carolina.

The visitor center has bicycles to lend, so we took them up on it and took a spin around town and out to the Riverside district. Beautiful homes line the water and we took photos of pretty houses, met a guy fishing for catfish, and got more pictures of Anhinga riding at anchor in Forbes Bay.

Okay, so you are waiting to find out about the highlight of our visit: the Potato Festival. The day started with the potato peeling contest. 26 teams competed. These people are incredible - 4 pounds of potatoes in 5 minutes? And, free French fries were distributed from the peeled potatoes. We don't normally eat fries for breakfast, but hey, it's a festival!

Next big event - the Paul Bunyon Lumberjack Show! These two guys sawed, made bad jokes, and log rolled. Pretty entertaining. We watched twice. And we didn't get this, but an eagle joined the Zumba demonstration...

Another exciting show - the Coast Guard search and rescue demonstration. (the largest USCG air station is in E. City) A boat put a guy in the water and a helicopter came, dropped a rescue basket, demonstrated a sling rescue, and more. As boaters, we were especially impressed with these skills -- these are the guys you want to see coming when you are in trouble at sea.

Of course we would be remiss if we didn't mention that there were over 10 bands playing during the day. And, the Voltage Brothers played Saturday night at the street dance. So we topped off the day dancing to all those R&B and pop songs from the 60s, 70s, and later. What a great day! A great stay in a town we never planned on visiting in the first place!

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