Harbor of Hospitality

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Just for Boaters

Boating Enthusiasts Love Elizabeth City’s Famous “Harbor of Hospitality”®
In 1929, Capt. Joel Van Sant, en route from Atlantic City to Florida, cruised into Elizabeth City to have work done on his yacht. With time to spare, he and shipyard owner Ernie Saunders drew up plans for a sporty little vessel that could easily sail along the inland rivers and lakes.

Some say Van Sant named the diminutive boat the moth because of its ability to flit across the waves. Others say, because he and Saunders worked on the plans beneath a work lamp at night, the name came from the moths that fluttered close by.

The creation of the Moth Boat caught the imagination of countless sailors and boat builders, and the regattas that followed helped put Elizabeth City on the map as a sailing destination. Today, Elizabeth City’s location on the Pasquotank River and Intracoastal Waterway—and its reputation as the “Harbor of Hospitality”®—make it a popular stop for recreational boaters from around the world. Wayfarers can take advantage of free 48-hour docking at Mariners’ Wharf, new boater comfort facilities (complete with restrooms and hot showers) and easy access to the Elizabeth City Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, attractions, restaurants, shops and accommodations.
There’s even a famous welcoming crew to greet these wayfaring travelers. In 1982, two Elizabeth City boating enthusiasts, Joe Kramer and Fred Fearing, thought it would be a good idea to welcome the city’s growing number of boaters with a sampling of its famous hospitality. Kramer snipped a few roses from his garden for the ladies, and Fearing brought wine and cheese for everyone to enjoy. From this simple beginning, the “Rose Buddies” was formed. Now the tradition has passed to a new generation, and the informal welcoming party is still going strong when five or more boats dock at Mariners’ Wharf.
Whether you arrive by boat or car, Elizabeth City has great excuses for gathering by the river’s edge.

  • First Friday ArtWalks (First Friday of the Month) Check the featured artist's exhibition at The Center at Arts of the Albemarle, and then stroll to neighboring galleries, shops and restaurants in downtown Elizabeth City.


  • Downtown Waterfront Market (May-October) Shop the "bounty of the county" at this Saturday outdoor market that features home-grown produce and fresh fare from local farmers and food purveyors.

  • Mariners' Wharf Film Festival (June-July) Enjoy classic American movies on an outdoor screen, Tuesday nights at 8:30 p.m. in June and July. Bring a blanket or a lawn chair and enjoy!

For travel information and suggested itineraries, call the Elizabeth City Area Convention & Visitors Bureau at 1-866-ECity-4U (1-866-324-8948) or (252) 335-5330 or go to www.DiscoverElizabethCity.com.

Sidebar: “Cruise the Carolina Loop” with this Handy Boaters Guide

Now recreational boaters can travel along a scenic “loop” that connects waterways between Elizabeth City, N.C., and Norfolk, Va. with the help of a handy, little travel guide.

The Elizabeth City Area Convention & Visitors Bureau (ECACVB), in cooperation with the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center and the Currituck County Department of Travel and Tourism, has published a “Cruise the Carolina Loop” boaters’ guide that outlines a regional, self-guided tour along the Intracoastal Waterway, as well as details of navigable miles, lock and bridge opening schedules, restaurants and visitor sites located en route.
“This is a great way for boaters to enjoy our region’s beautiful waterways at their own pace,” said ECACVB Director Charlotte Underwood. “Depending on your boat, a trip can take anywhere from one to four days, and you can start and end anywhere along the loop.”
Access the guide at www.DiscoverElizabethCity.com

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