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Edenton, which sits on the banks of North Carolina’s Albemarle Sound, teems with historic sites ranging from Revolutionary War homes to Civil War trails. With America’s most intact Colonial courthouse, the town is a treasure for history buffs. The following Edenton attractions are a few of the compelling spots in North Carolina’s first permanent settlement.

1. Penelope Barker House

The Boston Tea Party was not the only protest that occurred against taxation in Colonial America. In 1774, a group of ladies led by Mrs. Penelope Barker organized a boycott of British tea in an effort that became known as the Edenton Tea Party. Today the Barker House is regarded as Edenton’s “Living Room” and Welcome Center. Built in 1782 in a Federal style, the structure has been added onto several times and now includes hints of both Georgian and Greek Revival architecture. The public can tour the house and then catch a trolley ride for a relaxing trip to other historic sites around town. For more information, visit www.northcarolinahistory.org.

2. Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church

Under the Vestry Act of 1701, the parish was formed that led to the building of Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church. It is now the oldest church in North Carolina that is still used consistently. Although many of the graves on the grounds are unmarked, a section called the Governors Graves holds the remains of Charles Eden for whom the town was named along with other renowned individuals from the Colonial era. Details about the church’s history can be found at www.city-data.com.

3. Colonial Waterfront Park

As a segment of the Underground Railroad Network to Freedom, Colonial Waterfront Park invites visitors to explore the location where arrangements were once made to transport slaves to freedom. Harriet Jacobs’ book about her escape in 1842 and life as a fugitive slave can be purchased at the nearby Historic Edenton State Historic Site Visitor Center. Meanwhile, guests can rent canoes or kayaks from the Dockmaster’s Office at the harbor or just have a picnic as they enjoy the beautiful scenery. To find out more about this quaint setting on the banks of Edenton Bay, visit www.edenton.com.

4. Cotton Mill Historic District

The weekends come alive in Edenton with the opening of the local Cotton Mill Museum. Since 2005, the 100-year-old office building has been reminding the public that the many surrounding mill houses once epitomized the Industrial Revolution. Although the preservation process has not yet been completed, the village is among the state’s most intact mill communities. It includes the actual mill, the office/museum, a large number of houses that were used by mill workers, and out buildings. Become a member of the Edenton Cotton Mill Museum of History at millvillagemuseum.org.

About the Author: James is a guest contributor from Inner Banks Inn, an Edenton inn and restaurant.

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