I loved, loved, loved Elizabeth City! But as you may have already figured out, my roots grow quick! Elizabeth City is known as “The Harbor of Hospitality” because of they way they value and welcome cruisers like us. They want us to stop in their town, they want us to explore, they want us to SPEND MONEY, and they make it really easy with lots of shops, restaurants, and amenities!
First off, they have a FREE DOCK. That’s right, free. That’s exactly how much cruisers like to spend on stuff :) The dock isn’t a marina, it’s a dock, but if you hit up the Visitor’s Center, steps from the dock, they’ll hook you up with some sweet cruising bikes and then, you are unstoppable!
You can walk to lots of stuff, but the bikes make it so you can get to the Post Office, the grocery store, an organic market, a thrift store, several auto parts stores (you can recycle your used engine oil too!) and we even saw a JC Penny in our travels. The folks were super nice (the accents have gotten a little bit deeeeeeeper), and a couple of our cruising buddies said they were offered rides by some of the locals. And then there was Gus…
As you pull up to the docks, you’ll see one or two lovely gentleman waiting for you to help you tie up. That in itself is awesome, but then these guys are kinda like the welcoming committee. We met Pastor Ben and Gus when we pulled up. Oh! sidenote: don’t ask Pastor Ben where you can score a good Margarita. He thought it was the craziest question ever and I heard a bit later that he was telling this story to some of his parishioners! Ooops. I thought they were there to help us with our needs! My bad, Pastor Ben, won’t make that mistake again!
Anyway, after chatting (and scaring away) Pastor Ben, we met Gus. Gus will live in my heart forever and ever and ever. He was one of the kindest gentleman I have ever met. He told great stories, some so rich they are hard to believe, and boy was he a flirt! He’d do just about anything for a hug and a kiss! He was a giving man, stating that God put him on this earth to help people. If he wasn’t chatting with us crazy cruisers, he was sitting in his bright yellow truck, waiting for one of us to need a helping hand. And he made you feel like he really and truly wanted to help. So, we had no issue asking Gus to give Jake a lift to the marina down the road to get a propane refill. I mean, how weird is that? Asking a stranger for a ride! When I offered him some cash for gas, he wouldn’t even let me finish my sentence. He was lovely, simply lovely.
Other highlights of Elizabeth City are as follows:
- I gotta mention the free bikes again. Such a great amenity!
- We were also encouraged to go to the Maritime Museum, but didn’t make it. I hear it’s great, and it’s free.
- $5 showers at the fitness center a few blocks away. Yes, we pay for showers now.
During the warmer months, they also host a wine and cheese social for cruisers in the spirit of “The Rose Buddies.” You can read about it here, but the gist is that these two lovely fellows started hosting a little party for travelers and it evolved into a tradition!
They are also working on a bath house right there at the dock for boaters, expected to open Summer 2014. The town is so sweet, but could use a little more traffic. I sure hope these upgrades will coax a few more cruisers in their direction. It was an insanely memorable experience for me and Jake liked it too <3