Sunday, August 2, 2009

Manteo to Albemarle Plantation

Manteo was such a charming spot that I hated to leave it on Thursday morning to start the real adventure into new territory. No one on our boat has ever been to any of the little places we will next visit. The Albemarle Sound runs roughly east and west with several small rivers feeding it from both sides. Manteo is at the extreme eastern end and now we headed west and to the north side of the Sound. The Sound is quite shallow, by Bay standards, ranging from less than five feet to a maximum of 20-25 feet deep. This makes it a perfect spot for crabbing, which the local watermen do with abandon. In Bay there is some small effort to keep the pots out of the main channels, but here in the Sound it seems that leaving your string of pots directly in or across the channel is considered normal. We spent much of our two-hour cruise slaloming around and among the pots. Otherwise, it was a nice cruise. With winds from the southwest it was a bit "lumpy", but on a comfort scale that is nicer than "bumpy" and overall quite pleasant.

My map above is not quite right. The red dot that it appears was our destination is actually the town of Hertford, which is about 10 miles north of Albemarle. The location is actually at the tip of that point, just to the right of the pointer. There is a smaller river - the Yeopin - whose mouth is just barely around the end of the point and Albemarle Plantation is there. The actual tip of the point - Harvey Point - is owned by the federal government and used for weapons testing. It has a very large restricted area around it and makes navigation down the middle of the Sound a bit tricky. That may also explain why the crab pots are so prevalent, since they cannot put them closer to shore in that area.

As its name would imply Albemarle Plantation is a retirement paradise. It's the kind of place that you could live and forget there is a real world anywhere. You have a choice of condos, townhouses or individual residences most facing either the golf course or the water - and the best to both. You have a fabulous dock, beautiful pool and fitness club, and social/golf club - what else could a person want? It's the sort of place where the golf cart is the major form of land transportation.

When we arrived it was quite windy and we welcomed the extra help supplied by a number of members of the Albemarle Sound Power Squadron, whose "port captain" had made arrangements for them to meet and help us. Many of them live right there, so it was not a huge sacrifice on their part, but a big help to us. They also scheduled their Friday night social event to include us. They treated us like family and we thoroughly enjoyed meeting them. There were two couples who were also at Bay Creek last weekend, so Mitchell and I had met some of them previously.

Friday we rented a car and drove into the little town of Hertford, which is less than ten miles and the closest shopping - groceries, ABC, some nice little shops, a tea room where we had lunch, and a corner drug store with 60-cent ice cream. [If you are not a boater, you may not be aware that it is a law that boaters must immediately find the closest ice cream store within hours of making port. I am guessing that 20 years ago one couldn't keep ice cream on a boat, and so this was a necessity. With all the modern freezers you find nowadays, that is no longer the case - at least not on a power boat - but the law is still the law!] The tea room pictured above is one of the oldest structures in Hertford and is now run by three ladies who serve very good tea and a nice lunch. We really enjoyed it.

We also visited the tourist information center, where I learned that there are still Webbs living in the area. My mothers people come from Perquimans county way back, but I know little about it. Might require a trip by car sometime to search some records.
Hertford is also the home of Jim "Catfish" Hunter - a famous baseball player of the '70s and '80s. The mayor has a small museum in his honor at the information center. As far as I know he was not related to the Webbs.

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