OBX Book Tour – Elizabeth City

OBXDay2-UGRR signEvery town worth its name has two businesses going for it: a good lively coffee house and a serious bookstore. Elizabeth City has both and more.

Muddy Waters is the place to get serious coffee and hang out. Well, I haven’t hung out here but their coffee is good and the atmosphere is delightful.OBXDay2-Muddy waters 

I was scheduled to meet and greet at Page after Page bookstore today.

The traffic into the book store didn’t match the bustle of the Outer Banks stores. Customers who came in were on a mission. They were ordering books, picking up books or looking for something specific. Some didn’t want to make eye contact with me because maybe they felt that they would have to buy my book.

The bookstore is huge and carries toys in the back section. I was most impressed by the number of customers who weren’t from Elizabeth City. Some came from Hampton, Virginia, and other points further away. Don’t they have bookstores there?

Every town has interesting sites if you look for them. For me, two things stood out about Elizabeth City.

We all know that the Wright Brothers came from Dayton, OH and tested out their flight contraption in Kitty Hawk. But how did they get to the Outer Banks? In 1902, they didn’t drive. They took the train to Elizabeth City and then hired a boat to get them to Kitty Hawk. Several hotels have “The Wright Brothers slept here” plaques. But the signs don’t explain how the brothers packed all their plane pieces for the train.

In the early 1970s, the island of Antigua had an ad which said “Some people discover beaches that even the natives don’t know about.”

This is how I felt this morning looking for a National Park Service plaque which commemorated the Underground Railroad. I had read about it in a visitor center pamphlet but no one who I spoke to knew where it was.

I found it on the waterfront. See the top picture.

The Pasquotank River was the first site in the country to receive the Underground Railroad Network designation in 2004. And no one I spoke to knew what I was talking about. I guess that’s why they need visitors.


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