This was another surprising small town that is steeped in history that we happened upon whilst driving north on the backgrounds. We were headed from New Bern to somewhere in the Virginia Beach area and stopped here for lunch. Well, I must admit I was pleasantly surprised. And it was the first Washington in the United States too – founded in 1776 – the same year the colonies made declaration of their independence from Britain.
It is a nice small town on the Pamlico River and there is a nice municipal marina along the waterfront with restrooms and a small place for snacks. The waterfront appears to have been recently worked on with a nice sidewalk and plenty of places to sit. It appears to be a nice place for events, perhaps an art show, while still driving people into the downtown for food and drink. It is quite possibly what Washington already does.
The town, for the most part, consists of the waterfront and then Main Street which is roughly two to three blocks of commercial center. Market Street is another main road and also has some interesting architecture on it though it doesn’t have as much in terms of services, shops and restaurants. Most of the buildings all date to the early 20th century, which I thought strange until I realized a fire destroyed the town center about that time.
I would call it a very good opportunity for redevelopment and re-use of some of the spaces. The DeMille Building was very cool. And it apparently has ties to the film director of the same name as he grew up in Washington as his childhood home. I’ve since learned the building is for sale and owned by the local government. It is an excellent piece of architecture and would be great to have it contribute to the downtown in more than a backdrop role.
There’s a number of restaurants in the town center as well as some businesses. The town probably just needs some residential in its town center and things would really look better. In the case of Washington the glass is half full which is a very good thing. It is a small charming town that has activity and businesses. It is well over the hump and you can’t help but walk downtown thinking of ways to help the town slide into home plate!
We had lunch after walking around the town and snapping a few pictures and taking in what Washington had to offer. We happened upon a place called Grub Brothers and it was a nice enough place that has a full bar, a nice menu and plenty of room. I opted for something totally different, the mac and chili. And I didn’t regret it at all. It was in fact excellent and I could fully suggest it if that’s your thing.
Grub Brothers is on Main Street and is next to the Turnage Theater which is run by the Beaufort County Arts Council. There appears to be interest in the arts, musical, performing and visual, by the community and it would be a great place to hang out much longer than a couple hours.
This is a good impression for a town to give. And that is what really counts – it did give that impression. We look forward to the day we can meander into town and spend some more time discovering a town we wouldn’t mind coming back to – not a common thing.
RV Road Trip Note:
This is part of the series of blog posts on a fourteen day road trip from St. Petersburg, Florida to the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania with stops along the way north and south with no real planned itinerary. We did this trip in our 30 foot class A motorhome in late July/early August with two bicycles strapped to the back.