Summary Background


The historic Albemarle Region of Northeastern North Carolina is a unique place—half land, half water. An ever-changing relationship with the water has defined the way of life. Water is both a highway and a barrier, a source of livelihood and inspiration. The story of the region is a tale of how its communities have adapted to challenges and opportunities throughout the decades.

The Albemarle region has a long and rich history that dates back to at least 1660 when the first permanent European settlers began to trickle down from Tidewater Virginia into the northeastern corner of the state. Before that time, Native Americans had been living for generations within their own thriving society along the Albemarle’s sounds and rivers. The settlers established small homesteads in this untamed region, lured by the rich soil, expansive landscape, and bountiful environment.

Since then, the historic Albemarle has continued to attract visitors who are enchanted by this region’s rich history, culture, and environment. The “road less traveled” sensibility throughout the 10-county area has allowed the region to retain much of its allure.

Characterized by small colonial-era towns and historic sites interspersed with a broad expanse of rivers and sounds, fields and wetlands, the historic Albemarle is a history and nature lover’s dream.

For many decades, visitors to northeastern North Carolina have enjoyed the region’s historic, natural, and cultural sites from one of the oldest surviving colonial homesteads in the state to the beautifully restored plantation home of North Carolina’s Federal era governor; from the restored homes and buildings of colonial Edenton to a 19th century Outer Banks lifesaving station. The region boasts beautiful lighthouses, walking tours, museums, aquariums, gardens, arts organizations, eco-tourism activities, and the oldest outdoor drama in the country.