I’d waited almost a year to return to eastern North Carolina in order to extend my family research from Tyrrell County to Washington County. Maybe early July in a heat wave was not the best time to visit, but I’d coordinated my trip with others, and meeting over the Fourth of July weekend worked for everyone.
So, on Friday, July 3rd, I flew from Philadelphia to Norfolk, where I rented a Hyundai Santa Fe with great air conditioning and drove to Edenton, the state’s first colonial capitol. Edenton is located in Chowan County, directly across the Albemarle Sound from my destination. I’d driven through Edenton on my way north last fall, and remembered its historic architecture. But in July, it’s the explosion of crepe myrtle that welcomes you. White, soft pink, loud pink – the color palette was azalea season revisited.
As drivers enter the state on Highway 17, they are greeted by crepe myrtle and lilies in the median landscaping, but that gateway of young trees didn’t prepare me for the arching old myrtles that lined Queen and Church and Granville streets. I loved the idea of walking under them. Even in the heat.
I checked into The Parsonage Inn early, and while my room was being readied, took a walking tour of the town. Iced coffee with coffee ice cubes and a lemon bar at the local café, a vintage book store where I picked up a few local treasures, and I was able to make the mind shift of being far from Philadelphia.
I'd entered a new landscape, with a different climate and different light. I walked back to the Inn under red crepe myrtles. A passing stranger waved and I looked behind me to see who was there, but I was alone on the sidewalk.